Hello all, I’m new here but uncertain whether or not I am welcome to participate, since my DoB was in 1954. looking at your blog’s title, I see that “anabaptist” and “radical” are things that I might choose to be, but “young” is not, unless it is used in a figurative sense.
At what age does eligibility end, and what happens to your users when they reach that point? I must say that for a group of this type the exclusionary nature of the name seems dissonant with the blog’s overall theme and tone. “Young Anabaptist Radicals” contains just as strong a disinvitation to older folks, as a hypothetical “White Anabaptist Radical” site would for people of color.
This issue has come up before and I’ve thought about posting a proposal on a new definition of young. I propose that Young Anabaptists be defined as those of the 21st century (i.e. those living in the 21st century). Old Anabaptists are these guys:
Why feel like an OAR when you can be a YAR?
“At what age does eligibility end, and what happens to your users when they reach that point?”
Hmm, I was thinking perhaps a Lord of the Flies scenario? In all seriousness, we’re not a terribly exclusive bunch, despite our name. I remember meeting back in the fall, when we talked about how if we stuck around long enough, maybe we’d change it to “Old Anabaptist Radicals,” or “Cranky Anabaptist Radicals,” something like that. The hope for this blog as I understood it was to get a better sense of what Anabaptist adults in their 20s and 30s are thinking, and to provide a space for dialogue which is often lacking in formal church settings. While I’m having a hard time feeling sympathetic to the comments on agism (every decade has its perspective on that matter, and we young adults could make charges of exclusion as well), I’m guessing from your tone that perhaps you’ve felt excluded from other settings in which you’ve wanted to have a say (but that’s just a guess) — so I’ll just respond that you’re welcome here in whatever capacity you’d like to join, and I doubt anyone else would say otherwise. Bienvenido!
I’m with Lora. We don’t intentionally exclude OARs, but we want to make sure the YARs have a space to talk. Every emerging generation needs to know its voice is valid. I’m sure the OARs felt a lot of the same things at this age that the current YARs are. Was it most helpful for you to be able to express your views and experiences or to be told by others how you should think and feel? (Not that those are the only two options.)
Ideally, the collective church includes everyone’s voices, and younger generations learn from the older. Vice versa, too. YAR is hardly a substitute for face-to-face interactions.
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I like the idea of a Cranky Old Anabaptist Radical blog. Any predictions on approximately when you all will lose your youthful zeal and idealism? :)
One idea that I have found helpful is to think of the church more as an organism then a collection of demographic groups.
When we do this we can see that the times of growth we all go through always have the potential to spur on someones else’s growth as well… a good example of this is the 40 something parent who has started the process of boxing up their faith and settling into a comfort zone about how faith should look…alas their kid hits adolescence and starts questioning EVERYTHING! The parent who truly wants to pass on faith to their child is forced to take the lids off all the boxes and re-ask themselves what they believe…. re-walk the path of adolescent spirituality AGAIN.
Here on YAR I think we might benefit from thinking about spiritual maturity the same way…rather than older people being higher up some figurative ladder of maturity (as some theories of spiritual “stages” suggest) they are perhaps simply at a different place on an ever widening spiral. This spiral always includes times of feeling the presence of God in our live as well as movement into times of feeling distant…if we are honest about this rhythm (something the ancients found in the simplest act of breathing and is easily felt in the laments and praises of the Psalms) than we will always have much in common across the years…we are all on the same journey after all…right?
there are very few places in the church where young people can have their voices heard. sometimes we are dismissed as idealistic and dreamers. sometimes, its just because no one is listening. at my annual conference, i was one of the youngest there. i was 32. it was a huge leap to the next predominant age group. i am talking 15 to 20 years. at least. when do we give young people a “real” voice. i am not saying we are purposely pushed to the margins. nor do we want to push the older generations to the margins either. but how to we come to the table on an EVEN playing field where both sides are heard and respected? maybe we haven’t earned that yet?
this is not an angry tone by the way. this is a tone of someone wanting to make a difference, but feels a little out of the status quo.
with all respect the agism question, doesnt the door swing both ways? let’s come together. lets create a melting pot of generations, sexes and ethnicities. i guess, all that to say, i am just looking for a voice myself.
My offer still stands for actual young voices to participate on the ‘asimpledesire’ website … consider becoming a commentor.
email to will-dot-fitzgerald-at-gmail-dot-com
I find the breakdowns interesting in the current poll. After age 35, they go in blocks of 10 years, but before that it’s 5-6 years. Why is that? It does make sense to me that 19-24 would go together in terms of life journey (particularly for people who go to college – although I’d be interested if people who don’t go to college would feel the same way) (and I’d also take it to 24, not 23), but then I’d go to 25-34, 35-44, or whatever. OR – another way (my preference – see below) would be to have another short bracket of 25-29, and then go 30-39, 40-49, etc.
To me, the age breakdowns say something about how the person who put the poll up sees age. We suddenly get “old” after 35. That’s what the marketers tell us. But why? Why is it suddenly after age 35 that we are lumped with people up to 9 years older (or younger) than ourselves?
Maybe I’m sensitive because having just crossed that line (I’m 36), I’m suddenly in a bracket that goes to 45, and I don’t feel like that’s my bracket. I’d rather be in a 30-39 bracket, because that’s who I identify with.
(And this isn’t a criticism; I just find it interesting – age breakdowns are always pretty subjective.)
Michelle, I was curious if anyone would challenge these breakdowns. I was the one that put up the poll and I spent quite a bit of time trying to decide where to place the brackets. I’m not really that tied to what I came up with. I agree that it is pretty subjective. I’m sure these categories say a lot about my own age (25) and prejudices about age and where “young” and “old” are.
I was curious about where our readership fell off and that prompted me to keep the 5-6 year brackets up to 35. I do notice there is a pretty big drop off between 24-29 and 30-35 which tells me that I could have made it 30-39 and we wouldn’t have lost much data. I couldn’t decide so I went with what I did. It also made it work out better when I got to 65 (another subjective age, I guess, but it’s when a lot of people retire and begin to be seen as “elderly”).
Anyway, I’m glad I’m not the only one that pondered this for a while.
I’d say young would be defined by anyone who’s not still living in the sixteenth century. There’s a certain relevance attached to the word ‘young’, which is not relevant to age, but in terms of relearning and re-experiencing the Anabaptist vision. I’ve been a member of a Mennonite church now for approximately 2.2 weeks… so that makes me young.
I’ve seen some 23 year olds who are not as young at heart as some 46 year olds. The willingness to embrace differences and not being set in their ways to learn, to ask, to discuss to challenge and to be challenged… I think these are what makes us young.
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What is young is often old and what is old these days can be very young, indeed. We are living in an era that is dense with information and activism. Some of us old persons have always been on the cutting edge, but were on our own…voices in the wilderness. Now, with all these valiant young people thinking and doing, we have a framework to make our experienced voices heard in an appropriate context. I am old and just beginning to live my life and project my voice with my own blog, Called By Name http://called43.wordpress.com/ Bless you younguns for including us in the game. I’m going to die happy knowing you all will continue working for the Jesus centered kingdom of God.