Monthly Archive: August 2009

3 Years of YAR: Curate your own top 6 list

Three years ago today, Eric wrote the first post here on YAR. We’ve been through all sorts of interesting things in the past 3 years. I think we’re old enough now that we can start doing some looking back. In celebration of those 3 years, I’d like to invite YAR authors to curate their own top 6 lists of past blog posts. For example, what are your top 6 funniest YAR posts or most discussed. Or most provocative. Or most outrageous. Be imaginative.

Here’s an example for you. It’s a modified list of the most often viewed posts on YAR over the last little while. You’ll notice in reading this list that some of those with the most views are ones that happened to connect with popular Google search terms. I also only included one blog post per author, so we can spread around the love. Two other notes: I’ve adjusted for length of time that the post has been up and the recording of page views started on June 8, 2008.

Top 6 most viewed blog posts on YAR in the last 15 months

#1 pink Menno campaign

This one paragraph post by Luke owes its top spot on this list to its high positioning in the Google results when one searches for Pink Menno. At one point it came in second to the main Pink Menno site. It received a couple hundred of hits after Pink Menno made the Associated Press at the Columbus convention. It’s also had its share of drive by comments by ticked off Mennonites. Luke’s longer high page view piece was his review of Love is an Orientation. (more…)

Have We Lost Our Way?

(This is a repost from my home blog at

A new issue of the online version of “The Mennonite” church publication has been released.  I just got my e-mail today.  I enjoy getting this weekly dose of information from the primary publication of my denomination.  It keeps me informed as to what’s going on at the denominational level and gives me some different insights on modern issues from a Mennonite perspective.

However, I must say that this morning’s issue disappointed me.  Not because of the lack of content, nor because it somehow didn’t meet the professional standards of the publication.  It disappointed me because of the content itself.  The lead article in today’s e-mail found here discusses how the health-care reform bills currently being worked on by the US federal government coincide with Jesus’ inaugural sermon from Luke 4.

On one level, I agree with this article.  The Kingdom of God is a kingdom in which there is no more poverty, no more disadvantaged, no more illness, no more pain, where everyone can come to the table of the Lord with equal stature and be blessed by God.  Amen.  Preach it.  Come Lord Jesus.

What disappoints me about this article goes towards the roots of what the Anabaptist movement and the Mennonite denomination has been about for centuries.  (more…)

What do you know about Ervin Stutzman?

Yesterday, the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board named Ervin R. Stutzman the next executive director of Mennonite Church USA. Given that we’ve had three posts (by ST, by me and by Steve K) and 15 comments here on YAR about the search process for this position, I thought it would be worth talking about whether or not this appointment meets your expectations and hopes.

But the first step is finding out more about Ervin. I, for one, have never heard of him before. Do any of you know much about him? The highlights from his official bio in the Mennonite article include:

Bullet holes and Resurrection Ivy

Crossposted from As of Yet Untitled

On Wednesday morning at 3:33 am, Charletta woke up and said that she had heard a noise. I blearily nodded. She was gone for a minute or two and I tried to go back to sleep. Then she came back and said, "I think there’s a bullet hole in the window." Hmm, I thought, that’s unexpected. My brain gradually began to wake up.

I walked out into the living room and woke up all the way (or as much as is possible at such an hour). Our apartment is on the fourth floor, so the bullet had come in through the window and gone out the ceiling 4 feet away. It had plowed through a tight stack of venetian blinds which had exploded across the room, leaving little white pieces of plastic on every visible surface.


The Evangelical Anabaptist Revolution

Many Young Anabaptist Radicals might have a difficult time accepting evangelicals among our ranks. And for good reason. As a whole, evangelicalism and Anabaptism have some major differences. However, I submit that the boundaries of each group are porous enough to allow for some constructive dialogue and even overlap. (Think, for example, of Ron Sider.)

I grew up in the evangelical church. For better or worse, it is the church with which I still most identify, even given our many obvious flaws. With my recent “conversion” to Anabaptist theology and practice, I’m not yet sure that I would fully fit in with Mennonite culture. John Roth once gave me some good advice: Live your Anabaptist witness in your own church culture. I would give the same advice to others in my shoes.

I have been encouraged by the fact that even the most influential of Mennonites, John Howard Yoder, often interacted with the evangelical world, even making the cover of Christianity Today for a story on evangelical leaders! So, I’ve started a group for evangelical Anabaptists like me, who because of our Anabaptism are something of exiles from mainstream evangelicalism and because of our evangelicalism are not quite at home in mainstream Anabaptism. We call ourselves the Evangelical Anabaptist Revolution (EAR), and recently printed t-shirts with this design. (First printing of the t-shirts are all out, by the way. After you see the design, you’ll realize why. Maybe we can print more if people are interested.)

If the above describes you, drop me a note or contact me on facebook. We’d love to have some YAR representation in EAR. Or minimally, we’d love to have some fruitful dialogue.

Joining the community

To quote one of my favorite Sesame Street characters of my early years:

“Hello, Everybodeeeee!” (gotta love Grover).

I’ve just been given the privilege to be a contributor here on YAR and it was suggested that I give a bit of an intro so y’all know who it is writing this stuff.

For what it’s worth, concerning my denominational “pedigree”, I was born and raised in the Mennonite denomination.  At that time, the churches I went to were the MC churches (as opposed to GC).  My life started in Puerto Rico as the second son of two mission minded people.  My parents got their start in PR in Voluntary Service and spent 10 years there all told.  So, culturally speaking, while I’m German Mennonite by descent, my preferred flavor of church is a little less traditional.

I’m not sure how “young” I am.  I’m 36 years old.  But I guess I’m “young” in that I’m not stuck in the Mennonite/Anabaptist “church as usual” mentality.  We need to start thinking about what it means to BE the church and not just GO to church.  Life in the “church” is so much more than Sunday morning and the “church” is so much more than the institution that runs that Sunday morning service.  “Church” is who we are every day and should define what we then do every day.  If Sunday morning “go-to-meeting” should go away, the church will still be the church. (more…)

Global Anabaptist Wiki

The Global Anabaptist Wiki is an interactive community of Anabaptist-Mennonite groups from around the world. Initiated by the Mennonite Historical Library at Goshen College, the site is committed to helping individual groups: 1) tell their own story; 2) post and preserve electronic archives; and 3) become better informed about other groups in the global Anabaptist fellowship. Like all wiki-based projects, this is a collaborative venture that relies on the local expertise of many people.

This project is still in its early stages of construction. John Roth and others led a workshop at Mennonite World Conference Assembly Gathered (Paraguay 2009) about it…listening to perspectives and discerning whether or not it was a good idea. What do you think about the idea? Will you use it as a resource?

I think this is a good idea because everyone around the world can contribute to create collective knowledge. Some of the things written by people in their home churches about themselves may make North Americans (perhaps especially mission agencies) uncomfortable. This could be a good thing for dialogue. Wiki creates a space that is not owned by anyone. Following up on Alan’s initial post, this decentralization of “ownership of the story” could be a healthy thing. Since young people are more tech saavy, it can be a way that we connect to the background stories of our Anabaptist friends from around the world.

If you want to collaborate with the project in a substantial way, (it needs volunteers to help monitor it and encourage posting) feel free to contact John directly at