Introducing Rusty…

Greetings everyone,

I am the newest contributor to the YAR blog, and as is the custom here, I was asked to introduced myself. I won’t bore you with my life story. I’ll keep it short and relevant.

My life is a complex journey, as all of ours tend to be in this day and age. I am a suburban southern kid who was raised during the corporate take over my once rural town. I watched the wild playground of my youth become paved and replaced with shopping malls. All the tree forts and hideouts we built as kids were replaced one-by-one with ‘real’ shelters, housing wealthy neighbors with well-manicured lawns. The whole infrastructure of my town shifted, and slowly, so did the income level and mindset of my family. The innocence of my youth was not only interrupted by all the normal challenges of adolescence, but also the rising consciousness of suburbia, consumerism, wealth, competition… capitalism.

For years I have been trying to forget what I know and remember what life was like before the corporate takeover of my town and my mind. Isn’t this the journey we are all on, trying to reconnect with our primal selves, our young innocence, our wide-eyed hope? This search has brought me so many places, literally and figuratively. I am currently living in Chicago, the third largest city in the country. I hate it. It’s a big concrete jungle, devoid of anything wild or natural. What keeps me here is the community house that I live in. But as the winter moves in, I will be moving out and navigating back to Florida, where I grew up.  I thrive in wild spaces, under stars, below trees. Though, I will say that as a student of herbal medicine, I love seeing tough healing plants rising between the cracks of abandoned factories. It gives me a glimpse of the coming kingdom of god. “A tree shall sprout in the middle of the city, and it’s leaves shall bring healing.” Revelation 22:2

I am 25. I am an anarchist, and I have been connected with a Mennonite congregation in Florida for about 3 years. I guess that means I qualify to write on this blog, but it is also what has attracted me to this blog and what probably keeps us all stopping by to check out the latest posts. I am excited to join a community of writers and readers that share such a rare common vision. I rebelled against my christian roots for a long time, finding them inconsistent with my radical political leanings. By 20, I was the only Democrat in my evangelical congregation and by 22 I was so far left that I couldn’t accept a faith that didn’t ask the hard questions about poverty and inequality. My rebellion was the appropriate response to any religion that would leave Lazarus in the streets. In time the quiet nudging of god drew me to the positive spirituality of a Mennonite church where I found community and an renewed faith. This wasn’t until after years of paying my dues in other temples, experimenting with other faith traditions, and discovering hidden beauties of all the revelations of god. What draws me to Christianity is it’s emphasis on community and it’s roots in resistance. As we journey on together as young radicals with a vision of a radical church, let’s not forget that most learning is a matter of remembering. Our primal selves, our humble faith and our simple ways of existing, these are things rooted deep within ourselves. The answers are not out there somewhere, they are inside all of us. This blog is a small step towards that discovery and I am glad to be here.


Comments (2)

  1. Josiah Garber

    Welcome Rusty! It’s good to have you here. I am 25 as well. :-)

    Keep in mind that corporatism is not capitalism.

  2. Philipp


    de-lurking here to say hi. I just moved from suburban Florida to Chicago a few weeks ago. I’m now a grad student here. No idea about churches etc. yet, the city is big and new. I’d appreciate a brief getting-in-touch.
    I’m sure the editrixes and editors will have my e-mail.

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