Monthly Archive: May 2011

Wild Goose plug from an UMAAR

Greetings from a not so young Anabaptist radical. Warning: lots of name-dropping ahead!

I have spent 20 years on the road in various denominational conferences, congregations, and colleges. I met a lot of wonderful people, some of whom I’ve disagreed with theologically, and perhaps politically. But the saying, “traveling artists leave their theology and politics at home” is usually good advice. What is odd however is when it’s a Christian event —a conference, church or Christian college or university, where there are commonalities assumed. Again, our theology usually stayed at home. So we felt many times like we were strangers, just mercenaries, or as we like to say on occasion, theater whores, taking the money without ever being emotionally involved with the event. To be fair, this happened more often in conferences, than in churches.

In 2001 in the fall Lee Eshleman and I were guests at a conference in Seattle sponsored by The It was Solarize: A Conversation. The speakers were Sally Morgenthaler, Brian McLaren, Tom Sine, Leonard Sweet, and Richard Rohr. Workshop leaders included Tony Jones, and Doug Pagitt. Almost for the first time, I felt like I was at home. The theology, the fact that they had a theology pub where someone brought a keg and handed me a beer, the social justice awareness, and the deep appreciation for Anabaptist theology throughout made us feel as if we were home. The whole weekend blew me away— truly a life changing experience. Brian, Sally, Doug, Tony and Richard have all become friends. The reason I bring this up is to illuminate the speaker lineup at the Wild Goose Festival in June. Richard and Brian and Tony and Doug will all be there. (more…)

Haunting straight Mennonites moderates, pt 2: crisis and conciliation


I’ve been reading the thread of comments in response to my post on Anabaptist Ghosts on The Mennonite. I think the concerns by the Aaron Kauffman (read his comment) and Harold Miller (read his comment) are shared by others as well and need to be addressed.

As I understand them, one of the key arguments that Kauffman and Miller are making is that my focus on social advocacy and confrontation is “cutting [me] off from any word of wisdom that other parts of the Body of Christ might have to offer.” In other words, their claim is that the haunting social advocacy and confrontation, as I am describing it, does not leave room for dialogue.


The end of the world

In January I saw an article in the Wichita Eagle about a woman who was thoroughly convinced that the rapture and the end of the world would be on May 21, 2011.  At 6pm to be exact.  Well, this Saturday is the fateful day and, as one would expect, the story has been picked up by various news outlets.

Now forgive me if I sound a little cynical, but I know my history.  From the very first moments that Jesus walked the earth people have been predicting his return, and thus the end of the world with it.  So far, no one has been right.

What’s more, I know what happened at Münster.  To recap, a group of Anabaptists violently took over the town of Münster and swiftly began killing people, running around naked and doing a whole bunch of other things all because they were certain that Jesus was coming back right then and there.

That was 477 years ago. (more…)

Haunting straight Mennonite moderates: the Christian tradition of confrontation

This piece is cross-posted from As of Yet Untitled

In this month’s editorial in The Mennonite, editor Everett Thomas quoted Mennonite Church USA executive director Ervin Stutzman as follows:

“The experience of Pink Mennos at Columbus in 2009,” Stutzman said, “introduced a new level of engagement in controversial matters … The techniques of social advocacy and confrontation that we have taught young adults in our schools has come to haunt our church’s most visible gathering, to the end that convention-goers feel immense pressure to take up sides against one another on [homosexuality].”

Mennonite pastor Amy Yoder McGloughlin has already written quite eloquently and diplomatically on how Ervin’s words ignore the real ghosts who haunt the Mennonite convention. So I’d like to focus particularly on Ervin’s use of the term, “haunt,” to refer to the use of social advocacy and confrontation by Pink Mennos. As a Mennonite, I find social advocacy and confrontation at the heart of the gospel and at the roots of my Anabaptist tradition. To suggest that those of us who sought to embody this tradition as Pink Mennos at Colombus were “haunting” the convention is highly problematic.