All day today I’ve been meaning to sit down and right something meaningful about the escalating situation in Burma which seems ripe for change or extensive repression. Turns out someone with far more experience has done a great job of laying out the history of the situation there and a useful perspective on what’s happening:
Excerpt from Burma on the March by Gene Stoltzfus (founder of Christian Peacemaker Teams):
Buddhist teachings and values are deeply ingrained in Burmese society and when monks lead, an unwritten message is sent to the nation. The arrest of monks creates a shocking dissonance in the minds of the Buddhist population. In the practice of Buddhism in Burma, people frequently leave the routine of their lives for a few weeks to become monks. With saffron robes, shaved heads and begging bowls they examine their lives, perhaps in the hope of gaining merit, more spiritually centered living, or to move along in their own personal cycle of karma. Some of the monks walking in the demonstrations now are almost certainly people who have only recently joined the monastery for a brief break.
A friend asked why I go to Iraq at a time when the situation is deteriorating even further. I go in expectation, trusting that the Jesus way of nonviolence always brings more creativity and positive change to situations of injustice and violence than the tools of war. The resurrection for me is a sign that life trumps death. Yes, it is a high risk project, but a project that participates already in the future for which we pray and yearn!
Yesterday at a debate with Senator Kerry, security guards at the University of Florida used a taser on a student who went over his alloted question time:
I showed this to a friend and his response was that the student seems to be deliberately escalating the situation. Personally, I find the situation disturbing because of how quickly the security guards escalate the situation in the first place, by grabbing him. What do all of you think? (more…)
Campaigning against the arms trade has always been a David and Goliath battle with a few small underfunded non-profit organizations against a massive, wealthy industry in which multi-billion dollar deals are routine. Good news usually comes after years of quiet, mostly thankless work.
All that is to say that I was extremely happy to read about the closure of the Defence Export Services Organisation this week. DESO is (or was) a uniquely British government department whose sole purpose is to promote the sale of British weapons abroad using whatever “legal” means available to them.
During my time in the UK I spent a good deal of my time working with SPEAK, a Christian student campaigning network who was working to close DESO. In 2004 we spent a few hours on the coldest day of the year praying in a trench outside DESO headquarters and bringing them baskets filled with daffodils. As with many public witnesses, it was a whole lot of work and shivering that felt like a drop in a vast, empty bucket. (more…)
There hasn’t been a video posted here in a while, so I thought I’d share this one. I’m not a big fan of the Colbert Report, but in this interview Colbert refrains from interrupting Benjamin Barber enough to allow him to make some very provocative points about consumer capitalism:
This interview is a repost from my blog on the Mennonite of an interview with Jarrod McKenna, a leader in the Emerging Church movement in Australia and founder of Empowering Peacemakers in Your Community, an organization that runs trainings on nonviolence and ecology in Australian schools, churches and prisons. I’ve previously referenced an article Jarrod has written on Emerging Peace Church Movement & the “Open Anabaptist Impulse”. Jarrod won the Donald Groom Peace Fellowship, a national Australian peace award. The Original intention was to do an interview with him for this blog and so, though I published it on the Mennonite site first, I think YAR is its true home. Enjoy! If you have your own questions for Jarrod, feel free to leave them in a comment and perhaps he’ll come by and answer them himself.
Tim: Where did you first come across the Anabaptist story?
Jarrod McKenna: The timing of my intro to Anabaptism was nothing short of God’s grace. It was a hugely significant time in my life though I was only 13 years old. Just before school started for my first year of high school, I made the very serious decision to follow Jesus. Up to that point I had gone through school not having the easiest time because of my dyslexia and ADD. I dealt with it by being the funny kid and when that didn’t work, beating kids up. I got good at both and was popular because of it. Yet the emptiness I felt would keep me up at night, looking up at the stars from my bedroom window and saying “God, if you’re there, I need you”. While some people have dramatic conversion experiences mine didn’t happen in a flash. But slowly my eyes opened to the Holy Spirit’s gentle work in my life. Night after night as the stars ministered to me I began to be sensitive to God’s love for me, and that love meant I could change, and follow Jesus. (more…)
For YAR writers and readers out there who are attending San Jose 2007, we’ve decided to gather for supper on Wednesday evening at 5:30 pm at the Tandori Restaraunt at 109 S. First Street (link to a map of the location on Google). This will be an opportunity to put some faces with the names we’ve been seeing on this blog for the last 10 months. See you there! If you need to get in touch with me you can call me at 312-505-7461.
Feel free to invite people who are interested in writing for YAR.
This week my friend Sarah Shirk sent out an email announcing that she’ll be participating in a month long Border Witness Drive project organized by Christian Peaceamaker Teams. You can follow along on the trip through their blog:
A few weeks ago, Dave over at the Mindful Mission posted out a number of blog posts by members of the Emerging movement looking at the similarities between the Emerging church and Anabaptists. Dave attends Living Water Community Church, an energetic urban Mennonite congregation that Charletta and I have been attending since January.
Since the middle of May, we’ve been publishing weekly summaries of Young Anabaptist Radicals blog posts in TMail, the new weekly email of The Mennonite. In exchange for a years worth of summaries (written by various YAR authors), next year in May The Mennonite will be making a $1000 donation to the AMIGOS fund to help Mennonite, Brethren in Christ and Anabaptist-related young people from all over the world to attend the Global Youth Summit (GYS) in Paraguay 2009. Read more about this effort on the Mennonite World Conference web site.
If you’d like to subscribe to TMail, you can do so from the front page of The Mennonite in the green box on the right hand side of the page. Along with the blog summaries it includes a selection of articles from the print magazine and some weekly columns.