Author Archive: TimN

Pleasure of the President and the Death Penalty

Recently I’d begun to think that there was nothing the Bush administration could get to me. Yet reading Three fired U.S. attorneys balked at seeking death penalty today got through my jaded, cynical shell.

Apparently three of the US Attorneys who were fired by the Bush administration were not willing enough to seek the death penalty to satisfy the political bloodlust of Bush, Ashcroft and Gonzalez. The LA Times says: (more…)

A reflection on the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq

For the last week I’ve been meaning to share my thoughts on the service in the National Cathedral that began last weekend’s Christian Peace Witness for Iraq. After some delay, here they are.

Personally, I found the service in the National Cathedral much more powerful and moving then I expected. This may have partly been do to a conversation with a peace activist friend the week before who said he felt the National Cathedral was unredeemable because of its central in the civil religious ceremonies of our country in which God’s will is so often equated with America’s will. (more…)

Brainwashing and Mennonite Colleges

For those of you who have been reading the Jerry Jenkins thread, there’s been a separate ongoing discussion that has developed about brainwashing and Mennonite colleges. Skylark asked me to move this discussion to a separate post to make it easier to sort the two conversations out. So this is an attempt to do that. Here’s an excerpt from the comment by Pete Dunn that started the conversation:

I’ve heard it said that for the most part college professors take their personal liberal ideology and feel obligated to impart their elevated revelations to the hoi polloi that we parents send up for an education – Mennonite colleges being no exception. If I have issues with Tom it would be partly what I would call the “brain washing” that occurs in our Mennonite Colleges – but it all comes out in the wash – water seeks its own level – the truth comes out – just like in blogging!!

I’ve moved all subsequent responses to this comment to the thread below. Feel free to continue the conversation here.

Peace not allowed in St. Patrick Day parade

Frank Cordaro in chokeholdThis morning I got an email from Frank Cordaro, a friend of mine and member of the Catholic Worker movement. That’s him in the green t-shirt in the photo on the right after he attempted to participate in a St. Patrick’s day parade in Colorado Springs, Coloardo. Here’s an excerpt from his email:

We were part of the Bookman parade entry, a local book store that paid
its entry fee and was an accepted parade participant. The Bookman
people are peace folks and they have been part of the parade the last
couple of years. This year, as they did last year, folks marching with
the Bookman mobile wore green T-shirts with the peace sign on the back
and front. We also held peace banners.

All went well until we fell in line with the other parade entries, one
block into the parade. We were greeted by a man who identified himself
as a parade organizer who told us we were not a legitimate parade
entry. The police were immediately called into the fray.

(more…)

Anabaptist Network gathering this weekend

Lora introduced the Anabaptist Network here on YAR in January, but I thought it might be worth updating YAR readers on our sister organization. As of today we have 421 members on our Anabaptist Network Facebook group (link only works if you’re logged in to Facebook).

This weekend we’re meeting in person for the first time as part of the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq in Washington DC on Friday night. If you’re interested in joining us, you can email me at nafziger@gmail.com for directions and details. The gathering is open to anyone who is interested, not just people who have joined the Facebook group. If you know someone who is in DC on Friday night and might be interested, feel free to invite them.

Update on conscientious objector Agustin Aguayo

Back in September, Michael wrote about Agustin Aguayo here on YAR. Today Agustin was found guilty of desertion in a US military court in Würzburg, despite 3 years of attempting to get out of military service as a conscientious objector. According to the Independent, “He faces up to seven years in prison, a dishonourable discharge and loss of pay.” This development is the latest in a very long struggle for Agustin, so please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. [Update: The Washington Post reports that Agustin was sentenced to eight months in prison, which means that, given timed served, he’ll likely be out in a few weeks.]

Michael, as the director of the Military Counselling Network (MCN), is quote in a number of articles on the case. This probably means he’s been answering lots of media calls recently and may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. Keep him and MCS in your thoughts as this case may mean lots of increased publicity for them as well as increased interest from soldiers. They’ve been advertising for help on YAR recently as you may remember.

Andy Goldsworthy: Rivers and Tides

This week I watched Hotel Rwanda and The Ground Truth. Both films deeply moved me and I highly recommend them to all of you.

Cover of Passage by Andy GoldsworthyBut sometimes I get tired of writing about politics and all that’s broken in the world. So instead I’m writing about Rivers and Tides, a documentary I just watched about Andy Goldsworthy, a British artist whose medium and gallery is nature. He uses rocks, ice, leaves, snow, grasses, flower petals, iron pigment and other found elements to create works that are often transient – washed away, melted or blown into air. The only record of his works are the photographs he takes and shares through books such as Passage (cover right).

The documentary follows his creative process from a beach in Nova Scotia to the meadows of Scotland where he lives. Although I’d enjoyed his photo books before, listening to him talk about his work gave me a whole new respect for his work. He is not just an experimental postmodernist with a clever idea. His vision is rooted in place and time. Like Wendell Berry he is an artist who has discovered the importance of going back to the land and staying put. He talks of the changes he’s seen in the village where he and his family have lived for 12 years: the births, but also the deaths. This appreciation for the process of change is central to his work. (more…)

Who is our enemy?

This morning a friend sent me a link to an insightful article by Glenn Kessler in today’s Washington post. Kessler focuses on the underlying doublespeak behind the way Bush uses the terms “free”, “moderate” and “terrorist”. While we’re all used to Bush’s buzz words, this article sharply tears away the veil to reveal just how untrue the president’s words are.

Yet Kessler doesn’t resort to to black and white truisms that mirror those of Bush. Instead, he lets the gray areas speak for themselves. First he points out that, despite Bush’s claim that “free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies — and most will choose a better way when they are given a chance”:

In the two of the most liberal and diverse societies in the Middle East — Lebanon and the Palestinian territories — events have undercut Bush’s argument in the past year. Hezbollah has gained power and strength in Lebanon, partly at the ballot box. Meanwhile, Palestinians ousted the Fatah party — which wants to pursue peace with Israel — from the legislature in favor of Hamas, which is committed to Israel’s destruction and is considered a terrorist organization by the State Department.

He also points out that the countries Bush describes as “moderate” such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia rank about the same as Cuba and Burma on the Freedom House rating scale (see links above for their respective ratings).

As Christians, this question of who is our enemy has a special importance because these are the people Jesus calls us to love. (more…)

Radical like surfers or revolutionaries?

This week I read this post over on Adventure Faith about YAR and was inspired to rewrite the YAR “about us” page. In his post, blogger Mike Barret suggests that radical Anabaptists is about as incongruous as radical librarians. I realized that we’re operating with different definitions of what radical means. Mike is about to publish a new book entitled “The Danger Habit”. I was curious about what “radical” means for him, so I read the first chapter that he’s posted on-line. In it, Mike describes his experience as a surfer, skateboarder and Christian. But it isn’t just another “Whoa, Dude, God is cool” book. Mike describes the experiences of being diagnosed with ADHD and realizing that his lifestyle wasn’t always compatible with being a dad. At the same time, he came to see risk-seeking behavior as a gift from God:

And God needs some of us to be change makers, not routine sustainers, to live dangerously, not just enjoy reading about it, to pioneer new ways of thinking and living because the old ways are tired and boring.

(more…)

Christmas invitation from Oaxaca, Mexico

For the last three weeks I haven’t been blogging as much because I’ve been doing support work for a Christian Peacemaker Teams emergency accompaniment team in Oaxaca, Mexico. The team of two CPT reservists was invited to Oaxaca because of increasing repression by state and federal police of local people who have been protesting to remove their governor, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (more on why below). The state government has replied by killing more than 15 Oaxacans and 1 American and imprisoning hundreds of Oaxacans on fabricated charges.

This Christmas, we are inviting you, along with your families and churches to write Christmas and New Years cards of support to the families of those who have been imprisoned. Here’s the story of one of the families:

Bernadita Ortiz Bautista, a 40 year old Mixteca Indigenous woman, was arrested along with her son Alejandro (19) and two of her daughters, Rosalva (12) and Beatriz (14). Rosalva and Beatriz saw the police beat their mother. The Mexican authorities held the children for three days (separately from their mother) before releasing them. They are now at home helping to care for five younger brothers and sisters. Their father, Pablo Ortiz, says he is unable to work, because he needs to be home with the children now that the mother is away. Typical of homes in Campimiento, their one room house is only sixteen feet long and thirteen feet wide.

(more…)

Response to MJS on Coverings and Conservative Mennonites

A few days ago, a woman named MJS replied to a comment by Brian on a post by Laura in which he said, “I’m going to go out on a limb and actually advocate a return of head coverings for women and plain coats for men.” Although he went on to suggest he was mostly joking, MJS says, “let me assure you that being stuck in a conservative setting & being treated like an archaic museum piece everywhere you go is NOT a picnic–it feels more like a prison.” MJS goes on to describe the negative reaction of family and friends at the thought of her not wearing a covering. To those of us who grew up in more liberal communiites, she says “Consider yourselves fortunate that you don’t have to deal with the huge cultural divide between conservative Mennonites & others. It stares me in the face every day.” (more…)

Celebrating YAR’s 3 Month anniversary

Three Months by TimIts been three months since Eric kicked things off here. Since then we’ve had 64 posts and 126 comments. For those of you who like statistics, that’s an average of 1 post every 1.4 days and and 1.4 comments every day. How’s that for serendipity?

We’ve had 40 people sign up as users on the blog and 14 of you have gotten around to writing a post (you can see who you are under Harlequin/Zealots label on the right hand sidebar). We look forward to hearing from the other 26 of you! Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you along.

We’ve attracted the attention of a few other bloggers out there. Our most consistent links have been from Hootsbuddy’s Place: (more…)

New blog features

Last night I installed some new features for the YAR blog to improve your reading and writing experience.

The main new feature is the new “Related YAR posts” section at the bottom of every post, just before comments. It shows three posts that the computer guesses are similar in content to the article you are viewing. Now that we have 54 posts in the archives and counting, this is one way to introduce new visitors to older content they might not have seen. (more…)