crossposted from As of Yet Untitled
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust”
– Francis Scott Key, Start Spangled Banner, 1814
Last week my alma mater, Goshen College, announced that it would begin playing the Star Spangled Banner at sporting events. Their press release frames the decision as an exciting new theological and socio-political adventure for the college. Make sure to read the press release especially the quotes from GC president James Breneman and the GC Presidential Council.
I should say up front that this issue is fairly new to me. I wasn’t much of an athlete, so the playing of the national anthem was not an issue for me growing up. For a thoughtful perspective on GC’s decision from someone who has thought about this all their life, read a Open Letter to GC from Britt Kaufmann, longtime Mennonite athlete, coach and GC alum.
I’m mainly interested in this decision because of the way it was rolled out as part of a broader vision emerging from GC President James Brenneman. See his recent sermon Brenneman calls for new ‘school of thought’ at Goshen of positive engagement in the world.
January 25, 2010
Anabaptism, Education, Ethics, God, Group Identity, Leadership, Loyalty, patriotism, Politics
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The “final” meetings of the New Wine/New Wineskins Inquiry Task Force (ITF) committee were last weekend in Winnipeg. I thought some of you may want to know about it. MCC is trying to deepen existing bonds of connection and respond to world in a new way through modification of its vision, mission, priorities, values, and approaches…as well as its structure. The New Wine/New Wineskins process was a broad consultation to help think through how we do this.
A number of church leaders, former MCC directors, and others invested in this process have expressed concerns around:
Â· the fragmentation of international program into national entities. How can we maintain (and improve) MCC’s ability to carry out its mission if international program is given to national MCCs?
Â· denominations not having sufficient representation on the governance of the proposed national MCC entities, nor the central entity.
Â· The fact that MCCBN and MCCC tensions have not been adequately addressed in order to be able to move forward. (more…)
September 17, 2009
Anabaptism, Change, communication, Ethics, Global Church, Leadership, Loyalty, MCC, Wealth, Young Folks
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Thanksgiving makes me nervous.
For years, I’ve gotten a sinking feeling in my stomach as the month of November draws to a close and this day looms. On the one hand, Thanksgiving is about joy and gratitude. It is a time when I travel to see family and friends, welcome a few days of rest and look forward to the holiday season. In my mind, I know it is a good thing to have a day where the sole emphasis is to give thanks to God for all God has done. I also appreciate the opportunity to celebrate all my loved ones do and are to one another.
And yet Thanksgiving reminds me of a beautiful but altogether itchy sweater. Sure it looks good on the rack in my closet. It is slimming, well-made, gorgeous color–everything you could hope for in a sweater. But if I put it on I’m guaranteed to spend the whole day tugging, scratching and feeling downright uncomfortable. Try as I might, I can’t shake that weird feeling about that good ole holiday. It gets to the point where weeks in advance I’m trying to come up with other things to say besides “Happy Thanksgiving.” And since “Happy Day Off” doesn’t cut it I go ahead and mutter the greeting anyway, wheels still turning for a suitable substitute. (more…)
November 25, 2008
activism, Anniversary, Bias, Change, Church, Civilization, Clothing, communication, Community, Conscientious Objection, Consumerism, Contemplation, Corporations, culture, Current Events, Death, Economics, Education, Environment, Ethics, Fair, Faith, Family, Food, Foreign Policy, God, Group Identity, Guns, Hate, History, Indigenous, Interpretation, Language, Leadership, liberation theology, Love, Loyalty, Nonviolence, Peace & Peacemaking, philosophy, Power, Prayer, Privilege, Race, Schism, Spiritual Life, Stewardship, Stories, The Bible, Theology, Tolerance, Tradition, Wealth, Writing, Young Folks
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I bet that got your attention. (more…)
June 20, 2008
Loyalty, Politics, President, Young Folks
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*This article was originally posted on Christarchy.com. The “Ostrich-thing” makes more sense if you visit me there.*
Advocacy groups are dumb. There. I said it. You don’t have to agree with me, especially if you are part of an advocacy group. But someone had to say it and seeing as I’m the only one around here to take notice I had to speak up. (more…)
March 13, 2008
activism, Awesome Stuff, culture, Current Events, Dumb Stuff., Ethics, History, Loyalty, Polarization, Politics, Uncategorized
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Twenty of us have voted on the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance poll. The question is, “Did you grow up saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school?” So far, the top response is “Yes, but I didn’t know better then.” That’s gathered seven votes.
With five votes each are “No, I didn’t go to public school” and “No, but everyone else did.” Then, “No, I’m not an American” got two votes, and “Yes, and I’m glad I did,” got one. It seems no one doesn’t know what we’re talking about, no one said it reluctantly, no one said it despite not being an American, and no one didn’t but wishes they had.
No poll can completely reflect the myriad of possibilities, of course. I remember saying the Pledge sometimes as a homeschooled student, but most days we got right into whatever we were working on with just a prayer. It wasn’t an issue anyone made a big deal over. But then, my family didn’t start going to a Mennonite church until I was 13. Someone in our homeschool co-op wanted the kids to pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, but that didn’t go over real big. The story I heard was the Christian flag is really more of a Baptist flag, and we’re supposed to be pledging allegiance to God, not to a flag someone made and decided to call the Christian flag. (more…)
August 22, 2007
Group Identity, Loyalty, Politics, Poll
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I had a lot of great discussions with Katie (and other YAR’s) this week at San Jose. Katie asked that I write a post about how I, as someone who did not grow up in the church, understand what the church teaches about queer sexuality.
First of all, I will say that, generally, Christian thought about same-sex sexuality appears backwards to me. It seems to neglect our Lord’s commandment to love and instead go around being Satan (which, I learned, is translated as “prosecutor”). And the old “love the sinner, hate the sin” thing isn’t the commandment – love is unconditional, and what you are saying when you say “love the sinner, hate the sin” is “I love you but…”, which is conditional. There are serious pitfalls in this thinking (and, I will admit, even in my own on the subject).
Another problem I find in the teaching of sexuality is what I call Floodgate theory
but which can be identified as the “slippery slope fallacy”. What is Floodgate Theory? (more…)
July 7, 2007
Loyalty, Media, Poll
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As I read through various YAR posts the other morning, I was struck with a realization about God. More accurately, a realization about my belief in, and loyalty to God. Here it is:
If God really is a white male hetero-bigot he can shove it for all I care.
That’s right. Not my God. I’ll take damnation over worshiping that crap.
So where does that leave us?
Fortunately that’s not the God I believe in, and so I can move forward with faith in a God that loves creation and all that it is. (more…)
June 11, 2007
Ethics, God, Hate, Loyalty, Theology
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