Michael J (MJ) Sharp, was an occasional contributor here in the early days and the founder of a precursor to YAR, the Mennonite Progressives list. This week he was tweeting from Goma in the far east of the Democratic Republic of Congo as M23 rebels closed in on the city. It’s a great example of how Twitter can be used for first hand, grassroots reporting in conflict areas with a two way component not found in conventional media. (more…)
Love, compassion, joy, and equanimity are some of the hallmarks of the teachings of Jesus. But those concepts didn’t originate with Jesus.
He found them tucked away in the nooks and crannies of the Torah. Almost every saying in the Sermon on the Mount is a commentary on passages from the Hebrew Scriptures. The genius of Jesus was the way in which he put his own “spin” on the Scriptures, highlighting and elevating the positive aspects of God’s personality, while ignoring and rejecting the negative aspects.
The ideals of love, compassion, joy, and equanimity weren’t the unique property of the Judaic tradition, however. They could also be found earlier, and further east, in what is now India, Nepal, Bhutan. In the Fifth Century before Jesus, a man named Gotoma developed a body of teachings based on what are called “The Four Immeasurables”: (more…)
June 18, 2012 Anabaptism, Awesome Stuff, Change, Church, City, Civilization, communication, Community, Contemplation, culture, Current Events, Dumb Stuff., Education, End Times, Ethics, Evangelism, extinction, Foreign Policy, Global Church, God, Group Identity, History, Indigenous, Interfaith, International Relations, Judaism, Love, MCC, Mennonite Church USA, Nonviolence, The Bible, Tolerance, Urban Ministry Read more >
October 6 marks the 10-year anniversary of the United States’ war in Afghanistan. In response to this event and the stories of woman in war zones around the world, Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) in the United States plans to rally “women and thoughtful men” around the U.S. to proclaim that this war has gone on 10 years too long and demand “not one more death allowed” and “not one more dollar spent” on this war. They join the thousands who continue the “Occupy Wall Street” protests and direct-democracy actions in New York and many other cities and towns across the U.S.
The anniversary of this war marks the years of my journey doing feminist anti-war organizing (with WAND, Mennonites, and others). It is a formation that began in the early days of this war in 2001 when, as a senior at a Mennonite high school, I became pen pals with a young woman who lived in Nazareth. She spoke Arabic and English. I spoke English and Spanish. We didn’t know anything else about each others’ realities. Through English-language letters over the next year, we began to paint a picture of daily life across the world for one another.
I never imagined that 10 years later there would still be a U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.
I never imagined that 10 years later I would live in Jerusalem, not far from Nazareth. (more…)
At the urging of others, I am making my first YAR appearance.
I am part of a group of constituents pushing MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) to address patterns of institutional racism.Â Members of the group include Tim Barr, Calenthia Dowdy, Brenda Zook Friesen, Karissa Ortman Loewen, Conrad Moore, Yvonne Platts, Tobin Miller Shearer, Regina Shands Stoltzfus. We are especially concerned about how MCC relates to staff.Â There has been a decades-long pattern of staff of color leaving MCC on bad terms, a pattern which has intensified in the last few years. Â Many people in this group have been in conversation with leaders in MCC about this issue for decades, and they feel that it is time to take a new approach.
At this time, we are calling for people to sign our letter to MCC leaders and to withhold half of their normal contributions to MCC until MCC makes significant steps toward real change in addressing internal racism.Â (see our blog & petition).
Here are three steps that we believe would move MCC forward in its journey toward inter-cultural health:
1)Â Â Â MCC follows through on its current intention to undergo an independent anti-racism audit of both existing and proposed structures of the entire institution;
It is hard for any institution (or individual) to see themselves clearly.Â People within the organization are sometimes not in a position to be fully honest about their experiences as it affects their work environment and could even feel threatening to their position. (more…)
Since I last wrote, Allan has provided this info that completes the reporting from the Winnipeg meetings. (Thanks Allan)! A document entitled “Recommendations from September 2009 Inquiry Task Force Meeting” has been posted on MCC’s website that gives further context, and charts a path forward in addressing the concerns that were named. I would encourage each of you to read this.
MCC relates to what you are about as Young Anabaptist Radicals, and this process is significant for MCC and the broader church community.
MCC is a radical organization: it is about living out our basic values as Anabaptist Christians, rooted in the teachings of Jesus, Scripture, and in the Anabaptist church community. It is important for the broader Anabaptist community to be aware of and speak into this New Wine, New Wineskins process that is engaging MCC stakeholders in discerning God’s direction for the organization. This in-depth listening and evaluation has been guided by three core questions: (more…)
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…)
Now what? I woke up the morning after Election Day politically disoriented. The empty feeling in my stomach didn’t go away after eating my usual yogurt and granola. What would I do in a world without politics? Do I have to wait another four years to fill that gnawing political void?
Not according to Romand Coles and Stanley Hauerwas in their new book: Christianity, Democracy, and the Radical Ordinary (Cascade, 2008). Politics is not restricted to something that happens when we vote, they argue. Instead, politics involves all the ways we tend to “common goods” which exceed “settled institutional forms” (3). In other words, politics happens outside the voting booth as well. Politics happens in our neighborhoods, not just in Washington, D.C. Democracy involves “a multitude of peoples enacting myriad forms of the politics of the radical ordinary in ways,” they write (8). For Coles and Hauerwas, democracy is everyday politics that turns us to the importance of “concrete practices of tending to one another” (8).
Coles describes the Civil Rights movement as a story of everyday democracy. He does not focus on the familiar story of Martin Luther King, Jr. Instead Coles turns our gaze from powerful pulpits to the ordinary African-American churchwomen who gave Dr. King something to talk about. (more…)
Hello. I attended the MCC New Wineskins Summit in Winnipeg, Ca last week. Read more about me below if you want to know why I attended. Read on for my brief opinions and McCain maverick-like move at the end.
I am not an alarmist and believe in moderation but I am afraid of the future of MCC. That’s strong, but I’m serious. I don’t think in 40 years MCC will be as we recognize it today. That is a good thing. I am not afraid of that. Its programs and missions need tweaking because of globalization, but they are generally executed with the right attitude and necessary risk-taking (and all in the name of Christ, of course).
I am afraid of the decision-making process it will take to get us there. It could be ugly but turn out OK, much like the Democratic primary season. Already those established in power are being shown up by uppity, young community organizers who don’t look like the faces on a U.S. 20 dollar bill. I was hoping for a little less politics in the MCC change and decision-making system, but we all know that’s not going to happen! (more…)