Media

Laugh with me on LarkNews.com

I discovered LarkNews.com about a week ago. Thank you, Utne Web Watch e-mail. I have been laughing my butt off since then. LarkNews.com is a parody site much like The Onion, but it focuses on Christian subculture. It uses Christianese to the point of hilarity. Some of my favorite stories have been “Church tries, fails to get through worship time without singing a Matt Redman song” and “Cleveland, Ohio revival linked to scripture on woman’s checks.”

They have T-shirts, too, for those interested in short snippits for chuckles. My favorites are “Jesus loves you. But then again, he loves everybody,” “I want to be a pastor’s wife,” and “I love cheeses.”

http://www.larknews.com/june_2007/index.php

This is perfect for when you’re tired of processing theology or annoying trolls and just need to unwind.

Music

If you remember, in my intro post, I mentioned that I am a youth pastor. I am in my 8th month of youth pastoring now, and I would like to discuss with YAR an issue that am dealing with as a pastor: Music.

Nine months ago (before I was a YP) music was not an issue at all in my life. I listened to whatever I wanted to, and on occasion I would censor some “bad stuff” from myself. For instance, if the song blatantly objectified women (i.e. anything on MTV), promoted violence, sex, drugs etc. I would try to avoid it. That being said, my personal “censoring filter” was pretty generous. By and large, if I liked the way it sounded I listened to it. (more…)

Just who are the ‘Racial/Ethnic’ Mennonites?

Thanks to TimN for cajoling me to write my first post. I’ve been reading this for about a month, quite interesting stuff inside here, so here goes, my first post. As a multicultural Christian with my foot in a multicultural Mennonite church, I wanted to respond to just who are these ‘Racial/Ethnic’ Mennonites that Conrad Kanagy makes reference to in his recently published survey of diversity in the Mennonite church. You can read more of the survey results in one of February’s Mennonite Weekly Reviews.

Who are the Ethnic Mennonites? by Trini
So to get the conversation started around this, I wanted to ask, just who are the ethnic Mennonites? (more…)

Story includes YAR

I’ll keep this short, since no one commented publicly on my post requesting help for my story about online blogs. Thank you to the YARs who responded to me via personal e-mails. My story is posted on the Urban Connections site.

Or jump directly to the story.

Again, thanks for the conversations. One person, whom I did not quote in the story, as the comment came out of context, said she was dumbfounded that the church is still writing stories like this after more than a decade of overwhelming Web involvement across the world. She has a point, but I think such stories move portions of the church toward understanding of a medium that still feels unfamiliar to many. (I heard a radio talk show host yesterday marveling at the sheer volume of instant messages he received after signing up earlier this week.) There’s still a long way to go in learning how electronic media both shapes and can be used by the church.

Christian Peace Witness raises more questions than I had before

Yes, I call myself a pacifist. And yes, I went with a group from my area as a reporter on the Christian Peace Witness. If alarm bells are ringing in your head about my capacity to be objective, you’re not the only one.

Here’s why I thought I could do it: While overall I oppose war and violence, I have a lot of questions and issues with the war in Iraq. The CPW was a response to that war specifically, not a call to disband the U.S. military or whatever. The more I learn about Iraq, the more I realize it’s an intensely complex situation that has no easy answers. I don’t pretend to know what should be done there. Not to mention I didn’t seek out the CPW—it came to me when the local trip coordinator contacted my editor to see if we’d do a story. I looked at the info and realized it would be a much better story if I went with them. My editors know our readers eat it up when local people do interesting things, so I ended up doing a front-page package deal of three stories and lots of photos for Sunday’s paper. (more…)

Prayer Requests at a Mennonite Church

This is the poem from today’s Writer’s Almanac. I don’t know if [I’m] allowed to post this poem, but Garrison Keillor apparently got permission to post it on the Writer’s Almanac Archive.

Listen (RealAudio) | How to listen

Poem: “Prayer Requests at a Mennonite Church” by Todd Davis from Some Heaven (buy it here). © Michigan State University Press.

Pray for the Smucker family. Their son Nathaniel’s coat and shirt were
caught in the gears while grinding grain. Nothing would give, so now
he is gone. We made his clothes too well. Perhaps this is our sin. (more…)

Who, when, and where to talk about Race

Race is such a sticky thing to talk about. I almost don’t want to discus it for fear of looking like “that white woman who likes to hear herself talk.” I may put some people on the spot in this post, and if you don’t like that, I apologize. The questions:

—What’s the racial/ethnic composition here at YAR? I don’t know most of you yet, so maybe you’re not all white Anabaptists.
—For those of you who aren’t white, how should white people talk about racial issues? What’s actually helpful? I feel discouraged when I read or listen to a discussion on race and then realize all the participants are white. If white folks decide how to “fix racism” primarily by themselves, I doubt we’ll find anything lasting. It’s not enough just to talk about treating everyone right—we have to make sure everyone’s participating in the conversation. (more…)

Introducing myself: An excuse to navel-gaze.

I’m Skylark, a self-described YAR who found this place totally by accident. I was looking for info on Jerry Jenkins coming to Kidron Mennonite because I’m the newspaper reporter who covers Kidron. This was the first hit in a Google search. Hi Tom. :-) I got sucked into Tom’s post about his concerns over Jerry Jenkins’ visit. One post lead to another, and I really like this place.

A little about me: I’m 23, female, Mennonite, pacifist, and vegetarian. Over the summer I followed the progress of Bike Movement (Denver Steiner and I go to the same church), and of course I covered it when BikeMovement came to Kidron Mennonite in August. It seems like almost anything that happens event-wise in Kidron is at that church. :-P Not that there are many other options for venues. That put me in contact with an area Christian young adult group. I’ve been a part of the group since. I’ve totally gotten on board with Denver’s push at church to create safe spaces where young adults and others can ask “unsafe” questions and explore issues we would otherwise ignore in favor of more sanitized church activities. My mentor and I have gotten to know each other a lot better lately, and we’ve known each other since I was 13, so that’s pretty cool. (more…)

Introduction, confession and questions

Do I qualify as a YAR? I’m not quite sure. I have the A – I feel strongly about the Anabaptist vision and have committed myself to working for three Mennonite institutions during my thus-far career. But young? Who knows, anymore. At the last church-wide convention, where I went as part of my job, I was turned away by the big biceps at the front desk for having already (if barely) eclipsed the 30 threshold.

I’m Ryan Miller. I write. I take photos. I think about ways to communicate within the church and outside of church structures. I’ve worked for Mennonite Mission Network for the last two-and-one-half years, which puts me in the midst of a church structure – a job that can offer ascending stories of inspiration . Does that leave any room for radical? And do I define radical in terms of conceptual theology or as an action-based, lived-out, grit-under-toenails type of Christianity that not only identifies with the poor and oppressed, but goes out of its way to address their needs.

So I’m not sure if I fit here. And that’s not the confession. (more…)

Jerry Jenkins

My intention in joining YAR was not to use the rest of you members as my moral sounding board for difficult questions that I am dealing with in my life, but this is what two of my three posts have turned out to be. I’ll try to make my next post more heady and intellectual, but I think you should enjoy the predicament that I will lay out here.

As my first biographical entry said, I am a youth pastor in a Mennonite church. Being a staff member I get to sit in on the elders (the power-players of the church) meetings and occasionally throw my two cents into the discussion. In our last meeting, we had a decision to make, that was somewhat exciting and completely uncomfortable. This is what we had to work with: There is a member of our church (who happens to be my dad) that owns a large Christian giftware manufacturing business that distributes product nationally and globally. Every March this man has a “Dealer’s Conference” where he invites every retailer who sells his product to come and see the manufacturing plant, buy more of his product, see the local Amish population, and overall does his best to express his gratitude and keep his customers happy. A big part of this conference is bringing in a big name speaker to inspire those who come to the conference and the speech is given in our church. This year, the speaker coming to give the inspirational message is Jerry Jenkins, co-author of the Left Behind series. (more…)

The ‘Reign of God’ is among you…

The Associated Press reported, on October 8, that 75 people attended the funeral of Charles C. Roberts. About half of the “mourners” were Amish.

In a world run by retaliatory violence, a community near Lancaster PA took a chance on the Reign of God.

That’s history. It’s irrefutable. It’s staggeringly convicting. It’s Anabaptism – lived.

straight to jesus

npr’s Fresh Air did a report today on Exodus and the ex-gay movement. I only heard the first part, but found it fascinating.

For those of you who have seen ‘but i’m a cheerleader‘ and thought it was over the top – think again. most interestingly, the men in the ‘ministry’ aren’t allowed to join health clubs (gay), share cigarettes (um… gay), use ironic/sarcastic humor (totally gay), or wear certain styles of clothing. gay styles. totally totally gay styles. oh my goodness those styles are gay.

For those of you who haven’t seen ‘but i’m a cheerleader’ – go watch it now. it’s great fun.

the difference between ‘fair’ and ‘objective’.

i’m sure others have said this better. feel free to link to them.

as i read and watch the news i am continually surprised by the lazy reporting that comes out under the guise of being objective. i’m not concerned about fox news being a GOP lap-dog, or the fact that every news source actually has some bias – that seems so obvious as to be inconsequential. what bothers me is the method through which all the media outlets, with all their different biases, attempt to fascimilate objectivity.

i read over and over again that so-and-so said “this-and-such” and ‘the opponents’ are saying “that-and-whatever”. but at no point does the journalist bother to look into the facts on their own. we are still left taking the word of whatever sources are quoted. it’s the “crossfire” issue all over again. ‘fair and balanced’ lap-dogging is very different from solid objective reporting. we already know what everyone is saying, that’s a PR job, what we want to know is who has the facts behind them.
(more…)