Meta (YAR)

Posts about the Young Anabaptist Radicals blog.

Transitioning Young Anabaptist Radicals to personal blog

The last few years here at Young Anabaptist Radicals have been fairly quiet apart from two anniversary posts, in part because I made a decision to stop cross-posting my blog posts from my blog for The Mennonite here after the YAR blog was hacked in the spring of 2015. I’ve since transitioned the site to a new host where I have stronger security support.

After a two year break with minimal posts from the broader YAR community, I’ve decided to transition this blog to mainly a space to post pieces I’ve written elsewhere. If people are interested in guest blogging occasionally, they are welcome to reach out, but clearly the time of this being a team blog have ended and so I am repurposing this space.

I will continue to curate a wide variety of blog posts on the Young Anabaptist Radicals Facebook page which has continued to be active over the past few years.

– Tim Nafziger

Celebrating 10 Years of Young Anabaptist Radicals

Editor’s Note: 10 years ago today, we held the founding meeting of Young Anabaptist Radicals and kicked off this blog. Over the coming months, we’ll be hosting a series of posts reflecting back on the last 10 years. At the end of that series, this blog will be converted into a personal blog for my own writing hither and yon on the internet. Thanks to Luke Miller for starting us off with this reflection. Contribution from other YAR contributors are welcome! – Tim Nafziger

by Luke L Miller

I noticed, back in the day, that newcomers to YAR would often feel compelled to explain how they felt those three word applied to them: Young, Anabaptist, and Radical. These statements usually read as confessions, how they might not be able to fully claim all these three traits without qualifications or complications. Yet there was always something so intriguing and right about their combination that drew people into conversation. For me, coming upon the site (I forget how that happened really) I felt I was continuing the conversations I had started in college (at Goshen) about the way faith and action could create social change. Indeed, in many cases that was literally true, as a number of the founders and main contributors to YAR were friends from college, and I relived how cool it felt to be joining with interesting folks in talking about changing the world. Now, looking back years later, it’s interesting that I find my instincts drawing me to reflect on precisely how these words strike me now, and try them on for size. (more…)

Grieving and Honoring 5 years of Young Anabaptist Radicals

Grasshopper with Dew Drops on Clover at Sunrise

Yesterday was 5 years to the day since my first post here on YAR, a week after Eric opened things up.

I was writing a little over a month after I returned to the United States from two and a half years in the United Kingdom, where Anabaptism was a set of values and relationships rather than a bunch of denominations. I longed for something similar in the US. I first started sending emails out to people about the idea of starting a blog in October 2005, when I was still in England. As I said in my first post:

The people I talked with shared an interest in a space where they could explore Anabaptist values and how they apply to broad areas like economics, war and society and more specific issues like abortion, homosexuality and the “war on terror.” They wanted a space to disagree or agree openly with the church,with society and with each other.

This is attempt to build that space.


Who do we want to be?

I’ll admit at the outset–I used to read YAR and comment on post back in the day, but got busy with seminary.  But, now that I’m out of school I’ve had renewed time and interest in reading again.  I don’t feel like I have much of a right to comment on the state of YAR, because I’ve not been back int the blogosphere long.  But, I’m going to comment anyway.

It’s been five years since YAR got started.  When I first started reading, there was a decent balance between men and women commenting and posting.  And there were a lot of questions about who this group was, who it included and excluded, and what this group wanted to be.

Looking at where the group is now, and using my powers of deduction, I see a lot of white, cradle Mennonite guys posting on this site.  I wonder what happened to the women.  I don’t see them posting much.

That’s leads me to my question for this group–when I look at the suggested taglines for YAR, it makes me wonder if these taglines maintain an exclusive vibe to them.  The biggest culprits are the ones that really made me laugh–“Quilting outside the lines” and “Not necessarily naked”.  I almost voted for one of them, but then I realized that this feeds right into the insider problem of the Mennonite church. (more…)

YAR Tag line contest for 5th anniversary

As we approach our 5th anniversary (August 31st), I’m please to announce a tag-line contest. For the last 5 years, our inconspicuous tag-line has been “A Metaphorical Molotov.” I’ve decided its time for something new and I’d like your help coming up with something suitably funny and incisive. So between now and August 26th, post your ideas here in the comments. On Friday, I’ll post the suggestions in a pole and you all get to vote on your favorite. If you no one else has any ideas, we can just spend the next 5 years watching out for Amish Pirates.

Also, think of something interesting to write about on August 31st.

YAR Meetup on Wednesday at 9 pm at Mennonite Convention in Pittsburgh

Who: Readers of and contributers to Young Anbaptist Radicals blog of all ages and anyone else who wants to join us.
What: To meet each other in person and to hang out and talk
When: Wednesday, July 6 at 9 pm
Where: Young Adult Lounge in convention center (map forthcoming), David L Lawrence Convention Center, 1000 Fort Duquesne Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
How: As proposed by AlanS

If you can’t find us, call or text TimN at 312-505-7461 or AlanS (Alan, if you want your phone number here, leave it in the comments and I’ll add it later)

YAR meet up at Convention?

If you can’t watch the video above, the main question is this:

Is anyone from YAR going to the MCUSA convention in Pittsburgh, Pa.  And if so, are you interested in meeting up face to face?  Maybe 9pm-ish on either Tuesday or Wednesday of that week?

YAR Christmas Reflection

Nativity and Advent Candles

Dear Friends, Enemies and Pirates,

This Christmas I want to let you know that I’m grateful for this little corner of the internet that you create through your presence and participation. It’s been more then four years since a group of us came together around the idea of a blog for Young Anabaptist Radicals. Most of the people in that group are long gone and many others have come and gone in that time. Some of us are still around, but stretching the definition of Young, Anabaptist and/or Radical. Fortunately, we never quite agreed on what any of those words meant to begin with. (more…)

When we first visited Young Anabaptist Radicals PLUS first new poll in over a year!

Our poll “When did you first visit Young Anabaptist Radicals?” which ended today holds the record for longest running one in YAR history, clocking in at over a year and two months (It went up on September 24, 2009). Not surprisingly, it also holds the record for most responses at 183.

Because it’s been running so long, it’s been skewed a bit by all the first time visitors showing up and dutifully answering the questions, but I think the numbers themselves are quite interesting:

Year when you first visited YAR:
2006: 19
2007: 17
2008: 10
2009: 15
Last 3 months: 16
First time: 106 (more…)

Never doubt that a small group of marginal wierdos chan change the world.

In fact, according to Clive Thompson, marginal weirdos brought us computer, democracy and the novel. Basically, Thompson argues that when the audience gets too big for a conversation, it stops taking risks. Which is why I’ve come to see these long posting breaks on YAR as pruning moments. A 10% drop in visits to YAR in March means 10% more risk taking! Another part of Thompson’s argument is the way small groups can have wider ripple effects.

For example, I have to admit that I’ve been a Twitter skeptic. I just can’t bring myself to try to squeeze a meaningful into 140 characters. Its probably quite closely tied with my lack of enthusiasm for texting. Maybe its a generational thing. But I discovered that technology doesn’t wait for us to get used to it. Turns out people have been tweeting about YAR for at least a year. (more…)

Why I left YAR, and why I’m not likely to come back regularly

Looks like Folknotions paved the way for me on this one. I’d pretty much forgotten about YAR until yesterday TimN sent me a new incoming comment on a post I’d put up well over two years ago.

Like Folknotions, I didn’t leave YAR because I thought YAR was a bad place or because anyone had angered me. Rather…

1. I’m not Mennonite anymore, even though Anabaptism still influences my thinking and theology.

I started attending a Mennonite church with my family when I was 12. I left that church a little over a year ago, at 25, because of some undesirable circumstances that culminated and made clear to me in an instant that it wasn’t the church for me anymore. I haven’t set foot in that building for anything church-y since, and have had only limited contact with its members since. (My family still goes there, though, and I have lots of contact with them.)

When I left initially, I took a few weeks off from faith communities. I decided to check out a United Church of Christ congregation in the small town where I was living at the time. My dad’s side of the family is all UCC, so I felt a little more comfortable checking out a UCC church than the Methodist church next door, to which I had no pre-existing connection. I felt a need to participate in a faith community, but my finances had become such that I needed a church to which I could walk. Since I was planning on moving from that small town, I knew from the start that this congregation would be a transitional church for me.

It was a relatively “safe” place for me to be at that time in my life. I had broken off an engagement to someone I loved very much, and he was still making me miserable through stalking me and some other measures. In contrast to the Mennonite church I’d left, where there was an insanely high percentage of twentysomethings, this UCC church was highly concentrated with people above 70 years of age. It had the “new and different” appeal to me of being a fairly liturgical church and following a more formalized pattern of rituals than the Mennonite congregation. I know it’s backwards to most people for anyone to “discover” liturgy as something “new and different,” but I guess you’ll get that when every church you’ve regularly attended your entire life has eschewed any connection to the lectionary. (more…)

It’s Not You, It’s Me: Why I’m Leaving YAR

So I’ve been a contributor to YAR since early 2007 and have engaged in some interesting discussions with some of the collaborators and even met, discussed, and dined with some of the administrators here. Yet, for the past…oh, year and a half I suppose, I’ve pretty much only contributed book reviews. And in the last 3 or 4 months, I’ve only registered objections to some of the posts I’ve encountered.

I think it’s only fair, and correct, and in the interest of maintaining the fellowship here, that I step out from YAR. But, an explanation rather than a self-righteous “screw you guys, I’m going home!” is in order since explanations are so lacking in the blogosphere (and in my comments the last few months – Sorry Tim but I’ll send you an e-mail if I think I can answer your question about Marxism).

There are a number of things that led me in that direction, several of which I will enumerate here:


Can you help out a YAR community member in need?

Jason Barr's house burning

I returned to work to work today to find an email about the complete destruction of my friend Jason Barr’s home over the holidays. Jason and his wife Gretchen didn’t have insurance, so their depending on good old Anabaptist mutual aid to recover from a loss of just about everything they owned in the fire (that’s their apartment burning in the photo above). If you can give them a few dollars to help them rent a new place and replace their stuff, it would be much appreciated:

Please give to support Jason and Gretchen

For those of you who don’t know Jason personally, he has been involved in Anabaptist circles for a number of years thinking and sharing about Christ-archy. (more…)