Jesus Radicals! Anarchism and Christianity

New Heaven, New Earth: Anarchism and Christianity Beyond Empire
August 14 & 15, 2009

Caritas Village
2509 Harvard Avenue,
Memphis, TN 38112

This year’s anarchism and Christianity conference, hosted by Jesus Radicals, will look squarely at the economic and ecological crisis facing the globe, and point to signs of hope for creativity, for alternative living, for radical sharing, for faithfulness, for a new way of being. We are living in a karios moment that will either break us or compel us to finally strive for a new, sane way of life. The question we face at this pivotal time is not if our empires will fall apart, but when they will fall–and how will we face it? We hope you will join the conversation. (more…)

Wife Swap looking for one good Mennonite family

This is not satire. Crossposted from As of Yet Untitled

This past week, the producers of the Television show “Wife Swap” sent out an email soliciting a Mennonite family to participate in their show. The email, with the subject line “Seeking Strong Families with Strong Morals” says “we are hoping to reach a Mennonite family that would be willing to share their lifestyle and views with another family.”*

Wife Swap is a reality television show that has been on the air since 2003. As the title suggests, the premise is that two women swap households. During the first week, the visiting woman must follow the rules and habits of her host family, which always includes a father and at least one child over seven. The wikipedia article on Wife Swap says, “In fact, the show will usually deliberately swap wives with extreme polar opposite lifestyles, such as a dramatically messy wife swapping with a fastidiously neat one.”

It’s not too hard to imagine who the Wife Swap producers would imagine as polar opposites of a Mennonite family. The email says, “…we are interested in Mennonite families because of their views on peace and their hopeful outlook towards the world.

Anabaptists have been the subject of reality television shows before. You may remember the controversy around “Amish in the City,” a show that took five Amish teenagers and put them in an apartment in the city with “worldy” roommates. Over 50 members of congress wrote UPN to protest the show, which went ahead anyway. It was recieved with skepticism by Mennonite scholars and a luke warm reception from audiences. See the Mennonite Weekly Review article for more: Good reviews, skepticism greet debut of Amish show


The Secret Millionaire

“I haven’t been entirely truthful with you…” says the young, well-dressed, middle-eastern man. The camera focuses in on the pained expressions on those he is speaking to in that shaky, fast cutaway style of those Jason Bourne flicks. Intense, dramatic music plays in the background. The editors let this cliff-hanger like suspense build for, well, seemingly forever. I guess, in reality, 10 seconds.

This is the Fox network, the network that, when drama doesn’t exist enough for the producers, they go ahead and make it up. Young married couples on an island with a bunch of hot singles. The screaming, shrieking Gordon Ramsey. The Fox network, God bless ’em, takes decent ideas for shows and makes the dramatic effect linger like a sky-diver in mid-air. Then they find talent to pump that drama up. It’s all really unnecessary. The material is good, let it be.

But here we are. “I haven’t been entirely truthful with you…” “…” “…” “…” “…” “I’m really a multi-millionaire.” SHA-BANG! And, lo-and-behold, the victims of what Fox believes to be a cruel joke could give two shits. Who would? The lying millionaire has been a part of their lives for six whole days. (more…)