I’m really sad today. I often become sad when I read the NY Times.
I wasn’t sure which article I should write an urgent post about, there were so many. Women are being destroyed in Congo as rape has become the most common tool of war and the crisis has reached unprecedented proportions. I was sure I was going to blog about that–as soon as returned to the computer from a session of weeping–crying out and pleading with God that people in every country would respect women’s bodily integrity. Here is that article: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/07/world/africa/07congo.html?th&emc=th
But, I couldn’t write about that one because I got overwhelmed by the next article. Rape and pillaging in wars will never stop as long as long as people in the imperial center do things like spread the gospel using Halo3, a dichotomizing, bloody video game. The article is copied into this post. Here’s an excerpt.
Witness the basement on a recent Sunday at the Colorado Community Church in the Englewood area of Denver, where Tim Foster, 12, and Chris Graham, 14, sat in front of three TVs, locked in violent virtual combat as they navigated on-screen characters through lethal gun bursts. Tim explained the game’s allure: “It’s just fun blowing people up.”
Once they come for the games, Gregg Barbour, the youth minister of the church said, they will stay for his Christian message. “We want to make it hard for teenagers to go to hell,” Mr. Barbour wrote in a letter to parents at the church. “
HOW–with what words, passages, or guiding principles–can we speak to our christian “brothers and sisters” about this? YAR has been a community of support for speaking truth to power. Words of advice, comfort, or challenge as we welcome many more christians by way of accepting Jesus as their savior while they were aroused by the massacring and tag-team destruction they just did?
October 8, 2007
Change, Church, Consumerism, Current Events, Education, End Times, Ethics, Foreign Policy, Gender, Global Church, God, Group Identity, Guns, Hate, History, International Relations, Journalism, Military, Nonviolence, Peace & Peacemaking, Polarization, Politics, Power, Privilege, Race, Rape, Schism, Sexism, Stories, Theology, Tolerance, Young Folks
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One of the items discussed by delegates at the Mennonite Church USA churchwide assembly this month in San Jose was an resolution proposed by a group called Menno Neighbors. It is an informal group that meets once a year and they have a pretty active listserve. The resolution was changed to a statement for discussion by the resolutions committee of the executive board so there would not be a vote, just discussion. I was one of delegates that signed in support of this statement (didn’t get on the printed copy because I signed to too late).
The resolution is a call for conferences to stop disciplining congregations for differences in interpretation of the Confession of Faith from a Mennonite Perspective and was written largely in reference to a number of congregations that have been disciplined or expelled from their conferences for being publicly welcoming and affirming of LGBT members (most recently Hyattsville Mennonite in Maryland).
July 18, 2007
Exclusion, Excommunication, Group Identity, Interpretation, LGBTQ, Mennonite Church USA, Power, Theology, Tolerance, Tradition
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James 3:13-18 (NIV)
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
This comes immediately after the well-known “taming the tongue” section of James. I’m not really quite sure what to say to go along with this BVotD because it reminds me to keep quiet when I don’t have any real wisdom to share. Since I don’t want to blather on to hear myself talk, I’m keeping this short.
June 13, 2007
Nonviolence, The Bible, Tolerance
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I saw this little gem in The Onion and thought it would make a great poll.
Study: 38 Percent of People Not Actually Entitled To Their Opinion
I’ve been thinking this for a while but now, thanks to The Onion, I know it is true… Just because you have an opinion doesn’t make it valid. I’m thinking 38% might be a little low though.
May 30, 2007
Polemics, Poll, Tolerance
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So many times we find a way to take the easy road out. It is easier to fight against something than to love someone. I am just as guilty as the next person. What do I mean? I mean sometimes we it’s easier to protest and petition than to take the time to love and care for those whom we are petitioning against.
Instead of trying to hold power over people by fighting against gay marriage, maybe we should come under and beside homosexuals and love and serve them. Show them their unmeasurable worth in God’s eyes. Allow God to transform hearts and minds. That’s what he does. Instead of telling homeless guys to “get a job” (or at least thinking it), maybe we should pull up a chair and spend time with them. We can find ways to get them work and a safe, warm and dry place to stay. Maybe even restore some dignity in the name of Jesus.
See, it is a lot easier to protest and petition than it is to love. It is alot cleaner. No one is saying we can’t believe in a cause or vote for what you believe, but have we tried to reach out to those people we rail so hard against? I know we say we love them and it isn’t about attacking them, but let’s put ourselves in their shoes. Jesus didn’t fight and protest against the tax collectors, prostitutes, outsiders and sinners. He embraced them. He served them. He showed them their unmeasurable worth. Do we look like Jesus?
May 15, 2007
Exclusion, Faith, LGBTQ, The Bible, Theology, Tolerance
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There’s a lot of talk about wanting to be a church open to people who disagree. On the one hand that sounds like a great idea, on the other hand where does it end? How do we define ourselves as a church? Even assuming a model with more focus on central mission than fringe cases, how do you keep your mission strong while remaining somewhat democratic and having such divergent members? How do you keep it strong after, say, 500 years of people joining the denomination for no other reason than they grew up in it? What does it mean to be a “historic peace church” once you are left with only a minority in the church claiming that all war is sin (see the recent church member profile conducted by MCUSA). Who cares what we are historically, if we’re something different now?
Here’s the point:
If we believe in a church with differing voices, and are opposed to schism, why have a Mennonite church at all? Why not just add to the diversity of a mainline protestant denomination? Why not reunite with Catholicism to create the Ultimate Diverse Universal Christian Super-Church?
If we believe there are things worth splitting over, and reasons to have a distinctly Anabaptist or even more distinctly Mennonite church, what issues are worth it? Why not split over ordination of women? Why not split over beliefs about war? Why not split over acceptance and support of GLBT people? These all seem like fairly important issues to me, much more so than coat buttons or the mustache or even child baptism. You wouldn’t include white-supremacists in a civil rights organization just for the diversity of opinion, so why include militants or homophobes in a peace church?
April 18, 2007
Church, Exclusion, Schism, Tolerance
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Is this the kind of church we want to be?
I wonder how the people in his church responded when he told them that story.
March 28, 2007
Awesome Stuff, Church, Power, Privilege, Tolerance, Travel
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I hear it all the time.
But why should I tolerate intolerance? Why should I be open to hearing an argument in favor of sexism or racism or homophobia? Why should I respect hate and violence and oppression as equal ideologies?
March 25, 2007
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radical self love
a roommate once wanted to start a “masturbate for peace” campaign. he was shot down by everyone he talked to. i now wish i had backed him up. but this isn’t really a post about that…
“love your neighbor as you love yourself.” is that a command or a statement of fact?
make someone happy – buy yourself an iPod.
maybe this is a post about that after all…
i’ve discovered the key to world peace. (more…)
November 28, 2006
Awesome Stuff, Biographical, Change, Church, Community, Current Events, Ethics, Fun, Gender, Peace & Peacemaking, Sex, Tolerance, Tradition, Young Folks
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