A definition of ‘radical’

From his by now rather famous Terry Lectures, given at Yale in April 2008, now published as Faith, Reason, and Revollution, Terry Eagleton offers a succinct definition of ‘radical’:

“Radicals are those who believe that things are extremely bad with us, but they could feasibly be much improved. Conservatives believe that things are pretty bad, but that’s just the way the human animal is. And liberals believe that there’s a little bit of good and bad in all of us.”


Invitation to sign open letter to Mennonite Church USA

The Open letter movement is now inviting non-pastors to sign on to their letter as well. Here’s their invitation for all of you from one of the organizers:

I thought some of YAR’s readers might be interested in this: More than 100 Mennonite pastors and people in ministry have signed a letter calling for Mennonite Church USA to extend full welcome to people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). The signers invite the church to confess its exclusion of LGBT people and witness to Jesus’ Good News of “radical hospitality and extravagant love.” Everyone who considers themselves part of MC USA is invited to sign the letter, which can be found at www.openlettertomcusa.org.

Thanks –
Sheri Hostetler
Pastor, First Mennonite Church of San Francisco and one of the Open Letter’s authors

What Men Want: a Valentine’s Day Primer and Quiz Show

The following is both an advice guide and pop-culture quiz. On the one hand, young ladies will learn what men are really thinking (it’s not that hard…) and on the other hand it’s a game that you can earn points with. I don’t have a degree or anything so I’m using all my relationship examples from Hollywood movies and TV shows which are made by liberals and people who are exceedingly arrogant. I’m sure they know what they are doing…Anyway, each pop-culture reference has points associated with it that you can earn if you can identify them and tell me what movie or TV show they are from. (I will award partial points if you can only get some of the movies in each piece of advice)

Number 1: Men want women who are hot. Of course, you knew this. But here’s the thing, we don’t woman who are too hot. Okay, okay, sure…we like hot chicks. But while we all want to be in Inara’s bed, it’s Kaylee who’s getting the ring. Hot, but cute. The fact is, Inara tries real hard, which means she’s high maintenance. But Kaylee is cute as button covered in Engine grease. (15 points) (more…)

GAH! *@&#, it’s cold!

It is absolutly freezing. Saturday morning brought frost on the car windows and I’m chucking trash into bag at 8 am because I got to cart 3 adults to Philly from Baltimore (The Element is trashed. I blame the kids.). Actually, these “adults” might as well be 13, their behavior will be subpar all day long. In about an hour, Dave Worthless, Brando, Stilts, and I, will be yelling at each-other and telling jokes that would make a sailor blush. This is my band. And it’s cold.

It’s about 13 degrees outside. It’s Saturday. And we have to leave at 9 am to get to Philly by noon because Obama is taking Amtrak from Philly, to Wilmington, then landing in my hometown of Baltimore. It’s usually a 90 minute trip but we expect the I-95 corridor to be packed. (more…)

Book Review: We Become What We Worship

We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry
G.K Beale
IVP Academic
Nov. 2008
ISBN: 083082877X

I get frustrated by books that – either intentionally or unintentionally – do the following:

1) Treat me like an idiot and suppose I will take its arguments at face value. The author barely attempts to address the natural questions that spring forth from her arguments (if she addresses them at all).

2) Treat me like an informed scholar and assume I understand the implications of the arguments without explaining them.

Too often, studies in theology and philosophy fail on either or both fronts. Not so with Wheaton College New Testament scholar G.K. Beale’s latest work We Become What We Worship. Beale sets himself diligently to the task of illustrating how idolatry affects the idolater through a foundational biblical theology. As he eloquently asserts: “What people revere, they resemble, either for ruin or restoration.” (more…)

Call for Brainstormers

Tim Nafziger and Roxy Allen are looking for 4-6 brainstormers (aka community organizers) for a young adult pre or post-Mennonite USA Convention 2009 in Columbus, Ohio gathering.

The brainstormers will help us develop a theme and relevant programming topics and activities for this gathering to

1) facilitate networking among young (ages 18-30ish) progressive Anabaptists and

2) re-establish meaningful connection to our faith through a global, Anabaptist perspective.

Ideally we would build off of a vision young adults presented at the previous convention, which you can read here:  http://www.themennonite.org/issues/10-13/articles/Young_adults_present_statement_of_visions_at_San_Jos_2007.

Great for young adult delegates to the convention!

Please comment below or email me if interested.


A Confession; Or Mixed Martial Artists and Hebrew Scholars

(x-posted at IndieFaith)
On occasion we run across blog entries that give us a glimpse of the all-too ordinary lives of the bloggers. The bloggers begin with some shame in their confession wondering if the few readers they have could possibly respect them after such a confession. Perhaps it is professor of sociology admitting they watch (and are addicted to) American’s Next Top Model or an admitted film snob confessing his guilty pleasures. Well anyway, with some hesitation here is my confession.

Welcome to Grand Central Station

Like an episode of C.O.P.S. the names here have been changed to protect the innocent.

Hamilton is in N.E. Baltimore, which is in Maryland, which is in the Eastern United States located in North America. I’ve lived here for two years. I never thought I’d be an urbanite but it’s come to suit me just fine. I like the ice cream trucks, the mixed culture, a plethora of restaurants, the ease of commuting all over the city and burbs in minutes.

I wouldn’t say Hamilton is “The Hood”. It’s one zip code south of the county, the next town south is one of the better places to live in Baltimore, Lauraville, which insulates us. But like all urban areas there are very little guarantees. Some nights it’s quiet, other nights I can hear teenagers swearing loudly at 2am and there’s usually empty beer containers on my lawn in the morning. It’s easy to see that our relative peace hangs by a thread, whether it be the bloods graffiti or the drunks stumbling through our backyards at 11 pm, our quiet community is quietly at war.

But this isn’t a post about Hamilton. Or about urban warfare. Or about gangs. It’s about kids and watching them grow up in a weird ecclectic neighborhood. (more…)

In need of other young adult opinions on “Assesing Believers Churches’ approaches to evangelism and mission in our time”

Hi All, I need your help. I will be presenting at a North American Believer’s Church Conference in about a week and will be representing young adults….ha! This is an impossible task and an enormous responsibility. The context of the overall conference is, I believe, the “tension” between the individual congregation and the denomination. The theme of this particular workshop I’m presenting at is “Missional vision and practice of denominations together with congregations in the Believers Church family: Present-day issues and opportunities.”

The specific questions are:
1. How do young adults desire to engage in the church’s ministry of mission and evangelism?
2. Where do you see possibilities and problems in the church’s approach to mission in our day? Provide illustrations.

Well I have PLENTY to say on these topics but I desperately need the counsel of others of my generation/culture or those who are “young adult” at heart. Questions like these should be answered in community and not by an individual. If you have problems with the language in these questions, by all means, provide alternative language as you answer the question as you understand it. These questions are asked in the context of a discussion about the local (congregational) and global (denominational) roles of the mission of the church and a trend toward “local-centred” mission initiative and the way that a Believer’s Church self-understanding intersects with missional ecclesiology.

I don’t think I’ve ever introduced myself on YAR properly before. I was born in Canada, grew up in E. Africa, went to the US for college (EMU), then worked in Virginia, went to seminary in Manitoba, Canada, spent some time in Mozambique, worked for Mennonite Church Canada and am now headed for Israel/Palestine soon as an international worker for Mennonite Church Canada. Faith-wise, I consider myself Christian anabaptist, from a Mennonite/Methodist family and am currently inspired by emergent/missional writings when they’re real and down to earth. I am often disillusioned with the church but hopeful at the same time.

I’ll post some of my opinions on my topic once a discussion starts :) And I really would appreciate feedback.

How a guy like me ended up at a Mennonite Convention

by Jason Evans

Jason Evans at San Jose 2007Last year, I was asked to speak at the national convention for the Mennonite Church USA. I had the opportunity to listen to the opinions and concerns of many young adult Anabaptists. I was eager to hear what my fellow Christians—with a heritage of nonviolent theology—had to say. I was anxious to hear their ideas about the future of Anabaptism.

I was surprised to say the least.

My idealistic perception of this tribe did not prepare me for the reality of those that have grown up in this tradition. What I found in the eyes of many young people I saw was disillusionment and frustration with a pacifist gone passive-aggressive system. Sitting there, I wondered what the future is for denominations rooted in the Radical Reformation. And what did that mean for someone like me who came to this tradition out of conviction rather than bloodline? … and how did a guy like me end up at a Mennonite national convention in the first place?!

I was at a rally in downtown San Diego this last week. We cried for a cease in cuts to education budgets. As I walked down the street with my young son over my shoulders, I was amazed at the thought of how much money has been spent on the “war on terror”. All the while, we continue to cut funding for our public schools, the only educational option for the poor who can not afford private schools and can’t afford for a parent to not bring home an income in order to home school their children. (more…)

Information Sharing for Us Radicals

So, from time to time, a YAR will name drop or link to a blog that she reads.

I would like to propose that, for the mutual edification of everyone on the blog, and for my own curiousity, that we share – via comments on this post – some of the blogs we frequent.

If you have a few blogs that you think are high quality and cover issues that you think are important (or even news sites), then please share those blogs in the comments here.

I think if we all are able to know what others are reading, we will be able to better understand each other and understand what issues are important to YAR authors.


The war needs to stop

I can’t even bear to write a post about the war.

This is just to send a word of encouragement to all working to stop the war and build societies of peace and justice. I hope you have found sustainable, life giving ways to resist and create. We must keep speaking up, because as Rev. Dr. MLK Jr. said, “our lives begin to end the moment we are silent about things that matter.”

Advocacy Groups are Dumb.

*This article was originally posted on Christarchy.com. The “Ostrich-thing” makes more sense if you visit me there.*

Advocacy groups are dumb. There. I said it. You don’t have to agree with me, especially if you are part of an advocacy group. But someone had to say it and seeing as I’m the only one around here to take notice I had to speak up. (more…)

An Anarchist and Healthcare

I’m an anarchist. I’m a Christian. I’m a lot of things. I don’t find the need to have an opinion about everything as lots of Americans do. On some issues I’m opinion-less. But some things strike me as odd.

This up-coming election has brought up, once again, universal healthcare. I’m a capitalist and opposed to big government. But I also know “wrong” when I see it. (more…)