Young Folks

Sex outside of marriage

With some trepidation, I’m bringing up the topic of having sex with people to whom one is not married. This isn’t about lgbtq people’s inability to be married in the legal sense in most states in the U.S., and it’s not really about affairs either. It’s about people who are not married in any sense having sex with anyone at all. Or people who are engaged having sex before the wedding.

A couple of times I’ve seen people on YAR say they don’t hold to the same ethic on this as the Christian Church has taught during at least our lifetimes. I have always heard from the Christians in my life that it is a sin to have sex in any form (or get close to it) with anyone other than the person to whom one is married. Having sex at any point before the wedding ceremony (in whatever form it takes) is a sin, they tell me. (more…)

My arrest in Fort Wayne

I suppose the best way to start all this is to explain who I am and what I’m doing. My name is Nick, and I’m a member of the Church of the Brethren and a Peace Studies major at Manchester College. A couple months ago I was arrested at a witness in Fort Wayne, and was asked by my employers in the Residential Life department at Manchester to write a paper explaining what happened. I posted the paper on my own blog, and was subsequently urged to re-post it here. The paper was intended to be a complete account of my experience, and as such does not necessarily have one coherent message. I’ve edited out the parts that really only pertain to my school, so it may appear to jump around some but… well, read it for yourselves.

Thursday, March 29, 2007, I joined eight other Manchester students, and three faculty and staff in a peace vigil at the federal building in Fort Wayne as part of a nationwide campaign called the Occupation Project, a civil disobedience campaign aimed at literally occupying the offices of U.S. Congressmen who refuse to cut off funding for the continuing war in Iraq. (more…)

Are blogging and cynicism starving the peace movement?

Ever since Cindy Sheehan’s resignation last week, I’ve been waiting to find a thoughtful response to this small but potent paragraph in her resignation letter:

I have also tried to work within a peace movement that often puts personal egos above peace and human life. This group won’t work with that group; he won’t attend an event if she is going to be there; and why does Cindy Sheehan get all the attention anyway? It is hard to work for peace when the very movement that is named after it has so many divisions.

Lots of lefties are happy to join her in criticizing the Democrats or taking another shot at Republican hate mongering. But when will someone take a serious look at her criticisms of the peace movement. Conversations with activists both in the US and the United Kingdom over the last four years have made me very aware of the divisions and infighting she talks about.

Today a friend forwarded me the first article that begins to look at what’s wrong with the peace movement. It focuses on apathy and cynicism more than in-fighting, but its a start. In The Incredible Shrinking Antiwar Movement, Rex Huppke makes some convincing arguments as to why activism among our generation seems to be shrinking. Two in particular are worth noting. (more…)


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…)

young anabaptist radicals

I teach anabaptist theology at columbia bible college in abbotsford, bc. I’m intrigued by the title of the site and find it quite appropriate in that I believe that the nature of the 16 century movement was in many ways a youth movement. Many of the early radicals were dead before they reached the age of 30! e.g Grebel and Denck to name my 2 favs. as one who seeks to inspire a new movement in the 21st century I was excited when a friend told me about this site. I look forward to reading and posting occasionally and recommending this site to students.

On BikeMovement — What spurs our communities to action?

Some recent discussion here has suggested relating posts to action, which is part of what motivated me to post this note here. Many of you all may have heard about BikeMovement (young Mennos biking across the US and talking about church last summer, biking SE Asia this summer), and there’s a documentary on the US trip being finalized in the next month.

I’m writing about it here because I’m working on a study guide that will be sent out with the DVD to Mennonite congregations across the US, hoping to continue and expand conversations we had along the trip — what does it mean to cultivate a relevant community? how does that play out (or not) in church as we’ve known it? where do we go from there?

As I’m working on this study guide, I’ve been thinking some about style and form — how can this be most accessible and useful for the folks who we’ll be sending it to? Impact that a number of the planners are hoping for is that people who use it will feel empowered and hopeful, think critically about their church experience, and want to work for broader and more authentic inclusion in daily lives and the church.

I was wondering what resources, study guides, or Sunday school curricula you all have found useful for working on these kinds of questions — extra points if these do well addressing questions of race, sexuality, age and/or education levels among participants. Cause it seems like there would have to be good materials and models out there which spur churches to critical reflection and action, I just haven’t been around using any to know what they are.

So any tips and links would be much appreciated — and perhaps helpful in a broader sense as we consider what can help new action happen in the fleshy faith communities we find ourselves in.

Bible verse of the day

The Bible verse of the day has taken a long hiatus, but as I was discussing how power is, or rather, how power isn’t passed along in the Mennonite church, someone referenced this verse. I’ll be the first to say that there are many mandates in the Hebrew Bible I’d happily pass over, but this one did make me think.

The LORD said to Moses, “This applies to the Levites: Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the tent of meeting, but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer. They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the tent of meeting, but they themselves must not do the work. This, then, is how you are to assign the responsibilities of the Levites.” — Numbers 8:23-26 (TNIV)

Anabaptist radicalism and the life of contemplation

Hello good people
I stumbled upon this site two days ago while doing some thinking about a book chapter I’m writing for an upcoming publication about the conversation about gayness in the Mennonite world. Tim – did you come up with this? It’s fantastic! I’ve read through most of the posts here. I’m also supposed to be studying for the first round of medical boards right now, (taken in the middle of medical school), so it’s also one of those procrastination-inspiration things.

I’ve been rolling those words over in my head and trying them on for size; young is pretty easy, I guess – more the Anabaptist Radical part. I feel a little different than those who I consider my peers in this stage of faith. If I can attempt to draw a generalization first – a number of us might have been through similar phases of a childhood and teenage faith that was uncomplicated in its ability to answer all questions about the world and God, with reference to the Bible and church teachings/tradition; then for one reason or another entered a deconstructive phase where the internal inconsistencies of that (more…)

Christian Dating

We’ll this is the first time I’m making a post. Over the past couple years I’ve been writing articles in a monthly church newletter. The articles I like to write discuss Christianity, the bible and how it relates to everyday life. So my style of posting on this website may follow more of an article type format. I hope that’s ok.

I believe there are things in this article that will benefit not only those who are currently dating, but also any person who is single and wishes to someday get married. And if you are married, the ideas in this article could also build you and your marriage up.

Unfortunately too many people in society go into a dating relationship looking for what they can get out of the relationship rather than what they can put into it. It almost seems that dating has become a form of entertainment without purpose rather than about finding somebody who you can marry and spend the rest of your life with. Today I would like to share a few thoughts with you, about dating and marriage, which you may have never heard before. (more…)

Nature vs. Nurture

I’m curious about something here, though it may be something for a later poll.

I am 23 and only recently “became” Mennonite. I had a spiritual rebirth as a result of my attendance at a Mennoniite church and through reading the Confession of Faith, though I was almost enticed to Catholicism because of my fascination with the Catholic Worker movement (though I have serious reservations about particular aspects of Catholic theology).

I’m one of two people in the whole place who are even in their twenties; everyone else is either a teenager, a small child, or mid-30’s on up through their 80’s (most folks being baby boomers).

How many people here grew up in a Mennonite/Brethren family? How many people here came into the Mennonite/Brethren church later in life? For either answer, how do you think this influences you view of the church and your faith, if at all?


Hello all, I’m new here but uncertain whether or not I am welcome to participate, since my DoB was in 1954. looking at your blog’s title, I see that “anabaptist” and “radical” are things that I might choose to be, but “young” is not, unless it is used in a figurative sense.

At what age does eligibility end, and what happens to your users when they reach that point? I must say that for a group of this type the exclusionary nature of the name seems dissonant with the blog’s overall theme and tone. “Young Anabaptist Radicals” contains just as strong a disinvitation to older folks, as a hypothetical “White Anabaptist Radical” site would for people of color.


college students (and a few others) on the church

Every now and then, I freelance articles. It’s a fun gig since it lets me cover some really cool events and pays me (admittedly not much) at the same time. I spent last weekend at a conference on the Ministry Inquiry Program, which was held at Eastern Mennonite University. MIP is jointly run by Mennonite Church USA and a number of Mennonite-affiliated schools and it lets students do 11-week internships in churches as a way to explore their callings to ministry. I had many, many quotes I wanted to include in the article but wasn’t able to do so because of length, so I’m including them here. I’m not identifying anyone since I never asked permission to do so, and also because I don’t have everyone’s names, but I found what they had to say to be both energizing and hopeful. (more…)

Brainwashing and Mennonite Colleges

For those of you who have been reading the Jerry Jenkins thread, there’s been a separate ongoing discussion that has developed about brainwashing and Mennonite colleges. Skylark asked me to move this discussion to a separate post to make it easier to sort the two conversations out. So this is an attempt to do that. Here’s an excerpt from the comment by Pete Dunn that started the conversation:

I’ve heard it said that for the most part college professors take their personal liberal ideology and feel obligated to impart their elevated revelations to the hoi polloi that we parents send up for an education – Mennonite colleges being no exception. If I have issues with Tom it would be partly what I would call the “brain washing” that occurs in our Mennonite Colleges — but it all comes out in the wash — water seeks its own level — the truth comes out — just like in blogging!!

I’ve moved all subsequent responses to this comment to the thread below. Feel free to continue the conversation here.

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.

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…)