Justice

“What I want to know is, “ Mark asked pleadingly, “why has
God forsaken us?”

Mark and his wife Diane, a homeless couple, has just been
forced to move from the camp that they had peacefully dwelt in for years.  They have nowhere to go. …

Early Christian Pacifism

Christianity is a pacifist religion. Most of the early church fathers wrote that Christians should not kill or join the military, and the idea of “just wars” first developed in the late fourth century, after Constantine’s reforms. The ante-Nicaene church was to a large extent a non-violent church. This was clearly shown already in 1919 […]

Naming Violation: Sexualized Violence and LGBTQ Justice

** This piece was originally posted at PinkMenno.org on July 10, 2014. Stay tuned for more reflections on this topic in the coming week. This is a strange time to be writing about Mennonites and sexuality. In less than a year, I’m scheduled to defend my dissertation on sexual diversity, LGBTQ Anabaptist activism, and the effects of heterosexism in Mennonite institutions. And just following the news cycle is keeping me so busy that I have to force myself to write. Anyone who reads this blog is probably aware of all the things that have been happening in the Mennonite Church USA lately that both challenge and reaffirm the dominant heterosexist practices of its institutions and communities. What I’d like to talk about here is how those practices intersect with the enormous and still largely unrecognized problem that Mennonites have with sexualized violence. You might be nodding now, if you know from experience how bad that problem is. Or you might be wondering, “Is it really as bad as all that?” Or—the question I sometimes get when I tell Mennonites about my research—“Are Mennonites really any worse than anybody else?” Here’s how I want to respond, sometimes: Are you asking because […]

My Struggle With Ideology

My mentor often calls me “academic.” At first, I was rather confused by his statement, because I have relatively little formal education compared to the academics I know of. I don’t even have college degree; I have a little bit of college and now a pastoral studies program. I was really under the impression that […]

Bill Mallonee, The Dust Bowl, and the Problem of Evil

Bill Mallonee was the frontman for an Athens, GA, band called Vigilantes of Love in the 1990s. Though the group went their separate ways in 2001, Mallonee has continued to record and release folk, Americana, and rock music at an astonishingly high rate—just visit his Bandcamp page to see 71 (a number that keeps growing!) albums […]

When Bad Things Happen

We’re house sitting for friends in North Vancouver so the mornings have been long and lazy, full of novels and coffee and games with the kids and sunshine on the patio overlooking Indian Arm, and more coffee… It’s been wonderful. Yesterday, my morning reverie was interrupted by a few soft knocks on the door. At […]

“Unto the Ages of the Ages” Part 4—Liturgical Greetings

Continuing our look at early Christian liturgical acclamations, we now move into a slightly different category: the liturgical greeting. These greetings served as both rudimentary creeds and as a means to identify oneself as part of the community of faith. Perhaps the two most recognizable greetings shared by the early church and modern churches are […]