Archive for June, 2009

If you haven’t seen this yet you have to.  It’s of a band called “Sonseed” from, oh, say about 1983.  It’s turned into something of an internet sensation.  You’ll note that this video has over 2.6 Million views.  That’s a big deal in the youtube world.  According to Wikipedia, they might even be releasing a new album this summer with songs from the original early 80’s recording.  It would bring joy to my soul if they did this at convention.

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Every so often as the sun sets on a Sunday evening I get inspired to load up my camera and explore the world around where I live.  I’m often attracted to the seemingly mundane, the broken and the old.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe it’s just nice to know that the world is bigger and older than I am.  Here are some pictures from tonights outing.  Everything has been around for a long while.  It all has a beauty to me, regardless of the condition it’s in.



















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This post is a couple weeks late, but hey, I’m working for a living.  Anyways, several weeks ago I officiall installed (all wiring and plumbing included) as pastor at Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church.  The service was a really amazing one with all kinds of fantastic music and singing and a really meaningful annointing time at the end.  I was also really touched by the fact that a lot of my family showed up for the event.  I think there were probably 40 extra people in the service because of them.  And when the church is only 90 to begin with, that makes a huge difference.  Marty Troyer also spoke for the service.  I’ve always known that he was a fantastic speaker but I kinda forgot how good.  He’s amazing.  He spoke on how God is always creating new things and that God is doing a new thing here at PVMC.

There were two big shockers for me that sunday, both of them positive.  The first is that there were four of my former youth group kids from Buhler, two of my old sponsors and two of the parents of youth group kids that showed up unexpectedly at the service.  They said some truly wonderful things about me that I will always treasure.  For anyone who has done pastoral work you’ll know that people in churches don’t exactly give you immediate feedback for the work that you’ve done, especially kids.  On top of that, I had a couple of rough times getting things going and in some certain situations.  To have these kids come back now and confirm the impact that I had on them still brings tears to my eyes.

IMG_0883_1The other really cool thing is that PVMC gave me a gift to commemorate the occasion.  They gave me a limited edition Anabaptist Icon of Dirk Willems.  There are 25 of these things that are in existance.  I’m still really blown away by it.  It’s an amazing piece of hand done artwork that, for a history nut like me, couldn’t make me happier.  This week I hung it up on my wall right next to my tongue screw, shackles and Anabaptist catcher.  I’m such a nerd.  Seriously though, It’s really cool, stop by and check it out sometime.

Well, here are some other pictures from that day.






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By the way, I got this video from Shaq’s twitter feed…….yes, I have offiially reached the darkside.

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…….pay attention.

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Some of you might know that I use the Revised Common Lectionary (mostly) in the process of selecting what scriptures to work with on any given sunday.  I use an online resource from the Vanderbilt Divinty school.  Mainly for a couple of reasons.  1) They have everything coordinated to that real life dates not just Year A, B, and C.  2) they have the full text for each sunday online.  3) The Text is the New Revised Standard Version, my version of choice.

So I just noticed, when I went back to the site this week, that they have revamped their website.  Not only is it easier to get around, they have also included links to various pieces of artwork as well as suggested prayers for each weeks text.  BOOYA!   Ok, I’m a nerd, but hopefully all my other pastor/bible-nerd friends who read the blog will find this helpful/interesting.  So, below are some links showing what I mean.  I used July 26, just as an example

Vanderbilt Lectionary site –   http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/

Page for July 26

Art for July 26

Prayers for July 26

Yeah for Vanderbilt……and the Lectionary………….and the Bible!

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So I heard about this one NPR the other day.  Seems interesting.  Basically it has to do with 1) teaching our kids how to actually be kids that can interact with the world around them and 2) combating the distorted images of violence that are fed to us through the media which ultimately distort parents perceptions of how “safe” the world is, or is not.  The NPR story is definitely worth the listen.

Here and Now Story

Free Range Kids website

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Well, It’s happened again.  Mennonite Media has now become “Third Way Media”.  After consulting a branding/fundraising firm, they suggested that they more closely align with their very popular website “Third Way Cafe”.

Yeah, I understand that Mennonite Media is a for profit company that’s trying to make money.  Yeah, I understand that if you’ve got something that’s already popular it’s advantageous to alight with that.  Yeah, I understand that they’ve had lots of names in the past and changing names isn’t particularly a new thing.  But here’s my question, why, once again, is the name “Mennonite” seen as undesirable?  At the core of this change, no matter how you dress it up or justify it, is that “Mennonite”=decreased revenue/interest/members/voice/instert-whatever-you-want-here.  Basically, it’s a stumbling block.

A while back I worked for an organization called United Methodist Youthville.  The are/were originally started as a ministry of the United Methodist Church to reach out to, and take care of, abused and dysfunctional children in the central Kansas area.  When I was working there we all recieved a letter informing us that the organization would be changing it’s doing business as name to simply “Youthville”.  Looking back on it, the organization had already become one that was less of a religious organization and more of a social services organization.  Maybe the name change simply named the shift that had already happened.  Maybe in hastened the shift away from the faith.  Either way, clearly someone thought that having “United Methodist” in the name was a hindrance to the organization.

Now I get that there are certain situations in which identifying as a Christian can hinder the Gospel.  At Youthville there were kids that were so abused by other “christians” that I never identified myself as a pastor because the would completely shut down.  On the other hand.  What is the role of re-claiming and re-shaping peoples misguided perceptions of what it means to be a Christian or a Mennonite.  Mennonite Media has produced some top notch videos and resources that have aired on national television.  It’s a safe thing to say that their productions have gained more national prominence that MCUSA or MCCanada ever have.  And at the end of each of those videos they say “Produced by Mennonite Media”.  At the very least it provides the people watching with the opportunity to say, “huh, Mennonites produced this?” or “Who are Mennonites?”.  Now, all they’ll get is a tagline of another generic production company with the title, “Third Way Media”.

Maybe this isn’t a big deal.  But maybe it’s part of a larger trend that simply reinforces the stereotype that being Mennonite is irrelevant, a hindrance to “true” faith, somehow different than being Christian and all around an undesirable thing.  That both angers and saddens me.  For the record though, I will continue to support Mennonite Media/Third Way Media.  If I didn’t care I wouldn’t say anything.

See the full article here

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Doesn’t it just seem like kids always ask the best questions.

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