One of the joys of assessing manuscripts by new authors is discovering both a good story and a good storyteller. So it was a delight working with Gordon Oyer, a midwest Mennonite, on his book project documenting the historic retreat of pioneering peacemakers with Thomas Merton in the fall of 1964 (in photo above), which included A.J. Muste, J.H. Yoder, the Berrigan brothers, Jim Forest and others.
Three powerful faith traditions--Anabaptist peace ecclesiology, Catholic radicalism and Protestant political theology--converged for the first time at that legendary retreat at Merton's hermitage. The resulting synergy has fueled North American Christian activism ever since. Any of us who seek today to bear public witness to the gospel, justice and political imagination are truly “children” of that conversation a half a century ago; whenever we gather in a retreat setting to discern the times and our response, we are walking in their footsteps. Oyer has gifted us with a magnificent chronicle of that seminal eventin his forthcoming Pursuing The Spiritual Roots of Protest, due out from Cascade Books in March.
Two retreats around the book are being planned. The first is just two months away, and will be held at Kirkridge in PA. I urge you to check it out (share the Facebook page with your circles). Another is being planned for October 24-25 at the Merton Center in Louisville, KY. Please help spread the word!
Save the dates for these upcoming BCM webinars, featuring scriptural reflection, movement history and social justice themes. Our 2014 schedule will be (mostly) the second Tuesday of the month at 5:45-7:15 pm Pacific Time except where noted.
Tuesday, Mar 11:
“Birthing a Modern Mennonite Peace Witness: Interview with Dr. Laura Roberts." The "Concern Movement" of the 1950s saw young theologians and activists put the Anabaptist vision into conversation with the wider church. Dr. Roberts of Fresno Pacific University is editing the Concern pamphlet series. We'll also hear from original Concern participant, Al Meyer, interviewed on tape by Tim Nafziger.
Note: Special start time: 5 pm PST!
Tuesday, April 15:
"Jesus' Death and Atonement Theology: A Holy Week Conversation with Dr. Ted Grimsrud." Ched will talk with Grimsrud, theology professor at Eastern Mennonite University, about his new book, Instead of Atonement: The Bible's Salvation Story and Our Hope for Wholeness (Cascade, 2013). You can find Ted's popular blogs here and here.
Tuesday, May 6:
“Farming, Permaculture and Theology: Sylvia Keesmaat and Chris Grataski." This live broadcast will give a glimpse into our Permaculture Design Certificate course, with biblical scholar/farmer Keesmaat and permaculturist Grataski.
Tuesday, June 10:
"From Babel to Pentecost: Insurgent Cultural Diversity vs. Imperial Conformity." Ched's study of Gen 11 and Acts 2 as warning tales about monoculture, and the divine endorsement of human diversity.
Your participation helps us increase our reach and reduce our carbon footprint!
It’s good to recognize milestones. First published by Orbis Books in 1988, a 20th anniversary edition of this commentary with new front matter was issued in 2008. It is still widely used in theological schools, but also is tackled by lay readers in study groups (despite the teasing I get for writing “such a long and difficult tome”). I am grateful that this study has had measurable impact on the seminary, sanctuary and streets alike. People often tell me that it changed their lives—three lovely notes I’ve received over the years are below—and I can honestly say that it changed mine as well. A quarter century later, I’m still trying to embody the discipleship vision of Mark’s gospel in my life and work.
Featuring scriptural reflection on a timely social justice theme.
Three kinds of ways to save on Webinars:
Gift Certificates: Gift webinars to friends and family for 1,2, or 3 webinars.
Group rates: Gather groups to watch and discuss webinars— from the pub, parlor, or classroom. Host pays standard fee, additional participants pay just $5 each.
Bundles and Annual pass: Purchase several webinars to save big.
For upcoming Webinars click here.
For past Webinars, available in archived form, click here.
Here are our webinars archives available for purchase as video recordings to view at your convenience!
"Watch out, that no one deceive you!" (Mk 13:5): As the Drumbeat of War Builds, the Gift of Two Prophetic Resources
So the U.S. is contemplating bombing Syria, to teach the Assad regime that bombing people is wrong.
Here we go again. Time to review the most basic catechism for Christian faith under Empire: War is inevitable. War changes nothing. War is apostate for followers of Jesus.
But of course, this catechism is far from central in our hearts or among our churches. So at moments like this, and on the eve of the 12th anniversary of 9/11, we at BCM think it's helpful to dust off two texts that teach U.S. Christians how to think and act as the fog of war approaches.
I have a reputation as a bit of a Bible geek. But it wasn't always that way. Here is the story of my first experience with scripture, which I relate in order to acknowledge a milestone in my journey this month.
I was an exchange student in Norway in 1972-73--a long and difficult year. (The above picture was taken in the spring of 1973 on the shore of Moss Fjord, by my buddy Marshall Rogers; it's brooding tone accurately captured my state of mind during much of that year). Back home, my sister had in the meantime "found Jesus." One day there's a big postal package for me, and I'm excited to get something from California. Imagine my disappointment: she had dutifully sent me a Bible.
Last Sunday afternoon, at the heart of summery August, and at the ripe age of 58, I finally attended my first County Fair. I was moved by my encounter with this venerable American tradition. Admittedly, I’ve never been any good at “normal” leisure pursuits, being an inveterate workaholic. But this experience was one of those occasional epiphanies revealing what is undeniably lovable about America (something I don't write about often). //more
Note: Elaine and I were in Arizona last week at the Mennonite Church US biennial Convention, arriving just a day after the heroic firefighters were killed northwest of the city. Our friend Rabbi Arthur Waskow has written a poignant reflection below that we commend. He shares deeply our BCM commitment to name public addictions such as fossil fuels, and to the strategy of "moving money," that we've advocated for a decade now. Read on.
In Arizona this past week, 19 highly skilled firefighters were killed by a fire in what the New York Times called “Deadly New Normal: A Tinderbox West.” It was the largest number of firefighters killed in a single day since the terrorist attack on 9/11.
WHY is a tinderbox West the “new normal”?