I’ve written about my online communities before, first here and then here and here, each represented by a badge in the footer of my blog and each with its own unique emphasis. I’m learning a lot from each group — in areas that we have in common, and in areas that challenge me.
Take the image above for example – it’s the banner for my first-ever MennoNerds Google Hangout Event. In another ten days, I’ll be taking part in #MennoNerds on Race, Mutuality and Anabaptist Community, which is being planned as a panel discussion with viewer participation.
I love the banner for the event, created by MennoNerd Eddie Gonzalez, but it also challenges me.
I am an Anabaptist, too – is this directed to some imagined Anabaptist in-group as in, hey, don’t forget about me, I am an Anabaptist, too. The Anabaptist movement in general and the MennoNerds as a group within it, is not exclusively young, white and male – I am an Anabaptist, too.
I am an Anabaptist, too – is this a statement of self-disclosure, that among all the roles and relationships in life, I am an Anabaptist, too. I’m a woman, a Christian, a pastor, a writer, blogging about faith and life, writing a book on creativity, and in the midst of all of that and more, I am an Anabaptist, too.
And what about “Let’s be the change we need to see“? – What change(s) are we looking for in our own lives, and in our community and world? Do we “need” to see these? And is change all about us? Or is it more, “Let’s be the change we’re looking for,” “Let’s be the change we’re praying for,” Let’s be the change that God is growing in us.” As I have often prayed and preached in my own congregation, Let’s be the people that God is calling us to be.
So yeah, the panel hasn’t even started and I’m already deconstructing it! But I’m looking forward to the event both for the chance to experiment with the technology and to learn from our dialogue. I hope you’ll consider joining in, Thursday, June 12th at 6:30pm CST at the following link:
Below is our official release for the event.
#MennoNerds on Race, Mutuality and Anabaptist Community
“The myth is that we don’t live in a highly racialized and white-controlled society, and that the Church isn’t complicit. But the truth is that race and racism affect all of us,” says Drew Hart, who blogs at drewgihart.com.
What can Christians do and learn about racism? How do we name, explore, and critique violent systems, and navigate the tensions where we are complicit in racism–to whatever degree? How can the white majority in the North American church live in vulnerable community with persons of color, and how can persons of color be heard in the church? Can we envision change for white majority, white-dominated churches, institutions, schools and seminaries? Where are there examples of Anabaptist communities, bloggers, theologians, and networks modeling a more faithful way?
These questions and others will be explored during a special upcoming livecast panel discussion entitled “Race, Mutuality, and Anabaptist Community” produced by MennoNerds. The diverse range of panelists include Drew Hart, April Yamasaki, Tim Nafziger, Katelin Hansen, and Osheta Moore joined by Tyler Tully in conversation around race, mutuality, and Anabaptist community.
The first production of its kind, “Race, Mutuality, and Anabaptist Community” will include input from its viewing audience using online social media tools of Twitter and Google+. “Race, Mutuality, and Anabaptist Community” is a free event, slated to appear on Thursday, June 12th at 6:30pm CST at the following link:
Tyler M. Tully (@the_Jesus_event) is an Anabaptist writer, activist, and theologue based out of San Antonio, Texas whose work has been featured in local and national news sources. Proud of his indigenous American and European roots, Tyler is studying post-colonial constructive theology at the Chicago Theological Seminary where he is currently pursuing an M.Div. You can follow his blog The Jesus Event at http://thejesusevent.com/
Katelin Hansen (@BTSFblog) is the editor of By Their Strange Fruit (BTSF), an online ministry facilitating justice and reconciliation across racial divides for the sake of the Gospel. BTSF explores how Christianity’s often-bungled relationship with race and racism affects modern ministry and justice. Katelin also service as Director of Music at UM Church For All People, a multi-class, multi-racial church in an underprivileged neighborhood of Columbus, OH.
Drew Hart (@druhart) is a PhD student at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pa, studying the intersection of Black theology and Anabaptism. His research is shaped by his own formative experiences within both streams, having been raised in a Black Church and then spending 4 years on the pastoral staff of a multi-racial, urban Anabaptist community after college, and prior to jumping back into graduate school. He is currently a part-time pastor and professor speaking regularly to churches, conferences, and colleges, primarily around the themes of discipleship, ecclesiology, and Christian ethics.
Osheta Moore is a stay-at-home mother of two boys (Tyson and TJ) one girl (Trinity), the wife of T. C. Moore (Theo Graff host), a ‘Naked Anabaptist,’ and writer/blogger at ShalomInTheCity.com. She is passionate about racial reconciliation, peacemaking, and community development in the urban core. She likes to take the “T” in Boston and listen to the amazing street performers at every stop. At the top of her bucket list is to dance in a flash mob, all the better if it’s to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” or Pharrell’s “Happy”.
Tim Nafziger is passionate about gathering people with shared values to work together for change in our communities and our world. One such space is Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) where he has been part of the support team since 2008. He also blogs for The Mennonite magazine, administrates Young Anabaptist Radicals, designs web sites and does photography. Tim lives with his wife Charletta in the Ojai Valley in southern California where they connect with Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries.
April Yamasaki (@SacredPauses) is a pastor and writer in Abbotsford, B.C., Canada. She is lead pastor of a congregation that includes people of various backgrounds including Russian-Mennonite, Kenyan, Korean, Vietnamese, and others, still growing into its multi-ethnic and inter-cultural identity. Her latest book is Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal (Herald Press, 2013) and a book of sermons, Ordinary Time with Jesus (CSS Publishing), will be released soon. She blogs at aprilyamasaki.com.
Ryan Robinson (@Ryan_LR) is the Digital Development Coordinator at the Canadian Bible Society, working primarily with website design, eBook publishing, and the Bible Journeys devotional framework. He blogs at emerginganaptist.com and maintains the website for MennoNerds.