Saturday, February 28, 2009

right?...what you? Part 1

Dont ask me what that means, sounds like something Zeke my two year old boy might say. BUt i have always heard, "write what you know," so i will try to focus in on some of the things that i atleast think I know about.
The biggest thing that has consumed my mind for the past few years has been community. You might already know this since anyone i spend any sort of a significant amount of time with i end up spouting out a bunch of propaganda about living in community. But fear not, no propaganda here....wink. Well i suppose i will share some interesting stuff about different intentional communities out there. I'll start off with a very little known intentional community, and the longest lasting biggest communal group in existence today....The Hutterites.

The Hutterites Are over 50,000 strong these days, and reside mostly on fairly secluded colonies in Montana, the dakotas, washigton, minnesota, canada and some other places. They have thousands of these self-sufficient farming communities.

Their roots are in the 16th century Anabaptist movement. From this movement we get the Mennonites, Amish, Brethren in Christ, and closely related is the Quakers. The Anabaptist were a group that popped up at the same time as the Reformation where we find Luther and the Lutherans splitting from the catholic church in the early 1500's. This is where the protestant label came about. But many would say that the anabaptists are not protestants, nor catholic, but their own stream.

Anyways The Hutterites were a communal group within the Anabaptist stream. They look to the early church of the first century for inspiration. They found a church wholeheartedly devoted to serving one another sacrificially, and a part of that was declining the right to own private property. they also found a church that was willing to die for Christ, rather than kill (as the so called holy roman catholic church was so willing to do at the time).

So they were a pacifistic-nonviolent communal group in Europe, and as a result were highly persecuted. Being tortured and killed for their faith was more than common. By the thousands Hutterites were put to death , and whats worse, it was at the hands of people who supposed were following Christ, both the Catholics and Lutherns. Its sick really. And unfortunately they continued to be persecuted for centuries even after they finally fled from europe, then russia, and now into the "land of the free"called the Americas.

As a result of their non-violent stance they refused to go to war when drafted in the first and second world war. They feel that killing is wrong, no matter how evil the other person may be. To take the soul of another person is not permissible for us humans, who are all, by the way, deeply wicked within ourselves. So during WW I they were thrown into concentration camps and prison, where they were treated like animals. One particular story is very saddening of a couple of Hutterites taken to Alcatraz were they were tortured and placed in solitary confinement for a very long time. They were then transported to another prison in the mid-west where they were still ill-treated, until they finally gave up the ghost, before their families could even come to see them.

they are a humble, queit and disciplined group of people.

More on them later!

May your day be blessed.

do you smoke weed?

Well I've been in Oregon now for six months. It only took about 12 hours of being in oregon for the first person to ask me if i smoked weed. Odd, i thought, but odd things happen every once in a while. But it only took another hour before another person asked. and another. then another. Until one tall 40 something year old man actually came to me offering me what he called "the good oregon stuff, not that Mexican shit you get over there in Ohio." Very odd i thought.

Over the past six months then i have never had so many people ask me if i smoke weed. And when i say they ask me if i smoke weed, it is just as startling as it sounds. Out of nowhere. Heres the problem. NO ONE believes me when i say i dont. NO ONE. they say, "Oh right, you just happen to drive a VW van, have a big scruffy beard, and just happen to be pretty chilled all the time."

Im reminded of my high school days. Quite frequently I was sent to the drug and alcohol counselor. They would ask me questions like, "why are your eyes so glossy?" That to me sounded more like a question for an optometrist, but ok. "Why did you paint your finger nails?" "why are those pants so baggy?" "Why did you cut your hair like that?" and other questions like this. to which the only possible answer of course that i smoked weed.

Well for all you high school drug counselors, and all of you Oregonians (Pronounced org-own-e-ns) I would like to tell you once and for all. I dont smoke. Even if i wanted to i have asthma! And here's even more....shh dont tell anyone...I never have. So there ya go. Yes I just happen to drive a VW Van, hold up two fingers and say "peace," have a scurrfy beard, eat organic, have kids running around barefoot, and have a sticker on my than that says, "Biodiesel: no war required." And yeah, im normally pretty chilled out.

Peace man.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Muslim Nation

What better of a way to start out your very own blog than on a heavy note. No sense in doing any ice breakers here. Lets dive in.

I am currently reading David Shenks' book Journeys of the Muslim Nation and the Christian Church. Its a great book and i highly recommend it. In it he explains how Jesus and Muhammed took two very different paths to accomplish their mission. He says,

Jesus the Messiah and Muhammed the Prophet of Islam traveled in opposite directions. The Messiah turned his back on the invitation to become a king with an army; instead he resolutely set his face to Jerusalem and the cross. Muhammed welcomed the invitation to become governor and left suffering in Mecca for Medina and political power.
The implications of this then of course, is exactly how the followers of these two men will act. For the followers of Christ the call is to set down your will (perhaps to not suffer, or to get revenge, etc.) take up your cross (not literally, but not metaphorically either, just differently) and follow the God who chose to suffer at the hands of sinners, and forgive them in the mean time.
On the other hand the followers of Muhammed would logically follow his path, which was the quick acceptance of political and military power in order to carry out the will of the sovereign, all-powerful God who would never subject himself to suffering. (side note: every Muslim would probably not like me calling them followers of Muhammed, they are followers of God from their perspective. I mean no harm)
I would be quick to point out that Christians have one of the worst reputations throughout history of being a violent people. And Some Muslims have chosen the road of peace for the most part. But focusing in on the beginnings of these two faiths we find the true nature, the true root of what it means to be a Christian and what it means to be a Muslim.
Something to think about........
Peace to you on this day.

I enter

My friend Mateo, from across the sea in the small north african coutry of Morocco once told me, "If you make a blog, i would probably read it." We shall see about that.