Big changes!

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, since you’ve all no doubt been checking this site every day, and perhaps even multiple times daily, there hasn’t been an update in nearly two months. That’s because there have been and are some pretty big changes going on both with my life and this site. Here is a brief rundown:

1) I got married! My now-wife, Gretchen, and I were married on June 27. We still have the site for the wedding here, though we plan to update it one day to be more of a personal web site. Because of planning for the wedding, in addition to my ongoing computer problems (I’m currently running my computer off an Ubuntu 8.10 USB live disc because my hard drive is kaput), adding content in June was pretty much a no-go. Then we had the honeymoon, which we spent at the Cornerstone Festival, and then we were off to South Bend for a few days before heading over to Chicago for the Ekklesia Project gathering. Then it was back to South Bend, with a stop by Elkhart, a night in Indianapolis, and then back to Evansville. By the time all that was done, it was time to start planning for the next major change.

2) At the end of this week, on Friday, June 31, we will be moving to South Bend, which is why we were up there after the honeymoon – we were looking for a living space. We found an apartment in decent shape on the south side. The occasion for the move is my acceptance and decision to enter into the incoming fall ’09 class at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart. Gretchen will be continuing her studies in library tech at a state college, for which there is a branch in South Bend, which is why we’re living there. I was accepted for the first year of the M.Div, which is really more like a pre- year, as formal acceptance into the M.Div is granted at the end of the first year, but I am fairly confident that it’s the right path for me – and if it isn’t, initial acceptance is into the seminary, not a particular program, so changing programs should be relatively painless.

I have a peace about attending AMBS that I have never experienced with any other program to which I have applied, and I am positive (as much as I can be) that this is the right move both for me and also for us. Gretchen supports it wholeheartedly and is excited about some things going on up north, hopefully I’ll have a chance to blog more about that in the near future. Evansville has been home for 10 years, so it’s not easy to leave, but I really feel this is the correct path. This will put us in northern Indiana for at least the next three years, and if I decide to do doctoral studies and get in at Notre Dame we could end up being up there as long as I’ve been down here. For that matter, I could not go into doctoral studies and we could still stay for a long time – the future is as yet unknown.

3) Gretchen and I are in the final stages of incorporating a nonprofit under the auspices of The Missionary Church International, a church that provides shelter for ministries and missionaries. The purpose of the nonprofit will be to establish a prayer-centered ministry within the city seeking to connect people to the mission of God in ways that flow out of the needs and experience of people in the city itself. The inital goal is to start groups (prayer, Bible study, and other types of discussion) with the intent to move towards a 24-7 kind of thing, though the hope is to connect with good things that are already going on in the city to make it something that makes sense naturally in South Bend, rather than overlaying a preprogrammed ministry plan over the city and trying to make it fit. Once the incorporation is complete I will make sure everyone knows plenty of ways they can help us meet our prayer and material needs. Translation: donations will be accepted. 😉

4) This site is moving! I have a new domain, at http://absolutionrevolution.com (not yet operational). The “prophetic heretic” thing was the idea I had when I first started this blog, with some connections I planned to develop between Bruggemann’s conception of the prophetic imagination and Northumbria Community’s heretical imperative, but I never really developed that train of thought. Right after I registered this WordPress.com subdomain I coined the phrase “absolution revolution” and decided to use it for the blog title. Over the past three years I’ve been sporadically maintaining the blog, that has become its identity both on the web (at least mostly so) and in my mind. While theological explorations of social and political issues have always been part of what I have done here, over these past years my “Christ-archy” leanings have becomed more refined and developed, and what was originally intended to be more of a quasi-emerging kind of thing, with more connection between things like pop culture and the Gospel, became this thing that it is today.

Moving to a new site gives me more freedom with what I can do with it, hopefully moving beyond just being a blog to incorporating other forms of online publishing. I’d like to maybe post larger essays and possibly even host something like a radical Christianarchist wiki, or something along those lines. There are many possibilities. This will, of course, necessitate being more diligent about updating content. I’ve resolved to make contributions to the content of various internet sites to which I’ve contributed in the past, including this one, more of a discipline in the future. I think it’s something for which I have a knack, and my thinking has always been sharper when I’ve been writing and publishing and able to get (hopefully mostly constructive) responses to my thoughts. I also plan to attempt to generate more traffic to the site by participating in other online fora, making comments on blogs, and otherwise finding ways to make myself more visible on the web. I’ve realized more lately that I really do have significant contributions to make to the sorts of discussions that are going on around the web, and part of that realization is the feeling of responsibility to do it in whatever measure I am able – without, of course, compromising my family, school, and ministry life.

I preached again at Patchwork this past Sunday, Gretchen’s and my last with them, and I’ll be posting the manuscript later, when the flash drive on which it is saved is immediately accessible. For now, I’m off to work a bit more on the new site and then call it a night.

Shalom!

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computer problems

The hard drive on my computer went out, and while I can still boot up with Ubuntu from a USB flash drive it is uncertain whether I’ll be online much for the next few days. I’m up to my neck in midterms, and quite a bit of my study material was on the computer, so it’s going to be interesting tomorrow (Wednesday) when I take my last one. As such I’m not sure when I’ll be able to resume more regular posting. I do have a few things in mind, though, so when I again have the means and time I’ll be continuing the “Finding a better story” series and also letting loose other of my theo-political musings. Shalom!

Rewriting “Anarchy” page

As you may have noticed, the tab at the top of my blog that read “Anarchy” has been changed to “Christ-archy”. That is because since I started this blog my thinking has evolved somewhat, and I desire to change the content of some of the articles to which those tabs link to reflect that evolution. Since those articles are always linked at the top of the page, they provide a kind of framework that informs (or ought to inform) one’s reading of the articles I post from day-to-day in the blog. Therefore, I think I ought to edit them to reflect my changed understanding from the times at which I originally wrote them. It is also the case that I’m less happy with the way some parts of them read than others, so I want to tweak them a bit.

The only change I’ve made so far is to change the title from “Anarchy” to “Christ-archy” and add this paragraph to the beginning:

I used to consider myself an “anarchist Christian”, or a “Christian anarchist”, or however you want to put it, but the term I prefer for myself now is “Christ-archist”. “Christ-archy” should not be confused with desiring a theocracy, but what it does mean is that I absolutely, unequivocally believe the God revealed in Jesus Christ to be the source of all authority, and the one to whom all authority is accountable. Any authority that does not submit itself to God and seek to operate according to the politics of Jesus is illegitimate. Since I’m not aware of many earthly authorities who do this, that means there are a lot of bastard governments (and corporations, other economic entities, and social organizations) running around out there!

When I have finished a substantial portion of the rewrite I will post a notice and invite people to comment and perhaps suggest further changes. Shalom!

Work and school

So I now only have one job – I’m working at the local CBS affiliate, which also runs a local low-power station. The job with the state didn’t work out. Ok, everyone who knew that was coming, go ahead and raise your hands. 😉

Since I’m down to one job I’ve gone ahead and registered for classes in the spring. I’m HOPING to finish the MA in Liberal Studies this spring. I think it would be really good for me to finish it.

For a number of reasons, I’m also submitting an application to Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. I would still love to go to Toronto if it could work out, but I’m not sure it’s the best place for me. For one, Toronto is friggin’ expensive in terms of cost of living. Elkhart is very comparable to Evansville. For another, if I go to AMBS my significant other (who might become my other half this summer if things work out) would be able to come with me (if things do work out in that way) because there’s a branch of the college at which she’s studying nursing in Elkhart. That would be pretty nice, to not be separated from my potential wife by hundreds of miles. And finally, and possibly most importantly, I still have strong thoughts that the context of education for ministry might be the best place to pursue further theological education. They’re doing some really great things up in Toronto, and it is conceivable that we might end up there when it comes time to work on my doctorate, but if I get accepted to AMBS and get enough funding to make it work I think I’ll probably go there. The current plan would be to go into the M.Div program, with a concentration in theological studies, theology and ethics. I’m also going to inquire about the possibility of writing a thesis, as my ultimate purpose is to continue in academics as opposed to entering the professional ministry (though I’m open to that plan being changed).

Since I only have one job now, I’m hoping to update this blog with at least one substantial post per week. I’m sorry I’ve neglected it, this has been an excellent outlet for developing my thoughts on a number of issues, and I’ve missed having that avenue to express myself.

Thank you for hanging with me on the journey. Shalom!
Jason

Brief update

Ellsworth voted for the bailout, surprise surprise.

Obama won, as you really ought to know by now. He’s not the messiah, obviously, but I can’t help but think he has the potential to be a mostly positive force after the past eight years’ debacle. What I don’t understand is why everyone is surprised that he’s naming all these Clintonesque center-to-slightly-left people to his administration. After all, there really was very little substantial difference in policy views between Obama and Hillary in the primaries.

I hope, I really hope, that no one on his team gets connected with Blagojevich in a way that could cause him troubles.

It still seems odd to me that we refer to Obama by his last name and Hillary by her first in the common public discourse (to the extent that there is, in fact, a common public discourse).

I’m probably not going to apply to any law schools this year. I think I’m going to go ahead and see if the Toronto thing works out. There are just too many things they’re doing up there that are right in line with what I’m interested in discussing. If I’m still in Evansville next fall, there could be a change in plans on that front. At this rate, I might just move to Chicago and try to start a blues band. I’ve added the harmonica to my repertoire.

I’ve had internet difficulties (surprise, surprise!) and been extremely busy in my personal life (again, surprise!). I’m currently working two, count ’em, two full-time jobs. This is in addition to two classes, for which I have finals this week. I’ll be taking the next semester off from school because I simply need to recharge. If that means I don’t finish at USI because I’ve gone off to Toronto, so be it. My acceptance at ICS is without condition, finishing at USI was never a condition of enrollment, so I’m really not that worried about it. I will hopefully be cutting it down to just one job at some point in January – working 80 hours a week isn’t really something I like doing, it doesn’t fit well with my values, and hopefully I’ll be able to stop it soon. I’m in the process of recovering from several months of unplanned unemployment (as opposed to planned unemployment, which is something I’ve done before).

Your prayers for my survival over the next week are much appreciated. It’s been extremely difficult to get my work done and do all that working, and in fact I have asked for an incomplete and an extension on when I can turn in my papers for both of my classes this semester. I’ve been granted one, haven’t heard back from the other as I just sent the professor the email – I was trying to get it done before I have to go in to work at my daytime job in a couple of hours, but it isn’t going to happen. I’m writing this post while taking a sanity break.

Thanks for reading, I love you all.
Jason

new site for my church

I haven’t talked about this here, but I’ve somehow managed to get myself involved as the worship leader/teaching pastor of a church seed here in Evansville. We call it a church seed because right now it isn’t big enough to call a plant. 😉

Feel free to check it out and let me know what you think. I’d say something about doing all the layout myself, but WordPress themes take care of most of the dirty work. I DID do the header image though.

Ecclesia Christian Church is what we’ve decided to call it, as of yesterday, and that was all I needed to be off and running with the web site. I get excited about these things, you know.

Peace,
Jason

Greetings from Nashville

I’ve just realized I’m going to have to accept the fact that computer problems are apparently a way of life for me. My wireless adapter broke, so I had to replace that, and then my cat chewed through the cord on my power source so I’m waiting for that to get shipped.

In happier news, I’m at the national Food Not Bombs gathering in Nashville, Tennessee trying to wake up my brain after only getting about 2 hours of sleep last night before the two sessions I’m presenting today. At noon I’m presenting “Anarchy at the Fringes of Capitalism: The visibility of anarchism and the ‘Hot Topic phenomenon'”, and at one I’m doing a presentation about Christianity and anarchism. I’ll try at some point in the near future to adapt my notes from the first presentation into a bloggable form to share it with y’all. In many ways it’s an expansion of past musings on what I called the “Hot Topic phenomenon” in a past blog post, that is to say the tendency of capitalism to appropriate artifacts from the fringes of society, create niche markets, and ultimately incorporate the products that make up the niche market into the mainstream. The main thrust is asking the question of how we are to engage those on the fringes of radical movements in order to authentically radicalize them, not to co-opt them and make them like us – instead, creating movements that grow from the needs of particular groups of people in concrete situations.

That’s all I have going on today, hopefully I’ll get my computer situation figured out soon so as to get back into a semi-regular blogging rhythm again.