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Team of Mennonites from Paraguay Defeats Canadian National Soccer Team

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ASUNCION, PARAGUAY

A group of guys from the Fernheim Colony, Paraguay took on the Canadian men’s national soccer team in Asuncion this past week and came away with a resounding five to nil victory. The Fernheim Team has now moved ahead of Canada on the FIFA rankings.

“I’ve been playin’ football aver since Knels Toews taught us how to kick balls around in the Sunday school,” said team spokesperson Arturo Klassen. “We used to play the Neuland Colony, but that was naver much of a challenge either.”

Despite stopping on numerous occasions for some yerba tea, Klassen scored three goals in the match, thoroughly embarrassing the Canadian team.

“Oba, those Canadians can’t play soccer for sure not,” said Klassen. “Those Canadians should stick to the ice hockey.”

The entire Fernheim team wore suspenders, Wrangler jeans and Crocs and still the Canadian team had trouble keeping up.

“I lived in Canada, too, for a while, so I knew how bad they are,” said Klassen. “Live in South America for six months and you’ll be better at football than anyone in all of Canada.”

The Fernheim team now moves on to face the winner of Bolivia and Mexico, to determine the FIFA Mennonite World Cup champion.

(photo credit: by Maggio7 )

The post Team of Mennonites from Paraguay Defeats Canadian National Soccer Team appeared first on The Daily Bonnet.

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Shave the Billionaire

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Strange things are happening in Brazil: billionaires are going to jail. This includes Eike Batista, once the eighth-richest person in the world, who was arrested in January. Accused of paying $16.5 million in bribes, he was placed in a 160-square-foot cell with six other prisoners who shared a single fan and a single squat toilet and a single tap where the water turned on just a few times a day.

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Early Anabaptists and the Centrality of Christ

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In a previous post, I wrote about the Christocentric interpretation of the Scriptures espoused by the magisterial Reformers, specifically Luther and Calvin. Their hermeneutic was focused on the work and the offices of Christ, but in my opinion the Anabaptists surpasses their approach because it focused on the person of Christ with an unparalleled emphasis on the call to obey his teachings and follow his example. In addition, because Luther and Calvin remained within the Constantinian ecclesial paradigm, and thus assumed a just-war perspective on the use of violence, they failed to appreciate the centrality of the enemy-loving non-violence in Jesus’ kingdom ethic. They thus failed to appreciate the full depth of the tension between the Christ who was at the center of their hermeneutic, on the one hand, and OT’s violent divine portraits and violent moral codes, on the other. By contrast, the distinctive emphasis on the enemy-loving, non-violence of Jesus’ teaching and example gave the Christocentric hermeneutic of the Anabaptists a sharper edge as it highlighted the difference between the Old and New Testaments on the use of violence. I argue that Christ was actually a more significant controlling principle in the Anabaptist hermeneutic and theology than in Luther and Calvin. As Kassen notes, because “Christ was…the center of Scripture” for Anabaptists, “[a]ny specific word in the Bible stands or falls depending upon whether it agrees with Jesus Christ or not.” Hence, “[a]nything which stands in opposition to Christ’s word and life is not God’s word for Christians even if it is in the Bible.” [1] While Anabaptists were as unwavering in their commitment to the plenary inspiration of Scripture as were the magisterial Reformers, they did not hesitate to state that aspects of the OT reflected an incomplete revelation and were no longer binding on Christians. Another aspect of the Anabaptist approach to Scripture that set them apart was their “hermeneutics of obedience.” The Anabaptists held that understanding and a willingness to obey are closely related. We might compare the way the Bible functioned within the Anabaptist hermeneutic to a Rorschach test: what one discerns when they look at Scripture reflects the condition of their heart at least as much as it reflects what is actually in Scripture. This conviction, which I introduce here, was by no means an Anabaptist innovation. It’s deeply rooted in Scripture, and one finds it reflected in a variety of ways throughout the Church tradition. What was distinctive about the Anabaptists’ use of this insight, however—and what set them at odds with their Protestant and Catholic contemporaries—was that this insight was fused with their distinctive emphasis on the importance of obeying the teachings and example of Jesus. Some Anabaptists thus insinuated that the reason magisterial church leaders failed to see the centrality of non-violence in Jesus’ teaching and example was not because it is objectively ambiguous but because it’s impossible to correctly interpret Scripture unless one is willing to obey it. One final aspect of the Christocentric hermeneutic of Anabaptists should be noted. While they were notoriously literalistic when it came to interpreting the NT, there is some evidence that Menno Simons and possibly other Anabaptists were beginning to pick up Origen’s project of reinterpreting or “spiritualizing” aspects of the OT that seemed to contradict the revelation of Christ. Unfortunately, because virtually all of the educated leaders of this fledgling movement were executed before it got off the ground, a distinctly Anabaptist theological reinterpretation of the OT was never explored. We of course cannot say where things might have gone had these leaders survived and/or had a tradition of rigorous theological wrestling with Scripture been established within this movement. Yet, when we consider the centrality of Christ and of non-violence in this movement, together with the fact that some openly acknowledged the contradiction between Christ’s kingdom ethic and aspects of the OT, it doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable to speculate that this group might very well have continued to explore a reinterpretation approach to the problem of violence in the OT, had circumstances allowed for it. In any event, what I argue in Crucifixion of the Warrior God could justifiably be understood as an attempt to recover and build upon not only the reinterpretation approach of Origen and other early church fathers that was aborted in the fifth century, but also upon the aborted trajectory of early Anabaptists thinking on this problem as well. [1] W. Klassen, “Bern Debate of 1558: Christ the Center of Scripture,” W. Swartley, ed. Essays on Biblical Interpretation: Anabaptist-Mennonite Perspectives (Elkhart, IN: Institute of Mennonite Studies, 1984), 106-114 [111].
Photo credit: Stifts- och landsbiblioteket i Skara via Visualhunt.com / CC BY
The post Early Anabaptists and the Centrality of Christ appeared first on Greg Boyd - ReKnew.
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Work Less. We Need You.

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It seems like everyone I know is in one of two situations. Either they are un(der)employed and trying to figure out how to get some hours/money to survive or they are working far too many hours and trying to figure out how to fit any kind of a life into a workday.

I used to work appallingly long hours. It started because I was severely underpaid and had little choice. But it continued because I had internalized the idea of a “hard worker” being a good thing. I succumbed to the expectation that people are supposed to fit their life around their work, rather than the other way around. I also wanted independence. Work seemed like a better route to independence than housewife, the only other option on offer.

There were some rewards for all that “hard work” and long hours. It might almost make you believe in the pull yourself up by your bootstraps nonsense. Of course, not everyone can do it. While I was getting raises and promotions for being “indispensable,” my coworker was struggling just to get to the office on time. She was a single mother who lived in a part of Liberty City where the buses, when they were working at all, only ran Monday through Friday during rush hour. Ostensibly my raises and promotion were a result of all those long hours. But the reality is that requiring long hours to “get ahead” is a way of privileging certain people without seeming to.

Even a forty hour week is too much. It worked o.k. for my father, when I was small.  He was able to work full time, still have a social life, and participate in his community. But that is because he had a stay at home wife, a support staff in his office, a periodic housekeeper, and various babysitters for us kids. In other words, he had a cadre of women doing much of the work for him. Once his business was crushed by the big box stores, life changed. No more stay at home wife. No more support staff. The community participation stopped. He had a stroke and was never really able to work full time again.

So if you are feeling like you are somehow failing, if you think you need some self-help bullshit about how to manage your time better, you don’t. There is nothing wrong with you. The reason we have so many exhausted, sick people hanging by one last nerve is not that we are all inadequate. It is that the grind is killing us.

When I entered the nonprofit world things got even trickier. Suddenly, it isn’t that you are giving all your life hours to make an owner even richer. It is that you are dedicated to a cause. When the people you are ostensibly helping seem even worse off than you, how can you justify cutting them off?

Ironically, one of the first nonprofits I worked for was an organization in California that helped people who were caring for someone with a brain impairment. I worked long hours. I was tired, stressed, and cranky. I spent zero time trying to be a part of the community. I didn’t treat people the way they should be treated. While I was supposedly helping caregivers, I had a life which would not have allowed me to do any caregiving. So how was that really helping anyone?

What I have come to see is that the more we work at our jobs, the worse off we are as a society. Our work structure is designed to provide cover for continuing discrimination and inequality. It is designed to prevent us from being able to participate in the life of our communities. It relies on a cadre of women – disproportionately poor women of color – whose struggles are mostly invisible. It is exploitation that we are all complicit in, whether you hire someone to clean your house or are so busy that you need to rely on the poverty wage workers who make your fast food. I began to understand what Nancy Fraser refers to as a “crisis of care.”

Between the need for increased working hours and the cutback in public services, the financialized capitalist regime is systematically depleting our capacities for sustaining social bonds. This form of capitalism is stretching our “caring” energies to the breaking point. This “crisis of care” should be understood structurally. By no means contingent or accidental, it is the expression, under current conditions, of a tendency to social-reproductive crisis that is inherent in capitalist society, but that takes an especially acute form in the present regime of financialized capitalism.

In short, Capitalism cares only about production and marginalizes the relationship building and care that our lives actually depend on. If our communities are falling apart, it is because the time we need to nurture the relationships that make communities strong is being stolen from us. I don’t see how we will resolve any other problem unless we can tackle this one.

Clearly, this is a systemic issue that will require collective action. But one of the first steps has to be reprogramming our own thinking and pushing back on the theft of our time and well-being.

It is not easy to break the cycle. It might even be a little terrifying. We have been programmed our whole lives to believe that one false move will land us on the streets. The reality is that some people really are in such a precarious position that they have little room to push. But that isn’t true for all of us. And the more collective hours we can recover, the more time we will have to do things to open space for the people who don’t have it now.

A good start is to push back against all the voices, including the ones in the back of our heads, which tell us to judge people for not being hard working enough. Push back when people start every conversation by asking what a person does for a living. Don’t work overtime if you can afford not to. Find ways to decrease your material needs or alternate ways to meet those needs. Refuse to get on emails outside of work hours. Take every minute of your vacation (if you are lucky enough to have it).

Thank people who actually take off when they are sick. Support paid sick days for everyone. Applaud publicly those who prioritize their family and community in actions and not just words. Call out anyone who criticizes people who actually have their priorities straight. Build a support system that makes risking your job a little less scary. Be there for others so that they can take risks too. Be the one who helps those trying to live without wage labor, not the Petty Crocker who resents anyone that isn’t working as much as they are.

When you have a moment of guilt or fear, think about how this system is designed to make it impossible to have a reasonable life. Think about all the people who could benefit from a drastic shift in culture and expectations. Ask why, if you leave work early or get on Facebook at your desk, employers say that you are stealing time. Yet it is totally accepted that an employer expects you to be on email 24/7, schedules meetings during lunch hour, or takes advantage of lax overtime exemption laws to make people work late for free.  Get pissed. Remember that you aren’t just pushing back for yourself. Remember that time is not money, time is life. They are stealing your life.

No matter how you earn your living, you aren’t doing anyone any favors by abandoning your loved ones, community, and health to the organization. No person can work 40 hours a week or more, support their loved ones in the way they deserve, be an active member of a community, be aware of what is going on in the world, be conscious about the systems they support, take care of themselves, create beautiful things, and find time for the joy that makes life worth living. Too many of us are sacrificing all the most important things on the altar of work. We need to look at our lives differently. Or as Fraser puts it

“The idea that you could build a society that assumes every adult is a person with primary care responsibilities, community engagements, and social commitments. That’s not utopian. It’s a vision based on what human life is really like.”

You can (and should) read the whole interview here.

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DNR: Please don’t plant Bradford pear trees

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The DNR says the best tree to replace any invasive tree species is one that’s native to a particular region, such as serviceberry trees that produce white spring blooms and fruit that attracts wildlife.

      
 
 
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Mike Pence to appear at Indianapolis 500

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Vice President returns to Indiana after student protest at Notre Dame

      
 
 
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Another reason not to go to the race.
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