I should probably start this blog off by explaining exactly what this blog is going to be. And to explain what this blog is going to be, I should explain who this blog is to be about: youth and young adults in the Church of the Brethren. What I want to do is examine the relevant issues we face in the world today, from religion and morality to news and politics, all through the lens of Brethren and youth identity.
This blog does not need to be exclusively Brethren. In fact, I'd say "exclusively Brethren" is probably an oxymoron. Don't flee if you aren't a member of or don't identify with our church; there might be something for you here, as many of these themes are universal, both within our generation (I'm 21) and beyond. However, I feel the need to ground these themes in a shared identity, which for me is going to be Brethren.
I also want to put out a call for other authors. While I see the value of coherency and consistency of thought, I do want to imply that I am the voice of Brethren youth. I don't want to wind up with a forum of several dozen writers (see young.anabaptistradicals.org), but I very much want some other people who are willing to contribute to this blog (anyone is, of course, both welcome and encouraged to comment). If you like thinking about religion, politics, life and Brethrenness, and feel you can contribute thoughtful posts with some reasonable regularity (nothing crazy, just one every week or two), please contact me at nmkauffman (at) spartans (dot) manchester (dot) edu and I'll look into adding you to the authors list. Note that you'll need a gmail account and the ability to use blogspot's interface (it isn't hard :-).
One more thing: I do not want this to turn into a political forum or a hotspot for debate. Yes, controversial issues tend to be among the most relevant, and I want to address them. But this is a site for examination, not arguing. There can be a fine line, but some general guidelines (off the top of my head) could be:
For posting: Pretend you're giving a sermon. Use open and accepting language. Be affirming of the humanity and the Christ in all your readers. But also remember that you don't have to write some big long thing: anything we can share in is good (e.g. - famous quotes from Walt Wiltschek ;-).
For commenting: See above. Be respectful of the thought and searching that went into the post. Try to ask questions rather than provide "answers." Look for common ground. Be challenging, but only in a way as to open up more ideas and thoughts, rather than in a way that discourages or closes them off.
I'm sitting on a few articles that I'll try to throw up sometime in the next couple of days. In the meantime, if you happen to stumble upon this site and want to do some writing, let me know.
-Nick Miller Kauffman