This is an independent blog and is not affiliated with any particular church, group or conference. The term Bruderthaler refers to a specific ethnic or cultural Mennonite heritage, not to any particular organized group. All statements and opinions are solely those of the contributor(s). Blog comprises notebook fragments from various research projects and discussions. Dialogue, comment and notice of corrections are welcomed. Much of this content is related to papers and presentations that might be compiled at a future date, as such, this blog serves as a research archive rather than as a publication. 'tag

Friday, July 19, 2013

Central Plains Conference - Northern Cheyenne Reservation, MT

Central Plains Annual Meeting 2013
Ashland, Montana
June 20-23, 2013
Guided by the Spirit:  Knowing God's Love
Hosted by Ashland Christian Fellowship, Lame Deer Mennonite Church, and White River Cheyenne
 Mennonite Church


 Va’ohtama!  Wellkom!  Welcome!

courtesy Rev. Joetta Schlabach
courtesy Rev. Joetta Schlabach
"All over the sky a sacred voice is calling your name."

Black Elk  (note:  Black Elk is Oglala Sioux, not Northern Cheyenne)
courtesy Elliot Tapaha, Wolf Point, MT
"Presenting the Elements"       courtesy Stan Harder

"Our strong view of Scripture calls us to do our best
work in discerning the Scriptures together. Together
as Christ’s body, “We seek to understand and interpret 
Scripture in harmony with Jesus Christ as we are
led by the Holy Spirit in the church.” May you be
encouraged to engage the Scripture with God’s people
in meaningful ways as you listen for God’s Word that
guides your ministry and shapes our living.
... Tim Detweiler, Across the Fence, Spring 2013
courtesy Stan Harder
courtesy Stan Harder
"Indian Tacos !!!"                courtesy Stan Harder
 Flora Blacktail's Fry Bread

4 cups flour                                 2 teaspoons salt
3 Tablespoons baking powder    4 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon shortening            2 cups warm milk

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

too Staund brinji

Neu Bruderthaler Celebrates 20,000 hits!!!!
(That’s more than Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Hank Aron, Stan Musial and Tris Speaker, COMBINED!!!)

          ALL TIME                                        LAST 30 DAYS
USA  42.9%                                       USA  53.2%
Russia  13.9%                                     Canada  13.7%
Canada  10.5%                                   Russia  8.3%
Germany  3.6%                                   Latvia  4.2%
France  2.0%                                      Germany  3.2%
United Kingdom  1.9%                        France  2.0%
United Arab Emirates  1.2%                Poland  1.2%
Zud Afrika  1.1%                                United Kingdom  1.1%
Latvia  .8%                                         Zud Afrika  .8%
Netherlands  .7%                                Ukraine  .7%

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Justice post-Zimmerman

ne Je'rajchtijchkjeit

Trayvon Martin, Nickel Mines and Competing Concepts of Justice

     Faith Mennonite’s Tuesday discussion in preparation for the Sunday scriptural readings was meant to cover Matthew 25, the passage about not worrying after employment, food, shelter and basic needs that will be provided for by faith in Christ’s abundant provision.  Rather, we were ambushed and sidetracked by the emotions of the George Zimmerman murder-acquittal. 

    To be fair, the Mennonite church, like most Church denominations in America, is split between politically progressive and politically conservative believers, churches, conferences and sects.  Many Mennonite Christians celebrated the justice of Zimmerman’s acquittal, while others, including myself, saw a travesty against legal justice and social justice reflective of an inherently unjust socio-political system (some would go as far as calling it a “machine”). 

    One discussion participant was dealing with question regarding seeing the thousands of demonstrators in downtown Minneapolis… and with questions as to perceived silences by the church in these matters.  “To what extent should the church be liturgical versus pertinent in its approach to sermon prep?” was his question.  (Note that the pastor’s response was that a good liturgist should be able to draw a connection between the two… “There is ALWAYS a connection!” she stated.)

    Setting Matthew 25 aside, we delved in a discussion of justice… the word being bandied about by both the “winners” and the “losers” in Friday’s verdict.

    In a sense, we were noting that there are different senses of “Justice”.  On the one hand, Zimmerman’s supporters were celebrating a victory for what they perceived to be the legal justice of the trial.  Zimmerman was acquitted of charges leveled against him by an over-zealous, politicized prosecution in a trial that upheld principles of an individual’s protection from such injustice, and the justice of gun-ownership and the innate American right to self-defence were upheld as general principles of law in Florida.

    At the same time, those supporting the Martin family in their search for justice saw the inequalities of access to basic rights and the same legal, social and economic privileges being enjoyed by Zimmerman, as being denied to Martin, who was now dead… a victim as much of an inequitable, unjust social and legal system as much as of Zimmerman’s gun.

On-line coverage of Protests in New York's Union Square post-Acquittal

    I mean, the prosecution’s argument was that Trayvon ‘weaponized’ the sidewalk … and that somehow the fact that Martin was on the sidewalk justified Zimmerman’s use of lethal force in a gun.  This means that any Black man standing on any sidewalk can legitimately be seen as a threat … how do we even deal with this concept?” the conversational instigator presented.

    Returning to questions of justice, another brought forward… “Questions about justice often hinge on definitions… I have often had trouble correlating the Old Testament’s sense of prophetic justice (end time judgment, God’s judgments against nations) against Christ’s sense of justice.  Jesus’ sense of justice seemed to be less concerned with fault and judgment than with healing and repairing injustice.”

    “Well wouldn’t that be the definition of restorative justice?” others responded. 

    Yes, but coming home from the health club, I found myself in the midst of the demonstrations downtown.  What is that was being demanded?  In all of the sloganeering and passion, I would see a focus on the Old Testament sense of justice – a need for vengeance, a call for blood and reparations.  Is this our social definition of justice today?”

    We were unable to relate the two ideas apart from noting that both Zimmerman and Martin had had things taken away by the “event”… things that could never be replaced or repaired.  Martin was dead and Zimmerman would never regain a sense of true security – ‘just’ demands that things be put right were impossible in that nothing will bring back Martin’s life or provide future security to Zimmerman, now a modern-day Cain (Notably, one Huffington Post columnist went as far as to welcome Zimmerman into the Black world – a world wherein he would always feel like he was being watched, and where he would always feel like there was a giant target (mark of Cain) painted on his back).

    “I think that D (a member of the congregation), summed it up in her sermonette last Sunday when she shared that in searching for a verbal response to the acquittal and its impact on society, all she could say was that ‘Violence begets violence,’” the pastor summarized.

    But… where did that leave us?  That sounds good, but honestly, it leaves me still feeling hungry for justice… with the acquittal, there was no recognition at all that what Zimmerman did was wrong or that an innocent teenage is now dead… nothing.  It was a complete acquittal.  I am still hungry and I don’t even know what to do with these emotions of righteous rage.  It makes me mad to live in a society that just writes off a life like that,” I responded.

    At pastor’s suggestion, we poured over an email from Cynthia Villegas, whose brother is a Mennonite pastor in the Carolinas.  (Link)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mennonites in the Congo

The following is the account of Mennonites Bud and Clement Kroeker who are transporting a truck to Congo for to transport goods to the needy ... 'Bud' Kroeker takes us along for the pickup in Port Boma ... 
D.M. Stearns Missionary Fund
P.O. Box 1578
North Wales, PA 19454
Greetingsfrom Kinshasa.  
July 3, 2013

I landed here in Kinshasa safely Tuesday night, July 2. The pilot said that it had been perfect weather for flying, and our arrival was right on time. Just the same, it was midnight by the time I got to the home of Dan and Christine Grings who are giving me lodging.
Thank you for praying for this trip. All the last minute details were taken care of last week in spite of many unpredictable events.

This morning I woke up early. Erik Kumedisa came and we had a long conversation, discussing the plans for the coming days. The ship arrives tomorrow at the Port of Boma so the truck will be unloaded that evening or the next day.  Erik will come pick me up at 6 a.m. tomorrow and we will go by bus to the Port.

Two Congolese men helping us with customs documents are already there. We'll need to get the other papers for the truck, insurance, immatriculation paper, etc. in Boma once we get there.

Please pray that the customs fees will not be too high. Normally, non-profit organizations don't have the same tax fees, but it takes many months, even a year to get this exemption paper.

I will be meeting with pastors in a few minutes.

Thank you for your encouragement in preparing this trip. God is good. We thank Him for providing and for guiding us day by day.
Bud Kroeker
D. M. Stearns Missionary Fund
P.O.Box 1578
North Wales, PA 19454  USA
Clement & Charlotte Kroeker
15, Ave. des Mésanges — BE-1480  Tubize Clabecq, Belgium
Tél. +322 355 99 06 — E-mail:

07 July, 2013
Dear Friends,

We are here in the city of Boma for the first time, arriving last night. A Pastor welcomed us at the bus terminal and took an old taxi to drive us over dirt roads to the Hostel of the Old Port. As he showed us our room, he told us that the river was right next to us.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Kelly Hofer, Calgary Flood pt 3:3

Kelly Hofer, noted Hutterite photographer, captured the floods inundating Calgary, Alberta, late last month.  With his permission, we are sharing his experience and a few of his images with you revealing the flood and its impact on the community.

Part 3:  The Ritual of Community
met reinje ne Nobaschoft

all images used by permission and (c) Kelly Hofer, 2013.


Mennonite Culture

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