Tag Archives: eastern mennonite university

Story Doula is Taking a Lengthy Blogging Sabbatical

Thanks for your interest. I’ll be living life offline for awhile.

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Filed under A Story Doula Kind of Story, Giant Adventures

Erik Ehn: The Avalanche Towards Peace

Erik Ehn is a prolific playwright and peacebuilder who offered intriguing metaphors and keen insight about Peacebuilding and the Arts at this week’s Brandeis roundtable and think tank.  Among many other things, Ehn conducts annual trips to Rwanda/Uganda, taking students and professionals in the field to study the history of these countries, and to explore the ways art is participating in recovery from violence. He produces the Arts in the One World conference yearly, which engages themes of art and social change.

Here is Erik’s take on the inevitable emergence of arts in the practice of peacebuilding:

And here is more on Erik Ehn:

Erik Ehn’s body of work includes The Saint Plays, No TimeLike the Present, Wolf at the Door, Tailings, Beginner, Ideas of Good and Evil, and an adaptation of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. He is currently working on completing a series of 15 plays – Soulographie – on the history of the US in the 20th Century from the point of view of its genocides, intended for production in NY in April 2012 (scripts include Maria Kizito, Heavenly Shades of Night are Falling, Yermedea, Drunk Still Drinking). His works have been produced in San Francisco (Intersection, Thick Description, Yugen), Seattle (Annex, Empty Space), Austin (Frontera), New York (BACA, Whitney Museum), San Diego (Sledgehammer), Chicago (Red Moon), Atlanta (7 Stages), Los Angeles (Cal Rep, Museum of Jurassic Technology), Belgrade (Dah); elsewhere.

He has taught at the U of Iowa, Naropa, UC San Diego, UT Dallas, and Cal Arts (graduate); U San Francisco, SF State, Santa Clara, and Skidmore (undergrad); he just completed a writing workshop with the Belarus Free Theater in Minsk.

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Filed under Peacebuilding and The Arts

An Essay About Life in the Shenandoah Valley

AnnaMaria Johnson and Steven David  Johnson capture perfectly why I love living in this place so much.  “What It’s Like Living Here”, a multimedia essay, was published on-line today at Numero Cinq.

Here’s a little box turtle preview:

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Filed under A Story Doula Kind of Story, The Shenandoah Valley

We are wrapped in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya!

We’ll miss our new friends and we’ll be happy to see the old ones.  What an amazing time we’ve had here. Click here for our final UNHCR blog post.

And below, check out our fearless crew’s ascent of the camp water tower in search of the perfect establishing shot.

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Filed under A Story Doula Kind of Story, Kakuma 5 Commitments Posts, The Giant, Videos, Voodles

EMU Faculty Art Opening at Blue Ridge Community College

Sept. 2 – a lovely art opening! Thanks BRCC and my talented colleagues.

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Filed under A Story Doula Kind of Story, morning pages

The Giant as Video Artist

Excited!  Today is the opening reception (4-6pm) for EMU Visual and Communication Arts faculty show at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, VA.  After years (okay decades) of broadcast and internet-based pieces – my digital media has migrated to a video frame on the wall of an art gallery.

If you come by today you’ll get to check out this piece titled Expand Everything. Experiment Everything:  

Here’s what Cyndi Gusler is showing:

Cyndi Gusler, VaCA Faculty

These crafty madonnas are Barbara Faust’s:

Barbara Faust, VaCA Faculty

Introducing Jerry Holsopple:

Jerry Holsopple, VaCA Faculty

And here’s one of Steve Johnson’s pieces:

Steve Johnson, VaCA Faculty


Filed under A Story Doula Kind of Story, Giant Adventures, morning pages, The Giant, Videos

The Naked Anabaptist

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Sooo, here’s a question.  Why would a cranky, cynical, seemingly secular urbanite like me delve into a serious journey examining spirituality and faith?  Well, in the past few years I’ve been hanging out with Anabaptists – first as an M.A. student in Conflict Transformation at Eastern Mennonite’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding and now as digital media faculty with EMU’s Visual and Communication Arts Program.

These folks are radical.  They throw down for justice. They don’t fly a flag because they won’t commit to the State (only to God).  Anabaptists are profoundly non-violent and I am discovering how this plays out in interactions all over the community.   I am pushed and pulled (non-violently!) by this set of practices and am in a process of discovery with (among so many others) a formidable Mennonite mentor named Beryl.

Apparently, I am not the only non-Mennonite exploring the modern implications of this 500-year-old faith whose followers consider themselves (and often actively place themselves) on the fringe of society.  The first reading assignment Beryl and I will explore together will be the recent book intriguingly titled “The Naked Anabaptist” – written by an Anabaptist “outsider” named Stuart Murray.  I’ll get back to this topic throughout the semester as Beryl, other EMU colleagues and I compare notes.

In the meantime, here is an excerpt from an interview with Murray. His quote that Anabaptism “is a way of following Jesus that challenges, disturbs, and inspires” rings true.

Why do you think there is growing interest in Anabaptism in Great Britain and other countries in Europe?

Europe has become very secular. The old links between the church and the state—what used to be called “Christendom”—are disappearing. Today we are living in a post-Christendom era, when the church is no longer at the center of societal life. Since the early Anabaptists also lived at the margins of society, their experiences and perspectives are attractive to many people who are looking for ways to live faithfully as follows of Jesus today.

What are the bare essentials of Anabaptism for you?
For me, there are seven essentials, or core convictions. First and foremost is belief in Jesus; he is our example, teacher, friend, redeemer and Lord. The second is seeing Jesus as the focal point of God’s revelation. The third is being free from the state and all that Christendom implied.

Fourth, Anabaptists are committed to finding ways to be good news to the poor, powerless and persecuted. Fifth, Anabaptist churches are called to be communities of discipleship and mission, friendship, mutual accountability and multi-voiced worship. Sixth, spirituality and economics are interconnected for Anabaptists—something that is very important in our individualist and consumerist culture.

Finally, for Anabaptists peace is central to the gospel. It is not the center of the gospel—Jesus is the center of it all. It is as followers of Jesus that we are committed to finding nonviolent alternatives to violence in our world—not peace for its own sake.


Filed under A Story Doula Kind of Story, Pathways to Whole, The Giant