Theological Basis of Personal Ethics

In the report from the Congregational Ethics Study Committee it was suggested that consideration be given to updating and revising the 1966 Theological Basis of Personal Ethics.

That document can be downloaded here.

What do you think of its content?

Do you think it still speaks to our current understanding and living of Christianity in a Brethren Accent?

Camp Galilee

I climbed into the top bunk and glanced at my watch.  It read half an hour until campers arrive – just enough time to get my bearings.

Where am I?  Camp Galilee, West Virginia.

Will I have enough clothes to get through the week?   Hasn’t stopped me yet.

Will I be able to nestle in the cove of pine trees outside the window?  Time will tell.

What will God bring forth in the week to come?  …

There rests a mysterious anticipation in the moment between traveling and the arrival of campers – a moment to dream of what might be experienced.  Each camp is so new and each mix of individuals so unique.  In this sense, Camp Galilee held a special mystery for me.  Despite the web of Brethren connections from camp to camp, I had never been to Galilee, never met the staff, and didn’t yet sense where God might be leading me.

As with each week, mystery soon turns to movement.  Camper after camper ran into our cabin, claiming their space and catching up with summer friends.  Parents were skirted away, and into a week of sharing we went.

In the corner of the recreation hall at Camp Galilee rested a large pad of newsprint a camper and I had been eyeing up all week.  Activities kept us swirling past until finally we grabbed the board, crayons, Mr. Sketch smelly markers, and headed outside.  Setting up our outdoor studio, we began sketching the Camp Galilee driveway, sign, and gorgeous tree just behind.  As we worked, camper after camper came behind us…

Camper – Watcha drawing?

Me – Camp.  Would you like to draw?  Grab a maker.

Camper – Uh, no way.  I’d mess it up.

Me – Yo, everyone has a touch of creativity inside them.

Camper – Everyone except me.  The height of my creativity rests in stick figures.

Me – I love stick figures!  Draw some here.

Camper – Haha, nah.

Me – Alright then, I think the sky needs some purple over there.  Give it a whirl…

Camper – …ok

Soon our setup had a clan of artists working hard, stepping away, adding something more, and coming back to proudly check progress.  Individuals no longer looked to me for direction, but to their own leading and community support.

When we create a space for all youth — shy, bold, self-conscious, outspoken, gay, searching, active, compassionate — we create a space for something beautiful to emerge.  Sometimes the beauty is art of crayons and markers.  Other times, beauty is found in the process of creation itself.  When youth create a supportive community, this is a dance of beauty.  When they join singing, forming dramas, playing games, and seeking God, beauty is found.

Emerging from mystery came art — the art of creating space, building community, and bringing forth beauty.  May it be so with us, our communities, our church, our world.

Peace and joy,


Brethren Woods – Keepin’ It Extreme

“I think I’ll try climbing the most difficult rock face, because we keep it extreme!”

“This down hill crawlspace looks like a tight fit…I’ll do it head first! Gotta keep it extreme.”

“Let’s see how many people we can fit in one canoe…and let’s act like pirates at the same time! Keepin’ it extreme!”

The Campers of Youth Challenge Camp at Brethren Woods no only know how to have a fun filled week of camp, but, as their motto for that week says, they “Keep it extreme!” From a day worth of canoeing on the rapids of the Shenandoah river, to crawling into the depths of the Earth with caving and then climbing vertically to the clouds with rock climbing in West Virginia, what an adventure it was to be a part of this group all week! While Peace Team got to lead a session for the other younger campers, we primarily followed the youth challenge camp’s schedule. What a blast!

What was most “extreme” about the senior high campers was the joy and compassion in between the official “adventures.” Like staging a spontaneous “sit-in” after a meal or creating a human tunnel for other groups entering the dinning hall; what fun! Or, accepting everyone in the group and forming meaningful friendships; what compassion! Or laughing for hours as we looked at God’s star-filled sky; what community! Those youth at Brethren Woods, like the other campers and counselors there, taught us a thing or two about how to keep everything in life extreme…specifically the joy in community.

YPTT reflections on Annual Conference 2011

When we claim to be both a historic and living peace church, yet we do not lament our brokenness, where do we go from here?

When progressive and BRF young adults spend an evening together playing games and building friendships, why don’t we go from here?

When women were ordained in the Church of the Brethren in 1958, yet we undermine the vote for a woman in 2011, where do we go from here?

When Bethany Theological Seminary lifts up all women’s voices, why don’t we go from here?

When our global neighbors are suffering from the impacts of climate change, yet we are slow to take responsibility and action, where do we go from here?

When those in the Church of the Brethren transform their churches and homes to be energy efficient with the help of the New Community Project, why don’t we go from here?

When youth and young adults on the Annual Conference floor push for our voice to be heard even more, where do we go from here?

When Moderator Tim Harvey holds a meeting to hear youth and young adult concerns, and challenges them to take it upon themselves to invest in the church, why don’t we go from here?

When youth and young adults are in love with a Church of the Brethren which lives a just love and peace, yet this church has seemed to disappear before them, where do we go from here?

When youth and young adults are inspired by Brethren who literally put their lives on the line for peace, why don’t we go from here?

When the theme of Annual Conference is “Gifted with Promise: Extending Jesus’ Table,” yet the church does not extend this table to our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, where do we go to here?

When a spontaneous footwashing is held to support all walks of life in the church, why don’t we go from here?

When we focus so much on being in the world, not of the world, that we forget we are FOR the world, where do we go from here?

When Brethren rise through Brethren Disaster Ministries, New Community Project, On Earth Peace, Washington Advocacy…enough said, why don’t we go from here?

When we lift up the love of law over the law of love, where do we go from here?

Radically following the life of Jesus, why don’t we go from here?

Striving to live as radically as we began,
Kay, Mark, Sarah, Tyler