The Super Bowl Prostitution Myth

Super Bowl 49Every year I see at least a few people claiming as a matter of fact that the Super Bowl is the worst day/event of the year for sex trafficking by a wide margin. It’s a logical claim. It is the most stereotypically-manly day of the year. A lot of men travel to the Super Bowl without their significant others. Plus these men have to be pretty wealthy to have Super Bowl tickets and willing to use that wealth for short-term good experiences, so it makes sense they would use it for prostitution as well. Put it all together and you get wealthy high-on-testosterone men without their significant others looking for other “manly” things to do, which apparently having sex with a slave qualifies as. In theory, it is the perfect storm for increased prostitution, including those who were trafficked.

The problem is that it simply isn’t true. Or more accurately, there is zero evidence that sex trafficking or even prostitution in general increases for the Super Bowl. (more…)

Talking About Stuff on WikiGodPod

WikiGodPod: Our Stories Shaping GodA week and a half ago, I was interviewed by Mark Groleau for WikiGodPod. It was published this past Monday so you can check it out from the WikiGodPod website or through iTunes or other RSS readers. Aside from my own, I’m happy to recommend this podcast. It brings in a different voice from somewhere in Southern Ontario each week to talk about a range of different things.

In my chat with Mark, we covered my work with the Canadian Bible Society, this blog, pacifism, MennoNerds with our book A Living Alternative, judgementalism around LGBTQ persons in the Church, and embracing our differences instead of condemning each other over them.

(more…)

Generous Spaciousness by Wendy Gritter (Review)

New Direction CanadaI’ve provided a few quotes already from Wendy Gritter’s Generous Spaciousness. See the posts: Judgement in LGBT Debates, Internalizing Hate Messages, and Homosexuality: A Disputable Matter. Now for a more general review.

There are a few great books about same-sex marriage, one of the biggest issues in the church right now. The priority of most are to establish either that it is condemned by God (traditionalists/non-affirming) or blessed by God like any other marriage (affirming). Those books definitely have their place, especially for those who have to personally decide for themselves. This book, however, offers something that is more important, especially for the majority of us in the church who do not experience substantial same-sex attraction.
(more…)

Birthing New Systems

"I never intend to adjust myself in economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few." - MLKAt our worship gathering Sunday morning, we sang the song “God of the Bible.” Verses 3-5 really stuck out to me, in many ways representing the best of the Anabaptist tradition. On MLK Day in the U.S., this seems like an appropriate segment to share.

Those without status,
those who are nothing,
You have made royal,
gifted with rights,
chosen as partners,
midwives of justice,
birthing new systems,
lighting new lights.

Not by your finger,
not by your anger,
will our world order
change in a day, but, by your people,
fearless and faithful,
small paper lanterns,
lighting the way.
(more…)

Vicky Beeching at GCN Conference

I’m a big fan of Vicky Beeching. Her music is some of my favourite worship music, plus she’s a brilliant theologian, a bit of a tech nerd, funny, and British, so wins all around even before her recent coming out as a lesbian.

She recently provided a keynote at Gay Christian Network’s Conference. Her personal story is powerful and is probably similar to a lot of LGBTQ Christians (without the famous musician part). Her message about embracing stories and wrestling with God rather than settling for easy absolute answers is one we all need to hear, no matter our sexual orientation.

If you’re interested more in ministry with LGBTQ people, check out the upcoming MennoNerds podcast with New Direction Canada.

Homosexuality: A Disputable Matter

New Direction CanadaIn the chapter “A Disputable Matter?” Wendy Gritter of New Direction Canada fleshes out her suggested approach to issues around same-sex attraction. She begins with a discussion of the idea of disputable matters in the church, using texts like Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8-10. She also discusses Jesus’ words that people should be judged by the fruit of the spirit in their lives, not by whether they have their theology of gender and sexuality correct.

She then moves to the conclusion, applying it to this discussion:

To recap, Paul says that when we encounter a genuine believer who disagrees with us we need to accept them, without quarreling, without viewing them with contempt, and without a judgmental attitude. He says not to put a stumbling block in a brother’s or sister’s way and to work toward peace and mutual edification. He challenges us to keep our convictions about disputable matters to ourselves and to live consistently with our consciences. Imagine if that actually became our posture toward one another in this contentious conversation at the intersection of faith and sexuality. Imagine if we didn’t back one another into a corner demanding to know where we stand on this question of covenanted same-sex relationships as the ultimate orthodoxy test. Imagine if we did not judge the heart’s motivation of those who conclude differently than we do. Imagine if we ceased showing contempt to those who disagree with us. Imagine if we stopped our quarreling. Imagine if we no longer put stumbling blocks in the way of those who were deeply wrestling with these questions and desperately needing some safe space to search out God’s heart and will for them. If all those things were true, we would be experiencing the richness of generous spaciousness.

(more…)

A Living Alternative Giveaway

A Living AlternativeIt’s that time where I am excited to offer up a copy of A Living Alternative! 

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Follow Anabaptist Redux on Facebook and share the link to this post from there. That post will be pinned to the top of the page. Make sure it is done as a share so it links back to Anabaptist Redux.
  2. Follow MennoNerds on Facebook and share the link from there to the book listing on our website. That post is pinned to the top of the page. Note: if you search for MennoNerds, make sure you go to the page, not the group.
  3. Follow @Ryan_LR on Twitter and tweet:

    I just entered to win a copy of #ALivingAlternative by the @MennoNerds from @Ryan_LR at anabpatistredux.com/a-living-alternative-giveaway

  4. Follow +RyanRobinson on Google Plus and share the link to this blog post from the page there.
  5. Comment on this blog post with why you’re excited to read the book.
  6. Follow @mennonerds on Instagram and reshare the post about Ryan’s giveaway, including the link.
  7. Join the MennoNerds Goodreads group and make a comment on the forum “Ryan’s book giveaway”

(more…)

Bible Translations Overview

Canadian Bible Society. The Word. For Life.With my work for the Canadian Bible Society, I have been converting some old PDF newsletters into HTML5 formats. One newsletter – Word @ Work Winter 2010 – included this helpful chart copied here. Therefore the following content is copyright of the Canadian Bible Society, not me. Note that since it was from 2010, it isn’t completely up to date, e.g. the newest revision of NIV or a personal favourite the Common English Bible (CEB).

(more…)

Internalizing Hate Messages

New Direction CanadaAs we head up to a MennoNerds interview with New Direction Canada, including Executive Director Wendy Gritter, I’d like to share another few quotes from her work Generous Spaciousness. In this one, she shares a story as part of a discussion about our images of God.

One day during Christian family camp, my twelve-year-old son told me what had happened that morning in chapel. He said that the leader had talked about the concubine from the book of Judges. (If you recall, this story is about the men of a village demanding an old man to allow them to sexually violate a [male] stranger who was visiting him. Rather than complying with the demand to send a man out to experience such violation, the two men sent out the man’s concubine. She is gang raped all night, crawls to the door in the morning, collapses, and dies on the threshold.) As you might imagine, I was horrified. Apparently, this youth pastor had talked about accounts of sin throughout the Old Testament, beginning with Adam and Eve and particularly highlighting the stories of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the concubine. My son said the leader talked about how he never dreamed when he was a kid that there would be a time when homosexuality would be accepted – but not it was. He used that as the example to demonstrate how rampant sin was in our culture to try to motivate the kids toward holy living. My son was quite upset and confused. I asked my son how a gay youth might have felt, and he said, “I think they would have walked out.” Sadly, I think they would have been too scared to walk out and would have instead stayed and internalized the negative message.

(more…)

Answering Cardinal Raymond Burke on Feminism

Raymond Burke
Photo from the CT article

I just saw Vicky Beeching tweet a link to this article at Christianity Today entitled Feminism to blame for men’s crisis of confidence, says cardinal. I’m sure you can tell by the title that there are some ridiculous ideas presented here.

Marginalized Men

How about this one, alongside referring to men as “marginalized”?

Unfortunately, the radical feminist movement strongly influenced the Church, leading the Church to constantly address women’s issues at the expense of addressing critical issues important to men.

(more…)