Seeking Peace in Trump’s America

I’ll cut right to the chase: the world has seldom needed the peace witness of the Church of the Brethren more than it does right now. In two months, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as President of the United States. The commander-in-chief of the world’s largest, most well-funded, and most-powerful military will be a man who has shown himself to be erratic and impulsive, especially when provoked.

During the Presidential campaign, the president-elect was not subtle about his disposition towards military force. He said that he “loves war,” and promised to be “the most militaristic” president ever. He campaigned on a promise to reinstate torture and has advocated for killing not just suspected terrorists, but their entire families as well. He has promised to “bomb the shit” out of middle eastern villages. He proposed sending ground troops into Iraq and Syria. He has advocated for nuclear proliferation in Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Japan. He has refused to “rule out” using nuclear weapons himself, even questioning repeatedly why we can’t use them.

This is to say nothing of Trump’s policies on refugees, on immigrants, on Muslims, on LGBT people, on people of color, on climate change, on police use of force, on healthcare, and a whole suite of positions that endanger people in the US and around the world. It’s to say nothing of his divisive and inflammatory campaign tactics, which inflamed racial and religious divisions, emboldened bigotry, and inspired hate crimes.

We must be clear: the world’s greatest threat to peace isn’t ISIS, or Russia, or North Korea, or Iran, or China. It is the United States under a President Trump.

Throughout our history, the Church of the Brethren has stood up to violence and been a voice calling from the wilderness for peace, diplomacy, and nonviolence. We follow a God of love and the Prince of Peace. We worship and disciple ourselves to a man who taught us to love our enemies and pray for those who hate us. For as long as Donald Trump occupies the Oval Office, it is on each of us in the Church of the Brethren to mobilize and organize against his dangerous, reckless, and violent approach to public policy. Christ said, “blessed are the peacemakers.” It is time to get us some blessing.

This is not to say that we should not pray for Mr. Trump. We should. It is certainly not to say that we should attack, demonize, and mistreat his supporters. We should not. But the world is watching the United States with fear and anxiety in their hearts. And they’re watching the church, too. What we do matters. The stands we choose to take matter. Will we be a voice for the powerless and seekers of peace? Will we continue to be one of the world’s historic peace denominations? I hope so. I plan to show up, and I hope you do too.


podiumEmmett Eldred is a senior Creative Writing; Professional Writing; and Ethics, History, and Public Policy Major at Carnegie Mellon University. His passions include reading about, writing about, and snuggling with pugs. Emmett is the founder of DunkerPunks.com, and he wants lots more people to contribute! Fill out a Dunker Punks profile, and join the conversation! Follow Emmett on twitter @emmetteldred and follow Dunker Punks on Twitter @DunkerPunks and on Facebook.

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The Problem Isn’t Just Televangelists

Last Sunday, John Oliver devoted his main segment on his HBO show, Last Week Tonight, to the excesses and predatory methods of some televangelists. His analysis focused specifically on those televangelists who espouse the “prosperity gospel,” often in order to convince desperate people that if they give the church large sums of money, that donation will act as a “seed” which they can reap for personal financial blessing in the future.

At their worst, such televangelists prey on people in dire financial or even health-related emergencies, endangering these people’s well-being. At their least harmful, they still profess a wealth-centric message that stands counter to Christ’s commandment to the rich man to sell his possession and give the money to the poor (Matt. 19:21) or Christ’s statement in the Sermon on the Mount that we cannot serve both God and money (Matt. 6:24).

Jesus is saying in both of these examples that we really can’t follow God if we occupy our time, energy, and spirits with pursuing money. How ironic, then, that we have found a way to employ even our faith as a way to build wealth.

Here’s the thing, though. While Oliver’s segment exposes a real and problematic issue in the larger Christian church, televangelists are hardly the only Christians guilty of loving money. I worry that we might watch Oliver’s segment and be tempted to feel good about ourselves because we’re not like those prosperity gospel Christians.

Instead, we should take Oliver’s segment as a challenge to ourselves: in what ways do we ignore God because we love money? When do we Christians leverage our financial and political power to gain special privileges in society?

Rather than scapegoat televangelists in order to absolve ourselves of any need to change our ways, we should take Oliver’s segment as an invitation to consider how we can better serve God with all we have, including our money, rather than expect our service to God to result in financial or political gain.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers. But I’ll just offer one thought to get the conversation going.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of televangelism is not just their focus on getting money, but what televangelists tend to do with the money once they get it. Oliver’s segment began by discussing how several televangelists very publicly asked for money to fund luxury private jets. Others took advantage of lax tax laws to build huge mansions that they called parsonages. Such expenses do nothing to advance the kingdom of heaven or serve God.

We do the same thing in our own churches. All too often, the money we raise in offerings or in capital campaigns is used to get new pews or a new organ or to fix our stain glassed windows. Simply put, we use the money we take in to enrich ourselves in non-essential ways. We make our buildings more aesthetically pleasing and comfortable, which seems to benefit the existing members of the church a lot more than it benefits the community.

Is it possible for us to simplify church, even a little bit, and use that money to serve others instead?

I’ll close with a scripture to emphasize my point: In his parable about the sheep and goats, Jesus says:

I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” (Matt. 25:35-40)

We serve God by serving others. We love God by loving others. I’m not saying that we ignore the needs of church facilities or members. But I am saying that we rearrange our priorities to meet the needs of the community before our own wants. If your church doesn’t have a program that serves the community, start one! Focus more on outreach than inreach. Let’s serve God with all our hearts, all our minds, and all our strength.

What are your ideas? How can we better serve God with all that we have?

Post your thoughts in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter. Share this article and get more conversations going!


Emmett Eldred - Hollidaysburg COB, Middle PA District

Emmett Eldred is a junior Creative Writing; Professional Writing; and Ethics, History, and Public Policy Major at Carnegie Mellon University. His passions include reading about, writing about, and snuggling with pugs. Emmett is the founder of DunkerPunks.com, and he wants lots more people to contribute! Fill out a Dunker Punks profile, and join the conversation! Follow Emmett on twitter @emmetteldred and follow Dunker Punks on Twitter @DunkerPunks and on Facebook.

Want to contribute? Fill out a Dunker Punks profile, and/or email Emmett at dunkerpunks2014@gmail.com.

Views expressed on the Dunker Punks blog do not necessarily reflect the views of everyone within the Dunker Punks movement. We are a diverse group united by Christ, not uniform in agreement

A Loving Dissent to the Southeastern District’s Resolution on Same-Sex Marriage

This week, the Southeastern District of the Church of the Brethren adopted the following resolution about same-sex marriage at their district conference:

We affirm that for the church scriptures provide the final authority for defining practices for followers of Christ and for His church. Timothy 3:16 states that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Therefore, it is our attempt as a body of Christian believers to follow the teachings and commandments in this holy book.  

In regards to marriage Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” And he went on to say in Genesis 2:24: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Marriage is set forth as the bond between a man and a woman. Jesus re-affirms this scripture in Mark 10:6-8.

In the Old Testament in Leviticus 18:22 says “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. The New Testament in Romans 1 likewise speaks against such practices as does I Corinthians 6:9-11)

In addition, Annual Conference in 1983 stated that same sex covenants are not acceptable to the Church of the Brethren.

We therefore affirm that
1. All are invited and welcomed to come and worship the Lord.
2. Marriage is a God ordained covenant that should be entered into by one man and one woman.
3. The Southeastern District will not accept performance of same-sex covenants or marriages by its licensed or ordained ministers.
4. The Southeastern District will not accept the performance of those ceremonies on any property that is a part of the Southeastern District. 
5. In addition we will not support any materials or anyone promoting the acceptance of the practice of homosexuality as a lifestyle that is approved by God.

I am deeply saddened by the Southeastern Districts decision. On their website about District conference, the Southeastern District says this about their conference theme, which was “Walk in the Light:”

“It seems that we can follow Christ, the Light of the world, or stumble in the darkness. Let’s walk in the light and seek to reflect the light to others as we go.”

How sad that they’ve forgotten their own words about following Christ, and instead have stumbled into the darkness.

I hope the rest of us in the COB can reach out with love but also with firmness to the Southeastern District, to tell them that this is not acceptable and that hate is the real abomination. Of course, we must also acknowledge that the SE district’s statement is not outside of the Church of the Brethren’s own policy regarding human sexuality. While it is important to denounce the Southeastern District’s resolution, it is far more important to resist and change this policy within our entire denomination.

Still, it is my hope that by offering a loving dissent to the Southeastern District’s resolution, we can begin to resist the arguments used to wage spiritual violence on the LGBTQ+ people within our denomination. For my part, here is a biblical response to each point raised in the Southeastern resolution.

Point 1: “We affirm that for the church scriptures provide the final authority for defining practices for followers of Christ and for His church.”

That the Bible offers clarity on the issue of same-sex marriage is not true. It would be nice and convenient if it did, but it doesn’t. At least not explicitly. Instead, Biblical law is full of nuance and complication, buried under layers of different commandments enacted at different times that, when read holistically, would be impossible to follow entirely.

However, the Bible does provide some helpful summaries of what the law is trying to achieve. When it becomes impossible to know if we are in accordance with the law, we can at least look to these helpful verses, to see if we are in accordance with what the law is trying to accomplish. Here a few of those verses:

Micah 6:8 – “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Matthew 7:12 – “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law.”

Galatians 5:22-23 – “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.

I’ve added emphasis to these verses to highlight why they can be helpful in understanding God’s law. While we can’t hope to be in accordance with every facet of the law, we can look to these verses to understand why the law exists and what the law is trying to accomplish.

It seems pretty obvious that the intent behind the law is to build a community of people who actively love one another. People should practice kindness and mercy, they should treat others as they would want to be treated themselves. They should pursue justice. They should be loving, patient, generous, and gentle. I don’t think any of these things apply to the Southeastern District’s resolution, nor any other attempt to inflict spiritual harm on LGBTQ+ people.

Point 2: “Marriage is set forth as the bond between a man and a woman.”

I think the scriptures referenced in Genesis reflect the biological reality that when the Bible was written, only men and women could reproduce. These scriptures never say that this arrangement is the only permissible arrangement.

The SE District’s whole argument for this point is reminiscent of the “Biblical marriage” argument, that “one man and one women” is the Biblical standard for marriage. I would point to the many examples, from Abraham to Jacob to Solomon, of men with multiple wives to assert that the notion of “biblical marriage” is an invention of 20th and 21st century thought, not an arrangement of marriage backed up by scripture.

Today, our culture views marriage differently. Just as we view polygamy as unacceptable because of legal complications and because of its exploitative nature, so have our entire standards for marriage shifted. While marriage in ancient society had more to do with property, power, and patriarchy, marriage in our culture has much more to do with love between committed adults and a family structure that is good for the economy and good for society. As a Church community, we should affirm marriage as a healthy arrangement for spiritual growth and for the nurturing of adults and children. There is no reason to believe that same-sex marriage would be any different.

As for Mark 10:6-8, I would caution the SE district to examine the entire context of this quote by Jesus, because it reveals the hypocrisy and hateful agenda behind singling out same-sex couples for discrimination. In Mark 10:2, the Pharisees approach Jesus and ask him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” Jesus replies by quoting Genesis in Mark 10:6-8, and then he continues in verse nine to say, “What God has joined together, let no one separate.”

In Mark 10: 6-8, Jesus isn’t talking about same-sex relations, nor is reaffirming a particular arrangement for couples. Instead, he is condemning divorce. I would like to see a statement from the SE District concerning divorce and remarriage. Why have we chosen instead to single out LGBTQ+ couples for shame and condemnation?

As for me, I choose to stand by Jesus in Mark 10:9: “What God has joined together, let no one separate.” I know enough same-sex couples to have witnessed God moving in those relationships. What God has joined together, I think the SE District nor anyone else ought to separate.

Point 3: “In the Old Testament in Leviticus 18:22 says “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. The New Testament in Romans 1 likewise speaks against such practices as does I Corinthians 6:9-11)”

There are several ways to approach Leviticus 18:22 in a way that affirms same-sex relations. One such way is with proper understanding of cultural context. Just as ancient marriage had more to do with power than with love, so often did all sexual acts. I’ll exemplify the point I’m trying to make with another scripture often used to condemn same-sex relations: Genesis 19, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. In the beginning of Genesis 19, two angels of the Lord come in male form to Lot’s house in Sodom. At night, the men of Sodom surround Lot’s house, and demand that he send the angels out into the streets so that they can rape them.

Such was a common practice in ancient culture, to exercise violent sexual dominance over strangers. Which does the Lord have a problem with? Same-sex attraction? Or sexual violence? I think it’s the latter. In Leviticus 18:22, is it possible that the scripture forbids this same expression of sexual violence and dominance? I believe so. The rest of the sexual taboos in Leviticus 18 have to do with the same themes: sexual violence, exploitation, and humiliation. Do I believe the Lord is against sexual violence against others? Yes. Do I believe the Lord is against same-sex attraction built on a foundation of love, respect, and consent? No, I don’t.

Romans 1 is another one of those scriptures that when read in full context speaks a very different story about how Christians should respond to LGBTQ+ people. Romans 1 lays out a laundry list of sinful behavior, among which is that same violent form of sexuality, as well as other sins like envy, violence, deceit, faithlessness, heartlessness, and ruthlessness. Then, just when you expect Paul to affirm to those of us who refrain from sinful behavior, he turns the other way and says, at the beginning of Romans 2: “Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.”

How ironic that the SE District should use Romans 1 as a justification to judg eothers, when the point of Romans 1 is to set up Paul’s instruction in Romans 2 that we not judge one another. I’m reminded of Jesus in John 8:7, who said, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone.” Of course, Jesus, who was without sin, had every right to cast that stone, but he didn’t, because he envisioned an arrangement of God’s kingdom here on earth that prioritized love over legalism, and restorative justice over punishment, and Grace and mercy over condemnation.

Here is the NRSV text for 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 – ”

“Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

I’m not sure exactly which part of this scripture is taken to be a direct condemnation of same-sex relations, but I assume it is either the term “male prostitutes” or “sodomites.” Both of these terms are once again best understood within the ancient cultural understanding of these terms.

I don’t think Paul’s gripe with male prostitutes had as much to do with the same-sex encounters with which they were a part, as much as his gripe is with the commodification of sex, of turning sex into an act that valued economic power. Just like the scripture in Leviticus condemns the use of sex to express power, so does Paul’s commentary here seem to condemn those who view sex as an expression of power or economic might.

Aside from my earlier commentary on what the actual sexual sin of Sodom was, it’s important to understand what the bible describes as the sin of Sodom. You might be surprised. The sin of Sodom is same-sex relations, right? Even if we take my understanding of sexual violence to heart, it’s still mostly about sex, right? Wrong.

The bible references “the sin of Sodom” several times. Here’s a typical example from Ezekiel 16:49-50:

“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me.”

The sin of Sodom had a lot more to do, once again, with exploitation and ruthlessness. They were unconcerned. They did not help the poor and needy. I do not think it is fair to say that Paul’s intent behind writing about “Sodomites” was to condemn LGBTQ+ people. Once again, this is a projection of our culture, which uses the term “sodomite” as a slur for LGBTQ+ people.

Once again, I want to emphasize that the biggest problem with the SE District’s resolution on Same-Sex marriage is that this resolution is fully within denominal policy. While we should resist expressions of hate whether they occur at the individual, congregational, district, or denominational level, those of us working for full equality in the Church of the Brethren should focus our energy into changing the denominational policy.

I also want to urge those of you who are upset with the SE District to voice your anger with love and grace. It can start by accepting that while the SE District’s resolution is hateful, that does not mean that the people of the SE district are hateful or bad people. I genuinely believe that those who affirmed this resolution believed that they were acting as their understanding of scripture indicates that they should. They were trying to honor God. To be clear, they are wrong. But we change minds by pushing back with the firm, prophetic, and gentle voice of justice, not by disparaging or belittling.

Here’s hoping that we continue our work as gentle servants of Christ, building his Kingdom brick by brick, one act of love at a time. For our work, hear again the words of Micah 6:8 – “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Let us do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God. May it be so.


Emmett Eldred - Hollidaysburg COB, Middle PA District

Emmett Eldred is a junior Creative Writing; Professional Writing; and Ethics, History, and Public Policy Major at Carnegie Mellon University. His passions include reading about, writing about, and snuggling with pugs. Emmett is the founder of DunkerPunks.com, and he wants lots more people to contribute! Fill out a Dunker Punks profile, and join the conversation! Follow Emmett on twitter @emmetteldred and follow Dunker Punks on Twitter @DunkerPunks and on Facebook.

Want to contribute? Fill out a Dunker Punks profile, and/or email Emmett at dunkerpunks2014@gmail.com.

Views expressed on the Dunker Punks blog do not necessarily reflect the views of everyone within the Dunker Punks movement. We are a diverse group united by Christ, not uniform in agreement. 

ROYGBrethren Online Forum for LGBTQ Youth and Young Aduts

A group of COB LGBTQ activists has announced ROYGBrethren, an online forum that provides a safe space and community for LGBTQ Youth and Young Adults in the Church of the Brethren.

The purpose of the forum is to provide a confidential space for LGBTQ youth and young adults to share stories, offer one another support, and discuss collective nonviolent action that builds a more just and affirming community in the Church of the Brethren. ROYGBrethren is a safe space for LGBTQ youth, as well as youth who are still discovering their sexuality and gender identity. While denominational discussions determine whether to let us openly sit in pews, speak from pulpits, and co-create resources that serve our community, ROYGBrethren is a space where the humanity of LGBTQ youth and young adults is fully affirmed now.

ROYGBrethren is created by Brethren young adults who have experienced or witnessed the difficulty and isolation that many youth and young adults face in embracing their LGBTQ identity. They know first hand how alone and threatened an LGBTQ youth in the Church of the Brethren can feel when they can’t count on the love, affirmation, and support of their church community. Many LGBTQ youth grow up not knowing any LGBTQ members of the Church of the Brethren their age, and given the environment in which most Church of the Brethren congregations are located, they might not know any other LGBTQ youth in their community at all.

That’s why this resource is so important, so that LGBTQ youth and young adults can experience the love, acceptance, affirmation, and community that straight people in the Church of the Brethren take for granted. I’m thankful for the leadership of these activists who have discovered a hole in the Church of the Brethren and are determined to fill it, while so many in the COB still refuse to fully embrace the absolute and inherent humanity of all LGBTQ people.

This is an issue I’ve wanted to talk about for a long time, and like many who feel the same way as I do, I have made excuses to not talk about it. I’ve avoided talking about it because I don’t have the theological knowledge to back up what I believe to be true and just. I’ve avoided talking about it because I didn’t want to say anything too controversial. But I’m making a commitment here and know to talk about it. Instead of using my deficiencies to avoid standing up for justice, I’ll take the example of the creators of ROYGBrethren, and fill in the holes in myself so I can be a better ambassador of the Kingdom of Heaven, and a better advocate for justice.

I may lack the theological knowledge at this moment to pull together a well reasoned and scriptural argument to back up my beliefs, but here’s what I do know: I know that Jesus spoke a lot more about justice than about sexuality, so to deny someone justice based on their sexuality isn’t Christlike. I know that the Bible is written from the perspective of the oppressed, so to use the Bible to oppress is to not take the Bible seriously. I know that Jesus boiled down all of God’s commandments simply to love God, and love others. So if we are anything but loving to LGBTQ people, we are being sinful.

I’m very proud of my Brethren identity. You can ask my non-Brethren friends, I talk about it all the time. I’m so proud, because in so many instances throughout our history, the Brethren have been a peculiar people set aside in their Christ-centered work for peace and justice. On issues like slavery, poverty, civil rights, and war, the Church of the Brethren has showed tremendous leadership. We’ve read the bible and understood its radical call for love and justice.

On the issue of homosexuality, we have failed. By refusing to fully and lovingly acknowledge the humanity of LGBTQ people, we have betrayed our history. We have betrayed our own humanity, especially the most basic human part of ourselves that is agape love. And we have betrayed God, who loved LGBTQ people so much that he sent his only begotten son to die on the cross for them.

Click here to read the full text of the ROYGBrethren Press Release.

Please share the news about ROYGBrethren with LGBTQ or questioning youth and young adults in your circle who would benefit from being a part of this space. Please direct interested individuals to roygbrethren@gmail.com. 


Emmett Eldred - Hollidaysburg COB, Middle PA District

Emmett Eldred is a sophomore Creative Writing; Professional Writing; and Ethics, History, and Public Policy Major at Carnegie Mellon University. His passions include reading about, writing about, and snuggling with pugs. Emmett is the founder of DunkerPunks.com, and he wants lots more people to contribute! Fill out a Dunker Punks profile, and join the conversation! Follow Emmett on twitter @emmetteldred and follow Dunker Punks on Twitter @DunkerPunks and on Facebook.

Want to contribute? Fill out a Dunker Punks profile, and/or email Emmett at dunkerpunks2014@gmail.com.

COB Youth Start Dunker Punks Cafe

It’s Sunday morning. You’ve indulged in the snooze button one too many times. You’re running late for church, and now you have two options. Option 1: skip your coffee run and risk falling asleep during the morning prayer. Option 2: stop for coffee, show up late, and take the walk of shame to the only open seats, which are of course in the front row.

That is, unless you go to Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Ft. Wayne, IN.

The Dunker Punks at Beacon Heights have started a “Dunker Punks Cafe,” to serve church members free coffee before Sunday school. It’s a simple operation, just coffee and a few other hot beverages served from a window between the church kitchen and fellowship hall. But like the best things Dunker Punk, it’s a small act that’s going a long way.

The other day, I spoke with Beacon Heights youth leader Megan Sutton and learned more about the Dunker Punks Cafe. I was excited and amazed to hear about the impact that this ministry is already having in the congregation and in the local community. But perhaps the biggest impact is on the Dunker Punks themselves.

The impact that this ministry has within the church is pretty straightforward. “It’s a way for our youth to connect with the congregation,” Megan said. The Dunker Punks at Beacon Heights know that the best way to connect with others is to serve them. That’s what Jesus always did.

Service at the cafe is completely free, but congregation members are encouraged to give a freewill donation. Every few months, the Dunker Punks will take the donations that they’ve collected and give them to a local charity organization. Even selecting which charities to give to is a chance for the Beacon Heights Dunker Punks to grow as followers of Jesus. According to Megan, they take the time to research every charity that they consider, trying to find links between the service that that organization provides and Jesus’ teachings.

This process isn’t just to find the best use of the Dunker Punks’ hard earned money. It’s also a chance for them to find other opportunities to go out and serve the community. After they’ve found a charity that they like, the Dunker Punks at Beacon Heights are encouraged to volunteer.

Though the Dunker Punks Cafe was only launched in September, it’s already been a huge success. Megan has been especially happy at how every member of the Beacon Heights youth group has been able to find their own niche in the project. “Our youth group is pretty small, but we have a very diverse group in terms of age.” Megan told me, “We wanted to find a project that youth of various ages and maturity levels could come together and enjoy.”

For that to happen, Megan said that they needed to think outside the box. “Before NYC, we already knew that we wanted to make a change, but we were thinking something along the lines of a new curriculum or resources or teacher. Inside the box thinking.” After NYC and the beginning of the Dunker Punks movement, the Beacon Heights youth began to realize that they needed an active, service oriented ministry. They returned from NYC jazzed up, excited, and ready to think outside the box.

“NYC provided a lot of fuel,” said Megan. She worked with her youth to develop the idea for the Dunker Punks Cafe, and she continues to provide support, but it is their ministry. “They run it. They have taken off with it,” she said. They are learning as they go. Not just about running a successful ministry, but about following Jesus and putting his teachings into practice by serving like Jesus.

Putting the Dunk In Dunker Punk

Putting the Dunk In Dunker Punk

I asked Megan how she thinks this project relates to the Dunker Punks movement. It “equips them to be leaders.” she said, “Rather than just talking about making a difference, they are going out and actually doing it.”

A big part of the Dunker Punks movement is about youth discovering that they can make an impact. Megan believes that her youth are learning exactly that. She said she wants the Beacon Heights Dunker Punks to reflect on the impact that they’re having and wonder, “What can they do when they are older and have more resources?” Then, she corrected herself, “In fact, what broader impact can they have right now? They are experiencing that they can do it.”

The theme of NYC was “Called by Christ, Blessed for the Journey Together.” This goes back to what Megan said about each of the Beacon Heights Dunker Punks finding a niche in the project. She said that they are all “finding and exploring a calling.” Each is taking action and doing something that they enjoy, all while serving the congregation and community. If they haven’t found the part of the project that they enjoy yet, they will. They’ll think outside of the box. They’ll get creative. They’ll get radical. It’s what Dunker Punks do. “It’s really cool to watch,” said Megan.


EmmeEmmett Eldred - Hollidaysburg COB, Middle PA Districttt Eldred is a sophomore Creative Writing; Professional Writing; and Ethics, History, and Public Policy Major at Carnegie Mellon University. His passions include reading about, writing about, and snuggling with pugs. Emmett is the founder of DunkerPunks.com, and he wants lots more people to contribute! Fill out a Dunker Punks profile, and join the conversation! Follow Emmett on twitter @emmetteldred and follow Dunker Punks on Twitter @DunkerPunks and on Facebook.

1000+ Letters for Nigeria Day 42

Learn more about the 1000+ Letters for Nigeria Project

Today’s letters go to:

Dee Aker – Director, University of San Diego Institute for Peace and Justice
Aldo Civico – Founding Co-Director, Rutgers University International Institute for Peace
Georgia Kelly – Director, Praxis Peace Institute

Click the pictures to read the letters!

Want to get involved?

Contribute to the project!

Send non-monetary donations (stamps and envelopes) to:
Emmett Eldred
Carnegie Mellon University
SMC #2046
Pittsburgh, PA 15289

Sign up to write your own letters!

Contribute directly to the EYN Compassion Fund!

Have a project of your own?

We want to know about it! This is your movement, and we’re here to help you express your Radical, nonconformist approach to following Jesus!

Please fill out a Dunker Punks Profile and email dunkerpunks2014@gmail.com about your vision!

Letters For Nigeria Day 31

Learn more about the 1000+ Letters for Nigeria Project

Today’s letters go to:

Kristyn Komarnicki – Editor of PRISM
Rick Warren – Pastor and Author
Joan Chittister – Nun and Social Activist

Click the pictures to read the letters!

Want to get involved?

Contribute to the project!

Send non-monetary donations (stamps and envelopes) to:
Emmett Eldred
Carnegie Mellon University
SMC #2046
Pittsburgh, PA 15289

Sign up to write your own letters!

Contribute directly to the EYN Compassion Fund!

Have a project of your own?

We want to know about it! This is your movement, and we’re here to help you express your Radical, nonconformist approach to following Jesus!

Please fill out a Dunker Punks Profile and email dunkerpunks2014@gmail.com about your vision!