1000+ Letters for Nigeria Day 26

Learn more about the 1000+ Letters for Nigeria Project

Today’s letters go to:

Stephan Bauman – President and CEO, World Relief
Shan Cretin – General Secretary, American Friends Service Committee
John Lyon – President and CEO, World Hope International

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!

Promoting Our Faith, One Cookie at a Time

By Jenna Walmer

“Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” 

– 1 Corinthians 4:18-20

It has been said, “mean what you say and say what you do.” We have most likely heard something likethis phrase in our childhood. The question is, do we actually follow through with its meaning?  Do our actions match our speech and vice versa? Sometimes, I catch myself contradicting my actions and my speech, and I consciously fix it. But other times when I reflect on conversations, I realize how I could have changed what I said to mirror my true beliefs and actions. I see this in many of my peers as they are “shooting the breeze.” It happens to all of us; we overhear conversations when someone says one thing, and they turn around and say another. It is really annoying, is it not?  We all fall victim to it, and we all probably do it.  However, we are called to be truthful in our actions and speech.

Once we can overcome “shooting the breeze”, we can move into the next phase of life. Once we mature past this stage of insecurity, we discover who we truly are and what we believe. In this stage of life, we are asked to show our faith. God asks us to display our love for Him not only through our words but through our actions. In 1 Corinthians 4:20, Paul tells the people of Corinth that showing faith does not come through just our speech. During that era, many people would just talk a lot about their faith and what to do to be faithful to God. Does that sound familiar in today’s epoch too? However, we are told to show our faith through our actions as well.

In the Church of the Brethren, this is where our heavily beloved service aspect comes into play. Through service opportunities, we can show our love for humanity by helping one another. Also, during these work projects, we may have the opportunity to discuss differing opinions, giving us the opportunity to show our faith through speech and action. We can also illustrate our faith by sending letters to our leaders about current events that hit close to home. Other opportunities include peace runs and other events related to our peace heritage, helping at a homeless shelter, and any opportunity that allows you to act upon your individual faith-based beliefs.

Personally, the biggest concept that bothers me in the world is violence, so naturally I love peace. Maybe it’s because I’m Brethren, maybe because I’m called, only God knows. Anyways, the past two years for International Day of Peace, September 21st, has fallen on a weekend (last year it was a Saturday; this year it was a Sunday). Both years, my mom has happened to be in charge of desserts for marching band that weekend. So, I asked her last year to make cookies with peace signs on them and I made sure everyone in band knew it was International Day of Peace, whether they were Pro-Peace or Pro-War (many people in my band are looking to go into ROTC post high school; there are few people I know of who are peace lovers like myself). It was pretty funny that her turn for desserts fell on September 20th this year; so, for the second year in a row the marching band had cookies with a peace sign emblazoned on them. I guess that is my roundabout way of promoting peace in my small group of friends.

Recently, Dunker Punks has asked for your support in sending letters to officials about the kidnapping of the Nigerian girls. Whether it is doing something small like making cookies or sending a bunch of letters to officials about an incident that really makes you tick, we are all a part of this revolution and are called to make a difference in this world. Through our actions AND our speech, let us show our faith by starting something creative, unique, and personal today.


Jenna Walmer - Palmyra COB, Altantic Northeast DistrictJenna Walmer is from Lancaster County and is currently in 12th grade. In school, she loves to research historical events. If she were to live in a specific time period, she would want to be a hippie and live in the 60s or 70s. Her favorite past times are swimming and playing her trombone. If you want to know more about her random life, follow her on twitter: @jaymarie2100

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

1000+ Letters for Nigeria Day 23

Learn more about the 1000+ Letters for Nigeria Project

Today’s letters go to three remarkable people working for peace:

Simone Campbell – Executive Director of NETWORK, Nun on the Bus
Valarie Kaur – Founder, Groundswell
Maria Santelli – Executive Director, Center on Conscience and War

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!

1000+ Letters for Nigeria Day 22

Learn more about the 1000+ Letters for Nigeria Project

In honor of keeping peace alive after peace day, all three of my letters go to figures or organizations directed towards peace:

Sister Patrica Chappell – Executive Director, Pax Christi USA
Win Without War – An organization devoted to solving conflicts worldwide without military force
Alexandra Toma – Executive Director, Peace and Security Funders Group

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!

“Jesus is (Not) Stupid.” A Challenge to Build Peace on #PeaceDay and Every Day

Hollidaysburg Church of the Brethren’s Pastor Marlys Hershberger delivered a sermon today about Peace Day that was so good and so challenging, that I can’t help but share her thoughts in my own words.

She began by saying, “Jesus is Stupid.” It’s the church version of a well crafted “click-bait” title. The thought “Jesus is Stupid” is inflammatory, but it makes you listen, doesn’t it? Of course, neither Marlys nor I nor most Christians think Jesus is stupid. Quite the opposite. But oftentimes our actions tell a different story. Marlys says that another way she’ll say this is: “Do you think Jesus is stupid? No? Then why act like what he says is stupid?”

As Christians, we claim that we follow Jesus. We claim that we love Jesus. We claim that Jesus is the core of our faith.

Then why don’t we actually listen to what he tells us to do? Why don’t we listen to him when he says to be generous with our material self and with our love? Why don’t we listen when he says to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and visit the imprisoned? Why don’t we listen when he says to love our enemies, and to overcome evil with good? Wy don’t we don’t we listen when he says to bring the kingdom to earth as it is in heaven? Why do we act like Jesus is stupid?

At every stage of our relationships with people – interpersonal, communal, national, global, and everywhere in between – Jesus says to treat one another with grace and love, and to overcome conflict with humility, meekness, and nonviolence, not domination.

It reminds me of the way we treat children. Has a child ever come up to you with something they were excited about, and you dismissed them by saying, “That’s nice,” with a pat on the head, and maybe pinning something to the fridge. The unspoken implication to “That’s nice,” is “but the world is complicated in ways that you simply can’t understand.”

Don’t pin the cross to the fridge. Don’t pat Jesus on the head and say, “That’s nice.” Don’t patronize Jesus.

Listen to him. And follow him.

Jesus was asked “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and he replied: ““Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” (Matthew 18: 3-5)

When we talk about peace, the impulse is to say, “That’s nice, but the world is more complicated than that.”

Do you think Jesus is stupid? Or do you think Jesus is wise in a way that our complications of the world fail to understand.

Happy Peace Day everyone! Follow Jesus.


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

1000+ Letters for Nigeria day 21 #PeaceDay

Learn more about the 1000+ Letters for Nigeria Project

In honor of the International Day of Peace, all of today’s letters go to public figures working to build peace, including Jeremy Gilley, one of the founding members of the International Day of Peace.

Jeremy Gilley: Founder of Peace One Day and instrumental creator of the International Day of Peace
Avon Mattison: Founder and president of Pathways to Peace
Bishop William Swing: Founder and president of the United Religions Initiative

Before you read the letters, consider how you can create and build peace. Pray. Serve. Love. Act. Follow Jesus. And consider what you can do to pull peace into September 22nd.

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!

Thoughts on Anabaptists and Dunker Punks

This weekend, I got to attend a conference called “Church and Post-Chrsitian Culture: Christian Witness in the Way of Jesus.” It was a conference hosted by Missio Alliance that focused on the convergence of evangelical and anabaptist thought and how we apply that theology to the concept of mission. That’s a lot of opaque jargon for asking: “How do we follow Jesus?” and “How and why do we encourage others to follow Jesus?”

In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing several blog posts about what I learned and experienced that I found particularly meaningful or thought-provoking, but first, two takeaways for me from the conference as a whole:

1. As anabaptists, we have a beautiful tradition and heritage that we don’t always understand, appreciate, or use.

This is especially true for people like me who grew up anabaptist. Many of the speakers at the conference were actually “outsiders,” people who grew up in a different faith tradition and either came to identify as Anabaptists through prayer and study, or don’t identify as anabaptists but admire and use our theology to inform the way they follow Jesus.

Jarrod McKenna talked about this at NYC. He mentioned that the world is watching us. The world is studying and learning about our tradition, using it to shape their own beliefs and practices. He also mentioned, though, that we have grown up in this thing that the world is just now trying to emulate, and we don’t even understand it ourselves.

That’s why he challenged us to take up this Dunker Punks way of life. As Dunker Punks we must continually strive to learn more about how our faith ancestors followed Jesus. This means praying the Lord’s Prayer as seriously and faithfully as they did, reading the love and teachings of Jesus as deeply and enthusiastically as they did, and living out our faith as radically as they did.

2. Far more importantly, its all about Jesus.

Here’s a tweet that says it better than I can:

This starts with we in the Church of the Brethren admitting that Alexander Mack didn’t found our faith, Jesus did.

And we Dunker Punks must realize that Jarrod McKenna isn’t the impetus of our movement, Jesus is.

Alexander Mack and Jarrod McKenna put these things into words, got them going, got us excited about them. They are amazing, intelligent, thoughtful, and helpful people that can help us understand how to follow Jesus. But we must be careful to never worship our heritage, traditions, or theology. Only Jesus.

It’s ok to be excited, maybe even proud, of our tradition. But our tradition, and this Dunker Punks movement, is only valuable so far as it leads us to more faithfully follow Jesus.

That’s what being a Dunker Punk is all about. It’s to identify with the roots of our tradition, which elevate Jesus, compel us to follow Jesus, and inspire us to view everything the we do — the way we read scripture, the way we interact with others, the way we practice our religion– through the lens of Jesus. It’s about making space in our lives by studying, praying, and gathering together. It’s about making things less about ourselves, and more about Jesus.

It’s starts be realizing that:
reading the bible,
doing justice,
praying,
building peace,
living radical, ordinary, peculiar, simple lives…

Are all smaller pieces that fit into the larger context of following Jesus.

One of my favorite descriptions of Jesus comes at the beginning of Hebrews 12. The writer of Hebrews calls Jesus “the author and perfecter of our faith.”

Let Jesus be the author and perfecter of your faith. Not Alexander Mack or Jarrod McKenna. Not your pastor. Not your friends or family. Certainly not me. Of course, use people to enhance and grow in your understanding of how to follow Jesus.

But keep Jesus at the center and permeated through everything that you do.


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

My Favorite Moment from NYC, Part 2.

I’ve already told you about the Hug Heard Round the World, one of the simplest but most impactful moments in my life. 

When I was thinking about it afterwards, I realized that there were plenty of other simple moments that made a huge impact in my life. Let me tell you about another:

On Thursday after morning worship, many participants had already left, and the rest were packing up and getting ready to leave. I wasn’t leaving until the next day, so I was in the NUC staff office, helping to clean and pack up. Whatever needed done. 

We realized that we had hundreds of left over bottles of water, and nothing to do with them. We would have to throw them out, if we couldn’t find a better way to get rid of them.

“Why don’t we give them away? Who wants to take these to the bus loading area with me and give them away?” I wasn’t the one to suggest it, but I immediately volunteered. Honestly, I was just looking for a way to get out of the office. 

We piled the bottles on a dolly, and we wheeled them over to Moby arena, where hundreds of people were hanging outside in the sun, waiting for their turn to take a shuttle to the airport. We wheeled casually into the center of this crowd, and started handing out water. 

There’s something about a grateful smile that fills me with such an unusual happiness. It’s different from the happiness I get from other sources. Different than when I hang out with my friends. Or watch a funny movie. Or pet a pug. 

These moments of happiness are great, and I love them (especially petting pugs) but if i had choose between doing any of these, and being generous to complete strangers, I would go with being generous. 

And when I think about it, a lot of the things that make me happy at other times, include an element of generosity. Like when I’m petting a pug. If the pug wasn’t into it, I wouldn’t be into it. (I really like pugs.)

There’s just something about generosity. Handing out water. Hugging. Pugging. Whatever. 

Generosity. Of your time. Of your spirit. Of your emotions. Of your empathy. Of you life.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that generosity and giving figure prominently into the Sermon on the Mount. Live generously. Love generously. Be generous. This is at the heart of being a Dunker Punk. 

Letters for Nigeria Day 8

Learn more about the 1000+ Letters for Nigeria.

Today features another round of letters inspired by a sponsor: all three people who represent her in Congress. If you would like to become a sponsor and be able to suggest recipients, check the links below. There are also many other great ways that you can get involved, or you can tell us about a project of your own, and we’ll see what we can do to help you out! Check below!

I had an interesting time writing one of these letters. It is a letter to Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. I try to write to a lot of legislators that have foreign aid or foreign policy specific focuses, but Senator Blumenthal’s only real connection to foreign policy is that he is a prominent member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee. So, I had to not only advocate for peaceful assistance for the EYN, but I also had to explain why I think military intervention is not appropriate.

Todays letters go to:

Senator Richard Blumenthal – Senate Committee on Armed Forces
Senator Chris Murphy – Senate Subcommittee on International Development on Foreign Assistance
Representative Rosa DeLauro – US Representative from Connecticut

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!

1000+ Letters for Nigeria Day 7

Learn more about the 1000+ Letters for Nigeria.

Before I get to today’s letters, an important update on the EYN and their situation from COB Newsline:

“Prayer is requested for the students and staff of Kulp Bible College (KBC), and the leadership of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), as the decision has been made to temporarily close the college. Students will be leaving for other areas of the country, and headquarters staff also may be making ready to leave as Boko Haram forces advance to within 50 kilometers of the EYN headquarters.” – Church of the Brethren Newsline

And a tweet today from COB General Secretary Stanley Noffsinger:

The most important action you can take right now is to double your prayers for peace and safety.

Click here to give to the Emergency Disaster Fund.

Today’s letters go to:

Daniel Burke – Editor, CNN Belief Blog
Antonio de Aguiar Patriota – Brazilian Ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of the UN Peacebuilding Commission
Jody Williams – Professor, Activist, and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

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!