Tuesday, December 8, 2009

This is Love

I just got up from a nap with my beautiful wife, Cheeks, or, as some of you know her, Amber.  I kept thinking.  When my mind starts churning, there’s no sleeping.  And, it usually means I’m not that tired.

Last week, my wife told me that I was on for worship leader at church today.  I thanked the good Lord I married a woman who remembers details like this and made a mental note.  So, on Saturday, she reminded me again and I added it to my list of things to do that day: get ready to lead worship.

I went off into the room where I do these sorts of things and spent about two hours reading and preparing for the church service at Bethany Mennonite.  When I was about 80% done, I declared it good enough for one day.  Besides, God had given me so many good things to work with, if I never prepared the final 20% (pack up the items I needed for children’s time, print out the outline, etc.), I’d probably be fine.
We had friends over that evening to play some games.  We ended up playing Rook.  After they left, I just didn’t want to finish my preparations so I didn’t.  I knew I’d have enough time in the morning.
Sunday morning came quickly.  I got up and looked over my order of service and started tying up the loose ends.  I was making great progress.  Amber asked when I wanted to leave – 9:15 I told her.  9:15 came and went as it always does and she informed me she’d go start the car and brush off the snow that fell on Saturday.  I packed some things up, told her I was headed to the office to grab a set of speakers I left there and then I’d be down to pick her up.  She said she’d be waiting with the stuff I had laying out when I got back.

I drove to camp, got the speakers and on my way home saw Cheeks walking up the road.  She hopped in the car and we pulled back in at home so I could grab bungee cords for the Christmas tree we were picking up after church.  We were down into Hale Hollow, about a mile and a half from our house when I asked her if she grabbed my computer, which had a song I wanted to play to open the service with.  She said no.  I slammed on the breaks and slid a ways in the snow.  Slammed it into reverse and immediately started getting angry.  I was angry with myself for not double checking that everything was in the car, angry with her for forgetting and disappointed that this great opening I had for church would be lost forever (the song was Prepare ye the Way of the Lord from Godspell and the theme of this particular advent morning was about preparation). 

I was spinning the tires, swearing, beeping the horn, generally throwing a fit.  Picture the tantrum of a 15 year-old girl with language and depth of a 27 year-old man.  After realizing I just didn’t have time to go back and get my computer nor would any more outbursts change anything, I resolved to stew in silence. 
This outburst in some odd way prepared me to receive the message that our scriptures so openly profess.  The message that we as humans are never far from realizing our worst potential and that in spite of that fact, God loves us and continues to invite us in.
And now we have come full circle.  That someone would sit through the kind of tantrum that I displayed and witness a high degree of ugliness, then hours later lay her head on his chest in trust and love is astounding.

I just got up from a nap with my beautiful wife, Cheeks, or, as some of you know her, Amber.

May you trust that Amber is proof of God and that our God is love.

Mennonite Statistics


Tuesday, December 1, 2009


We had a Moose in our pond summer of 2008. It walked around the edge of the pond, entered, ate all the lily pads, hung out for about 20 minutes then swam away. It got to the other side of the pond, got out, walked into the woods and we haven't seen her since. This was probably a medium sized, young moose, maybe 700 lbs.

I'm posting now because a friend and I were talking about it and I remembered I wanted to show you all this fun happening.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bethany Mennonite Church Goes Roofing

Greetings friends.  A friend of ours at Bethany Mennonite Church wrote this on Saturday:

Today's heavy rain/flooding will not be an issue for our place of worship, thanks to the hard work of those who donated their time and energy to replacing the roof above our heads in the sanctuary.  I thought about them all day, and am grateful that we have such devoted people in our congregation.  God bless the roofers!

Here are those roofers:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Poor Bernie - Lynn Miller

Lynn Miller is a Mennonite who used to work for MMA.  He has written and spoken on topics of wealth and faith.  I absolutely loved his recent sermon at Blooming Glen Mennonite Church.

You have got to check it out.

It will be especially of interest if you've ever wondered how following Jesus and using this world's resources relate to each other.

click on the sermon titled:

"Poor Bernie" (10-18-09) - Lynn Miller

Luke 16:1-15 - “No one is poorer than anyone who does not know what ‘enough’ is, and no one is richer than those who are content because they do.”


Friday, October 16, 2009

"Preach the Gospel at all times...

...and when necessary, use words."

- St. Francis of Assisi

Tonight I was at a meeting with some fellow Vermont Camp Association (VCA) folks.  We have been charged with building a new website for our association.  I decided we ought to meet at Grace Congregational Church in Rutland, VT.  We met there because there were few other quiet, semi-private places to gather that has wireless internet connectivity.

So I walk in and see my friends John (pastor) and Candi (VCA).  Turns out that Candi's husband attends Grace regularly.  And, she's been there some.  Then, Kelly (VCA) starts talking about how great the singing at Grace is.  Here are two women that I didn't even realize went to church, let alone appreciated it!

Turns out Candi is Quaker.  She grew up in PA.  She has a high regard for Mennonites.  She first met them in a disaster relief context and found the Mennonites to be extremely useful in that context.  She said, "they show up, they do the work then they go home.  They don't need money or recognition."  And so I shared with her this idea that St. Francis of Assisi articulated so well - that we can live out the stuff of Jesus without a bunch of hype.  In fact, Mennonites have claimed that so personally that someone I was talking to once cited Menno Simons with this famous quote (pardon the link to Wikipedia - my wife claims it's not a primary source...).

I'm not real sure where I'm going with this post.  Mainly, I was encouraged tonight to find a spirituality and church connection in two people that I hadn't expected it in.  I didn't expect it because neither Candi nor Kelly run camps that are "Christian" or for that matter expressly spiritual.

And this brings us to the big question on my mind this week.  How do we follow Jesus in a way that is compelling, both to us and those around us.  First, let me clarify, I don't think Jesus is a Christian.  Jesus was Jewish.  He wasn't trying to start a new religion.  He was only doing what he says throughout the gospels - whatever the Father wants.  But, that's another topic.  It's relevant here because I think it's proof that we don't have to use Christian language or expect people to be Christian in order to follow Jesus.

So again, the question, how do we follow Jesus in a way that is compelling both to us and to those around us?

I think the way starts by actually doing the things Jesus says to do, no matter how we talk about these things.  As we do these things, we may find words to describe them.

Dallas Willard and Richard Foster (and of course the wiki references for Cheeks Willard, Foster)  brought to our attention something Jesus said - "obey everything that I have commanded."  Amber and I have been parsing the gospel of Mathew for a list of commands.  Finding out what Jesus expects and finding ways to live that out seems like a great starting place.

Now, If you don't get Jesus or think he's not particularly important then obeying what he commands will probably be a silly endeavor.  And, if you find yourself in this category as I found myself, I encourage you to think more about how many connections you've made between Jesus and Christianity.

Don't get me wrong, I love Christianity.  I am a Christian.  But, that doesn't mean it hasn't caused me pain.  And that pain is one of the many things Jesus has "saved" me from.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Snow in October!

Well, it's official. It's winter. Killington is blowing snow and two days ago, we had two inches of el natural. It's 25 f outside right now and the snow hasn't completely melted...
where am I?!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sharing at Bethany Mennonite Church

Here we are, talking about skiing, Jesus and our new marriage.

This is a podcast. If you have an mp3 player or want to listen to this on your computer at home, just follow the instructions listed on the bottom right of this blog.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A new fundraising method - weedwhacking

I had a new experience today. I weed-whacked - for cash. I have done that many hours in my teen years but this time, the cash was for camp and not my own pocket. One of our donors called up recently and said he knew we needed money. He said he needed some weed-whacking done. His proposition was that I send someone from camp down to do the necessary trimming and he'd send a check.

Well, summer is over and it's just me and Cheeks and Margaret on the hill now. So, the one to get the job was I. At first, I found it a strange deal. Then, as I thought about this idea of serving it didn't seem like a strange deal at all. Why should we not exchange resources. I have a young, able body and he has extra money. We need money, he needs a body to run around on a hillside with an engine spinning plastic string.

It's a little like the time recently when we paid a friend and counselor to paint our house. He needed cash, we needed some painting done and didn't have a week to take off and do it.

Tomorrow a bunch of us from church are going down to Woodstock to meet a bunch of people not from church to paint a woman's house. This woman's husband recently left her. He didn't only leave her, he left a bunch of unfinished house projects. And so when our church decided to explore a new form of outreach, Matt started talking about this friend of theirs who needs help. And this way of Jesus once again rose to the surface. This way of giving to and caring for those in need. As we do that, we find ourselves, our innocence and our Creator.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hiking up and Skiing Down Mt. Washington

What a great day. Three of us hiked and skied for the entire day... in April! Gotta love the Northeast.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tiger and Tuna go rope swinging

Dave Landis and I spent a little time on the Nitro Swing at camp today. We were roommates in college at EMU our freshman year.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Geico - Update

So, I am moving forward with the bike registration process. Get this - I'm driving in to town with my bike on the trailer. Just before the DMV I get pulled over for not having my trailer lights hooked up. Then, through a mess of disorganization I hand the cop last year's car and trailer registration. He calls me out, then I dig some more and find this year's reg. info (summer always leaves my personal stuff a bit disorganized). After sitting in his car for a few minutes the cop produces for me two warnings - he wants to see proof of inspection for the trailer and a current proof of insurance (speaking of Geico... they don't send me stuff in the mail... I have to print. I should stop trying to save them money). After apologizing I head on my way to the DMV. I arrive and have 8 minutes to complete my transaction before they close which is a problem because I left my check book at home!

I run to the Dunkin Doughnuts to get enough cash to pay the fees. What, car expired?! I have a flash back to a few weeks ago when I got a new debit card in the mail and at that point I wondered why they were sending it to me - light bulb goes on in my head. 4 minutes to go until DMV closes. I rush down the road to my bank to get out cash in person. They give me the cash after asking for ID and I head back to the DMV. They're closed, of course. They're never open except for Wednesdays when they stay open until 6pm... very generous of them.

The guy at the DMV comes out when I knock and hands me my paperwork back (I told him to hold it for me and start working on it because I planned to be back in time).

Then, I drop my bike off at the shop to get it inspected (without proof of insurance OR registration... he said I can give it to him when I pick it up). He tells me that he'll inspect it but I should technically have turn signals.

That night, having dinner with my neighbors, I tell them the story. Steve says - maybe you shouldn't ride that bike on the road. He quickly says he's kidding. But, after all that, I'm wondering the same. Is this Murphy's Law at work? Is there more to the story?

We'll find out.


Thursday, August 20, 2009


So I've been thinking about registering and licensing my dirt bike for a few years now. I mean how cool - to ride on and off the road on the same bike?

So, this week I broke the clutch handle on the bike. I called the shop that does work for me on occasion and asked them to inspect the bike as well as do the usual annual stuff. Then, I called the VT DMV and found out what I had to do to get it registered. So, now I'm at the last step - insurance. I go to Geico.com (don't tell Chad Yoder) and I start entering my most private information from S.S. # to waist size to birth right. Then, they give me a number. I'm pleased that I can insure my bike for $100/year so I purchase the insurance. Something didn't go right so they tell me to call this number. I call the number (it's 11:55pm now) and I get an answer right away. She walks me through the process and after 10 minutes of being on the phone, I have insurance that I can print off and take with me tomorrow when I get my bike inspected. Strange. And, what's even better, the end of my transaction ends with an automated payment voice and when he's done with me, he says in his computer animated sort of way, thank you for using Geico. We really appreciate your business and are glad you continue to use us.

I mean, who thought of this system? How do they make it work? How can they seemingly have endless human and technological resources to be able to insure anything I own at any time of day and night within less than an hour? It's absolutely incredible. And so I can't decide - is this really great or does this represent almost all that's wrong with us?


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Summer is over!

Wow, it's been a long time coming. Summer is over. Starting in April I think a lot about summer. And before that, I think a lot about staff. And now, all that we've worked for has come and past. In fact, tonight is the first night that I have been alone in a very long time. Earlier this week our entire staff (15 ppl) were living with us for two nights (which was fun and cramped). And now, they are all gone and my wife is even gone. Crazy.

Tonight, I had this strange feeling of lostness. What do you do when the thing you've done non-stop for a few months isn't there to do anymore? I feel like I should be working yet most of what I have to do can actually be done tomorrow. And so going to bed at a reasonable hour seems like a prudent move.

I could write a lot but I'd rather get a shower and in the process not bore you with the endless musings on how strange it feels to be done with summer. I'm excited to post some videos again in the near future...


Saturday, March 28, 2009

50 miles to the gallon?

So today, my father-in-law and I were talking about hybrids. I started doing some google searches and came across this article. It's about a new sport - a way to get as much fuel economy as possible. This link points you to some tips on saving a bit on fuel. Second page is where the good stuff is.

Skiing Pico - extended version

Some of my friends went out to ski on a lovely day in February. It turns out that we got more than 20 inches of snow in a day! Just crazy. Check it out.

Can you find Cheeks?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Asian Adventure Summary @ Bethany Mennonite - Part 5

This concludes the sharing of our Asian Adventure. We hope it gave you a view into those two months of our life.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Asian Adventure Summary @ Bethany Mennonite - Part 4

So here's the 2nd to last installment. FYI - the beginning of one part picks up exactly where the prior part left off. There is no overlap from one part to the next.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Asian Adventure Summary @ Bethany Mennonite - Part 3

OK, installment 3. It seems that this is actually going to be 5 installments. Sheesh, no wonder everyone clapped when we were done!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Asian Adventure Summary @ Bethany Mennonite - part 2

And here is part 2 of our summary of our trip this fall given at Bethany Mennonite Church.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Asian Adventure Summary @ Bethany Mennonite - part 1

In January we were blessed to share some of our experience this fall in Asia with our community at Bethany Mennonite Church. This summary was taped and broken into four parts. Here's part 1:

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Why should you come to camp this summer? Watch.

How about camp in the winter?

Friday, February 13, 2009

update and reading from McLaren - economy

Well, the video is coming along quite slowly. On the list of videos coming shortly:
- The rest of our Asian adventure
- Christmas with the Moyer extended family
- New Years Eve
- Our Wedding!

For now, I wanted to share a thought on the economy from one of my favorite authors, Brian McLaren. You can also find it here: http://blog.sojo.net/2009/02/10/two-kinds-of-recovery/

I just watched President Obama’s Indiana speech and town hall meeting from my hotel room in San Diego. I was watching on MSNBC, with Chris Matthews hosting and Pat Buchanan commenting. Pat (predictably) panned the speech, saying that people in Elkhart make RVs, and Obama’s speech failed to explain how we’d get Americans to buy RVs again. His comment, it seems to me, perfectly epitomizes an adventure in missing the point, and perfectly articulates two kinds of economic recovery.

For many people, economic recovery means “getting back to where we were a few months or years ago.” That means recovering our consumptive, greedy, unrestrained, undisciplined, irresponsible, and ecologically and socially unsustainable way of life.

I’d like to suggest another kind of recovery … drawing from the world of addiction. When an addict gets into recovery, he doesn’t want to go back and recover the “high” he had before, or even to recover the conditions he had before he began using drugs and alcohol. Instead, he wants to move forward to a new way of life — a wiser way of life that takes into account his experience of addiction. He realizes that his addiction to drugs was a symptom of other deeper issues and diseases in his life … unresolved pain or anger, the need to anesthetize painful emotions, lack of creativity in finding ways to feel happy and alive, unaddressed relational and spiritual deficits, lack of self-awareness, and so on.

Similarly, I’d like to suggest whenever we hear the word “recovery,” we as a nation see it not as a call to get back our old addictive high, but rather as a call to face our corporate and personal addictions, including the following:

1. Our addiction to carbon. Fossil fuels are an addictive substance. They give us speed … quick energy … serving as a kind of cultural amphetamine. Meanwhile, they toxify our environment and throw the ecosystem in which we live into dangerous imbalance.

2. Our addiction to weapons. Weapons are one of the most addictive substances possible. They give us a feeling of well-being and security, removing our feeling of fear and anxiety, much like a barbiturate. But like a drug, they make us lazy and slow — lazy and slow in the much more important work of relationship-building, justice, and peace-making, lazy in seeking the common good. And they plunge us into an addictive cycle, because if everyone in the world is getting more and more weapons, we aren’t safer … especially when increasing numbers of those weapons are nuclear, biological, and chemical.

3. Our addiction to fear. Religious leaders, media leaders, and political leaders have all discovered that you can raise quick votes, dollars, and members through the hallucinogenic stimulant of fear. By making straights afraid of gays, conservatives afraid of progressives, Christians and Jews afraid of Muslims, citizens afraid of immigrants, and vice versa, these leaders get a quick organizational high — crack for their unity and morale. But the more fear you pump into your system, the more fear you have, and pretty soon, you go from being stimulated to paranoid, seeing things that aren’t there and missing things that are. And soon after that, you move from paranoia to paralysis, leaving you in greater danger than ever.

4. Our addiction to stuff. Jesus said that a person’s life doesn’t consist in the abundance of her possessions. An economy that measures growth by the number of durable goods (resources) extracted from the environment and turned into non-durable goods that are bought, used, and then thrown away into a landfill … that economy “succeeds” by turning goods into trash, and calling it success. That’s not success. We need to imagine moving beyond an extractive, consumptive economy to a sustainable economy, and beyond a sustainable economy to a regenerative economy. I believe that in God’s world, if billions can be made destroying the planet and exploiting people addictively, trillions can be made caring for the planet wisely and caring for people justly.

5. Our addiction to a single bottom line. During the president’s town hall meeting, a man from Indiana told how he started a solar-powered attic fan company, and how he chose not to ship manufacturing overseas, but instead, to provide good employment for his neighbors. That meant, he said, that he had a little less cash in his pocket … but wouldn’t you agree that being a good neighbor has a value that can’t be measured in dollars? The single bottom line of financial profit is addictive, and like an addiction, it destroys families and communities. We need to rediscover a triple bottom line — financial sustainability, social sustainability, and economic sustainability. So we need a recovery of family values, and we also need a recovery of community values, and neighborly values, and ethical business values.

6. Our addiction to easy answers. “Government is the problem.” “Just throw money at the problem.” We can’t afford our addiction to these kinds of easy ideological slogans and facile reactive fantasies in a complex, real world. Ideology is, in many ways, a drug that substitutes the quick high of unthinking reaction for the hard work of acquiring wisdom.

So … maybe we can sabotage our addictive tendencies by letting the word “recovery” have a meaning that wakes us up rather than drugs us into the comfortable, dreamy, half-awareness in which we have lived for too long. That’s my hope and prayer. (For more on this, see my book Everything Must Change.)

Brian McLaren (brianmclaren.net) is a speaker and author, most recently of Everything Must Change and Finding Our Way Again.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Central Vermont Human Resource Sharing

Central Vermont Human Resource Sharing
A list of talents and skills to be traded


Household and Physical Plant

Brenda Metzler
I do simple alterations, mending and basic sewing. my
fees are minimal and I’m happy to barter.

Gerry Hawkes
A tractor with Rotor tiller and bucket loader

A tractor with heavy duty brush chopper and debris rake
for rehabilitating overgrown fields or building trails
logging winches that attach to the tractors

power rake that attaches to a tractor for removing rocks
and smoothing trails and fields

portable and shop welders

chainsaws and numerous hand tools.

All the above would come with an operator.

Brandon Bergey
Video recording and editing – have an event you’d like recorded? Want to post a video online? Have some home video footage you’d like edited? I can help.
I’m happy to offer my experience (and my youthful arms and back) in landscaping, house repair and building and other chores around the house.
Bethany Birches Camp has many tools that can be rented for a fee.

Tyson Church
Tyson Ladies Aid
transportation, shopping, and light cleaning for Plymouth residents. To access Reach Out email rklynds at vermontel.net or call Janine Norman at 228-8764 or 228-7151. Our next community luncheon will be Feb 19 at 11 AM at the Tyson Church. We're keeping this to Plymouth and Tyson residents for now, expanding slowly and feeling our way. So we're going by invitation at present but if you know of any shut-ins or persons who need to get out in the Plymouth area, please let us know. We need to have people RSVP to the above number, also let us know if they need transportation. Thanks-Kathy

Wendy Hiers
Transportation of all kinds. I can pick up kids, adults, elderly and take them shoping, to the doctor etc. etc. I'll be happy to wait with them if they're going to an appointment that needs that.

If you know someone who would like to participate, have them send an email to brandonbergey at fastmail.fm

Thursday, January 22, 2009

How Beautiful

How beautiful are the colors of our nation? Red, yellow and orange. How beautiful are the colors white, black and gray? I cried as I was watching this clip from the inauguration. They were tears of joy. Imagine being martyred for your beliefs. And imagine this day coming, as Dr. King imagined it. Imagine being a slave from western Africa and seeing your family torn apart, headed to different nations in the west. Imagine this day coming, finally, when at least the formal barriers of racism are broken down. Interestingly, Obama became elected because of the large numbers of Mexicans and Afro. Americans who turned out to vote. What a nation, where young people and minorities can change the course of history. This surely is a place that has tasted the kind of life God intends. Pray with me as you watch this the same thing that Dr. Rick Warren and Obama both talked about at the inauguration: that we may remember our wealth and freedom is not for us alone. They is to be shared. May we all approach this coming year simply, fending off the stuff that traps us and breaking free from the stuff that binds us.


Click here for all sorts of pictures from parts of our lives