Radical: a word usually associated with the right wing, extremist groups, or a term associated with the vague socially-rejected ideas that a society does not want to pursue.Anyways, away from the political Fox News use of the word, as always, I want to challenge the use of this term.
On my way back from the Elkhart train station a few weeks ago, I had a great morning conversation with my host father, Leon Bauman (GC class of ’82). We talked about various things and of course, religion and specifically Assembly Church came into the conversation.
He told me about the sermon that Paul Keim (GC class of ’78) delivered the previous Sunday. Dr. Keim talked about radical hospitality, or how extreme people can be in helping others.
I replied to Leon by saying, “That makes you a terrorist, then.” Now don’t freak out, that was a metaphor.
I have been living with Leon for 2 years now, and last year Leon got married and we both moved into his lovely wife Char Yutzy’s house. Leon and Char are as radical as anyone can get when it comes to helping others; without their help, I would not have been able to attend Goshen College.
The same thing applies to Hashem Abu Sham’a, John and Joyce Cassel, JoAnne Lingle, Margee Kooistra and Deya’ Dresner, just to name a few people who have been very supportive and influential during my educational journey in the U.S.
Another “radical” family I lived with over the past summer was the family of Tamara Loewen Hazbun (GC class of ’89). I spent my summer at Purdue University working for her husband Dr. Tony Hazbun. Living with the Hazbuns made things easier for me and allowed me to spend a very educational summer at Purdue. And it did not stop there. Their hospitality extended to 6 other GC students when we attended the Big Ten Graduate School Expo at Purdue University in October. The Hazbuns took us all in and made us feel at home.
It’s Thanksgiving season. While many of us do not know how to feel about this holiday and its history, we certainly make use of the discounts and gain a few pounds.
Regardless, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the churches, organizations, individuals, families, and friends from four countries, two continents and many religious and nonreligious backgrounds who were very radical in their support and love, and who made it possible for me to be here.
It certainly took churches, organizations, and individuals from two continents to make things work for me. It took Leonard Education Organization, College Mennonite Church, the First Church of Brethren, Fairfield Mennonite Church, Market Square Presbyterian Church and over 30 individuals so that Yazan Meqbil can be “Yazan Meqbil, GC class of ’19”.
To all of you, thank you. To all of you, thank you for being radical in your support and hospitality.
In times of uncertainty, political instability and heartbreaking news about fires and borders, it is important to be hospitable, to reach out to the people who are different from us, and to recognize the importance of working together to fight oppression and injustice.
Also, #GivingTuesday was two days ago. I would like to use this platform to encourage you to search for Leonard Education Organization online and learn about their work. Search for organizations that help migrants and asylum seekers such as RAICES and KIND, and extend your support.