A photo of MJ Sharp with EMU classmates Jason Garber, Rachel Jenner, and Clinton Miller

“Disarming” Part 2, with Marshall King and MJ’s EMU classmates

~ing podcast Season 2 Episode 7
Full Episode Transcript

Season 2 Episode 7: “Disarming” Part 2, with Marshall King and MJ Sharp’s EMU classmates was released on February 22, 2022. The audio recording is available on all major podcasting platforms. More information is available here.

Episode Description:

Welcome to the next part of a special miniseries focusing on the life and legacy of Michael “MJ” Sharp. This week’s episode includes two conversations hosted by ~ing Podcast producer Ben Wideman. We’ll be starting with the next part of a conversation with Marshall King, author of the recent book, Disarmed, the life and legacy of Michael “MJ” Sharp, and then transition to talk with three of MJ’s classmates from his time at Eastern Mennonite Univesity, Jason Garber, Rachel Jenner, and Clinton Miller. Our hope is that this series continues to provide more depth to to this powerful story of one man’s radical commitment to peacemaking.

Michael “MJ” Sharp was a modern Mennonite armed with wit and intellect, but not a gun. The son of a Mennonite pastor, he demonstrated a gift for listening and persuading early in life. His efforts to approach others with acknowledgement rather than judgement gave him the ability to connect on a level very few managed. He also honed a deep commitment to peace, and after college he joined the Mennonite Mission Network and moved to Germany, where he persuaded soldiers to choose peace and free them of their violent systems. Disarmed: The Life and Legacy of Michael “MJ” Sharp is available now from Herald Press.

Clinton Miller, Marshall King, Rachel Jenner, Jason Garber, Ben Wideman

Ben Wideman  00:00
Welcome to Season Two of ~ing Podcast, a production of MennoMedia’s Leader Magazine.  What does it mean to authentically follow Jesus? Each week ~ing Podcast invites you to join us on a journey. Join us as we talk with people of faith who are creatively thinking, growing, and being… people who are reimagining and exploring what it means to enrich faith in a complex world.  Over the next few weeks, ~ing Podcast will be spending some time remembering MJ Sharp, a Mennonite peacebuilder, who was kidnapped and killed on a UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Today we’ll continue our conversation with Marshall King, author of the recent book, Disarmed: The Life and Legacy of Michael “MJ” Sharp. And then we’ll talk with Jason Garber, Rachel Jenner, and Clinton Miller, three of MJ’s friends and classmates from his time at Eastern Mennonite University. Our conversation begins now. Join us as we journey together.  Marshall, once again, thanks so much for continuing this journey with us here on ~ing Podcast.

Marshall King  01:10
Thanks, Ben.

Ben Wideman  01:11
One of the things that I’m compelled by is the way that you start the second chapter of the book. And perhaps this is because I knew MJ and I remember the mixture of both deep academic engagement and also a look of being completely bored in certain college classes. And the bouncing between those two spaces. But I love the way that you talk about MJ as both really exemplifying what it means to be an Anabaptist or a Mennonite. And on the other hand, just being so outside of the box, and the way that the book kind of swings on the pendulum between those two spaces. I’m wondering how you think of it with a book sort of now complete? Do you hold MJ up as someone that that people from this peace church tradition should strive to be like? Do you think he’s just too far beyond the norm for us to try and embody? Or where do you fall? In terms of him and who he was?

Marshall King  02:08
I mean, I don’t I don’t think many of us are like MJ in terms of intelligence, or daring, but also even emotional intelligence and willingness and availability to other people. Like even in junior high, and in high school… Like, there are some stories in the book about how he was present with people.

Ben Wideman  02:30

Marshall King  02:31
In some remarkable ways. And the number of people who felt like he was one of their best friends, is just remarkable. And I think that’s a testament to how present he was with so many people in this world, around the world. And not all of us are going to charge into the world the way MJ did. I think all of us can assess, what is it that we believe? And what does that mean for how I live my daily life? And I don’t know that MJ was even necessarily, you know, framing the question exactly that way. But his peacemaking work became his vocation and his passion. It’s something that he had the academic credentials from his graduate degree in Germany, and his work in a variety of settings around the world. But it also just became something that he was gifted at. And he was one of those few people in the world, doing it quite that way. I mean, I think it’s safe to put him in the same category…. A younger version, to be sure, but at the same category of John Paul Lederach, and the late Phil Thomas, and, you know, perhaps Vernon Janzi, and Titus Peachy, and and Joseph Liechty. And, and others, I mean, there would be women in that group, too, who are doing this remarkable work of peace building and peace making in the world. And MJ did that work. And so, you know, we as Mennonites, we often admire people like John Paul Lederach, and those who do this remarkable peace work, you know, peacebuilding in the world. Yes, we should, we should listen to them. We should read their books, we should see what they have to tell us. But then we should also ask ourselves, like, how do I do this? In my neighborhood… How do I do this with my family? And that’s part of where this project came for me. Like I didn’t want to preach too much in the book. But that’s really kind of what I hope when people get to the end of the book there, that’s what they’re asking themselves.

Ben Wideman  04:39
Yeah, it makes me think of the origins of the the Christian Peacemaker Teams movement. So the legend goes, I guess is that in the early 80s, Ron Sider challenged a large group of Mennonites to have the same peacekeeping commitment – nonviolently – that so many Americans had for a military engagement, even if we are not willing to put ourselves in harm’s way to ask ourselves what that means, as we try and navigate the world.

Marshall King  05:11
You asked about MJ, you know, kind of was he this, you know, the consummate Mennonite? Yes and no, like he came from this Mennonite background. He embodied in some ways the 500 years of history that his father knows so well, and that he had learned in many ways of the Anabaptist martyrs of the people who would put their lives at risk of people who are willing to make those those choices for peace in the world. I mean, his senior research project at EMU was looking at Mennonites in the Shenandoah Valley and how they have what it meant for the Confederacy when the Civil War happened, and that was complicated. He was more interested in the work then, then, but there’s not one way to do it. Like he chose a different path. And then Christian Peacemaker teams, he liked craft beer and Jameson Whiskey more than some Mennonites. He played poker.

Ben Wideman  06:13

Marshall King  06:13
Which is a pastime of many of us had at our Mennonite colleges. I mean, I played a lot of poker when I was at EMU. I know you did, too. I mean, that was how you and I got introduced was you wrote a piece I think for at the time, The Mennonite, about having the poker chips that had initially been MJ.  You know. So it looks different in the 21st century, as we all figure this out. And as we are part of the world, and one of the comments from one of the folks I interviewed for the book, who with MJ wrestled with how to be how to work for the state, or how to be Mennonite, in this world. I mean, this person said, MJ was in the world, but not of the world, but in the world. And, and I keep going back to that, because that’s, that’s what that’s where many of us are. And so then how do we… how do we do this?

Ben Wideman  06:31
Yeah.  Yes, it’s a long way from the silent in the land, the sort of like Amish… Amish-lite Mennonites, who were, you know, completely separate and, and cut off to some of those things that you just named. And I think that helps. Those of us who perhaps carry some survivor guilt. I also lost a high school friend who was teaching in a remote indigenous village in on Ontario way far up in northern Ontario. He was killed in a school shooting, and in a very similar way to MJ, was willing to go where few people were willing to go to put himself potentially at higher risk than some of his other peers teaching in wealthy suburban school districts, because he felt called to that. And… and I think there are days where some of us wake up and think, “Have I done enough?” or “Am I doing enough?” “Am I living enough like MJ did with enough willingness to, to live with some more vulnerability?” And I, I’m guessing that he would be glad we’re having that conversation. I don’t think he’d be wanting to pile any additional guilt on us. But just to be having that conversation, over a craft beer, or around a poker table, I think would bring a joy to his face to to just be trying to wrestle with what that means for us.

Marshall King  08:33
That’s well said, I think you’re right. I, and I’m glad to hear you say you think MJ would like that. Because there is this whole, like… it’s an odd thing now to write a book about a person after their death, when you’re pretty sure they didn’t expect someone to be doing that.

Ben Wideman  08:50

Marshall King  08:50
And there’s this whole discussion about whether he would have wanted that. And yet the story matters and has power and is getting told in other ways. And so I think it is I thought I thought it was valuable and important to document the story of a modern Anabaptist, modern Mennonite, and how he did this work in the world. MJ was an amazing guy, a fascinating guy. And I think his life has lessons to teach us. It’s just tragic that we have to do it in this way. At following his stuff.

Ben Wideman  09:27
Yeah. Marshall. Thanks again for putting these words on paper and for creating this incredible book.  After the break, we’ll begin a conversation with Jason Garber, Rachel Jenner and Clinton Miller, three of MJ’s friends and classmates from Eastern Mennonite University.

Marshall King  09:42
Thanks, Ben.

Ben Wideman  09:45
Thank you so much for continuing this journey with us as we remember the life and legacy of Michael “MJ” Sharp. I’m really excited to be sitting down with three of my classmates from Eastern Mennonite University, all of us knew MJ as a student. Why don’t you take turns introducing yourself and however you want to describe yourself to our listening audience.

Clinton Miller  10:08
My name is Clinton Miller. I met MJ in college. We were roommates for a period of time. We also did chapels together, we would do chapel presentations and announcements. We had a lot of good times together.

Rachel Jenner  10:23
My name is Rachel Jenner. I was Rachel Swartzentruber. When I met MJ, I, I mean, I would imagine the first time we actually met was in Roselawn. I think we all lived in Roselawn together, the dorm that nobody else wanted to be in. And we all were there. Roselawn. I was on Roselawn Third, you all were on Roselawn Second. And then we had a class together. I was there because of social work. He was there because of his pre law stuff. And neither of us I think we’re particularly fond of the professor and I think bonded over.

Jason Garber  11:04
I can see that.

Ben Wideman  11:04
That’s awesome.

Jason Garber 11:05
That’s great. Yeah, I’m Jason Garber. I was MJ’s roommate freshman year, and lived next door to him sophomore year. And so we were friends throughout college. So yeah,  met because of the housing lottery, right? And we were a great match. I can’t imagine, you know, having lived with anyone but MJ, that that first year. So we kind of by default would do stuff together. I think that first weekend there was like… they took all the freshmen over to The Bullpen, which was, you know, back when there was sort of that JMU gokart track and mini golf. So that’s fun. So we’re just like, meeting random people because nobody knew anybody.

Ben Wideman  11:52
That’s maybe a good place to start with that initial impression of this this person. I think I had the privilege of getting to know him in first year seminar, first year experience, I think is what it was called… a one credit hour class. And he had this, like ability to seem bored most of the time. Like, what am I doing here, you know, one credit hour class…  But whenever he would talk, it would be like some of the most profound and brilliant things that any of us were saying. We’re all sort of like shy, awkward, embarrassed, brand new college students. Completely distant and fully present at the same time. And it was sort of in that space that I got to know this this guy,

Rachel Jenner  11:53
I was gonna say, I think, Ben, I have a bit like a visual in my head. I think also, because of what you described, like MJ was really good at observing for a while. And then I always feel like he would at some point decide that he had something to say he had this way you would just sit and his foot would always be going like a million miles an hour as he like crossed it over. Right. But he also would be like, I don’t know, he would say some statement. And then he would lay back like, like leaned back in his chair. And then like twiddle his thumbs or do his like, I don’t know, he had several, like pencil tricks that he did. Like, Jason knows these things. You know,

Jason Garber  13:14
Oh, yeah.

Rachel Jenner  13:15
But like, I was just like, who is? Like, what, what? I just remember, especially because, again, Roselawn was one of those places that it seemed like the outcast dorm, but it’s definitely not where everybody else was on the center of campus. You were just kind of there. And it was like, Well, what are the boys on second doing and so you just kind of like meander around and find your people

Clinton Miller  13:42
That pretty much sums up exactly how I met MJ. It was in a creative writing class. And we had to, like, present what we had written and I presented something that I thought it was kind of clever. And he was sitting there in the corner and he sort of picked it apart. Not like, you know, in a mean, or cruel way, but just sort of skewered it… and it was spot on. And that’s how I got to know him. And I don’t know… you can just tell he was the smart guy. You, as you spoke with him, got to know him, you quickly learned he was also a mischievous guy. And something about that really drew me in and and we became friends.

Ben Wideman  14:24
My assumption was he would change the world that he would go out beyond this small college in the Shenandoah Valley and, and make a difference out there in the world.

Jason Garber  14:34
I really enjoyed reading this book because it gave me so much more insight into his life. You know, I think after college we kind of you know, when our separate ways, neither of us very good at keeping in touch. And I you know, I kind of knew where he was generally in the world. Sometimes MJ would just turn up… like one time I was working at Rosetta Stone, and at like 8:30 In the morning, and he shows up on my doorstep and says, “Oh, hey, I’m back in town.” Like, Oh, great. No, I have to go to work. But you know, you’re welcome to crash here. Stay here. Yeah. “Can I, you know, just use your computer?” I was like, Sure, you know, whatever. So I went away to work. And I came home at the end of the day. And he was still sitting in my bedroom with all the shades drawn, no lights on in the dark, playing poker. Like, oh, hey, how was your day? “Pretty good. Made 500 bucks. So I’m taking you out to dinner. I owe you a loaf of bread. I ate your whole loaf of bread.”

Rachel Jenner  15:39
We actually fell into this pattern of like, we saw each other all the time through freshmen and sophomore year, like almost non stop, right? And then junior and senior year, we saw each other, you know, during, doing WeatherVain stuff. And then he was always the person, especially through because I don’t remember exactly when he left for Germany, but like, I needed a car. And I was like, I don’t know who else to call. Like, I literally don’t know, if there’s nobody else in my life. I know who to call for a car to like to help me buy a car. And so like I was like, Well, clearly, MJ needs to be the one.

Jason Garber  16:23

Rachel Jenner  16:24
So like, I remember him, right. So MJ and I went to test drive a car, and he just was insistent that I take it up to a particular speed. I don’t remember what it was on the interstate. And he’s like, up in the ceiling down on the floor, listening for every possible thing that could be happening. And he finally declares the car fit to be bought. And the car was bought. And then of course, Jason, we went to Dave’s Taverna. But yeah,

Jason Garber  16:52
Of course.

Rachel Jenner  16:53
But yeah, I think it just kind of continued like that. Like there would be random things that we did together. And I saw him with Andrew, my husband, when he was back from Germany, I think doing some fundraising maybe. So we went to hear him talk. And then I actually saw him the very last time I saw him was right before he moved to Congo the first time.

Jason Garber  17:22
Yep. When you were with him, he he was very present. And it was intense. Right. It was just all you know, focused on being there and with you. And and then when he wasn’t there, you know, he wasn’t… so it was. I can imagine and I observed you know, your your relationship this first couple years. Yeah. Very intense. Very. Yeah. It fits that intense. And then, you know, he was away and post college. It was cool in the book just to learn all about that. Because yeah, I don’t think I even saw him after he went to the DRC. Even with MCC.

Clinton Miller  18:00
I visited MJ in Indiana, when he was living with his parents briefly right after college and then visited him in Germany, maybe a year or so later. And then I saw him once when he came back to visit and then yeah, we basically didn’t keep in very good touch. I was no better than he was that. Yeah, this was before cell phones, or at least before I had a cell phone and just trying to connect with him like with a payphone because our flights were all messed up and finally got together and yeah, learned a little bit. And I think I think Marshall goes into some of those stories about how he was working with soldiers, and also playing poker with soldiers over there. And he had a secret motorcycle. He wasn’t supposed to have all this stuff. So I learned about all that. And yeah, that I think that was probably the last like quality time I spent with him. And then you know if you saw him a couple times, after.

Ben Wideman  19:01
We talked, sort of off mic, before we began about this feeling or sense from MJ’s mom that her child is now confined to a book. And she knows him so much more than that. I know we’re all in different places of reading the book, but are there stories that you think kind of exemplify who he is, that are not in the book? That you really wish people would know to sort of get a fuller spectrum of, of who he was and and how he lived his life.

Jason Garber  19:32
There’s the the pranks we could talk about and the extracurriculars that we did. Rachel and I were with him in improv group. That was super fun. For over a year or two, right? Just college stories… interesting to the people who were there to remember, you know what a guy he was.

Ben Wideman  19:54
Thanks for bringing up improv. I had forgotten that aspect of who he was. A couple of People have said that it wasn’t so much that he lived his life with courageousness. But that he had a willingness to walk through doors as they opened. And I feel like you need that to be a good improv person, like you see an opportunity, you take that step forward. I, especially as a college student, I never felt like I had that confidence or willingness to, to be that bold or brave. But it’s interesting that that’s, that was something he chose to do something fairly vulnerable.

Rachel Jenner  20:29
The improv was one that for me that I just, I wanted people to know about him, because I’m like, I just wanted people to know that that was something that he did. And that by knowing those things, like just it, not that it’s not that he’s not a full person in the book, but like, it just is a different aspect to his personality. And I mean, Marshall said this, but like, when when we talk about, like singing show tunes in the car, it’s fairly important to note that there was no radio involved, because MJ’s Porsche did not have a radio. So like, MJ’s love of Broadway was just like a little… I was fairly, I think, infatuated with him a lot. I was like, oh, somebody else likes Broadway as much as I do, you know, these kinds of things. It’s like these, these other passions that he had, I’m like, these are such great. Like, it’s just like this other just like nugget of his personality, just like some of the stories that I read in the book that I was like, wow, I never knew that he did that. I feel like I missed those because those were significant to me. And, and for me, like the improv was significant. I would have not done improv, had it not been for him being like, you’re gonna go do improv? And I was like, No, I’m not. And he’s like, Yeah, you are. But like, I changed what I was doing in college because of him. So like, for me, those those things mattered more. And so I think, I mean, I don’t know if it was like you for this for you, Jason. But I think for a lot of us who were in improv, we did improv because of MJ.

Jason Garber  22:22
I don’t know if I’d had the courage, like he was just so comfortable with being uncomfortable. making other people feel uncomfortable to hilarious effect.

Rachel Jenner  22:32
And both of us, I think, got the brunt of that quite a bit.

Jason Garber  22:36
Just putting stuff out there and let it hang. And you know, seeing how other people react. It was an amazing gift because he was very creative and is hilarious in improv.

Clinton Miller  22:48
When I was living with him, we were studying late at night at a waffle house. Anyway, on the way home. It was cold, it was probably November, there’s little snow coming down. And there is a homeless guy on his bike. And MJ would comment, “Man, he looks cold.” And MJ said, “Let’s take him home.” And we did. And kind of that improvisation, that willingness to be uncomfortable. I think that sums up MJ, we I wouldn’t have done that, certainly on my own. But we did because I just said we’re going to do it. So we did. And we cooked him a meal. Let him wash all his clothes, gave him a place to sleep. And then sent him on his way. Another story. This was must have been freshman year there was a hayride. And we decided we were going to throw water balloons at the hayride. Because all our friends were on the hayride. And we parked parked MJ’s car at the halfway house that was up the hill cross from the seminary. And when it did our prank had a good time went back to get in his car and it was locked. He had left the keys in there. The lady who ran the halfway house basically taking his keys, locked up the car and was threatening to call the cops. And he just talked his way out of it because he just could.

Rachel Jenner  24:14
Of course.

Clinton Miller  24:15
I don’t remember what he said. But it worked. It works.

Ben Wideman  24:20
The extent of his poker winning was something I was completely oblivious to. I knew that he was good enough to take my money when he’d play it our dining room table. But I assumed that that was it. That like he would enter so casually, play until he won, and walk away. Like I think in my mind that’s that that made him cool. But I think it was a way that he moved about the world in hearing you all talk you know he gives you enough of himself to to make you feel connected to him and then he move on to the next thing. And so hearing these stories of like, you know, going down to Atlantic City or being on an army base and going in, and winning money from the GIs that he was also counseling is really hilarious. And it’s, it’s funny to me now I hope he would get a kick out of this, that his poker chips, I guess were not important enough to take to Germany or the Congo. And so they, they’ve moved with me first out to California and then to Pennsylvania and my kids still play with them as they’re like, fun and games currency in the house is is MJ’s poker chips. So to know that there’s this whole other part of of him, makes me wonder maybe if if they need to be mailed around the country to people who knew other little slices of who he was and might want that little token of remembrance of him and how he moved about the world.

Jason Garber  25:49
That’s awesome.

Ben Wideman  25:50
So I’m wondering about legacy for a person like this. And what you think is his impact is on your life today? How does MJ’s spirit live on and in who you are?

Jason Garber  26:05
As I read the book over the last few days, the parts that were really sad to me, are really about his death. And part of that’s probably because, you know, I had time to process that a few years ago, when it happened. But for me, the most moving parts of the book, were actually learning about the work that he was doing in the DRC. And just the unspeakable tragedies that he had to sort of witness or, or observe shortly after they occurred, you know, and document and his his work as a un observer, I don’t, you know, I kind of knew it, especially, you know, at the time he went missing was like, okay, that’s what he’s doing, but didn’t really understand it. And it’s a nurse and what was in his reports. So I thought it was fantastic that Marshall pulled that out, and did the research to really give the readers an understanding of what he was doing there and how dire the situation is, because we don’t hear about it in in our press doesn’t make the news. And it’s just kind of a rolling, ongoing, slow and steady tragedy. And I know it’s more complex than that. And there’s a lot more ebb and flow, but I just gained, I think, a lot more respect for the seriousness and gravity of what MJ was doing there. And I know, you know, I couldn’t do it, most people couldn’t do it, it took a very special person to be able to do that kind of work. And yes, to deal with the danger, but I think also just to deal with the humanity and the tragedy. So I just I come away from reading the book with just so much more respect for the person that he matured into. Because let’s be honest, none of us were you know, we weren’t mature people at 18, 19, 20. You know, it was a college years were one thing, but 10 years after that. And for MJ, having lived few other places, gotten master’s degree, had many, many more relationships with other people around the world. And he had, he had really found his, his niche, his way of contributing to the world in a profound way, in a way that most people don’t over a whole, full lifetime. You know, he really did in just a few short years.

Rachel Jenner  28:40
I don’t know, if I would have ended up with the career that I started in, had I not been dating MJ. Because he was 100%, instrumental in pushing me to be like, if you’re not happy here, go talk to this person. He was the one who sent me to talk to Judy Mullet, who is talked about many, many times in the book. He was the one who encouraged me to do improv. And I don’t know, I mean, I just don’t know if I would have maybe I would have done those things without him. But I hadn’t to that point. And so for me, like that truly changed what I was doing. And I can, without a doubt, say that I rely on the skills that I gained in improv and continue doing improv even like beyond college and have applied those skills like in education, and as a presenter, more times than I can count. And I think, again, like with that that continual idea of Like, if you’re not, if this is not sitting right with you, if it’s not feeling right to you and your gut, go find something and go ask more questions and find something that is. So that’s like one thing. But then the additional piece, the way that MJ listened to people, and I think we all, especially now that the political climate just is insanely polarized, and everything is this side, or that side, and you’re either with me or you’re against me, you know, every single day you, you hear people talking about these things, and, and it feels very, when you’re when you’re in a situation and you’re like, why? Like, how can I even begin to listen to somebody who’s just being such a jerk? Yeah, I’m like, Well, I guess. They’re not holding a rifle. Right, like, yeah, you know, and I think that’s, I think my biggest thing is kind of taking that example. And like small scaling it or maybe right sizing my conflict, you know, and saying, and taking that example, and I do believe in listening and saying, if if MJ could do that there, then I can take this small step here to listen to somebody to hear their perspective. And then to try to make peace here. It doesn’t take me going to Congo or me going to somewhere else, where there’s somebody holding the gun, perhaps, yeah, to make peace where you are. And I think, just, yeah, whatever that quote is, you can always listen, you can always listen to where somebody is coming from, and try to hear their perspective.

Ben Wideman  31:48
Our American arrogance likes to think that the problems are over there, somewhere else… like, oh, you got to go to the Congo to really get serious about things. And we forget that we have just as messy or complicated of a country situation here. That requires us to sometimes just listen, yeah, I love that.

Jason Garber  32:07
He really was the catalyst for so many things, and was good at, you know, rounding up a group of people with a vision. Well, he had the vision, he figured out who the players were. Usually I was the, you know, tech support.

Rachel Jenner  32:22
Who will implement my vision? Yeah, exactly.

Jason Garber  32:26
So I bought 1000 Dixie Cups, what should we do? And he didn’t always have, you know, like, it all figured out. Maybe he’d done a lot of thinking, but maybe he was just, you know, had the kernel of an idea. And he needed to, you know, bounce ideas off of other people and have other people help him develop the idea, but you know, we we come up with something pretty good. And, yeah, anyway, he was always good at getting a group together to do something, even if it was, you know, silly, and, and so forth.

Clinton Miller  32:58
MJ was an interesting, complicated person. And I’m really lucky that I got to meet him. I’m really grateful for that. And I’m really grateful that other people get to learn about him, too. I think he’s a good example of refreshing, different approach to life. And, you know, just in this conversation, you know, we’ve seen so much of that.

Ben Wideman  33:23
Well, thank you all for your willingness. And we were saying, before we began that we, we didn’t assume, when we were college students, that there’d be a book written about one of us, so relatively close to graduation. It’s sad, in some ways that it is because of the loss of life of someone so brilliant and talented. I think it’s also quite beautiful to, to hold up this life which was lived so well, and to, to continue to be reminded of that, and thank you for being a part of, of sharing that story. Thank you for taking us beyond the pages of this book, too, and reminding us that he was so much more than just what is compiled there in those pages.

Jason Garber  34:09
And grateful that Marshall painted a picture of MJ his life, got to learn so much more about him about this person. I thought I knew, you know, got to learn other aspects of his life and have some insight into the, you know, the post college more mature MJ and it was very satisfying to feel like the hit his stride like he finally found work that was important enough to engage his intellects and, and did a lot of good in the world.

Clinton Miller  34:48
Yes. School was never important enough for him to fully engage.

Ben Wideman  34:52
That’s a good final word. Thank you all so much for taking the time. I really appreciate it.

Jason Garber  34:58
Thank you, Ben for organizing us

Rachel Jenner  35:00
Thank you.

Clinton Miller  35:01

Ben Wideman  35:03
The new book, Disarmed: The Life and Legacy of Michael “MJ” Sharp is available now, wherever you order books. And our journey continues next week. We’ll wrap up our conversation with Marshall King and talk with David Nyiringabo, a peace worker from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and one of the first recipients of the MJ Sharp Scholarship at Eastern Mennonite University.  As always, we’d like to thank our guests and all who support ~ing Podcast. Thank you for joining us on the journey. If you enjoyed the show, please leave us a review in your favorite podcasting app and if you have something to share, send us a message at [email protected] or by leaving us a voicemail. ~ing Podcast is hosted by Reverend Allison Maus and Reverend Dr. Dennis Edwards, and produced by me, Ben Wideman. Views and opinions expressed on ~ing Podcast are those of our hosts and guests and may not represent that of Leader Magazine or MennoMedia. ~ing Podcast is a production of MennoMedia, a nonprofit publisher that creates thoughtful Anabaptist resources to enrich faith in a complex world. To find out more, visit us online at MennoMedia.org.