Sheep Without a Shepherd

BindingWe continue our celebration of the 30th anniversary of Binding The Strong Man, Ched Myers’ political reading of Mark’s Gospel.  Today’s passage is Mark 6:30-34.

…Mark is decidedly presenting Jesus as an “organizer,” but with the intention of feeding the needy, not plotting a military campaign on Jerusalem.  This however, hardly makes the narrative ideology less subversive!  Indeed, there is an implied political criticism here, which we see if we do not limit the intertextuality to the Joshua tradition.  The “sheep without a shepherd” motif is seized upon by the prophets to criticize the leadership of Israel.  Ezekiel 34 spins a parable around it that specifically condemns class stratification: “I will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep” (Ez 34:20).  The ruling class protects its privilege rather than the collective prosperity of the people, becoming predator instead of the shepherd: Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: A Contrast of Economies

wild lectionary.pngNinth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 11(16)

By Rachael Bullock

Psalm 23:1-3
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.

If you haven’t noticed, the conversation around fossil fuels can often be a fairly tense one. This is especially true as political discourse in North America becomes increasingly polarized. As I’ve listened most recently to arguments about Kinder Morgan’s pipeline, oil sands in Alberta, the future of environmental policies, I notice that the general arguments in favour of nonrenewable energy rests on the assumption that there is not enough – in general, not just economically. This makes sense given that when discussing “environmentalism” or any other subject, it is never simply a conversation “about the facts”. Rather, it becomes a dialogue in which participants are often not even aware that underlying life experiences, societal messages, and driving ideologies are brought into play. Continue reading

The Decolonization of the Cherished Figure of Man

BorderFrom Bayo Akomolafe of The Emergence Network, social media post June 18, 2018.

Reading about the heart-breaking stories of immigrant children at American borders who are snatched from their parents (literally from their mothers’ breasts), tagged, categorized, renamed, hushed, and assigned spots in surveilled warehouses, reinforces several points for me:

1. We often become what we strenuously resist: In its effort to keep the exteriorized ‘outside’ at bay, the American nation-state is exhibiting the same gestures of biopolitical subjectivization that characterized gruesome dictatorial regimes it once claimed to be morally superior to. Already, grainy images of old Nazi concentration camps and the haunting language of finality (Stephen Miller’s “simple decision” sounds eerily similar to Nazi Germany’s “final solution”) are sweeping through the Internet, drawing startling connections between the US and the Third Reich. The lesson here? Exceptionalism is pricey. The reward for hard-line protectionist policies might be safety, but their real cost is the loss of the freedom to be otherwise. The same move that freezes the outside is the very same gesture that damns the inside to its own prison. Continue reading

Review of Dianne Bergant, A New Heaven, a New Earth: The Bible and Catholicity

bookBy Wes Howard-Brook

Readers here of the “Wild Lectionary” series hardly need to be convinced of the Bible’s deep concern for all of God’s good creation. Our shared journey through the Scriptures from the perspective of Earth and her creatures has brought forth beautiful, poignant and powerful reflections on our own broken relationship with creation and the path to mutual healing.

But as we also know, humanity as a whole continues to run roughshod over the planet as if the constant alarm bells of record-breaking heat, storms and drought were not audible over the din of commerce and headphoned distractions. People who identity as “Christians” often lead the charge of climate denial and rejection of God’s love for creation. For such people, Dianne Bergant’s solid, steady, gentle overview of the Bible’s message of ecojustice may be just what is needed to shift perspective enough to join the movement to transform and to heal our relationship with creation. Continue reading

Trayvon Martin, the Legacy of Lynching, and the Role of White Women

melanie-5-25-15By Melanie S. Morrison. Re-posted from LivingFormations.

 

*Five years ago , George Zimmerman was exonerated for the killing of Trayvon Martin. Three years ago today, Sandra Bland was found dead in a Waller County Texas jail cell. Just this week the Department of Justice announced a re-opening of its investigation into the lynching of Emmett Till.  It is in this context we share this piece. Melanie S. Morrison reflects on legacies of lynching and the particular roles white women and cultures surrounding white womanhood have played in the killing of Black people and the failure of any system to hold anyone responsible. Morrison reflects as she simultaneously steeps herself  in the courageous legacy of Lillian E. Smith, as an exceptionally rare white southern woman who dared challenge white supremacy and who knew all too well the role white women and white “liberals” play in sustaining it. We have much history to reckon with as we seek to do our work today. -Jennifer Harvey

Some problems we share as women, some we do not. You [white women] fear your children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify against you; we [black women] fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot down in the street, and you will turn your backs on the reasons they are dying. – Audre Lorde

I had returned to the Lillian E. Smith Center for the Arts in the mountains of North Georgia for three weeks of solitude in July 2013. I hoped to make significant headway on my research and writing about the intergenerational legacy of lynching and how this reign of terror remains largely unacknowledged by the descendants of its white perpetrators. Continue reading