The Holy Fool

A new zoom offering from Maki Ashe Van Steenwyk who writes:

It is a 4-week elective for folks in our spiritual direction training program, but I’m opening it up to folks who aren’t a part of the program. Registration is sliding scale, but the sliding scale is a guideline. Folks who can’t afford it should feel free to apply and folks who can more-than-afford it should feel free to be generous. Register here.

Gratitude

This is the first part of a long and very compelling Thanksgiving Day reflection from the author Robert Jones Jr. His newsletter is brilliant. You can sign up (free) for it here.

I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving Day.

Its genocidal, bait-and-switch origins make it, for me, heinous and not an occasion for rejoicing, to say the least. People get annoyed when I say this because they think it’s “too woke” of a perspective, which I interpret as too honest of a perspective, given the American investment in and penchant for not knowing. And since they like the traditions that have sprung up around the holiday, they don’t want to hear any critique of it, no matter how truthful.

I get it: I also like the idea of gathering with loved ones and sitting down at a banquet to laugh, love, reminisce, and be thankful. So, instead of celebrating the farce that is the colonists’ ploy, I use this time of year—as I touch upon in the video above (courtesy of BOOKCLUB: Black Like We Never Left)—to express gratitude to my Ancestors for their sacrifices and their survival so that I might be here today; to the First Nations/Indigenous/Native peoples upon whose land I live; and to the Universe for permitting me to exist in the first place.

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We Are Literally Right Here

By Jim Bear Jacobs, re-posted from social media with permission (a reflection from 2019)

Brief moment of stepping up on my soapbox for some real talk. To my beautiful friends fighting for immigrant justice. There is a popular trope in these circles. Something along the lines of “We are all immigrants” This idea just needs to stop. We are not all immigrants. This is endemic of Indigenous erasure. I have encountered it in many social justice actions over the years. Once after we had opened an event with a drum circle, the first speaker called for immigrant justice by saying “in this country we have all come from somewhere else!” And I was like there are literally 15 Native people in the same room with you.

Today I was part of a beautiful vigil at the ICE headquarters to call for a stop of injustices committed against our immigrant neighbors. I and another Native clergyman were part of the leadership of this vigil. We opened by acknowledging that we were on Dakota land. We led a prayer to the directions. We sang a song in the Dakota language. I saw one sign that said Americans are all immigrants, and one of the speakers echoed the same sentiment. I know that it might seem overused for Native people to proclaim We Are Still Here, but in this case we were literally right here. There are three of us standing two feet behind you. The smoke from our sage is literally filling your nostrils as you speak.

My social justice friends, you are beautiful. I wholeheartedly love you. I am so grateful for your passion, your energy, your devotion to the cause. We do great work, it would take only a minimal effort to make it better. When you craft your words, when you make your signs, take a moment to make sure that your shouting does not contribute to the erasure of your indigenous hosts. We Are Still Here. We Are Literally Right Here.

Bearing Witness at the End of the World

By Ched Myers, a commentary on last Sunday’s Gospel

Today’s gospel text for the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost culminates Year C’s journey through Luke (next week’s “Reign of Christ Sunday” is a special feast day to close the liturgical year). It narrates the first half of the third gospel’s version of the “Synoptic Apocalypse” (Lk 21), which begins by portraying Jesus’ disciples, many of whom were up-country Galileans, as dazzled pilgrims encountering the grandeur of the “Holy” metropolis of Jerusalem for the first time (21:5).

Like rural folk visiting Washington DC for the first time, they were impressed (or perhaps just overwhelmed) by the imposing monuments and edifices of their nation, which conjured a visceral patriotism they assumed Jesus shared. We, too, inevitably experience moments of existential awe by our civilization, especially as powerfully represented by its built environment—whether civic, religious, industrial or military. We all dwell under the shadow cast by the self-congratulatory narrative of empire; it is so heroic and compelling that we become enamored with (or paralyzed by) the systems that rule over us, despite ourselves. “Wow!” they/we intone, “God bless America!”—then turn to Jesus to add plaintively, “right??”

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Five Books: Nick Peterson

In a new Radical Discipleship exclusive series, we are asking radical Christian leaders one question. What are the five books or authors that have seriously shaped your spiritual life? This is how Rev. Dr. Nick Peterson answered.

  1. Belonging by bell hooks
  2. Black Poets Lean South ed. by Nikki Finney
  3. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
  4. How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America by Kiese Laymon
  5. The Overstory by Richard Powers

Rev. Dr. Nick Peterson is an AME pastor and professor at Emory University in Atlanta. He lives with his partner NaKisha, twin five-year-olds, his nieces, his mother-in-law Tutz and a couple precocious house cats.

On Winter’s Wings: An Advent resource

In this season, when our hearts are heavy
and we oscillate between rage and despair,
we pause and look close.
We are washed over by the wind in the white pine,
startled by the stars in the night sky,
and saved by the cardinal standing in the snow.
These are the days to nestle in
when we need to remember
how gloriously small we are
in the ecosystem of creation.
Let us fall in love with the wisdom and beauty
of creatures who could not help
but turn us all into poets.

Dear Radical Discipleship community,

It has been one of our great delights to have stumbled upon making daily Advent books with Geez magazine. This tradition has roots with the Radical Discipleship community since we made a version or two with this beautiful circle. We have loved feeling the hunger and resonance in our community for such a resource. It has been good for our souls and we feel connected knowing that hundreds of folks far and wide have been reading them together.

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Mobilizing White People in Georgia

This is a compelling opportunity organized by Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) for white people of conscience to throw in with the Warnock campaign in the Georgia Senate run-off scheduled for December 6. See below for details about signing-up.

Once again, all eyes are in Georgia. After a near-tie between Senator Warnock and Herschel Walker in the General Election, SURJ is mobilizing for a win in the Georgia Runoff. SURJ members showed up to do our part in defeating Trump in Georgia in 2020 AND electing Senator Warnock in the 2021 runoff. With our growing movement, we can continue to defeat the MAGA Right in Georgia!

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