To Step Back & Let New People Direct the Conversation

AidenAn announcement from our comrade up north Aiden Enns (right) of Geez Magazine:

After much reflection and in close conversation with the board of directors, I’ve decided that now is a good time for me to retire from my
post as editor of Geez magazine. I plan to make the Winter 2017 edition my 48th and final issue.

Geez magazine started 12 years ago under the tagline, “holy mischief in
an age of fast faith” in order to poke and prod at the pitfalls of
mainstream religion. Continue reading

Sermon: Walking in the Way of Righteousness

IMG_4625By Joanna Shenk

Psalm 85:8-13

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a loved one in which they asked me if I thought holiness and righteousness were important… or if I valued them as a Christian. I can’t remember exactly how they said it, but it was said in a way that assumed I probably didn’t think they were important. I explained to them that it was frustrating to be asked the question in that way because it put me on the defensive… like I needed to prove something to them. To their credit, they understood and agreed it made for better conversation if they asked me how I understand holiness and righteousness or what has been my journey with those things. Continue reading

And Not a Moment Before

CvilleBy Tommy Airey, co-editor of RadicalDiscipleship.net

On Friday, in preparation for this past weekend’s neo-fascist march and rally in Charlottesville, Terry McAuliffe, the governor of Virginia, cited “the right of every American to deny those ideas more attention than they deserve.” He strongly encouraged people to stay away from the counter-protest.  As if oppressors and abusers just go away if we don’t confront them with our humanity.  As if level-headedness and moderation have ever saved those catching hell.

However, this was far from the first time that McAuliffe has distanced himself from the militant nonviolent tradition of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who, while in a Birmingham cell, rejected “the narrow, provincial ‘outside agitator’ idea” of white moderate clergy.  Jyarland Daniels, the founder of the racial equity organization Harriet Speaks, reminded me recently that, in the lead-up to the 2016 Presidential election, McAuliffe, a huge Hillary Clinton supporter, worked tirelessly to ensure that (mostly black) ex-felons could get the right to vote. This is significant because McAuliffe’s support (with most of the Democratic Party establishment) for mass incarceration of nonviolent offenders and felon disenfranchisement laws have crippled black families and neighborhoods for decades. Continue reading

Whose Violence? Which Insurgence?: White Supremacy in the Mirror of Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation

Nat TurnerBy Dr. James Perkinson, Ecumenical Theological Seminary (Detroit, MI), prepared comments presented at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church’s “Social Justice Forum,” October 21, 2016 in response to the film

It was a Jewish man, Walter Benjamin, during WWII, who once said, “Only that historian will have the gift of fanning the spark of hope in the past who is firmly convinced that even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if [it] wins. And this enemy has not ceased to be victorious” (Benjamin, 255)

Nat Turner’s spirit is buried beneath the shouts and cries (Cone, 61)

It is a deep honor to be asked to offer a few words in memory of so courageous and clear a spirit of resolve as Nat Turner. It is an honor doubly difficult to measure up to in that my skin is white and my life circumstance therefore privileged with respect to Turner’s color and condition and the people whose struggle for justice he represented with such determination and daring that it presaged the only resolution of the institution of slavery white people would accept. War. And it is a war that has never yet ceased. And so my standing here today is not innocent. Continue reading

I Wish the Ring Had Never Come to Me

Frodo: It’s a pity Bilbo didn’t kill him when he had the chance.

Gandalf: Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo’s hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet, for good or ill before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.

Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.

Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the ring, in which case you also were meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.

  • The Fellowship of the Ring

Encircle Them With Energetic Encouragement

IMG_5390

An important message about dismantling white supremacy in Charlottesville, VA tomorrow (right: flyer for the event).  From Sarah Thompson, the executive director of Christian Peacemaker Teams:

First and foremost I want to send love to you all.

Thank you for who you are and the work that you are doing in the world.

It is important. You are courageous. Now is the time to grow our souls.

Please read on.

This weekend, a racist rally is taking place in Charlottesville, Virginia called “Unite the Right.” You can read about it online (poster attached). This article by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors “hate groups and other extremists,” warns that the rally could be “the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States.” The convergence of alt-right folks has been emboldened by the national administration, and they do have a sense of their world falling apart. They chose Charlottesville to rally after that city’s vote to remove the Confederate statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Their goal is to bring white people on the right wing together, out from the shadow of the internet, so they can cultivate real relationships and craft a palatable platform to build more political power. The images they chose for the rally draw from Nazi-era propoganda. Continue reading

An Ode to Frodo and Team Middle Earth: Gratitudes and Reflections On a Beloved Tale, in honor of those engaged in the struggle for “Middle Earth”

18451590_10212829369908513_6895391242480893518_oBy Lindsay Airey, LMFT (right: with her nephew Mason)

I didn’t choose for Frodo and Team Middle Earth to accompany me through pivotal points in my 20’s, nor to keep being a source of life-saving balm throughout my 30’s. I didn’t choose them to weave a deep bond between myself and other devoted followers of their epic struggle. I didn’t choose them to hold me through multiple seasons of disorienting grief, nor whisper to my deepest hopes, dreams, sorrows and visions of Beloved Community. I didn’t choose them to challenge and inspire me out of dark valleys of despair or numbing ancestral, cultural and imperial demons of depression, nor to rearrange my notions of power, success, and happiness. Continue reading