Soul Talk in a Neoliberal Age, Part V

On Fridays, we are posing questions to Dr. Bruce Rogers-Vaughn (right), an ordained Baptist minister, pastoral psychotherapist and Associate Professor of the Practice of Pastoral Theology and Counseling at Vanderbilt Divinity School, and the author of Caring for Souls in a Neoliberal Age (Palgrave, 2019).

*This is our fifth Friday with Bruce. See this for Part I, this for Part IIthis for Part III and this for Part IV.

Continue reading “Soul Talk in a Neoliberal Age, Part V”

I Need a Moment to Breathe

canaaniteBy Rev. Solveig Nilsen-Goodin (August 16, 2020), from the second-half of her homily at Salt + Light Lutheran Church (Portland, OR)

Radio silence. Is that what you’re giving me? Radio silence? I expected better from you, Jesus. I just told you my daughter is horribly demon-possessed, and you ignore me! We’re family, remember? From way, way, way back. Or did you forget that your ancestors  Rahab, Tamar and Ruth were all Canaanite just like me. We’ve got the same blood, Jesus. Breathe the same air, too. Our bodies made of the same earth. Our spirits part of the same God. 

Well, if that’s how you’re going to roll, then I guess I’ll have to get a little louder.

“Heir to the house of David, have pity on me! You are a healer and my daughter is sick!” Continue reading “I Need a Moment to Breathe”

The Sandbox Revolution: Raising Kids for a Just World

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

Radical Discipleship friends,

I wanted to share some exciting news! For the past year and a half, I have been working on pulling together a beautiful anthology that will soon be a very real book! It’s called The Sandbox Revolution: Raising Kids for a Just World. It is being published by Broadleaf books and will be released March 30, 2021.

I began this book as a most selfish of projects as a parent overwhelmed and tired and searching for communities raising kids in these unbelievable times with a passion for justice. The contributors in this book are all ones I love dearly. They have been mentors, friends, co-conspirators, and kindred spirits.

Continue reading “The Sandbox Revolution: Raising Kids for a Just World”

Luxury Communist Jesus

communistAn excerpt from Michael J. Sandford’s “Luxury Communist Jesus: Ideology, the Work Ethic, and the Antiwork Politics of Jesus” (2012).

Jesus discourages his followers from working and encourages them not to worry about the provision of material needs. The gospels give a strong impression, however, that such behaviour will not lead to impoverishment, but rather to abundance. The Jesus of the gospels does not endorse the “worldly asceticism” (Weber) of the Protestant ethic. Rather, Jesus appears to live lavishly, when the opportunity for such indulgence arises, as the comparisons that are drawn between Jesus and his disciples and the ascetic John the Baptist suggest. In Luke’s Gospel the Pharisees and scribes state, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so
do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink” (5: 33). Jesus
himself seems to agree that “John the Baptist has come eating no bread
and drinking no wine” (7: 33). On the other hand, Jesus states that people call him “a glutton and a drunkard” (7: 34). In stark contrast to John,
Jesus is accused of living indulgently; an accusation which neither he nor
the narrator rejects. Continue reading “Luxury Communist Jesus”

Soul Talk in a Neoliberal Age, Part IV

On Fridays, we are posing questions to Dr. Bruce Rogers-Vaughn (right), an ordained Baptist minister, pastoral psychotherapist and Associate Professor of the Practice of Pastoral Theology and Counseling at Vanderbilt Divinity School, and the author of Caring for Souls in a Neoliberal Age (Palgrave, 2019).

*This is our fourth Friday with Bruce. See this for Part I, this for Part II and this for Part III.

Tommy Airey: Last week, you described neoliberalism as a “neo-coloniality”—that it is about class, but about race and gender too. In your book, you write that “progressive narratives concerning inclusivity and diversity that separate gender and race from class are vulnerable to being co-opted by neoliberal agendas.” Please explain! 

Continue reading “Soul Talk in a Neoliberal Age, Part IV”

The Rich Young Ruler as Privileged Liberal

SethBy Seth Mountain, originally posted to Facebook on August 23, 2020.

In Biblical language, I think the story of the Rich Young Ruler offers an excellent case study of a privileged Liberal–someone who excelled at performative actions and who had studied deeply all the woke texts of the time, and who was profoundly attracted to the vision of a just and righteous world. Someone upset about the system and initially eager to join in the new community and way of life Jesus was describing. But when faced with what justice (and, ultimately, salvation) demanded, the figure was tragically unwilling (or unable?) to “Go, sell all that you have, and give the money to the poor.” Continue reading “The Rich Young Ruler as Privileged Liberal”

A Tribute to a Jail-House Monk

By Dean Hammer

One of the amazing gifts of the Holy Spirit amongst believers is that we are afforded the capacity to be present to fellow travelers from a distance. Each day since the Kings Bay Plowshares (KBP) disarmament action (April 4, 2018), Steve Kelly and the other six of the KBP (Clare Grady, Patrick O’Neill, Elizabeth McAlister, Martha Hennessy, Mark Colville, and Carmen Trotta) gift me with their witness against omnicide on behalf of human survival. Liz McAlister has been sentenced and the others await sentencing, currently scheduled for mid-October. This reflection is meant as a tribute to the extraordinary example of Steve Kelly and the KBP community.

Continue reading “A Tribute to a Jail-House Monk”

A Beekeepers Musings

unnamed2By Marcia Lee

The end of an era is over.  The beehive that started it all did not survive the summer.  This hive barely made it through the winter, revived itself, and then swarmed twice.  This led to two ‘new hives,’ but the bees did not leave a queen for the bees that were left behind.  So many lessons from the bees for these times.  I made so many small and large decisions throughout the time, many of them probably not the best.  But here we are.

Yesterday one of the beehives in our backyard was robbed by other bees, wasps, and insects.  When we went to look today, we found that the hive had been decimated.  There was no more honey in the cells and the bodies of dead bees littered the floor of the hive.  The hive was going to die one way or another, because, without a queen, a hive cannot survive.  The honey went to other bees and wasps and it will help them to survive another winter.  However, if I had pulled the honey, could the bees have died a softer death? Continue reading “A Beekeepers Musings”

Soul Talk in a Neoliberal Age, Part III

Mental Health Counseling Conference

On Fridays, we are posing questions to Dr. Bruce Rogers-Vaughn (right), an ordained Baptist minister, pastoral psychotherapist and Associate Professor of the Practice of Pastoral Theology and Counseling at Vanderbilt Divinity School, and the author of Caring for Souls in a Neoliberal Age (Palgrave, 2019). Bruce presses for a “post-capitalist pastoral theology” that empowers people to resist the system (instead of adapt to it), to embrace communion and wholeness in relation to others and the earth (instead of functioning in accord with the values of production and consumption) and to pursue interdependent reliance within the web of human relationships (instead of accepting shame-based personal responsibility narratives).

*This is our third Friday with Bruce. See this for Part I and this for Part II.

RD.net: You say that neoliberalism is not only about economics. That it is a full-fledged religion that encompasses everything! How does neoliberalism affect politics and culture too?

BRV: The political is implicated in the economic. When I say “political,” I’m not simply talking about that media-driven horse race we call “politics.” Under neoliberal governance, politics has become a house of mirrors. Again, George Carlin: “Politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners.” When I use the word “political,” I’m talking about the way power flows through society. In neoliberal times, the dramatic increase in economic inequality is matched by an increase in political inequality. Right-wing neoliberal intellectuals and politicians pontificate about wanting “smaller government.” This is another lie. It actually takes a monstrously large and intrusive government for economic elites to maintain control over the masses. Thus, both political parties, in the USA, support large government. Growing inequality is not due to technology or globalization, as even progressives often claim, but to the seizure of state power by class elites. Monopoly corporations, and individuals whose wealth is equal to the GDP of small countries, are able and willing to impose their will on legislation, as well as the courts and penal systems. Continue reading “Soul Talk in a Neoliberal Age, Part III”

Kyle Rittenhouse, Whiteness, and The Responsibility of White Faith Leaders: Notes from Conversations with Ruby Sales

kenoshaBy Rev. Margaret Anne Ernst

The seventeen year old Kyle Rittenhouse, who has been charged with killing two protesters in a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, could have been my cousin or little brother. Raised in the far north suburbs of Chicago, his life proves that it is not Southern rural people who are the foot soldiers of white supremacist violence, like I was often raised to believe as someone who grew up in the North, but white people everywhere, including and especially in tree-lined suburbs just like where my own people came from.

I woke up last week to news of Rittenhouse’s murders of two protestors who were in the streets raising their voices for justice for Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and to the defenses of these murders from amidst the Right’s flanks like Tucker Carlson and Ann Coulter. Ann Coulter said she would want someone like Rittenhouse as president. Tucker Carlson said that Rittenhouse was right in “maintaining order” on the streets of Kenosha, echoing the law and order talking points that have become front and center in the Republic National Convention. Continue reading “Kyle Rittenhouse, Whiteness, and The Responsibility of White Faith Leaders: Notes from Conversations with Ruby Sales”