Learning from Laughter and the Trees: He Comes with the Mountains

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Cedar at the Poor People’s Campaign action on June 18 in Detroit.

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

“You have rocks in your bag.”

Stunned, I said, “it’s possible. I have kids.” I searched frantically through my bag that I had carefully packed that morning in hopes of getting quickly through security at the 36th District Court before court. I tried to gloss over the contraband tics tacs and pencil I had hidden at the bottom- necessities for keeping a 2-year-old silent in the court room that day. I can’t find anything. They wait, “Check another pocket.” Sure enough, there in the front, I find them. I pull out hands filled with mountain stones, Detroit River rocks, and pine cones all covered in sand that pours through my fingers. I hand them over to the security guard who doesn’t flinch as I apologize and she heads for the trash can. Continue reading

Prayer for a Blue Day

candleBy Dee Dee Risher

Oh God, I wake up to weather
in this world you created whole and intricate
and I think how it matters;
How sun, season, gray or blue
can turn my heart. Such a little
and a cosmic thing.

And I ponder that in a world of agony,
small things—heat, cold, fleas, dust,
broken appliances—
cause me more emotion than
true tragedies and losses;
earthquakes and floods
elsewhere.
Sometimes I live so small. Continue reading

Radical Status-Reversal

Binding30 years in and Ched Myers’ Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus(1988) is more relevant than ever. This week’s commentary homes in on Mark 9:30-37.

They next reach the home in Capernaum. That the community would stop in here on its way south, specifically for instruction on internal matters of power and discipline, is significant, for Capernaum was the center of gravity for the first part of the Gospel (Mk 1:21; 2:1). It is here that Jesus really begins to unmask his disciples’ true aspirations to power. Not only do they not understand where Jesus is trying to lead them; they are headed full speed in the opposite direction. Mark contrives the episode for maximal irony: the disciples are caught debating who was greatest among them “on the way” (twice, 9:33b, 34a)! For Jesus’ response, Mark sets a familiar stage: the twelve are called (3:14; 4:10; 6:7; 10:32; 14:17) and Jesus takes his seat (4:1; 12:41; 13:3). The narrative signals: Pay attention to the teaching that follows! Continue reading

The Gangsterization of Our Politics

barberFrom William Barber’s recent comments in a Democracy Now interview:

Before all of the latest news, Judge Kavanaugh, first of all, was being put forward after McConnell in the Senate held open a seat for over 420 days, in a way that we had not seen since the Civil War. They literally denied a president his right to nominate someone and for them to have a hearing. This was the same Judiciary Committee that denied two African-American women a hearing to be appointed to the federal court, the 1st District—Eastern District in North Carolina. So the process was bad from the beginning. Continue reading

Why Did She Wait?

Ruby SalesAnother post from the front porch of Ruby Sales (September 17, 2018):

Republicans ask with hypocritical self righteousness that if Christine Ford’s allegation that charges Kavanaugh with sexual terrorism and attempted rape is true why did she wait thirty six years to go public?

She remained silent for the same reasons that thousands of women did not speak out. We lived in a White male patriarchy that blamed women and dismissed us as aggressive sexual predators and whores for sexual crimes against us. Sadly even women internalized this view and believed that we provoked men to commit these acts against us. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: What is a good wife anyways?

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Photo by Caitlin Reilley Beck

18th Sunday After Pentecost
Proper 20 (25)B

Proverbs 31:10-31

By Caitlin Reilley Beck

A capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:10-11

This passage makes it clear who is writing Scripture and who isn’t. It reads like the vision board of the patriarchy, and capitalism for that matter, though it doesn’t originate in this economic system. According to this reading, the dream is to have a wife who will do a thousand different things – truly she is  one who works to “have it all.” Except, surprise, surprise, she only gets “a share in the fruit of her hands” (31:31). If this is the Bible’s job posting for being a wife in a straight, monogamous marriage, it could use some workshopping because it is not very appealing. Continue reading

Let’s Give It A Go

Kathleen Dean MooreOregon State Professor of Philosophy Kathleen Dean Moore was once asked, “Would you condone violence on behalf of the planet?” This was her response:

No, violence is what we are opposing. You can’t ever stop a behavior by engaging in it. Using violence only increases its power.

The reason nonviolent methods haven’t worked is because we haven’t really tried them yet. We haven’t tried massive protests and civil disobedience. We haven’t tried boycotts. We haven’t harnessed the power of the global religions. Somewhere near half of us don’t even vote. Here and there, sure, we’ve tried nonviolence, but not on the scale we need. Let’s give it a go. Continue reading