Working for a Different Way to Live

lilyBy Lily Mendoza, from “Healing Historical Trauma: Ethnoautobiography as Decolonizing Practice,” a talk delivered at the Graduate Center, University of Pretoria, August 16, 2016:

Indeed, there is hope in remembering that for the majority of our time on the planet, we have lived very differently than we do today. We did not make war a way of life; we did not treat the Earth as mere resource to do with as we please; we did not deem ourselves the most important creatures on the planet; we did not always enslave; we did not take more than we needed and without giving back; we did not build businesses out of imprisoning huge numbers of our population, or out of producing weapons of mass destruction or psychotropic drugs meant to numb our pain and boredom; we did not take over every square inch of land driving every other species out their habitat and into extinction, etc. In other words, if, for the majority of our life on the planet, we did not do any of these things—i.e., we did not rape, pillage, and plunder—surely we can stop doing so again and start desiring and working for a different way to live on our shared planet?  Continue reading

A Modest Proposal for Radical Disciples: Swearing Off

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Photo: Michael Smith

By Tommy Airey

Many of us have been unpleasantly awakened to the fact that “national politics” does matter, as Princeton’s Jeffrey Stout concisely articulated in Blessed Are The Organized (2010), his aptly-titled Obama-era book on grassroots democracy:

Presidents, federal legislators, judges, bureaucrats, Wall Street bankers, insurance executives, media moguls and generals are making decisions every day that have a massive impact on our lives.

A couple of weeks ago, our flight to snow-driven Portland diverted, Lindsay and I found ourselves laid over and out for two nights in Seattle. There we were, deliriously sharing a falafel burger at a hotel bar with Fox News on surround sound. After compulsory knee-jerk lamentations, we grounded ourselves in the reality of the next four years of banality. We acknowledged the tension, though, of committing ourselves to “knowing what’s going on in the world” with being bombarded with a plethora of despairing headlines and sound-bites, news spin a no-win situation. What now with the need to protect ourselves emotionally and spiritually more important than ever? Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Under the Cover of His Tent

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Great American Backyard Campout photo credit: Chattahoochee Nature Center

3rd Sunday after Epiphany

One thing I asked of the Lord, that I will seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent: he will set me high on a rock.
Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.  -Psalm 27:4-6

By Sarah Thompson and Na’Taki Osborne Jelks, excerpted from Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice

Sarah: Connecting people to land connects us with one another, enabling us to re-knit kinship ties that were broken by enslavement. In the Diaspora, Black folks have had a primarily extractive relationship with the land, and later in industrial factories. We were seen as people whose worth was in our productive capacity, but beyond that, as disposable. It is easy to understand, therefore, why we have had an extractive relationship with one another, and use a lot of disposable things. But this cycle is spiritually devastating. Continue reading

21 Running, Working, Experiential Definitions of Mysticism

meditationFrom Matthew Fox’s The Coming of the Cosmic Christ (1988):

By exposure to each of these “definitions” the reader will begin to feel and make connections with his or her own mysticism, for the purpose of defining mysticism here is to elicit the mystic within each person…

  1. Experience: a trust of the universe, a trust of what is and what occurs to us, yes, a trust of oneself
  2. Non dualism: the end of alienation and the beginning of communion, the end of either/or relationships and the beginning of unity
  3. Compassion: “the keen awareness of the interdependence of all living things which are all part of one another and involved in one another” (Thomas Merton)
  4. Connection Making:  by symbols, stories, myths, music and colors, form and ritual–we connect with one another’s deep and often unspoken experiences of life’s mysteries
  5. Radical Amazement: awe is the opposite of taking life for granted
  6. Affirmation of the World as a Whole:  neither neutral nor bitter or cynical
  7. Right-Brain: synthesis over analysis and verbalization

Continue reading

Sermon: Born to Be a Light

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Trial for the Homrich 9. Activists blocked trucks from turning off Detroiters’ water.

By Bill Wylie-Kellermann, Saint Peter’s Episcopal Detroit, Epiphany 2, January 15, 2017

Isaiah 49:1-7
Psalm 40:1-11
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
John 1:29-42

Our readings for today echo those of last week. Again we have reference to John, to the baptism of Jesus, the dove alighting upon him, AND again beside it a Servant song from Isaiah.

There is a striking commonality of Second Isaiah and John: both have central figures whose identity is hard to pin down. In the gospel of John it is the “beloved disciple,” identified only by that name. Is this a cipher for John himself, for his beloved community? Is there an historical referent? Even another character in the story? Or is this a narrative figure with which we, as readers, may identify, a call to discipleship by another name? Continue reading

We Have Been Ambushed

mlkFrom Michael Eric Dyson in his book I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King Jr:

At the heart of the conservative appropriation of King’s vision is the argument that King was an advocate of a color-blind society. Hence, any policy or position that promotes color consciousness runs counter to King’s philosophy…”I have a dream,” King eloquently yearned, “my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Of the hundreds of thousands of words that King spoke, few others have had more impact than these thirty-four, uttered when he was thirty-four years old, couched in his most famous oration. Tragically, King’s American dream has been seized and distorted by a group of conservative citizens whose forebears and ideology have trampled King’s legacy. Continue reading