Sermon 2- Poets and Prophets of Silence and Speech

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Snow is another thing that slows me down and helps me be still. And it is another thing I am watching with fear as we get less and less each year. I savor these days.

Sermon 1/20/2019 at Day House Catholic Worker
Isaiah 62:1-5
By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

Isaiah begins “For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet.”

I believe in refusing to be silent. But I also believe in silence and quiet. I believe that we need to still ourselves long enough to hear those words when we are each called “my delight” and listen for “our new name pronounced by the mouth of the Lord.” God calls us by name, but it is so easy to miss when we aren’t paying attention.

It is not easy in our culture to find total silence or to stay in one place long enough to see what is right in front of us.

This week I am thinking a lot about Mary Oliver who died on Thursday. She is a poet who always had the gift of helping me to be quiet and altered my way of seeing the simplicity of life around me.

I have found myself struck with gratitude and grief realizing that there was something steadying to know that Mary Oliver was out in the woods somewhere paying attention to the beetles and the dew drops. So, my reflections tonight are filled with words from Mary Oliver tonight. Continue reading

Behind the Scenes

baptismal

Detroit, MI

By Tommy Airey, a homily preached at The Abbey Church (Victoria, BC) on Sunday, January 20, 2019

“When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from…” (John 2:9a)

Theologian Kelly Brown-Douglas explains that when the earliest slaves in America listened to the reading of the Bible, they heard the voice of “The Great High God”—the free, sovereign divinity they knew well from their African heritage. This was the creator God who was far greater than humans and all “the lesser gods” in the universe. This is the God defined by Steadfast Love in this morning’s Psalm: in this Higher Power, there is refuge and abundance, feasting and drinking from the river of delight. Continue reading

Radical Surrender and Commitment to ‘Your Thread’

marciaBy Marcia Lee (Detroit, MI)

*This is the fourth installation of a year-long series of posts from contributors all over North America each answering the question, “How would you define radical discipleship?” We will be posting responses regularly on Mondays during 2019.

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

William Stafford Continue reading

Martin Luther King, the Beloved Community and the Socialist Idea

obery hendricksA classic from theologian Obery Hendricks, re-posted from The Huffington Post (May 2, 2014).

I speak the password primeval…I give the sign of democracy; By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their counterpoint of on equal terms.
Walt Whitman

Recently on The Huffington Post I explored Martin Luther King’s rejection of capitalist logic and his endorsement of Democratic Socialism as an antidote to the ills and injustices inherent to the capitalist system he so fervently opposed. These include capitalism’s subordination of human welfare to the pursuit of profits; its transformation of greed from Christianity’s Third Mortal Sin to the preeminent capitalist virtue (based on a selective reading of Adam Smith); and its rejection of the biblically-mandated responsibility to “love your neighbor as yourself,” i.e., to care for society’s poor and vulnerable. In addition to the consternation that I would dare to use Martin Luther King and “socialism” in the same sentence, a number of readers also seized on King’s endorsement as confirmation of the old charge that he was a Communist sympathizer. Continue reading

Tone Policing

Oluo

PC: SeattleSpectator.com

From The Sun Magazine‘s brilliant interview with Ijeoma Oluo author of the recently released So You Want to Talk about Race:

Tone policing is when someone disputes a statement by focusing on how it was said, not on its content. It’s when you’re told to “calm down” or “be more ladylike” or “be less emotional.” The person who’s suffering has to express their experience in a way white people will accept before whites are willing to listen. You all think you’re a better judge of what’s proper than black people are, and that you have the authority to deem our complaints invalid. Your comfort level is more important to you than stopping the brutality we’re facing. Continue reading

An Indivisible Pedagogy and Theology of Somebodiness

rubyAnother brilliant epistle from the front porch of Ruby Sales

On this day as we remember King please accept this gift of recapitulation, restoration and remembrance of a southern African American story.

Every year I listen in absolute horror as White liberals rob King of his connection and roots to the Black South. His are deep roots as are mine that extend all the way back to the first organized non-violent southern freedom grassroots movement when members of the community of enslaved Africans ran away. He and I descend from enslaved ancestors who fashioned a radical and liberating Black folk theology in southern fields where they were forced under state sanctioned violence to labor like beasts of burden to enrich the economic lifestyles of southern Whites. In the heat of those fields they carved out a theology of pragmatic optimism that blended their transcendental impulse –ancestors’ aspirations — with transactional acts of resistance and accommodation towards citizenship. The folk impulse of our enslaved ancestors radically departed from the White transactional view of us as property to our transcendental view of our being children of God and therefore legitimate heirs of the promise of democracy.
Continue reading