Hope is a Verb, a Song Called “Anyhow”

Note: This is part of a series of short posts, in the lead-up to the election, from leaders reflecting on hope and/or resistance.

By Johari Jabir (right)

Hope is a verb, a form of action not based on feelings or what is seen in ordinary time. To hope is to advance a stubborn, aggressive optimism.  

On January 1, 1863, a large gathering of Black and white people assembled beneath a sprawling oak tree in Beaufort, South Carolina, to hear the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. Standing on a platform behind military officers, dignitaries, and abolitionists was the nation’s first Black regiment, the 1st South Carolina Volunteers. After the proclamation was read, the regiment was presented with an American flag donated by a New York congregation. All of the ceremony and pageantry had gone along as planned, until one speaker’s comments were interrupted by an elderly Black man who stood to sing,  

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Advent is coming

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

While fires still rage in our forests and our streets, it is time to start looking towards that season when we slow our bodies down, when we welcome in the darkness, when a single flame is enough. While the work of resistance never ceases, Advent is the liturgical season where we find more time for the quiet, waiting hours to prepare our hearts. Prepare our lives for the transformative power of story and its ability to turn the powers that be upside down. It is time. 

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Anchored in a Reality Different from Our Own

Note: This is part of a series of short posts, in the lead-up to the election, from leaders reflecting on hope and/or resistance.

By Rev. Tiffany Ashworth

A few months ago, I preached a sermon on Psalm 1. During my preparation, I kept stumbling over the phrase their delight is in the law. Delight and law? From where I’m standing, those are contradictory. Images of law conjure drudgery, burden, and weight. Law all too often represses rather than restores, closes in rather than opens up, belittles rather than inspires. It can be anxiety-making, self-preserving, and power-seeking rather than peace-imparting, generous, and life-giving. How can anyone delight in a law? Law, to me, often belongs on the path of dried up chaff not well-watered trees.

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True Solidarity

From Ashley Bohrer, professor, author and activist, in a May 2020 interview with George Souvlis on the Salvage site. Bohrer was asked about “solidarity” as both an analytical concept and a political reality.

True solidarity is life. There’s no other way, I don’t think, to orient ourselves to the struggle and to each other. There’s something really beautiful about solidarity, about the ways that millions of people work together and for each other, not on the basis of personal connection or individual acquaintance, but out of clarity and conviction that we all deserve a better world. We’re doing this interview in the midst of the Covid crisis and the mutual aid work I and so many other have been participating in, I think, has brought a whole new group of folks into understanding that feeling.

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Geez is Throwing a Party!

Dear friends,

With the arrival of Autumn, our once long and golden evenings are now replaced with early darkness. The unknowns of the pandemic, political outrage, and fragile social fabrics all feel parallel to this loss of light. Reading Geez 58: Breath & Bone has brought unexpected comfort. There is space for communal mourning in the face of darkness and reminders of the new life that only death can bring. 

I have been fortunate to recently join the team at Geez magazine, where we have been reimagining connection amidst a global pandemic. During our conversations, Geez editor Lydia asked, “What do people need right now?” 

Sure, you may need a cup of coffee or a quick trip to the bathroom – but what do you need to face the darkness in the coming weeks? Perhaps, like me, you feel the need for a togetherness that spans living rooms and borders.

Online Release Party — Geez 58 on Death and Dying

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Other Fields to Open Up

By Bayo Akomolafe, re-posted from social media (October 10, 2020)

I come from the largest black nation on earth, Nigeria. You would suppose that having almost uniformly black skins means we live in a de-racialized territory of mutual wellbeing and abundance – like the fantastical world of Wakanda. You might think that such a country wouldn’t have problems with their police force, for instance. But racialization transcends our phenotypic fixations with, say, skin colour. Even within our corporeal homogeneity lies troubling cuts, lingering imperial legacies, haunted bodies, toxic institutions, and incarcerated imaginations. We are frozen in a colonial moment. We are not free.

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Possibly Even Magic

Note: In the lead-up to the election, RD.net is prodding leaders to submit creative and concise pieces (500 words or less) on both hope and resistance.

Bree Newsome, June 27, 2015.

By Ric Hudgens

In the early 1980s, not long after the death of Steven Biko, I registered for an independent study on the nonviolent struggle in South Africa. I knew little of nonviolence or South Africa and wanted to learn more. Based on my semester-long research, I concluded that there wasn’t much chance without bloodshed for a peaceful outcome in South Africa. Of course, I was wrong. Academic research is linear, but real life isn’t. There were things below the surface and things about to surface in South Africa that I couldn’t predict.

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On Getting Stoned: A Sermon on Outback/Wilderness

By Jim Perkinson, for the St. Peter’s Episcopal community in Detroit, MI on October 4, 2020 (Romans 8:18-27; Matthew 3:1-4:11)

Detroit Will Breathe

So we are up against the wall now, facing the logic of the country, as our settler colonial and white supremacist history rises up incarnate in an orange-headed inciter.   We have lived without yet fully facing what we have visited on others—on Natives, genocidally eliminated to the tune of 95% (somewhere between 60-90 million killed over 500 years), African folk enslaved (behind the 12 million carried across the Atlantic and sold on the auction block, 30-40 million killed before getting here), 553 other places invaded over the course of 244 years, resources pirated, garbage and pollution outsourced to the rest of the globe, an ocean heating and full of plastic, 200 species pushed into extinction per day, Water and Fire as Great Living Beings, now shouting back, and a tiny microbe whispering warning: full halt, stop your self-absorption as a species, recognize the rest of the biosphere as well as the all the displaced marginalized people, as Creatures of Beauty and Worth and Mystery.  Do we—who have been the beneficiaries—think we should continue to be exempted from what we have visited on so many others?  We are on the Titanic, the iceberg is in full view, there is probably not time to turn the rudder, what now?! 

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Hope Vibrates Too

By Tommy Airey

Lawrence, Kansas

Note: In the lead-up to the election, RD.net is prodding leaders to submit creative and concise pieces (500 words or less) on both hope and resistance.

“Hope rises, She always does, did we fail to notice this in all the stories they’ve tried to suppress?”—Alice Walker

With only 29 days left ‘til the election, truth, beauty and goodness are being crucified in press conferences, social media posts and prayer meetings. I must confess: I’m struggling to rein in my resentment. However, I am actively resisting by seizing the hope set before us.

I find hope hiding under tents on my trips to the farmer’s market. Especially when there’s arugula.

Hope tarries during my trail runs on the banks of Towarnehiooks—as the scent of hops from the Deschutes Brewery wafts in the wind.

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Prayer for Mr. Trump, the human being.

By Bill-Wylie-Kellermann

O Wind of Spirit who moved across the face of chaos,
breathing life into creation and humanity.
Heal this man, afflicted in his presidency,
from the very illness he has unleashed in mockery.
Defend him from the Power of Death by which he is so enthralled
and so embraced, as to set it upon countless others
whom we pray you protect as well.
For the time and sake of mercy,
withhold the wrath of your judgement and bring him instead
            into the fullness of his humanity, painful though it be.
When his breath comes easy and he wakes, may truth dawn upon him like a bolt.

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