A Dissident

HavelFrom Vaclav Havel’s The Power of the Powerless, quoted by Chris Hedges in his always challenging column (“The Price of Resistance“) earlier this month:

You do not become a ‘dissident’ just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career.  You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society. … The dissident does not operate in the realm of genuine power at all. He is not seeking power. He has no desire for office and does not gather votes. He does not attempt to charm the public. He offers nothing and promises nothing. He can offer, if anything, only his own skin—and he offers it solely because he has no other way of affirming the truth he stands for. His actions simply articulate his dignity as a citizen, regardless of the cost.

Queen Lili’uokalani of Hawaii

220px-liliuokalani_of_hawaiiBy Grace Aheron.

This piece was developed during the first Bartimaeus Institute Online Cohort (2015-2016), aka “The Feminary.”  These pieces will eventually be published in a Women’s Breviary collection.  For more information regarding the Feminary go here.

80 million years ago, the earth opened up in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, liquid land bubbling up through the ocean to cool into a jade island chain. Through the intricate folding of land, sea, wind, and the breath of creation, life came to the islands and flourished in the rich volcanic soil. A few hundred years after the death of Christ, using only the stars and the sea to navigate in their outrigger canoes, master navigators from the West crossed thousands of miles of water to find paradise. In the Kumulipo, the creation chant sacred to native people in the Islands of Hawai’i, the story tells of the intimate linkage between people, the gods, the earth, and plants and animal indigenous to that place. Veneration of the `aumakua (ancestors) and gods weaves the story of present-day Hawaiians into the fabric of history— it is impossible to speak of the origin of native people without telling the origin of the sacred land that provided life. An extensive portion of the Kumulipo is dedicated to enumerating the lineage of the monarchs and royal family of the Kingdom of Hawai’i, and, fittingly, the chant was first translated into English by the kingdom’s first, last, and only sovereign queen, Liliu’okalani. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Homeless, Unrecognized on the Road

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Emmaus by Melanie Delva

Third Sunday of Easter
Luke 24:13-35

By Ched Myers

The gospel story begins with Jesus’ family fleeing violence as political refugees, pushed around Palestine by the imperial forces of Caesar and Herod (Matt 1–2; Luke 1–2). Continue reading

A Market-Driven Soulcraft

A recent report from Matthew Albright on Dr. Cornel West’s recent speech at University of Delaware, originally posted at The Delaware News Journal:

America is facing a “Westspiritual blackout” because of its obsession with money and must recommit to “soulcraft,” Cornel West preached to a crowd at the University of Delaware in Newark on Tuesday.

“A society ruled by big money, big banks, big corporations, the commodification of culture, the commercialization of our culture,” he fired off. “How do you talk about integrity in the face of that ubiquitous cupidity?” Continue reading

Sermon: Touch and Know

photoBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann, Homily given at the Day House Mass, the Detroit Catholic Worker House, April 23, 2017

John 20:19-31

The vigil continued behind us with honks, signs and a host of elders calling for love and welcome of immigrants and refugees. We had migrated into the trees and grass of the park delighting in the spring sunshine. My sister sat against a tree nursing my nephew and my kids ran in circles around the old oak. Continue reading

Easter: Resurrected Beyond a Social Ethic

BerriganBy Craig Larson, co-director (with his spouse, Carol) of a Catholic Worker farm, growing potatoes and haskap berries in Swan River, Manitoba.  They give their food freely away to food banks.  Originally posted on their wonderful site: The Parkland Worker Blog: An Unauthorized Diary of Care and Compassion (thanks to RD.net contributor Joshua Weresch for connecting us to this great work). 

In 1957 Daniel Berrigan, SJ, was appointed professor of New Testament studies at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY.  While there he organized students to look into the lack of adequate low-income housing.  Organizing a Catholic Worker house of hospitality earned him an irate phone call from the bishop insisting that he stop this endeavour.  It seemed that many of the slumlords were Catholic and held that at the very least a CW house would undercut their incomes.  Even though a bishop had no power over an academic position, Berrigan’s actions ultimately resulted in his being removed from priestly and academic assignment, relocated to Baltimore, and then reassigned to numerous locations in Central and South America.  He understood it as banishment…exile…punishment issued by his superiors, but used every opportunity there to immerse himself in the lives of the poor, the disenfranchised, and the people living in the barrios.  You may read about the particulars of this in his autobiography, To Dwell In Peace. Continue reading