The Faith of Abused and Scandalized People

Lynching TreeOn Good Friday, we get back to the basics: an excerpt from James Cone’s The Cross and the Lynching Tree (2013).

The real scandal of the gospel is this: humanity’s salvation is revealed in the cross of the condemned criminal Jesus, and humanity’s salvation is available only through our solidarity with the crucified people in our midst. Faith that emerged out of the scandal of the cross is not a faith of intellectuals or elites of any sort. This is the faith of abused and scandalized people—the losers and the down and out. It was this faith that gave blacks the strength and courage to hope, “to keep on keeping on,” struggling against the odds with what Paul Tillich called “the courage to be.”

The cross and the lynching tree interpret each other. Both were public spectacles, shameful events, instruments of punishment reserved for the most despised people in society. Any genuine theology and any genuine preaching of the Christian gospel must be measured against the test of the scandal of the cross and the lynching tree.

Wild Lectionary: Disappointment as Easter Hope

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Finding Light in the disappointment, walking the path together.

Easter Year C

Luke 24:13-35

A café in Toronto is to us, what the town square was to locals and travelers alike in villages in first century Palestine. Taking a quick detour from my compulsive list of daily activities, I deke into the café at the corner of King St. East and Jarvis. Filled with other delightful misfits and strangers I find solace in their company. As I snuggle up onto the only remaining seat on a bench with my earl grey tea, a young woman smiles at me.

Breaking news at the top of the hour is alarming: “The former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould and the former Minister of Indigenous Relations Jane Philpott have been removed from the Liberal Caucus!” My neighbor and I begin to talk. A woman at another table is moved by our animated conversation: “What has happened?” she presses. Seemingly the only three in the café that know the events of late, our debate begins. We agree, at the heart of the “SNC-Lavalin” matter is not just a personal misunderstanding, but rather the power of corporations to define the overarching political and economic landscape above public interests. I am ever more incensed with the reality of corporate power when the news continues with the coverage of Canada’s climate change. The report is “beyond grim.” It warns that Canada’s climate has been warming at roughly twice the rate of the rest of the world!  In Northern Canada, it’s even higher.” As our communal lament, A man with his back turned to us as he leaves, snaps: “I am tired of this conversation they should just move on, this is the way the world is.” His aggressive afront is disheartening, even as he leaves without the respect of listening.  It’s the deadening silence from so many others who remain fixed to their phones though, that fuels my disappointment more. Continue reading

Call for Pitches: Climate Change and Climate Justice

Camp Ashland FloodingGeez magazine has a Call for Pitches out on Climate Change. We hope that with Geez’s new move to Detroit that there will be a powerful mingling of RadicalDiscipleship and Geez communities. We encourage you to submit a pitch.

Deadline May 10, 2019

“Adults keep saying ‘We owe it to the young people to give them hope” But I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel everyday. And then I want you to act…I want you to act as if your house is on fire. Because it is.”
~Greta Thunberg, 16 year-old Swedish climate activist

“Mother Nature — militarized, fenced-in, poisoned — demands that we take action.”
~Berta Caceres, Indigenous Honduran activist, assassinated in March 2016

This isn’t an issue about the science. This isn’t an issue that debates just how many years human beings have left on the planet. We know the science is out there and that it is dire. This is an issue about how we live in its midst. Continue reading

Our God Is One

indexBy Will O’Brien

Last Sunday, I was deeply blessed to be able to attend the Interfaith Freedom Seder +50 in Philadelphia.  This unique gathering was a commemoration of the original Freedom Seder in 1969 organized by Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center in Philadelphia.

Along with several hundred Jews, Muslims, and Christians (and likely folks of other faith traditions or even no religious), we paid homage to the original Freedom Seder and, acting out of that powerful tradition, forged a liturgy and celebration that spoke directly to the political, economic, moral, and spiritual challenges we face today. Continue reading

In The End, It’s Not Perfection

20181215_122508 (1)By Rev. Dr. Victoria Marie 

*This is part of a 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.

When I think about the definition of “radical” discipleship, the first thing that comes to mind is there is only discipleship. In other words what has come to be known as “radical discipleship” is discipleship. All else is “nominal discipleship.” That is not to say that disciples are perfect, as Peter clearly demonstrates. Rather, it is aspirational and made concrete through actions in accordance with what Jesus taught. It is not enough to call oneself a Christian, a disciple. Nor is it enough to be able to quote scripture. Rather, the measure of our discipleship is our capacity to love as Jesus commanded, including our enemies. Discipleship calls us to love and seek justice for the poor and marginalized among us, especially the vulnerable, which in our time includes the very Earth and her endangered flora and fauna. Continue reading

A God Who is Very Different from the Almighty

AugsburgerFrom the conclusion of David Augsburger’s recent piece “Lent: Is God Like Jesus?” originally posted on The Mennonite blog. Read the entire Lenten reflection here.

“Christ is not only God-like, but God is Christ-like,” Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in Strength to Love (1963). The Christian gospel proclaims a God who is very different from “the Almighty,” the historic God among all the gods who is, by trusted definition, an omnipotent paragon of ultimate invincible irresistible power. The God of Jesus Christ, in Leonardo Boff’s phrase, is “weak in power but strong in love” (Cry of the Earth; Cry of the Poor, 1978).

God is like this gentle good gracious guest at Mary, Martha and Lazarus’ home, at Zacheus’ table, at Simon’s banquet, at Cleophas and spouse’s supper. Continue reading

To Combat Deportation: A Day of Prayer

Christians for SocialismThis Monday, April 15,  Christians For Socialism is proposing a day of prayer for all those in the States facing deportation (see below for more specifics). Consider joining them.  

On Tuesday, April 2, a court ruled that hundreds of Assyrian/Chaldean people in the Detroit area detained by ICE could be deported to Iraq after a legal battle carried out by the ACLU. The Assyrians/Chaldeans are a regional minority who have been targeted and brutalized in Iraq. The deportation would be especially dangerous for Assyrian/Chaldean Christians. Continue reading