Not Without a Fight

By Alicia Crosby Mack, re-posted with permission from Facebook (June 24, 2022)

It is not lost on me that the architects of our present harm are using the Christian faith tradition as their vehicle for violence.

This is my tradition. This is my Christianity.

I will not distance myself from them as a form of absolution but will say this is violent & wrong.

In this moment I resolve to more fervently commit myself to justice, freedom, and agency for all because faith should be a balm for healing, not a bludgeon for to gain & keep control or force others into submission.

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Games for Fun and Liberation

by Tim Nafziger. This first appeared in Geez 64: The Holy Fool.

I’ve included a mix of light party games, games that have become widely popular in the board gaming community and a few less well known games with a liberation orientation. I’ve roughly ordered them from simplest to most complex (with the exception of the last game on the list). In other words, if you are looking for a game for a party, start at the top. If you are looking for a satisfying compex gift for a board game geek, start at the bottom.

Code Names, Vlaada Chvátil (2015) I’ve seen this game delight again and again at parties. It is a team game where a clue giver on each team tries to give one word clues that connect disparate words together. It takes a minute to understand and join in and offers suspense and intrigue in just the right doses.

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Abolition Week!

Scalawag Magazine is hosting its third annual Abolition Week. This is re-posted from the Scalawag site today, a piece written by Jordan Gass-Poore called “I’ll Never Have Closure: What TV Gets Wrong About Having a Dad in Prison.”

I have 45 minutes to write this. 

If I don’t do it by then, I’ll chicken out and go back outside for another smoke. 

There’s this memory that keeps playing in my head that I’ve tried to suppress many times, but the more I try to block it out, the slower it gets. My dad is sitting next to me in the car. He’s yelling, not quite at me because his eyes are on the road and the bottle in his hand. I couldn’t even get his attention when he was mad at me. 

I’m 4 years old. I don’t know yet that the clear liquid in the bottle he’s drinking from is gin. I think it’s water. My dad drives the car magically; his hands aren’t on the steering wheel. One hand holds the bottle, the other hand rests outside the window, a cigarette between his fingers. 

Click HERE to keep reading.

Evergreens of Compassion

By Dwight Wilson

The origin of the root of this psalm is a riff off a quote by Turkish poet Ilhan Mimaroglu on Freddie Hubbard’s “Sing Me a Song of Songmai. That was 50 years ago and it has haunted me all these years. I immediately thought of couples I knew while growing up in Middletown, Ohio. Most hours of the day, mothers who were wiser and more responsible ruled the homes. However, should a man choose to come home, from being dogged by white supremacy in the outside world, most moms stepped aside to let him dominate. I knew men who left the house without saying where they were going and returned without saying where they had been. As well, I knew more than a few who had lovers and “outside children” elsewhere. IF I’M LYIN’ A FLYIN’.

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Supporting Actors

By Tommy Airey, above with his nephews in Southern California

The day after an 18-year-old white boy livestreamed his mass murder spree in the only supermarket of a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, I was hosting another men’s group on zoom. We were sharing early memories of when our tears and tenderness were not honored by adults in our lives. One participant said something that stoked vigorous nodding from the rest of us. “It really wasn’t what I was told,” he said, “It was what I wasn’t told.” We were forced to fill in the gaps of all those silences. We came up with our own scripts saying we were not good enough and would never really be loved unless we met a certain standard of “success.”

The silence is a slow trauma that seeds deep feelings of self-doubt and worthlessness. It tills the soil of the gun culture, the rape culture, the corporate culture, the cancel culture. The silence sustains the default dominant culture, what Dr. Willie Jennings calls “the pedagogy of the plantation.” Unless we are intentionally taught otherwise, we are trained up to possess, master and control everything we come across. In America, men are the main characters, the owners of the plantation. It’s not just the passionate men with their man caves and their big trucks and their unregulated firearms—but also the passive men who pride themselves on staying safe, stoic, nice and neutral, above the fray, hiding their feelings as they over-function to “provide for their families.”

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Life Changed Forever

From Native News Online, Leonard Peltier shares his Indian Boarding School story.

Editor’s Note: This first-person account from Leonard Peltier about his experiences at the Wahpeton Indian School from 1952 to 1955 was sent to Native News Online by one of his longtime advisers. Its authenticity was confirmed by Peltier’s attorney, Kevin Sharp.  

My name is Leonard Peltier and I am 77 years old. I am a member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa tribe. I am Anishanaabe and Dakota. I was taken to Wahpeton Indian School, an Indian boarding school, in Wahpeton, North Dakota when I was nine years old and did not leave until I was 12. This is my story.

When I lost my grandfather in 1952, life changed forever. He was a good and kind man and he was my mentor and knew how to live off the land. But then he got pneumonia and did not survive. I will never forget watching him die from the foot of his bed. Even now, that sad memory comes back to me as I lay in my bunk at night in a federal penitentiary.

About a year after my grandpa died, my grandma had to go to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to beg for help for her and me, my sister Betty Ann and cousin Pauline. As it turned out, that made things much worse for us. Now, we had to worry about the BIA agents coming to take us away. I grew up with the stories. I was old enough to know what happened when the government took you away. I knew some children never came home. Click here to keep reading.

The Courage to Quit

Image credit: “Broccoli florets find their seed after a long winter,” May 2021, Detroit, Michigan, photo by Lucia Wylie-Eggert.

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann. This piece first appeared in Geez 64: The Holy Fool.
My mom once wrote, “We need to recall, to intuit, to dream the life we’re called to and then make a plan that allows us to strip down enough to have it” (The Witness, 1998).

We stand at a moment of mass resignation. Folks are leaving work in every sector. After years of a pandemic and the impending threat of climate change, folks are seizing control of this one precious life. Yet to walk away is terrifying. By most standards . . . foolish. Well, we are here to bless those fools in our midst. May these words offer courage and company.

Oh holy one
who dabbles as a trickster
yet calls us to be unafraid.
Wrap your spirit around
this holy one before you.

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Co-Creating Visions and Dreams

Big News from Radical Discipleship co-founder Lydia Wylie-Kellermann. We celebrate with Lydia and her partner Erinn and their two children Isaac and Cedar!!!!

I write with big news from the Wylie-Faheys. This August, I will become the Executive Director at Kirkridge Retreat & Study Center. The retreat space is nestled in the mountains in eastern Pennsylvania with the Appalachian Trail running through.

We do not take this move lightly. The streets of Detroit have formed my political and theological awareness. My neighbors have taught me what it means to love and be loved. This block has instilled in me the power of community and joy in the midst of crisis. Detroit has been and will always be my greatest teacher when it comes to struggle, imagination, and beloved community. I love this place. Tenderly pulling up these roots will be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

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