Disrupting a System of Wealth Extraction

exodusA report on Exodus Lending from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Exodus Lending, which launched two years ago from a Minneapolis Lutheran congregation as the first alternative to  payday loans, has made its 100th loan, including to 41 working-poor borrowers who were refinanced from the “payday loan debt trap” and repaid in full.

“We had no idea the program would grow this big and help so many people,” said Exodus co-founder Meghan  Olsen Biebighauser. Continue reading

Time to Kill “the Racist” (The Concept)

eduardoA Facebook post from Eduardo Bonilla-silva, professor of sociology at Duke University and author of Racism Without Racists (2013):

It is time to kill the racist (the concept folks, the concept). “The racist” concept, derived from the racism-as-prejudice view, describes individuals filled with rage and hate against the Other—albeit Archie Bunker, the popular TV character, was presented as good-natured ignoramus. All versions of the racist, nevertheless, assume racist individuals have little education, are not cosmopolitan, come from working class backgrounds, and reside in the South or in working class neighborhoods anywhere in America. And, unfortunately, social scientists in general have reinforced this concept with their work, commentary, policies, and actions as the concept is ultimately a very useful defense of their own racial souls (poor whites are “racist,” but WE, liberal, middle-class, educated whites, ARE NOT). Continue reading

“I am, We are, He/She/It is”: Learnings from the South Pacific

IMAG0166.jpgby Talitha Fraser with Kaumatua Gregg Morris

Allow me to invite you to join in for a game of kilikiti, to sing and dance with us, to walkabout…  sit here at the campfire and I will tell you story…

Coranderrk was one of several Aboriginal missions set up in Victoria .  Wurundjeri leaders William Barak and Simon Wonga advocated for Aboriginal people to live in their own place, their own way. Many times to petition the Victorian Government Barak and Wonga would gather a delegation together, speak to motivate and inspire them, then they would walk together the 60 miles (12 hours) to deliver the message: “Please leave us alone, give us our land back, don’t take it away again”. Leaders of one people to another, approaching as equal and in person. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: The Very Edges of Your Field

wheat.jpgSeventh Sunday After the Epiphany

“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am YHWH, your God.” (Lev 19.9-10)

By Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

More than any other biblical text, the book of Leviticus claims to express the direct voice of YHWH. Of the 160 uses of the phrase, “I am YHWH” in the Hebrew Bible, 49 uses are in Leviticus. And yet, the book may be among the least respected or understood scriptural texts. It is to this very chapter in Leviticus that Jesus turns when asked about the greatest commandments. Just a few verses down from the quote above we find: “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD” (Lev 19.18; cf. Mk 12.31). Indeed, not only Jesus, but also Paul and James—made into opponents of each other in the post-Reformation culture wars—cite Lev 19.9 as central to discipleship (Rom 13.9; Gal 5.14; James 2.8). Continue reading

Prophetic Moral Challenge

barberFrom the Intro to Rev. William Barber’s recent Op-Ed:

President Trump’s first appearance at the National Prayer Breakfast met awkward silence on Thursday (Feb 2) as he began his comments by touting ratings when he was on “The Apprentice.” Unpracticed in the public performance of piety, the candidate who was praised for “telling it like it is” made even his white evangelical base momentarily uneasy as he demonstrated the impotence of their religion to overcome his narcissism. Excused as a “baby Christian” during his campaign, the teen-like Trump continues to expose the hypocrisy of white evangelicalism.  Continue reading

Sermon:On Practicing a Mystical Anarchist Ethic

joanna shenk.jpgBy Joanna Shenk, February 5, 2017, First Mennonite Church of San Francisco

Isaiah 58:1-12

When my older brother went to college, I remember being taken aback when he said his roommate’s mom was an anarchist. I felt so sorry for his roommate and figured he probably had a terrible childhood. In my mind, being an anarchist meant something related to the anti-christ. It was all one category to me because I thought it was all related to the same word. Continue reading