A Series of Interrelated Self-Destroying Problems

KarengaFrom the conclusion of Dr. Maulana Karenga’s recent column in the Los Angeles Sentinel:

As I have noted elsewhere, “a society that cannot concede its problems cannot solve its problems. And a society that cannot solve its problems cannot survive its problems.” Certainly, we cannot deny America, U.S. society, has a series of interrelated self-destroying problems. And these basic problems cannot be summed up as Trump, although he represents them in one of their most raw, racist and unadorned forms. The struggle over what kind of America we will have is still being fought on the ground in every place and instance of oppression. Paul Robeson is right, “The battlefront is everywhere. There is no sheltered rear.” And the task, Fannie Lou Hamer tells us, is to constantly question America, and set aside all illusions of a “perfect union,” of freedom unfought for and of justice not gained and sustained in righteous and relentless struggle.

The Church is not Beholden

RomeroFrom Revolutionary Saint: The Theological Legacy of Oscar Romero by Michael E. Lee (Orbis Books, 2018), quoted by Chava Redonnet of Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church (Upstate New York):

By viewing the church’s mission as service to God’s reign, Romero opens up a theological space that did not exist in the old colonial mind-set. The church is not beholden to the state, nor does it function to legitimize the status quo in the name of good ‘order.’ The reign of God and its criteria, not the government, should dictate the church’s action.

Stay Awake

St LukeBy Wes Howard-Brook & Sue Ferguson Johnson, on this week’s lectionary Gospel passage (Luke 12:32-40)

*Originally posted in August 2016.

In the soporific summertime, it is easy enough to lie back, close one’s eyes, and fall into a tranquil sleep. Indeed, many of us could use more sleep, driven as we often are by the exigencies of empire into never-ending task mode. Perhaps ironically, getting more sleep could help prepare us for Jesus’ word to us this Sunday: stay awake (12.32-40)!

The church cycle offers us Lent and Advent as seasonal opportunities to practice anti-imperial wakefulness. With school out, though, the church year seems to take a break from the call to faithful vigilance. But the lectionary surprises us this week, just as Jesus’ message within the text from Luke gives us images of surprising arrivals. Perhaps equally surprisingly, a close listen to our Gospel text invites us to hear precisely what we are called to stay awake against: the lure of the exploitative, anxiety-ridden, imperial economy. At the same time, we are called to stay awake for the opportunity to be servants to one another and all creation. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: “I do not delight in the blood of bulls!”- God’s Invitation to Participate in Prophetic, Poetic Proclamation

flock of geeseBy Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

Proper 14 (9) C

Solomon offered as sacrifices of well-being to the LORD twenty-two thousand oxen and one hundred twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the people of Israel dedicated the house of the LORD.
—1 Kings 8.63

What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand? Trample my courts no more; bringing offerings is futile; incense is an abomination to me.
—Isaiah 1.11-13

I will not accept a bull from your house, or goats from your folds.
For every wild animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine.
“If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and all that is in it is mine.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?”
—Psalm 50.9-13

Continue reading

relinquishing the patriarchy

3599EC8E-44F3-4B67-8C7A-4B49B90EA906-924x1024By adrienne maree brown, re-posted from her website.

dear men.

this is mostly a note to straight, cis men; but also includes trans men, queer men, and all who participate in masculinity – if you see yourself in these words, this is a love note to you.

patriarchy (the system of society/government in which men hold the power and women are excluded from it) is collapsing, and it’s time for you, too, to give it up, to get yourself out.

it won’t be easy.

i don’t believe total revolution or liberation happens in one generation, but i know from my own life and many lives i have witnessed and accompanied, that it is absolutely possible in your lifetime, in a generation, to personally relinquish an unjust ideology, to begin to practice a more evolved way of being.
Continue reading

Stranger Courage

By Joyce Hollyday

In honor of his 75th birthday, I was inscribing to my friend Randy a copBetsy & Randy - July 2019y of a book that I co-authored. I wanted to thank him for inspiring me to “greater commitment, deeper compassion, and…”—well, something about courage. Having already used “greater” and “deeper,” my mind was momentarily absent of adjectives. After a little thought, I settled on “stronger.” Continue reading

In Praise of Ordinary Days

Ken SehestedBy Ken Sehested

A meditation on Ordinary Time on the church’s liturgical calendar

“He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars.”—William Blake

When people of faith speak of God, and how the love of God leads to the flourishing of souls and soil alike, such language appears on the surface as something being done to us, as from the outside.

Merely being acted upon—being objectified—hints at coercion, manipulation, feeble dependency, indignity. As if we are to be kept in chains and, moreover, taught to love those chains—lovely as they may appear, but chains, nonetheless. As if we are merely utensils in a cosmic drama. As if we are chess pieces on a divine board game. Continue reading