Indigenous Resurgence

An excerpt from Noura Erakat’s recent piece (“Designing the Future in Palestine”) in Boston Review. Read the full article. It’s so worth it.

…[Palestinians] are moving in tandem with other Indigenous communities increasingly engaged in Indigenous resurgence. This is a phenomenon, explains Cherokee political scientist Jeff Corntasssel, that reframes decolonization by turning away from the state to “focus more fully on the complex interrelationships between Indigenous nationhood, place-based relationships, and community centered practices that reinvigorate everyday acts of renewal and regeneration.” This shift does not reject state-centric diplomacy or abandon the struggle against the settler sovereign. A full pivot away from such engagement would be short-sighted and counterproductive, especially for Palestinians who remain forcibly exiled from their lands and barricaded within militarized ghettoes. Rather, Indigenous resurgence centers Indigenous life and governance alongside other approaches. It seeks to undo the alienating force of colonization by reconnecting “homelands, cultures, and communities.” In particular regard to Palestinians, scholars Nour Joudah, Tareq Radi, Dina Omar, and Randa Wahbe explain, resurgence facilitates a “self-recognition” that transforms “fragmentation into a strength” and “variegated experiences of loss” into “a politics of care.”

If decolonization typically pits native against settler in a struggle for the land, Indigenous resurgence focuses on how to belong most ethically in relationship to one another and to the land. 

The Reality

By Chava Redonnet, the pastor of Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church which meets in the dining room of the Rochester Catholic Worker. This is the bulletin for Sunday, January 8, 2022.                                            

Dear Friends,

On New Year’s morning, I woke up knowing what the day would hold: Second Christmas, celebrating with the family members who couldn’t make it on Christmas because of the weather. I was surprised to realize that although I was very much looking forward to time with my family, the thought of another Christmas dinner left me feeling…  unenthusiastic.  As the day went on, texting with my daughters, I realized I was not alone in that. Feeling some mounting stress, I finally texted a list of everything our family has been through in the past two months. Four of us had covid. Three job changes. Two moves, two blizzards, two missed holidays, two surgeries and a car accident. Everyone in the family has had one or more major events happen. We are exhausted! So I pointed that out, and our need for a low-key day. “We’re not going to make up for all that today,“ I said. We changed our dinner plans and ordered pizza.

In the end we had a lovely day, and enjoyed being together. We told stories, we laughed. The pizza was delicious, and no one seemed to miss the fancier meal we had planned. We downsized our expectations and that turned out to be the best thing we could have done.

Continue reading “The Reality”

Getting Rid of Jesus

By Greg Jarrell, re-posted from his blog Trespasses of the Holy (December 15, 2022)

Charlotte’s westward expansion, beyond Uptown, Biddleville, Wesley Heights, was in full swing around 1924, when Julia Alexander and her family decided to subdivide and sell off her deceased father’s estate, called Enderly. The old farm would become site of hundreds of houses, plus neighborhood businesses. And as it is with Baptist people, anywhere there was a new neighborhood, there was a new Baptist church. By December 1925, the Glenwood Baptist meeting had official status with the Mecklenburg-Association Baptist Association. The 41 charter members met in various spots along Tuckaseegee Road, but as the church grew over the rest of the Roaring ‘20s, it became clear they needed a building of their own. In 1930, in the full throes of the Great Depression, the trajectory of the church – by then called Enderly Park Baptist – was clearly on the way up, and so preparations for a new structure were made. In April of that year, the membership met as part of a revival series and voted to begin constructing a new building. Julia Alexander donated land at the corner of Tuckaseegee and Enderly Rd to site the structure on. At the revival meeting the night of the decision, Rev. J.M. Page preached on the Gerasene Demoniac, from Mark 5. His message was titled “Getting Rid of Jesus.”

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Five Books: Charles Cha

In a new Radical Discipleship exclusive series, we are asking radical Christian leaders one question.

What are the five books or authors that have seriously shaped your spiritual life?

This is how L.A.-based activist Charles Cha answered.

The Post-Colonial Studies Reader

Beyond Civilization By Daniel Quinn

Notes on Resistance: Interviews with Noam Chomsky By David Barsamian

Anarchism: Arguments For and Against By Albert Meltzer

The Wisdom of the Enneagram By Don Richard Riso

The Quelling Word: Emancipation is Still Coming

By Ken Sehested

Written against the backdrop of New Year’s Eve services, 1862, when African Americans gathered to await news of US President Abraham Lincoln’s promised Emancipation Proclamation. Inspired by Revelation 21:1-6a, lectionary text for the New Year’s Eve Watch Night service.

The angel breaks with Heaven’s hail!

from Joy’s horizon on every weary heart,

amid that unruly, precarious land beyond

where cheery sentiment stalls and merry,

bright roads end. Now, in terrain beyond all

mapping, the adventure begins. No warranty

reaches this far. Creature comforts here are

Continue reading “The Quelling Word: Emancipation is Still Coming”

Something Else

By Tommy Airey

Thirty years ago this month, I packed up my car and left Loyola Marymount University. I was a freshman on a full-ride basketball scholarship. I drove home. Just fifty-five minutes south on the 405 freeway. Back to Orange County. I left LMU because I was miserable – and I was nineteen. I struggled to emotionally connect with our head coach who tried hard to be funny (but wasn’t) and whose favorite word was “horseshit” – always used as a descriptor for either our team or one of our players. Sometimes it was aimed at me. I did not have a clue how to metabolize what was going on inside of me. It’s just not what young men who change in locker rooms are equipped to do.

Our team – half-Black and half-white in the immediate aftermath of the L.A. uprising – bonded during preseason fitness conditioning. Coach made it clear that, before official practice started in October, everyone had to run a mile in under five minutes. Together. If anyone didn’t make it, everyone would have to wake up at 6am every morning and run it again. Together. Until everyone could do it. At the same time. We had guys who were 6’9” and weighed 240 lbs. We had other guys who never failed to miss the fraternity keg party. We all ran a sub-five-minute-mile on our first attempt. This is one of the reasons I believe in miracles.   

Continue reading “Something Else”

Every Day a Call to Struggle

An excerpt from Dr. Maulana Karenga’s annual Kwanzaa Message, published in the L.A. Sentinel (December 22, 2022).

Again, this year in this our season of celebration, we find humanity and the world are in severe and continuing crisis, including: the resurgent pandemic of COVID-19, constantly producing deadly variants; failed and predatory economies and expanding hunger, famine, homelessness and suffering; continuing conflicts and wars; massive displacement of peoples; unjust and irrational immigration policies; and continuing environmental degradation through plunder, pollution and depletion.

And all these oppressive practices and impositions are carried out by the rich and powerful, the obscenely armed and aggressive, who are irresponsibly and immorally unmindful and uncaring about the cost and consequences they savagely impose on humanity and the world and all in it, especially the most vulnerable among us.

Continue reading “Every Day a Call to Struggle”

A Dark Virgin’s Magnificat

Working at the intersections of Abolition, Black Spirituality, and Scholarship, Johari Jabir (Black Studies, Univ. of Illinois Chicago) taught the course, “Black Lives in Historic Context” at three sites concurrently; on campus as an undergraduate course, Covenant UCC in South Holland, Ill, and Stateville Penitentiary outside Chicago. Students at Stateville enrolled in the course through the Prison Neighborhood Arts Project (PNAP), of which Johari is an ongoing instructor. The course focused on themes of Slavery, Abolition Democracy, and Citizenship in the 19th Century. A concluding colloquium brought these three learning communities together in person, with PNAP students joining by zoom. “The Urgency of Abolition and Ethical Futures” was the writing and discussion prompt for the group. When PNAP students were finally able to sign on the greeting between these three populations was a kind of advent miracle, a flash of God’s light. 

The event inaugurates something Johari has founded called, The Faith and Abolition Network, a radical ecumenical network of people in support of grassroots anti-prison activism. This is the context Johari crafted this poem on Mary’s Magnificat. 


I wish I had been there
when Mary got the news
Hark the herald the angels sing
but Gabriel sang the blues

Continue reading “A Dark Virgin’s Magnificat”

Gifts of Beauty

From Dr. Lily Mendoza, a professor and prophetic voice.

“Indigenous rituals during this time (of Winter Solstice) are about acknowledging the largeness of the Holy in Nature, a reminder—despite all our human struggling to survive—that Life is not primarily about us, but about the larger Community of Life whose maintenance demands ritual feeding and reciprocity, and whose food is beauty. Beauty in our way of walking, speaking, and relating with all our relations; eloquence and courtesy in our courting and asking for permission any time we take from Her, and lavishness of praise and exquisiteness, when, in tears and sorrow, we endeavor to compost our grief and suffering into gifts of beauty.”