The Failed Attempts That Lead to Bigger Successes

keeyanaAn excerpt from Jacobin’s recent interview with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, professor of African-American studies at Princeton University.

…a lot of people who are unfamiliar with organizing, through no fault of their own, have little idea that it’s often the failed attempts that lead to the bigger successes. Big, successful marches that are connected to social movements — especially in the 1960s — don’t come from heaven. They have to be built and organized. And sometimes that lesson today can be distorted, because you can have lots of money from foundations that swoop in and make all of these resources available, but you still have the same problem: if it’s not connected to ongoing organization or organizing, then it’s a flash in a pan that can bring attention to a particular issue but doesn’t create the means to actually do anything about it.

What Freedom Means

robin d.g. kelleyAn excerpt from Robin D.G. Kelley’s 2016 “Yes, I Said ‘National Liberation.'” Re-posted from Verso. 

Whatever the reasons, our solidarity ought to be based on building a new world together. I am not suggesting that we abandon the struggle to hold Israel accountable for its continued crimes against humanity and violations of international law, or that we stop mourning and honoring the dead, or that we cease any of the immediate actions designed to sustain life and bring a modicum of peace. But peace is impossible without justice. The brilliant Egyptian writer Ahdaf Soueif put it best: “The world treated Gaza as a humanitarian case, as if what the Palestinians needed was aid. What Gaza needs is freedom.” And what is freedom for Palestine? “Free Palestine” means, at a minimum, completely ending the occupation; dismantling all vestiges of apartheid and eradicating racism; holding Israel accountable for war crimes; suspending the use of administrative detention, jailing of minors, and political repression; freeing all political prisoners; recognizing the fundamental rights of all Palestinian and Bedouin citizens of Israel for full equality and nationality; ensuring all Palestinians a right to return and to receive just compensation for property and lives stolen, destroyed, and damaged in one of the greatest colonial crimes of the twentieth century.

The Culture of Whiteness

RubyA Ruby Sales Ted Talk? Hell yes. This is just an excerpt. Watch and listen to the entire talk here.

Now that we’ve touched the hurt, we must ask ourselves, “Where does it hurt and what is the source of the hurt?” I propose that we must look deeply into the culture of whiteness. That is a river that drowns out all of our identities and drowns us in false uniformity to protect the status quo.

Notice, everybody, I said “culture of whiteness,” and not “white people.” Because in my estimation, the problem is not white people. Instead, it is the culture of whiteness. And by culture of whiteness, I mean a systemic and organized set of beliefs, values, canonized knowledge and even religion, to maintain a hierarchical, over-and-against power structure based on skin color, against people of color. It is a culture where white people are seen as necessary and friendly insiders, while people of color, especially black people, are seen as dangerous and threatening outsiders, who pose a clear and present danger to the safety and the efficacy of the culture of whiteness. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Seraphim, seed people and fish folk, oh my!: celebrating God’s kaleidoscopic web of life

circle of life

Circle of Life, Zane Saunders, 1993 Creative Commons

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany C
Isaiah 6:6:1-13
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Luke 5:1-11

By Wes Howard Brook and Sue Furguson Johnson

This week’s readings reveal life springing forth from sky, sea and soil: seraphim speak to Isaiah, fish are netted by Simon Peter, and images of fleshy seeds of resurrection flow from Paul’s mouth (in the section of 1 Cor 15 that follows the lectionary passage). And if we listen a bit more closely, we can hear the usual lines that distinguish one creature from another blur and cross: Jesus promises that Simon will fish for people, while, for Paul, humans bloom and fruit like flowering trees. What might these criss-crossing images teach us about the intersectionality among living beings, in this realm and in the realm beyond the veil? Continue reading

Second Helpings

talitha2By Talitha Fraser

We live in times where the focus is on those things that divide rather than connect us but as Chappo (Peter Chapman) says “You should share communion together, it has a unique power to unite beyond words.

For over 20 years Credo, in Melbourne, Australia, was a community gathering around food, recreation and creative art to foster a sense of home – especially for those of us experiencing homelessness, addiction, mental illness and isolation.  The Credo community believed good community development is possible when people from all economic and cultural backgrounds get together and support one another. Whether it’s by cooking together, eating together, singing together or playing cricket together. We need to foster spaces for people to develop transformative relationships with each other.  Though this community no longer exists its ethos, and delicious bolognaise, might live on in your kitchen and at your table. Continue reading

Bluetooth

10tb-blueteeth1-articlelarge

Photo of nun’s teeth from the New York Times

By Kate Foran

Cruising through the latter days
of Western Civilization in my forest
green Corolla under a 12 year
ultimatum on climate catastrophe
while my phone talks to my car
so I can listen to the news like this
tidbit about an eleventh-century nun
whose dental plaque was a fossil
record of all she consumed,
starch residue and flower pollen,
wool fiber and insect parts,
milk proteins and flecks of precious
lapis lazuli, but wait, how did that get there? Continue reading

Going Home By Another Way

lydia wkBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann, co-editor of RadicalDiscipleship.Net

*This is the sixth installation of a year-long 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.

Radical Discipleship

Summons stories-
Communal ones of laughter and longings,
Ancestral ones with pain and truth and roots,
Ancient ones with context that can change the course of our lives.

Radical Discipleship

Plants seeds, saves seeds, shares seeds.
Puts them in the soil as sacred wonder,
as food for the mouths of our family and neighbors,
And as part of begging forgiveness for what we have done to seed and soil.
Plants seeds of our lives rooting in place,
falling in love with the ground where we stand,
Learning her history, and tending its future.
Shares seeds of hope in a time when the world feels barren and ready to ignite,
Yet here come the seeds of resistance, imagination, and hope.

It echoes of Dorothy Day saying that love is the only solution.
It heeds Dan Berrigan’s call to stand somewhere.
It joins what Martin Luther King calls for by nurturing Beloved Community.

Radical Discipleship

Is the tradition that calls upon
the courage of Shiprah and Puah, Miriam, Ruth, Mary Magdalene,
the writings from jail cells of Paul and Silas and John,
and calls us towards the risks of birthing in the face of a dragon.

Radical Discipleship

Depends on people gathering
But needs no institution, no building, no marble.
It needs just 2 or 3 to gather
To open the good book and the newspaper
And to ask the questions and share our lives.

Radical Discipleship

Claims the cultural and historical roots of a tradition
that it is a piece of our ancestral line,
And part of that, means confessing, reparations, listening, and sorrow
For Constantine’s sword, for slave owner theology, for the Doctrine of Discovery,
For ongoing appropriation, hegemony, and for the rise of empires that carry the cross.

Radical Discipleship

Knows that those of us who carry the cross
Are meant to walk the underbelly of empire
To love from the margins.
We know that the cross was (and is) used as a violent threat of suppression by empire,
Yet it is also a sign that neither empire nor death shall have the final word.

Radical Discipleship

encourages experiments of going home by another way
Calls to us to slow down and be where we are,
To be steeped in love for one another,
Gratitude for the cloud of witnesses,
And steadfast work for the generations to come.

Radical Discipleship

Leads us to unexpected places
So before we sign on the dotted line, we all should know,
We might end up with your hands covered in dirt,
Or spending nights in jail,
Or turning a guest room into hospitality space,
Or giving up all your money
And joining a Catholic Worker.
We might stop to admire the lilies,
Or start writing poetry,
Or falling in-love.
We might turn off your TV,
Or begin asking forgiveness,
And turning our lives upside down and forever.
So, be careful.

Radical Discipleship

Is love,
Joy,
Beauty,
Sorrow,
Community,
Hope,
Resistance,
And a loving embrace
Of history
And all that is to come.
In gratitude
That I get to do all of that
With you.