Family, Gender & Power

Adam, EveBy Ched Myers, for the 19th Sunday of Pentecost (Mark 10:1-16), originally posted on October 1, 2015

Note: This is an ongoing series of Ched’s brief comments on the Markan gospel readings from the Revised Common Lectionary during year B, 2015.

This Sunday is the Feast of St. Francis. There is much to celebrate about the recent U.S. visit of the Bishop of Rome who took this saint’s name, even for Protestants (after all, October 4 is also World Communion Sunday). In particular, Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ is an important statement of public theology addressing the implications of our interlocking ecological crises for our civilization. So we would do well to focus preaching on these themes, perhaps through the lens of the gospel’s concern for children (i.e. future generations). Continue reading “Family, Gender & Power”

Fed

Image credit: “Food,” @berkshirecat, March 3, 2006.

By Shannon Evans. Originally published in Geez 61: Seeds are Sacred.

We hungered to imagine a world where people could just eat together without anyone trying to rescue the other, without anyone more powerful or anyone more shamed.

I raised my sweater and put the baby to my breast, the still-thick rolls of my middle cushioning his tiny body as he slurped hungrily for his dinner. Around us, people milled about, flicking cigarettes into the grass to free their fingers for a plate and fork.

Continue reading “Fed”

That’s How It Goes

By Antonio Cosme (Detroit, MI)

my words to the City of Detroit City Planning Commission after my friend David Pitawanakwat gave an awesome Land Acknowledgement…

My name is Antonio Cosme, a coahuiltecan and boricua life long detroiter. I do a lot of work with anishinaabe folks… i’ve been adopted by the martins family, a prominent west michigan anishinaabe family.

I work at National Wildlife Federation, connecting kids with nature, and looking deeply with them at the roots of the ecological crisis we’re all facing… colonization.

We are critical people yet, we do beautiful things too…

Continue reading “That’s How It Goes”

“Defect-ive” Discipleship: Recovering from Domination Culture

JesusBy Ched Myers, for the 18th Sunday of Pentecost (Mark 9:38-50), originally posted on September 24, 2015

This week continues our journey through the second cycle of Mark’s discipleship catechism. Here John boasts that the disciples shut down the work of an exorcist who was not “following us” (9:38). Under these narrative circumstances, never was the “royal we” more inappropriate! Jesus’ attempt to deconstruct hierarchical power is met with the crudest of assertion of “franchise entitlement.” But is not this a poignant (if sardonic) portrait of how we Christians so often look at our faith traditions as membership clubs? Continue reading ““Defect-ive” Discipleship: Recovering from Domination Culture”

Whose Side Are We On?

Folks committed to a biblical faith, but also demanding beefed up border security have a serious problem. They will struggle to find support in the sacred text. Throughout the Hebrew bible, God is devoted to steadfast love, justice and a faithfulness to the most vulnerable, often simplified with this trifecta: widows, orphans and immigrants. In the Christian scriptures, Jesus says that those who are faithful will find him rising up in immigrants and welcome them. Images like this interrogate us. Whose side are we on?

Adelante

By Ruth Sawin, a letter to Daniel Berrigan (right)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dear Fr. Dan,            

Having just finished your book, “The Steadfastness of the Saints,” on the flight home from El Salvador, I want to tell you of the gift that reading it on this journey has been, for me.               

I must first, of course, mention the twist in the gut that comes with reading about the work of Central American Jesuits, written five years before the martyrdom of six of them at the University of Central America, and more, since. You could not have known that would come, although I think you and all who worked in mission in Central America then knew that it was always a possibility.               

Also, during this trip we got the electrifying news that Fr. Jon Sobrino had announced that Rome announced on Tuesday (the day after we visited his tomb) that Monseñor Romero would be beatified in 2015… news which was contradicted in the edition of “La Prensa” I saw on the trip home. It seems fitting, given all the confusion that surrounded him in life, that news (or rumors) of the official recognition of the sainthood long recognized by the people, would come in confusing fits and starts. It really doesn’t matter; I still hear God whispering, “Adelante!”               

Continue reading “Adelante”

The Cross in Everyday Life: Embracing the “Least”

crucifixionBy Ched Myers, for the 17th Sunday of Pentecost (Mark 9:30-37), re-posted from September 2015

In the wake of the “confessional crisis” (last week’s reading), Mark’s narrative now turns to a triple cycle of object lessons and teaching I call the “discipleship catechism.” This Sunday’s gospel text comes from the second and longest cycle, with its focus of instruction on the less heroic, yet perhaps more difficult, practice of the Way in daily life.

The cross represents more than nonviolent resistance to the Powers; it includes the struggle against patterns of domination in interpersonal and social relationships as well. Thus Mark here addresses several expressions of social power imbalance: greatest and least (9:36f); outsiders and insiders (9:38-41); offenders and victims (9:42-50); male and female (10:2-12); children and adults (10:13-16); and rich and poor (10:17-31). This sequence exhibits certain similarities to catechetical traditions found elsewhere in the New Testament relating to family and community life such as the so-called “House-tables” (e.g. Col 3:12-4:6). Continue reading “The Cross in Everyday Life: Embracing the “Least””

Black Like Me: Gay, Free and Happy!

By Johari Jabir

In Memoriam: Carl Bean (May 26, 1944 – September 8, 2021)

It is an old story. Some ultra-talented Black singer leaves the church in order to pursue a career in a more lucrative career in secular music. Never mind the fact that the binary divisions between the sacred and secular have never really worked when it comes to Black music, Carl Bean is one of those many examples of Black gospel talent who may have momentarily left the building but took the spirit of the church with him. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Carl Bean grew up attending Providence Baptist Church where Rev. Marcus Garvey Good was pastor. In his autobiography, I Was Born This Way: A Gay Preacher’s Journey Through Gospel Music, Disco Stardom, and a Ministry in Christ, Bean describes his childhood church as a community of, “strivers, those looking to advance themselves in not only the intellectual and spiritual realm but the economic as well” (49). The music at Providence was very proper, but Bean was drawn to the more “rootsy” music played in his household and in the storefronts he visited. Bean’s own church preached acceptance, but the churches he visited were the first spaces he heard anti-gay theologies.

Continue reading “Black Like Me: Gay, Free and Happy!”

Collective Memory

From Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs, re-posted from Facebook (9/10/2021).

Before you post that #neverforget sentiment tomorrow, ask yourself; in the last 20 years have I told any Black or Indigenous person that they need to “get over it” “move on” “forgive and forget” when they posted about historical trauma? I know for a fact that some of you have. You no longer get to choose what is preserved as collective memory.