Philly: More Than Just Sports Hype

Holy FoolWe are fired up for what is coming to Philadelphia this summer, after the NBA playoffs leaves town.  Holy Fool Arts is organizing its 7th residency of the Carnival de Resistance from July 24th through August 5th. Weekend productions (which weave storytelling, dance theater, live music, and circus arts) will be taking place at Arch St. United Methodist Church. 

CdR is rooted in a prophetic Tradition of many compelling strands.  This is how these holy fools describe it on their website: 

The Carnival de Resistance is made up of a diverse group of people who’s political persuasion and theology covers a spectrum of beliefs. The following are not indicative of the overall “message” of the Carnival, but are simply some of the historical movements, artistic traditions, fields of study and teachers that have influenced us.
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Holy Week Actions!

Seattle2Whidbey Island (WA) based spiritual director and activist Marcia Dunigan reports that earlier in the week, she threw in with about 60 others (including small children) witnessing at a Table Turning event (right) in Seattle in front of the ICE administration building in the rain and cold. This is from the Table Turning website:

Tragically, institutional Christianity in the U.S. has become aligned with nationalism and capitalism. So the aims of Table Turning are:

  • Reclaiming the subversive tradition of Jesus in the public sphere
  • Centering marginalized voices to tell their own story and define their own identity, while interrupting a culture that allows only the powerful to be heard
  • Increasing participation in faith-based social justice activism
  • Repentance and realignment of our own lives away from oppression and toward liberation

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Seraphim Serpents, Bronze Gifts, and Saving Sights

CrossBy Jim Perkinson, a sermon on John 3: 14-21 and Numbers 21:4-9 (March 11, 2018, St. Peter’s Episcopal, Detroit, MI)

The sermon begins today with this year’s early advent of the parade for St. Patrick. The sea of green we already witnessing this morning provides interesting backdrop for the lectionary readings. In mainstream Christian invocation, Patrick is remembered for clearing the snakes from Ireland and often depicted as such, with crozier in hand and coiled serpents at his feet. Patrick mastered the slithering ones. But for our purposes here, it is important likewise to lift up Afro-diaspora creativity with the Gaelic saint and his serpents. In colonized Haiti, the displaced slaves amalgamated their traditional Yoruban-Dahomean-Congolese spiritual practices with the Roman Catholic orthodoxy into which they were forced. For them, the depiction of the snake-mastering Patrick “spoke” of Damballah, the Creator-Serpent-Spirit (or Loa, in their terminology) whose surreptitious presence they saw “mounting” Patrick in possession and using his snake proclivity to express something quite different. Far from banning the Serpent Power, for the creolized community of the French colony, Patrick became the host body for this African indigenous spirit-guide. The Snake mastered Patrick. And something like that intuition will help us open the Hebrew text to its indigenous root this morning. Continue reading

40 Birds of Lent: Final Count

Laurel1By Laurel Dykstra

While the word Lent comes from Middle English, quadragesima, the Latin word for the season means fortieth referring to the fortieth day before Easter. And while this resonates with a host of biblical wilderness forties—the 40 days of the flood, the Hebrew’s 40 year sojourn in the desert, Moses’ 40 days on Sinai, Elijah’s 40 day journey to Mt. Horeb, Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness—the actual number of days doesn’t quite add up, so different traditions have different metrics, (don’t count Sundays, Lent ends on Maundy Thursday) in order to get to 40. I love the biblical associations but the 40 Birds of Lent involved some cheating to make the numbers come out right.
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40 Birds of Lent: Nesting Season

Nest2By Laurel Dykstra

Lente in Middle English means springtime, which means a kind of lovely irony is built into Lent, at least where I live on Coast Salish Territory. The church’s season of fasting and austerity falls during nesting season so while we smear our heads with ashes and forswear chocolate, facebook, and alcohol, our feathered friends are setting up housekeeping and getting it on. The bird songs of spring are about defending territory and announcing sexual availability. Continue reading

40 Birds of Lent: Water

Barrows Goldeneye

Barrow’s Goldeneye

By Laurel Dykstra

I woke up this morning humming:

Water heals our bodies
Water heals our souls
When we go down, down to the water
In the water we are whole.

Wood Duck

Wood Duck

The song I learned in water ceremonies at Standing Rock, is the chorus of Coco Love Alcorn’s song The River. It’s not so surprising that these were the words in my head as I spent the better part of yesterday morning singing them outside the gates of Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Marine Terminal—the intended shoreline destination for transferring Tar Sands bitumen from the proposed Trans-mountain expansion pipeline project to ocean-going tankers. Beside the water of the Burrard Inlet on unceded Coast Salish Territory we sang as trees were limbed and cut in anticipation of a tunnel through the mountain. Continue reading