Because Christmas has become so central to the American economy and American consumption is so central to global capitalism, this festival of ‘Holy Days’ has become a central expression and embodiment of American imperial domination, an imperial religion.
Richard Horsley, Religion and Empire (2003)
Truly, this Season signals a major tension for North American radical disciples. We resist and reclaim. Whether it is our love language our not, we give. But some forms of giving are far more redemptive than others.
It is in this Spirit that we offer gift ideas from more out-of-the-way, up-and-coming, long-suffering and open-hearted thinkers and artists. Links to their work are provided here and will eventually be added to our now-pemanent “STORE” tab up top. We hope this list is an Advent-instigator: please add your recommendations to the comments below or email us so we can add them to the store!!!
From the Poor People’s Campaign, coming to a watershed near you in 2018:
Lastly, a recommendation from author-activist Wes Howard-Brook fair-trade, organic chocolate from Mama Ganache. From WHB:
They are THE BEST! As we all know, corporate chocolate production is both a human and environmental horror show. The folks at MG use their profits to support farmers in West Africa in many ways, as explained on their website. I’ve been ordering from them for years!
A [re]post from Margaret Anne Ernst, Associate Student Pastor at Brookmeade Congregational Church, UCC:
An intertextual reading of Luke 1:45-55 aka Mary’s Song and “Winners & losers in the Senate GOP tax bill.”
And Mary said,
My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Continue reading
This piece was developed during the second Bartimaeus Institute Online (BIO) Study Cohort 2016-2017. These pieces will eventually be published in a Women’s Breviary collection. For more information regarding the BIO Study Cohort go here.
By Lola West
To appreciate the significance of the female artist Artemisia Gentileschi, 1593-1653, we must first understand the men who helped mold her. Such is true of many of the female artists during the pervasive, unyielding patriarchy, as seen in the Italian Renaissance. Growing up in the 17th century, Artemisia Gentileschi spent much of her early life being defined as the daughter of celebrated artist, Orazio Gentileschi. The senior Gentileschi was a pupil and follower of Caravaggio, a renowned male artist who was known for capturing emotion through his biblical renderings. Caravaggio was to the 17th century art scene as Leonardo Dicaprio was to every adolescent girl in the 1990’s- a big deal. His revolutionary style encouraged the movement of artistic realism based in biblical narrative. In an era when written word was directed exclusively to the highly educated, the realist movement also appealed to the illiterate, breathing life into viewer’s emotions and stimulating a devout religiosity amongst Italians. Continue reading
By Tommy Airey
Earlier this month, I started Bayo Akomolafe’s recently-released These Wilds Beyond Our Fences seeking spiritual solidarity. Like most, my soul has been squeezed by concentric circles of cacophony. Climate catastrophe rages (globally) while a major political party (led almost exclusively by white men) denies it all and “successfully” utilizes weapons of voter suppression, legalized bribery, gerrymandering and Russian collusion to take full reigns of power (nationally and state-wide). Meanwhile, water shutoffs and home foreclosures pelt a city cloaked by leaders calling it a “comeback” (locally).
These rings of austerity and white supremacy have formed the ice rink of an epic institutional collapse. Families, faith communities, foundations, the “free” market and finance—these fail to offer compelling solutions for any of it. Instead, they drive the Zamboni. These are maddening times and no one, it seems, is really sure what to do about it. Confusion reigns. Continue reading
By Bill Wylie-Kellermann, re-posted from his facebook.
A long aside. I’ve been indexing a book on the principalities and powers which will appear in October from Fortress Press. “Principalities” is a new testament name for spiritual structures of power (a notion important to movements various) – and I’ve actually been writing about them in the concrete for four decades or so. The index has been kicking my butt and taken a chunk out of my life at a very hectic time of transition. But in point of fact, and unlikely as it may seem, I love indexing. My first, twenty-five years ago, involved a highlighter, note cards and a shoe box. The process is still layered, but electronic search functions come into play now (toward the end). I always do them myself because there’s often a politics involved. A hired indexer is unlikely to enter, “Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). See also Ku Klux Klan.” Plus I love the ironies and accidental poems which surface. In my recent Detroit book (if you bought one and it doesn’t have an index, email or inbox me), we get: “Hicks, Charity; Hitler, Adolph: Homrich Wrecking; House, Gloria.” Or how about: “Climate change; Columbus, Christopher; Commodity fetishism; Conservancy; Corktown”? I smile at such conjoinings. In this current one, an entry can have 20 subheads that amount to a theological or biographical snapshot. Indexes are for the sake of the reader’s search, but can be a sly pedagogy tagging along. I also surmise that what’s turned so long and exhausting on this current one is to a certain extent personal. This collection does cover a broad range of topics (think: barbed wire, drugs, family, commercial sports, nuclear weapons, emergency management…) and yet because it’s a series of articles there’s a good bit of repetition on theological framing. Page mark every reference to demonic, war, or hope? Decisions at every click. But the real thing is that this is an integrative process in my own head – making connections and cross-connections in my life and world over four decades of work, right at a point where I’m trying to make sense of my history and discern what’s next. Sifting and sorting what’s incidental from what is absolutely crucial.