Learning from Laughter and the Trees: What do these stones mean?

IMG_2028

Stone tower on Block Island

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

I’ve started an altar of stones beside my desk. With each death, birth, or marriage that passes, I write the name upon the rock and let the rock hold the memory and the prayer.

This fall, our family went to Block Island for the first time in many years. We used to stay in Dan Berrigan’s little cottage beside the ocean every summer. Stepping back on that ferry with my kids felt like introducing them to a piece of my heart- a piece nourished by beauty, where my mom’s hair blew fiercely in the wind, where my imagination learned to soar climbing on rocks and pulling clay from the cliff. Continue reading

Christ the King Sermon: Bossy and Beautiful

momBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann
November 26, 2017, at Day House Catholic Worker in Detroit

“Let me show you how to fold this, Grandpa,” Isaac said after he picked up a dish rag off my dad’s kitchen floor. He carefully folded it just as he had learned at school. At night, we’ve been reading The BFG and it is slowed down by the fact that Isaac pauses regularly to point out all the words he can read on each page. It’s incredible! I love watching all these incredible things he is learning and knowing that I am not responsible for it. I just get to delight it in. Continue reading

Art and Politics of Indexing

index.jpgBy 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.

Learning from Laughter and the Trees: Under the Apple Tree Again

IMG_2463

Grandpa, Cedar, and Isaac digging the hole for Scatters under the apple tree.

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

The rain is pouring down with periodic rumbles of thunder. It is cold and the sun has set, but we can tell that there is a need in Isaac’s heart to make this trek. We put on hats and shoes and give into the rain as we walk down the street and into the backyard of my dad’s house.

It’s too dark to see the loosened soil, but we bend down low and Isaac says, “This is where we buried Scatters.” Cedar, who is almost two, bends down too and after a minute looks up at Erinn and says “Meow” and points to the dirt. Erinn says, “Is this where Scatters is? Did he die?” Cedar responds, “Meow die.” Continue reading

50/500: A Season of Protest and Remembering

PhilBy Ched Myers, originally posted yesterday on ChedMyers.org

RightFr. Phil Berrigan pouring blood on 1-A draft files at the Customs House, Baltimore, MD, October 27, 1967.

Today, October 31st, we prepare to embrace that great feast of remembering, the “Triduum of Saints”: All Hallow’s Eve, Saints and All Souls Day, or Dia de los Muertos (learn more about the Triduum by reading this blog or linking to this free 2012 BCM webinar).

As I have gotten older this season of the Saints has become my favorite time of year.   This morning Elaine and I sat and prayed at our table, pictures of parents and other missed loved ones spread out.  We both cried telling stories.  Tears always help. Continue reading

Our Lady comes

09e961d888df6fcd72b2fb3b9e9def59--blessed-virgin-mary-window-ideas

Taize

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 Katherine Parent

In the cave of a great sanctuary, a granite womb full of light and bones, I sat among songs of the annunciation next to a new friend. Listening next to me, she didn’t know that I was having a holy moment of uncertainty. Each apex was an almond reminder of sacred arches, gateways of birth and body: seen, sacred, secret and silenced. I was considering, fiercely and privately, a surgery that would open my thick sealed hymen, a birth defect known as “Virgin Mary.” Continue reading

My Own Awakening

AlexanderFrom an Onbeing interview with Michelle Alexander (April 21, 2016):

I was raised to believe that there had been extraordinary racial injustice in our history, but that we are on the right path. And we may have a long way to go, but we are on the right path, headed, albeit too slowly, towards that promised land that Dr. King spoke of so eloquently. And in many ways, I think my own parents, being interracially married, felt they had to believe in that, they had to believe that by bringing mixed race children into this world they were bringing them into a world where there was hope for their future.

And so I was really raised on that narrative that we were overcoming. And when I became a civil rights lawyer and was a baby civil rights lawyer, just starting out, and I saw that sign stapled to a telephone pole saying, “The drug war is the new Jim Crow,” yeah, I thought that was hyperbole. I shook my head and said, “Yeah, the criminal justice system is racist in a lot of ways, but it doesn’t help to make such absurd comparisons to Jim Crow. People will just think you’re crazy.”

And then I hopped on the bus and headed to my new job as director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU in California. And it was really only through those years of representing victims of racial profiling and police brutality, and investigating patterns of drug law enforcement in poor communities of color, and attempting to assist people who had been released from prison as they faced just one unimaginable barrier after another — not just to their so-called “re-entry,” but to their basic survival after being released from prison — that I had my series of experiences that led to my own awakening that we hadn’t ended racial caste in America. We had just redesigned it.