The Undoing of Theodicy

BillFrom Bill Wylie-Kellermann’s newest release Dying Well: The Resurrected Life of Jeanie Wylie-Kellermann:

…in the course of Jeanie’s illness and death, I’ve not really found myself angry with God. I never really raged against the locked doors of heaven, or demanded to know why the Divine should permit such bad things happening to one so good as she. I suspect a reason for this that is theological. I wager it has to do with our shared biblical view of the powers. Continue reading

Entertainment for Angels

GuatemalaBy Tommy Airey

Detroit, Michigan

“…because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.”—Matthew 11:25b

“This pedagogy makes oppression and its causes objects of reflection by the oppressed, and from that reflection will come their necessary engagement in the struggle for their liberation.”–Paolo Freire, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1972)

Many episodes from the biblical script star the widow, the orphan and the immigrant as a sacred Trinity of sorts. The God known as Steadfast Love consistently compels those who bear the Name to never shame nor blame these three. In fact, in these three, Steadfast Love covenants Herself to Justice, promising to be a swift witness against anyone who oppresses or swears falsely against them.  If one’s theology still makes room for hell, this litmus test ought to be included. Continue reading

James Cone: The Scalpel & The Compress

James ConeThe reflections on Dr. James Cone’s life and teaching keep on pouring in from his former students.  This one is from Ken Sehested the curator of Prayer & Politiks.

I was traveling when the news of Dr. James Cone’s death was reported on Saturday. The first thought that came to mind was what seems to be a providential concurrence: His passing came two days after the opening of the National Peace and Justice Memorial, solemnizing the lynching in the US of some 4,400 black people, in 800 counties, between 1877 and 1950. Cone’s last book, The Cross and the Lynching Tree, was recipient of this year’s Grawemeyer Award in Religion. Continue reading

Prayer from Prison

marthaReflection by Martha Hennessy
Camden County Jail, Woodbine, Georgia Jail
Kings Bay Plowshares

When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

“‘Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord
and against the Lord’s anointed one. (Acts 4: 23-26)

We walked in the dark, stars overhead, with Orion at our shoulder and the waning moon rising late. Praise to you Dear God, for this gift of Eden. There were fire flies and croaking frogs to keep us company. And to think the logic of Trident is the obliteration of Creation. What did God whisper to my ancestors and then to me? Swords into Plowshares! We don’t mean to make everyone furious, but why turn our blood and hammers into spray paint and bolt cutters?* Why continue to set the desecrated altar to the false idols of war? We walked onto a military base that harbors the ultimate destruction, and we prayed for the power of a message, of a witness that could reach many ears; conversion of free will towards life- giving work and away from death dealing false constructs.

We strung up crime scene tape over the model missiles and over the door to the Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic (SWFLANT), a place where war plans promise to take all we love. We wish to indict this war machine for what it is: immoral, illegal, and monstrous. Our foolish plans desire to see a world in which the suffering is lessened, our leaders begin to know what it means if they pull the nuclear trigger. Our action is an invitation to all for a change of heart that will bring us to true revolution.

*Editor’s note: the charging documents and the Magistrate referred to their possession of bolt cutters and spray paint, but ignored mention of the symbols of blood and hammers, which were used by the seven in their symbolic action.

Telling my own story

kateriBy Kateri Boucher

Last year for my Sociology senior thesis, I chose to research the interactions between two environmental justice (EJ) organizations in a majority-Black city with a rich and complicated history of EJ work. I had made connections with folks in the EJ movement when I had lived there for a few weeks the previous summer, and I figured that studying these two organizations would be a perfect way to both learn more and get involved in work that I was drawn to. I did some background research, and then traveled to the city for a week to do interviews with members of both organizations. After documenting my findings, I submitted the paper and got a near-perfect grade on the first draft. I was proud of my work, and I was rewarded and praised for it. Continue reading

Ancestors Rise Up!

Gloria RichardsonThe files of Civil Rights elder Ruby Sales have opened and gifted us with stories of freedom fighters of yesteryear.  May their stories never be forgotten. This is a sample, with descriptions from Ruby:

The indomitable and courageous sister SNCC leader Gloria Richardson (right) of the Cambridge, MD movement during the Southern Freedom Movement standing up in all of her Black women soul force power to White police. As the debate rages around the nation about good of bad policing, this picture reminds us of their systemic roles of using violence and terrorism to maintain the social order of White supremacy. Lest we forget this picture reminds us of the courage and front line struggle of our sisters.

Gloria Richardson is still alive and in her 90’s.

circa early 1960’s Continue reading