No Brady Bunch Mom: A Tribute to “Saint” Julia MacLeod

JulieBy Oz Cole-Arnal, former professor emeritus at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary

In Catholic parlance a saint becomes a singled out role model to emulate, but in terms of Scriptural usage the term applies to all the baptized who took on the name of Jesus the Christ. Rather than argue such a point, I would suggest that Julia MacLeod, my dear friend and mentor, whose loss we now mourn and whose life we honor, fulfills both above definitions. We have bid fond adieu to a sister who has role modeled for me what it means to love and follow Christ over against the common and easy definition of the term. Rather than define what this means in abstract terms, I choose instead to underscore her and her “hubby” George’s impact on my life and how they both shaped my Christian faith in maturing and radical ways. In other words, as feminists of the 1970s put it, “the personal is political”. This is and was Julia’s profound impact on my life. Now, on to some illustrations! Continue reading

Community is Bullshit

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redit: James Darling, https://flic.kr/p/8MvB4k

By Katie Hoogendam. This article first appeared in Geez magazine Issue 43, Fall 2016, The Collectivity Issue.

The following piece is rooted in my experience as a university student at the Oregon Extension, an intentional educational community based atop a mountain in Lincoln, Oregon.

The Oregon Extension was formed by a collective of independent Christian professors in the mid-1970s and grounded in the works of Thoreau, Dostoevsky, Annie Dillard, and Wendell Berry. It is known for its cultivation and examination of “big ideas,” and has been touted as a space for seekers of all stripes and disgruntled Christians alike. This article is an update of a story that originally appeared in catapult magazine [online] and in Road Journal magazine in 2008.

God, please help me not be an asshole, is about as common a prayer as I pray in my life. – Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix

The year is 2001. Professor John casts his gaze across the batch of eager new students and, pausing for dramatic effect, calculates the measure of our idealism on some internal register built upon years of guiding sanguine undergrads. “Community is bullshit,” he grunts, turning away without explanation. Continue reading

Thin Love

RicBy Ric Hudgens (right)

“Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.”–Toni Morrison

I don’t want the thin love anymore.

So thin it needs a second coat.

Too thin
to be seen at a certain angle
to hold the weight
to pull us out of the ditch
to keep things connected
to grasp with both hands
to tie my life together
to nourish our souls.

Give me the thick love.

The love that is love.

–rdh
08/12/2019

Don’t Touch

Dan B.An excerpt from Daniel Berrigan: Essential Writings (ed. John Dear, p.50).

One day, as we were being taken handcuffed from the jail for a court appearance, a young nun who was a dear friend reached out her hand to mine in solidarity as we issued from the jail. One of the marshalls came forward in a swift, reptilian move. He crashed down between our hands with a karate blow. “Don’t touch!” It was the epitome of the system; he had said it all.

Don’t touch–make war. Don’t touch–be abstract, about God and death and life and love. Don’t touch–make war at a distance. Don’t touch your enemies, except to destroy them. Don’t touch, because in the touch of hand to hand is Michelangelo’s electric moment of creation. Don’t touch, because law and order have so decreed, limiting the touch of one person to another, to the touch of nightsticks upon flesh. Continue reading

I Speak from the Deep Throated Voice of a Survivor

RubyBiography as Theology from the Front Porch of Mother Ruby Sales (posted to Facebook August 28, 2019).

My story which is both a Black story and an American one. It is a story shaped by more than fifty years of watching and wading in the ebb and flow of White supremacy in America. It is the story of both a survivor and freedom fighter who has experienced the best and worst of America.

Our story

“They are bringing drugs and sending their criminals.”

“Go back to where you come from.”

“Go back to your crime ridden neighborhoods.” Continue reading

Seeking Right Relationship

Kingsbay7An excerpt from Clare Grady’s oral arguments earlier this month in Georgia. Clare is a member of the Kingsbay Plowshares 7.

At this point, I would like to take a moment to look at the word religion. I learned that it has its roots in the word re-ligament. I translate that as re align, or to be in right relationship. Before I finish my time, I would like to share a few paragraphs from my affidavit and my testimony from the evidentiary hearing. All of my testimony was about religion, was about seeking right relationship. I will begin with a passage I quoted from Mark’s gospel chapter 12. It was the Sunday Mass reading on November 9, 1958, the day that I was born. In many ways it has been a rudder in my faith journey, one that has informed my religious beliefs, choices and practices. Continue reading

Come the Dawn

OzBy Oz Cole-Arnal, former professor emeritus at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary

*Note: this is the third installment of poems from Professor Cole-Arnal’s recent memoir work. “Come the Dawn” was written in Feb 1981, shortly after almost succumbing to an illicit affair in France during May-June (1980). These words mark his attempt to remember his marital promises and his continual love for wife Marian (“Bunny”). It is also critical to remember that this poetry included a third party: his therapist Andy Coppolino with whom they were wrestling with his nocturnal dreams.

A howl of pain piercing the night,
Wide awake, the only sound a heartbeat,
The discovery of mortality, alone, deeply alone,
Wrapped in darkness and afraid

–Before the dawn. Continue reading