Pondering on Baptism

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Our pile of rocks beside the Detroit River.

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann, co-editor of http://www.radicaldiscipleship.net

After the service ended, the rocks began to pile up. Grandparents brought stones from beloved places far away and the kids waded into the water gathering rocks and adding them to the pile. We left that day, but the pile of rocks still sits beside the river as the waters pass through the Huron and toward Erie down the Detroit River.

We had just baptized Cedar Martin and his cousin Ira Cole. We read Joshua 4, where the Israelites cross the Jordan and Joshua tells them to leave a pile of rocks by the river because “One day your children will ask, “what do these stones mean?’ Continue reading

Lunch with the Law

joyceBy Joyce Hollyday

Three-year-old Enrique’s favorite toy—a plastic helmet with a dark face shield, emblazoned with the word “POLICE”—was parked on his head. As he toddled up to our burly, 6-foot-8 county sheriff, with his mother Rosita watching nervously, the irony just about did me in.

For three hours every week a group calling ourselves Mujeres Unidas en Fe (Women United in Faith) gathers at a church just over the mountain from my home in Western North Carolina. A dozen Spanish-speaking women and an equal number of us English speakers share Bible study, exchange language lessons, and enjoy a potluck lunch. Fear has been running high since executive orders out of the White House targeted North Carolina as a state for increased action against undocumented immigrants, and recently our group’s activities have included the heartbreaking work of getting legal papers in place for the care of their children if any of the mothers are deported.   Continue reading

Dear Little Men

8400446437(1).jpgBy Laurel Dykstra, Salal and Cedar

Dear Little Men,

Thank you. I was completely baffled by the book that you sequel, Little Women. My mother loved it; she wanted me to love it. Girly classmates adored it and tried to enjoin me in their effusing in a “you like books and I like this one book so we totally have this thing in common right?” way. Continue reading

The Jesus Story is What I’m Living Out Of

Bill WKBy Tommy Airey, co-editor of RadicalDiscipleship.Net

The first half of a two-post interview with Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann.

Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann is a man who has reclaimed civil disobedience as a spiritual practice and a vital component of Christian ministry for the past four decades in Detroit.  An ordained United Methodist minister, he only accepted part-time positions at churches in the city so that he could lavish time and energy into community organizing and direct action.  Back in the early 80’s, while serving a short stint in federal prison for an action at the Pentagon, the pastor-parish committee at his church inquired if it would be counted as “vacation time.”  His district supervisor countered, “Oh no.  Bill’s doing ministry.”  Continue reading

Book Announcement: Where the Water Goes Around: Beloved Detroit

dads bookNew book by Bill Wylie-Kellermann. Where the Water Goes Around: Beloved Detroit is a biblical and political reading of Detroit over the course of three decades by an activist pastor.

Detroit is a place where one can take the temperature of the world. Think on the rise of Fordism and auto-love, the Arsenal of Democracy, the practice of the sit-down strike, or the invention of the expressway and suburban mall. Consider more recently the rebellion of 1967, the deindustrialization of a union town, the assault on democracy in this Black-majority city, the structural adjustments of municipal bankruptcy, and now a struggle for water as a human right. Continue reading

Reflections from a Liturgical Seasons Geek

stationsBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann. Published in Geez Magazine.

“The rain. The dew. The dryness. And then rain again, and dew, and dryness. The story of the circling year. From the rabbis, mystics, and farmers of sixteen centuries ago we have a book that tells the story of the circling year. That teaches us what to do if the delicate machinery should stop.”- Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Seasons of Our Joy: A Celebration of Modern Jewish Renewal

I can’t deny it. It’s true. I crave the church seasons. I count down the days to Advent. I throw All Saints Day parties. I keep folders of poetry and reflections for each season. Honestly, I’m really not all that high churchy, but the seasons have become a rhythm that I feel in my body. They ground me when the world feels crazy. They keep me moving. They slow me down. They keep me acting in the midst of hopelessness. They are a way of keeping time that feels dramatically different than the fast-paced, consumer driven clocks that surround us. Continue reading