A remembrance of Will D. Campbell on the anniversary of his birth, 18 July 1924

By Ken Sehested

I was a stranger in a strange land, having left behind a Baylor University football
scholarship for the alluring but intimidating environs of New York University’s
Greenwich Village campus in Manhattan. I was so over being who I was, so eager for,
if frightened by, what was to come. Odd that it was there, so far from home, that I
should encounter the iconoclastic voice of a fellow Baptist-flavored Southerner
whose testimony would come to profoundly impact the tenor of my own.
 
“Here’s somebody you should know about,” said Dr. Carse, my religion department
mentor, as he tossed an open copy of Newsweek magazine across his desk. The
upturned page contained a one-column profile of self-styled bootleg preacher, Rev.
Will Campbell.

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A Monarch Migration in March

By Tommy Airey, re-posted from Easy Yolk

On Fat Tuesday, six days into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I drove out of Detroit while it was still dark. For the first two hours, the slipped disk in my upper back was screaming. This thorn in my flesh, this messenger from Satan, was signaling a lack of emotional support in a world collapsing with the 4 C’s: capitalism, climate, covid and conflict. I drove through all four time zones as gas prices sky-rocketed and the stealth BA. 2 variant spread. On the road, in this mess, I was trusting in Something greater than myself, a divine Presence percolating the world with steadfast love and solidarity. This Force does not sit on a throne. It hovers low like a nurturing mother bird and runs fast like an open-hearted, emotionally expressive father figure.

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A Stunning Experience of Grace

The introduction to Lee Camp’s latest podcast interview with Janet Wolf. Listen HERE.

“I did not go to divinity school to become a pastor,” says Janet Wolf. “I thought clergy were probably the problem and not the solution. I went to figure out how people could read the Bible and not do justice.”

And yet, at the age of 40, after the end of a struggle with the Boards of Ordained Ministry, she found herself ordained in the Methodist Church and sent to pastor four congregations in Lawrence County, Tennessee.

This was no easy task: she was the first female Methodist pastor the county had ever known.

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After 50 Years, Still Recovering From My PTSD

By Steve Clemens

Got this in the mail this week- it got me thinking:

December of 1971 was the time I completed my academic requirements to graduate several months early from Wheaton College. 50 years is a long time in looking back at that part of my journey – especially in trying to heal from the religious and theological abuse heaped upon my 21-year-old self from the “evangelical” movement as expressed by the school which prided itself as being the “Harvard” of such. I’ve come to realize in the passing years the damage wrought by what I now see as a form of Post Theological Salvation Disorder (or Delusion): PTSD.

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Not a Disembodied Hope

Mt Erbal caves
Mt Arbel Caves

By Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson, reposted from Advent 3 2017

Just north of Magdala in Galilee stand the cave-pocked cliffs of Mt. Arbel. Twice in a hundred years, Roman soldiers shot fire into the caves to destroy Israelites who refused to give in to imperial rule. The first occasion was the imposition of Herod as king in 40 BCE, while the second was during the Roman-Jewish war of the mid-60s CE.

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John Brown Broke Rank

By Tommy Airey, re-posted from social media and his blog Easy Yolk

For centuries, white people from lower economic classes have been hired as police patrol by the white ruling class. White folks have been given guns and badges to exercise unlimited force on enslaved people, poor people of color and dark-skinned immigrant labor. This power is so intoxicating that white people consistently choose to police vulnerable people instead of finding solidarity with them in a common struggle against wealthy white exploiters. Sure, Kyle Rittenhouse shot white protestors. But his mother drove him to Kenosha to police people of color—and protect wealthier white people and their property. Policing people of color remains common practice in classrooms, curriculums, churches, stores and neighborhoods, where white people do not necessarily need guns and badges to demand “others” know their place.  

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Black Like Me: Gay, Free and Happy!

By Johari Jabir

In Memoriam: Carl Bean (May 26, 1944 – September 8, 2021)

It is an old story. Some ultra-talented Black singer leaves the church in order to pursue a career in a more lucrative career in secular music. Never mind the fact that the binary divisions between the sacred and secular have never really worked when it comes to Black music, Carl Bean is one of those many examples of Black gospel talent who may have momentarily left the building but took the spirit of the church with him. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Carl Bean grew up attending Providence Baptist Church where Rev. Marcus Garvey Good was pastor. In his autobiography, I Was Born This Way: A Gay Preacher’s Journey Through Gospel Music, Disco Stardom, and a Ministry in Christ, Bean describes his childhood church as a community of, “strivers, those looking to advance themselves in not only the intellectual and spiritual realm but the economic as well” (49). The music at Providence was very proper, but Bean was drawn to the more “rootsy” music played in his household and in the storefronts he visited. Bean’s own church preached acceptance, but the churches he visited were the first spaces he heard anti-gay theologies.

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Los Samaritanos

An update from Chava Redonnet (right), the priest at Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church (Sunday, August 8, 2021).

Dear Friends,

Three years ago we invited some folks in Batavia to get together and talk about how we might support people being released from the detention center. Fili and his family had noticed that there was a need. We wanted to respond as St Romero’s but soon realized that we needed people who lived closer to the center, and needed the input and participation of people and churches in Batavia. The group that met that first night included several pastors – Presbyterian, Methodist, UCC, and myself, as well as some folks not connected with churches. It took us a while to figure out the details, but eventually we had a sign hanging up in the gas station where people are left to wait for a bus, with a number to call if you needed help and a bilingual person holding the phone, who could alert folks that there was a need. Fili told us that we should include on the sign the message, “You are not alone.”

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She Wove Us Together

Linda Marie Thurston, August 7 1958 to May 23, 2021. Re-posted from her obituary site.

Linda Marie Thurston, who spent a lifetime forging connections between and among people, organizations, and ideas in peace and justice movements, passed away in her Brooklyn, NY home due to natural causes. She was 62 years young.

Linda was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on August 7, 1958, the oldest child of James Thurston Sr. and Barbara Thurston (née Oliver). She attended Classical High School and excelled academically, where, as she liked to tell it, a bet between guidance counselors led to Linda applying and being accepted to Harvard University. Linda graduated from Harvard in 1980 with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology where she was a student organizer against South African apartheid and was the president of the Black Community and Student Theater. After working for some years at the American Friends Service Committee, Linda took time out to attend grad school at Temple University where she obtained an M.A. in Sociology in 1994. 

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The Womanist Theology of Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon

An excerpt from a reflection on the life of Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon by Angela D. Sims. Re-posted from Religion and Politics, February 2019.


In every generation, a “remnant” of scholars emerges that challenges status quo perspectives. Their critiques of normative constructs serve as models for subsequent scholars who learn how to work not only to eat but also to work in a manner that enables others to eat. The Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon was indeed such a person. She loved life, loved people, loved laughter, loved food, loved imagining the not yet, loved calling things into existence. The progenitor of womanist theological ethics, Cannon was a brilliant scholar, a mentor extraordinaire who possessed an ability to discern what was most needed, and generous (almost to a fault) in the sharing of her time and resources…

…Born January 3, 1950, in Kannapolis, North Carolina, Cannon became the first black woman to be ordained in the United Presbyterian Church, a precursor to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). After earning her doctorate at Union Theological Seminary in New York City—the first African American woman to do so—Cannon laid the foundation for womanist ethics in her 1985 essay, “The Emergence of Black Feminist Consciousness.” Many black women in theological disciplines, including Cannon, have gravitated to the use of author Alice Walker’s term “womanist” as both a challenge to and a confessional statement for our own work. Womanist, as defined in Walker’s In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose, contains elements of tradition, community, self, and a critique of white feminist thought and provides a fertile ground for religious reflection and practical application.

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