Narcissus

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

Penned barely two months after “My Prayer” in the same year (October, 1980), the poem below shows how painful is the continuation of forbidden hungers vying against my effort to sustain integrity in my relationships with my dear wife, two boys, students and friends. Above all, although 1980 proved healthier than the next five years when my marriage fell apart, the poem below shows how fragile this “calm before the storm.”

Lonely man sitting by the water—
Transfixed by its mirror image,
Clinging to the pond’s stillness,
Fearful of its changing ripples,
And chained within! Continue reading

My Remorse and Tears

RubyFrom the Front Porch of Mother Ruby Sales (July 25, 2019).

Feeling remorse!

Yesterday I wrote a very biting critique of Mueller’s testimony and his posture. In retrospect my heart bleeds for him. It is clear as I replay his testimony that he is experiencing a physical challenge that compromises his memory and intellectual reflexes.

I finally understood his unwillingness to testify. What appeared to be his arrogance might simply have been a fear of not being able to testify in full form. Yet , this old marine faithful to the call of duty showed up and exposed his most vulnerable self to the nation to perform what is perhaps his last duty for this country. Continue reading

Pastoral Letter

8699828939_8a53b785ab_bBy Laurel Dykstra

in those days before the flood
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage

My scarred and raging
weary-eyed beloveds

ordinary defiant
with your teaching-outfit selfies
purple hair
fancy waistcoats
songs in a new range
carpentry projects
surfboards
magic card tricks
raspberry canes

You are magnificent Continue reading

You Must Be Re-Natured

Bellwether1By Kyle Mitchell

I work on a farm and do a lot of farm-based education with youth. One of my weekly joys right now is walking the farm and leading kids on a tasting tour. We try carrots, sorrel, sugar snap peas, mint, cucumbers, blue borage flowers – which taste like cucumbers oddly enough. I point to a potato plant and ask kids to guess what the plant is. They guess – An apple plant? Tomato? Lettuce? When I dig down with the garden fork and begin to pull up on the plant, I can barely hold in my excitement. I know the squeals and gasps that will shortly ensue when they realize that, “it’s potatoes!” “Can we eat them?” Wait, no, we need to cook them first, I think? Mental note for later, “Google ‘can you eat raw potatoes’”. Continue reading

The Only Version of Heaven my God Has Given Me

DungyAn excerpt from The Sun Magazine‘s 2018 interview with poet and professor Camille Dungy.

I am a Christian who is sad that it is often difficult for me to say that I am a Christian. I believe in what I understand to be the fundamental teachings of Jesus Christ: Love one another, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Justice and care and dangerous, radical kindness — I believe in all that. But I don’t believe that there is just one “right” Church. And I don’t believe in waiting to go to heaven to get my due…I’m going to fight for my due here and now, and for my daughter’s due. This is the only version of heaven that my God has given me, so this is where I am going to do my work. Continue reading

Mothering Behind Bars: A Conversation with Siwatu-Salama Ra

Mothering_Behind_Bars_800_250_90

Siwatu-Salama Ra and family, freesiwatu.org.

Re-share from Geez magazine.

Siwatu-Salama Ra is an environmental justice activist in Detroit, Michigan. Two years ago, she was arrested for pulling out a gun when someone violently threatened her two-year-old daughter. She was a licensed gun owner and never fired a shot. She was found guilty of felony firearm and given a two-year mandatory minimum sentence. She gave birth to her son while in prison. After serving eight months, she has been released on bond as she awaits her appeal. Her case raises many questions about self-defense, racial disparities in the justice system, and the treatment of incarcerated women. Her story also highlights the power of organizing and community. Lydia Wylie-Kellermann interviewed Siwatu while she was out on bond awaiting her appeal.

Geez: Could you start by introducing yourself and saying a little bit about who you are and what you do?

Siwatu-Salama Ra: My name is Siwatu-Salama Ra. I’m a daughter of a long-time community organizer and activist, Rhonda Anderson. I was raised by a single mother who raised all four of her children and grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. I followed a lot of what my mom did, and I started environmental justice work at about 14.

Recently, people have given me another title – a difficult title – of being a political prisoner. I was released from prison almost five months ago. I came home to a baby who was turning six-months-old, who I had given birth to in prison. And a three-year-old who is close to being four now. I left when she was two. Continue reading