Unbroken Connection

DinaAn excerpt from Dina Gilio-Whitaker’s brilliant new release As Long As Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock (2019).

The very thing that distinguishes Indigenous peoples from settler societies is their unbroken connection to ancestral homelands. Their cultures and identities are linked to their original places in ways that define them: they  are reflected in language, place names and cosmology (origin stories). In Indigenous worldviews, there is no separation between people and land, between people and other life forms, or between people and their ancient ancestors whose bones are infused in the land they inhabit and whose spirits permeate place.

This Sacred Work

TeresaIn April 2016, Teresa Grady joined the Ancestors after 88 years of resisting and rising above the colonial script. This is an excerpt from the eulogy given by her granddaughter Cait De Mott Grady at the funeral mass at Immaculate Conception Church in Ithaca, New York.

My grandma who found cracks in empire and planted seeds in the rich and fertile soil that’s there. My grandma knew in her gut, in her bones, in her heart, in her spirit, that it is imperative that each of us say something, do something, speak from our specific position within the interlocking systems of oppression — patriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism, racism, militarism, materialism — systems that work to strip us all of our humanity. And that this sacred work starts with relationships.

Teresa Grady: Presente!

Elders

JeanieBy Jeanie Wylie-Kellermann, an excerpt from her “Editor’s Note” in the May 1999 issue of The Witness magazine, organized around the theme “Aging: Learning to be an Elder.” 

Elders usually must let go of their expectations to be power brokers, but they are also often positioned in a way that allows them greater freedom to act politically. Recently my partner Bill and I were at an Ash Wednesday vigil at the local manufacturer of cruise missile engines. Except for a few college students, we were probably the youngest people there–which isn’t saying much since we are in our 40s. On one level, that gave us an opportunity to beat ourselves up for our demographics–Why is the peace movement so white, so middle class and now so elderly? But in thinking about it, where would we prefer that elders be? What better task, could they adopt than to witness against fire power that can carry nuclear payload, but now is used in first-strike attacks against countries like Iraq or the former Yugoslavia? The conviction of these older ones is a gift to us. (I remember during a civil disobedience campaign against this same manufacturer in the early 1980s hearing a senior citizen say to a young mother who was agonizing about whether to do the action, “You take care of your babies. I’ll do this in your name and, before long, you can do this in the name of another mother.”) Continue reading

You Will Continue to Inspire

Ben, RachelBy Ben Wideman, community pastor of the 3rd Way Collective in State College, Pennsylvania

*This piece was originally posted on the 3rd Way Collective blog on May 6, 2019.

Dear Rachel Held Evans,

I’m writing with a long-overdue note of appreciation. Last week’s news of your passing shook me at a deeper level than I anticipated, and I wondered if putting words on paper would help me process some of what I felt.

I think my first memory of you was hearing about your second book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood. I’m guessing that my reaction to hearing about an effort to live according to a legalistic reading of scripture was typical of many short-sighted folks at the time… hadn’t AJ Jacobs already tried that and written a book about the experience a few years prior? Was yours just going to be the female version of that? Continue reading

Responding to a Deep, Insistent Sense of Call

Chava Redonnet (1)

PC: Lisa, a guest at the Catholic Worker

By Chava Redonnet (right), from the bulletin of Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church in upstate New York (4th Sunday in Lent)

Something I really do not enjoy doing is arguing. It’s one of those character traits that can be seen as either a virtue or a fault, but whichever it is, it’s me. Live and let live is more my style. We don’t all have to agree.

So in recent years I have found myself less and less interested in trying to convince anyone why women should be priests. I figure my priesthood is my argument for women priests. If someone can look at my ministry and say it’s not valid simply because I’m female, I don’t think anything I could say would change their mind. Continue reading