Check out the new gear designed by Rianna Isaak-Krauss, co-pastor at Frankfurt Mennonite Church in Germany! Order your own HERE. Adult sizes too!!!
“I was on Etsy looking for fun clothing for babies, as millennial parents do, and found really terrible Christian T-shirts for girls [with phrases] like, ‘Wait like Hannah’ and ‘Serve like Martha. The only images that capitalism has for women [are] doing laundry and waiting around, and I thought that sucked.” – Rianna Isaak-Krauss
“Let’s keep telling these stories of badass biblical women,” Isaak-Krauss says. “And let’s keep using strong, active verbs so that we’re not always forming girls to be passive.”
Read more about the inspiration behind Rianna’s work here.
Antidarkness is the social disregard for dark bodies and the denial of dark people’s existence and humanity. When White students attend nearly all-White schools, intentionally removed from America’s darkness to reinforce White dominance, that is antidarkness. When dark people are present in school curriculums as unfortunate circumstances of history, that is antidarkness. When schools are filled with White faces in positions of authority and dark faces in the school’s help staff, that is antidarkness. The idea that dark people have had no impact on history or the progress of mankind is one of the foundational ideas of White supremacy. Denying dark people’s existence and contributions to human progress relegates dark folx to being takers and not cocreators of history or their lives…
…What is astonishing is that through all the suffering the dark body endures, there is joy, Black joy. I do not mean the type of fabricated and forced joy found in a Pepsi commercial. I am talking about joy that originates in resistance, joy that is discovered in making a way out of no way, joy that is uncovered when you know how to love yourself and others, joy that comes from relieving pain, joy that is generated in music and art that puts words and/or images to your life’s greatest challenges and pleasures and joy in teaching from a place of resistance, agitation, purpose, justice, love and mattering.
It’s Black History Month, something we celebrate all year long at RadicalDiscipleship.net. This is from the conclusion of bell hooks’ classic essay “Killing Rage” (1995).
Rage can be consuming. It must be tempered by an engagement with a full range of emotional responses to black struggle for self-determination. In mid-life, I see in myself that same rage at injustice which surfaced in me more than twenty years ago as I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X and experienced the world around me anew. Many of my peers seem to feel no rage or believe it has no place. They see themselves as estranged from angry black youth. Sharing rage connects those of us who are older and more experienced with younger black and non-black folks who are seeking ways to be self-actualized, self-determined, who are eager to participate in anti-racist struggle. Renewed, organized black liberation struggle cannot happen if we remain unable to tap collective black rage. Progressive black activists must show how we take that rage and move it beyond fruitless scapegoating of any group, linking it instead to a passion for freedom and justice that illuminates, heals, and makes redemptive struggle possible.
Sarah and Angelina Grimke are 19th century models of white people breaking rank with supremacy. This is an excerpt from Drew Gilpin Faust’s recent article in The Atlantic Magazine: The Grimke Sisters and The Indelible Stain of Slavery. The article is longish, but certainly deserves to be read in it’s entirety. It explores a new book that details tensions and complications with the Grimke legacy. Tensions and complications that white people breaking rank can learn from today.
Thirteen years apart, the two sisters came to share an abhorrence of the slave system on which their family’s wealth and position depended. Angelina was particularly repelled by the institution’s violence—the sound of painful cries from men, women, and even children being whipped; the lingering scars evident on the bodies of those who served her every day; the tales of the dread Charleston workhouse that, for a fee, would administer beatings and various forms of torture out of sight of one’s own household. Both Sarah and Angelina became deeply religious, rejecting the self-satisfied pieties of their inherited Episcopalian faith, but finding in Christian doctrine a foundation for their growing certainty about the “moral degradation” of southern society. In 1821, Sarah moved to Philadelphia and joined the Society of Friends; by the end of the decade, Angelina had joined her.
Philadelphia was a focal point of the growing antislavery movement, and the sisters were swept up in the ferment. Soon defying Quaker moderation on slavery just as they had defied their southern heritage, the Grimke sisters embraced William Lloyd Garrison and what was seen as the radicalism of abolition. In essays appearing in 1837 and 1838, Angelina and Sarah each set out the case for the liberation of women and enslaved people. They joined the Garrisonian lecture circuit, and Angelina developed a reputation as a sterling orator at a time when women were all but prohibited from the public stage. In 1838, Angelina married the abolitionist leader Theodore Dwight Weld in a racially integrated celebration that adhered to the free-produce movement, including no clothing or refreshments produced by enslaved labor. Weld and the sisters shared a household for most of the rest of their lives, and Sarah became a devoted caretaker of Angelina and Theodore’s three children. Their opposition not just to slavery but to racial inequality and segregation, as well as their support for women’s rights, placed them in the vanguard of reform and at odds with many other white abolitionists. With emancipation, they took up the cause of the freedpeople, which they pursued until they died, Sarah in 1873, Angelina in 1879.
Note: The gospel reading for this Sunday, October 16, the 19th Sunday after Pentecost in the Revised Common Lectionary, is a poignant and amazing text focusing on the agency of women. We shared these reflections last month with pastors in the Greater Minneapolis Synod of the ELCA, and invite you to delight in this story of persistence that pertains both to our prayers and our politics.
The story is introduced as a parable. Jesus tended to tackle tough issue by speaking in this particular rhetorical form, as did the Hebrew prophets before him. Unfortunately, most of our congregations still spiritualize this kind of grassroots pedagogy, typically understanding them as—see if you’ve heard this one before—”earthly stories with heavenly meanings.” Thus tales about landless peasants and rich land-owners, or lords and slaves, or lepers and lawyers—or persistent women—are lifted out of their social and historical context and reshaped into theological allegories or moralistic fables that are bereft of any political or economic edge—or consequence. This functions to thoroughly domesticate the parable under our status quo, such that stories meant to challenge our preconceptions about the world are instead deployed by us to legitimate them. In this way, we effectively disarm one of the Bible’s most powerful rhetorical weapons, whose purpose is to rescue us from our domestication and dehumanization under that very status quo. But what if parables were actually “earthy stories with heavy meanings” as Ched’s teacher Bill Herzog argued in his wonderful book, now a quarter century old, about Jesus as a pedagogue of poor communities?
It’s intentional that we think about internal accountability as a solo practice. So much of being in relationship with another is about being able to have deep awareness of what it is we want and need in a given moment, and what we’re feeling—be it safety or vigilance.
This can be immensely uncomfortable. We might be feeling some combination of vulnerable, insecure, scared, disrespected, angry, or other emotions that we aren’t always raised to hold with dignity. If we can’t be aware of—and responsible for—our own feelings, then anyone else we are relating to can easily become a site of our projections or unharnessed energy. We can have negative and harmful impacts we did not intend.
By Rev. Roslyn Bouier (above on the mic), the Executive Director of the Brightmoor Connection Food Pantry, Pastor of Trinity-St. Mark’s, UCC, and new church start founder The Beloved Community, UCC. These remarks were given at a press conference yesterday (July 7, 2022) where community leaders called out the latest counterfeit report coming from the Detroit water department, which has shut-off water to more than 170,000 homes over the past decade. The water department just approved an “affordability plan” with little input from experts and few details about how it will be funded and implemented. They refuse to release the full plan to the public.
I am a frontline provider—
I am a Detroit resident—
I am a pastor—
Community leader, advocate for food, water, housing, and basic needs—
I am a mother, grandmother—
But above all of these I am first and foremost a human-being and responsible for my neighbor and doesn’t that count for something?
By Alicia Crosby Mack, re-posted with permission from Facebook (June 24, 2022)
It is not lost on me that the architects of our present harm are using the Christian faith tradition as their vehicle for violence.
This is my tradition. This is my Christianity.
I will not distance myself from them as a form of absolution but will say this is violent & wrong.
In this moment I resolve to more fervently commit myself to justice, freedom, and agency for all because faith should be a balm for healing, not a bludgeon for to gain & keep control or force others into submission.
The major source of difficulty in our political work is that we are not just trying to fight oppression on one front or even two, but instead to address a whole range of oppressions. We do not have racial, sexual, heterosexual, or class privilege to rely upon, nor do we have even the minimal access to resources and power that groups who possess anyone of these types of privilege have.
The psychological toll of being a Black woman and the difficulties this presents in reaching political consciousness and doing political work can never be underestimated. There is a very low value placed upon Black women’s psyches in this society, which is both racist and sexist. As an early group member once said, “We are all damaged people merely by virtue of being Black women.” We are dispossessed psychologically and on every other level, and yet we feel the necessity to struggle to change the condition of all Black women. In “A Black Feminist’s Search for Sisterhood,” Michele Wallace arrives at this conclusion: