Live by the Gun, Die By the Gun: But Can We Make Peace Living With the Gun?

RandyBy Rev. Dr. Randy Woodley (photo right),a Keetoowah Cherokee teacher, poet, activist, former pastor, missiologist and historian

*This piece was originally posted at HuffPost.

Full disclosure: I am a committed peace activist who often hunts for his food and has valid concealed carry permits recognized in 36 states. I have never been a member of the NRA.

I won’t take the time here to explain the details above except to say they are deeply held, carefully thought through convictions. Hopefully, my disclosure causes some cognitive dissonance. Because I do not believe the issue of violence in our country is going to be resolved by advocating the talking points of either extreme, it may be helpful to create a sense of disequilibrium. I believe the problem of gun violence in America can be effectively addressed by looking deeply at all perspectives and by finding meaningful and practical compromise through a renewed sense of spirituality.
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The Primal Story Line: Peace, Respect & Reconciliation

VernAnother short and sweet book review-summary from legendary pastor Vern Ratzlaffposting up on the Canadian prairies, pouring his heart and mind into anti-imperial theology and soul-tending. 

Instead of Atonement. Ted Grimsrud, Cascade, 2013.

Grimsrud does a double theological treatment: of penal theory and of atonement theory.

Penal theory. The difference between retributive and restorative approaches to retaliatory justice. Continue reading

Adventures on the Elliptical, Part I: Where’s the Beef?

Abundant Table

Walking the Stations of the Cross at the Abundant Table Food Project in Oxnard, CA.

By Tommy Airey, co-editor of RadicalDiscipleship.net

*This post kicks-off a new series on Wednesdays exploring the movement of Spirit during mealtime.  

Give us meat for our food.
Numbers 11:13

Sometimes I sneak inside the local gym here in Ypsilanti and spend thirty minutes on the elliptical. The AC is on and a half dozen TVs are right in front of me.  A few weeks ago, I was sweating to a sports talk show host lamenting his wife’s newfound veganism. It is the oldest, most tiring go-to in the counterfeit masculinity playbook. I knew exactly what he was going to say next: “I just want to go out and have a steak with my guy friends.” And then he droned on about the whole pathetic ordeal for the entire segment.

Seven years ago, Lindsay and I became vegetarians after watching the Academy Award winning documentary Food, Inc. and then reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals.  I attribute this conversion mostly to Michael Smith, a former traveling salesmen now living in Iceland snapping photos of the Northern Lights with his girlfriend Inga.  I was Michael’s freshman basketball coach.  I taught him how to ball fake and skip pass.  Now he feeds me the latest on the state of the heavily corporatized meat and dairy industries.  I got the better end of the bargain.   Continue reading

On Revolution and Equilibrium

indexFeature by Barbara Deming, originally published in Liberation, February 1968

Do you want to remain pure? Is that it?” a black man asked me, during an argument about nonviolence. It is not possible to act at all and to remain pure; and that is not what I want, when I commit myself to the nonviolent discipline. I stand with all who say of present conditions that they do not allow men and women to be fully human and so they must be changed – all who not only say this but are ready to act.

When one is confronted with what Russell Johnson calls accurately “The violence of the status quo” – conditions which are damaging, even murderous, to very many who must live within them – it is degrading for all to allow such conditions to persist. And if the individuals who can find the courage to bring about change see no way in which it can be done without employing violence on their part – a very much lesser violence, they feel, than the violence to which they will put an end – I do not feel that I can judge them. Continue reading

My “Nonviolent” Stance Was Met With Heavily Armed Men

AntifaA post from Logan Rimel, parish administrator at University Lutheran Chapel of Berkeley (CA). Logan traveled to Charlottesville during the weekend of August 5 to bear witness with his friends at Charis Community Cville.

Some thoughts on nonviolence post-Charlottesville:

TLDR: White Christians, if you aren’t willing to personally take a bat to the head, shut up about antifa.

My FB feed, podcast feed, workplace conversations, and church chit chat are circling around Charlottesville, antifa, violence/nonviolence, white folks quoting Dr. King, white supremacy, neo-Nazis…It’s hard to get away from it. There’s part of me that doesn’t want to, that wants to keep refreshing the feed, taking in more, trying to read the next thing and the next thing. Maybe if I keep myself submerged here, what I saw will make sense. Continue reading

From Immigrant to Immigrant Justice Organizer

moisesTomorrow night in Santa Monica, CA, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity will celebrate of the work and witness Moises Escalante (right), legend in the work of immigrant justice and immigration reform.  This is an excerpt about Moises’ life from “From Immigrant to Immigrant Justice Organizer: Moises Escalante,” in Our God is Undocumented: Biblical Faith and Immigrant Justice by Matthew Colwell and Ched Myers:

In 1988, Moises was asked to come to the Salvadoran village of Morazan to observe the pastoral work taking place in that impoverished war zone. When he first received the invitation, he thought this was crazy. “You want me to go to a place where guerillas control the area and are under attack?” As he thought it over, he recalled the words from Ephesians that God wants the church to “awaken!” Reluctantly, he agreed to travel to Morazan for a ten-day trip. Getting there was no easy feat. After flying into San Salvador, he was put on a bus and told to wait until a person came up to him and asked, “How’s your house?” That person would be his next contact. Continue reading

Encircle Them With Energetic Encouragement

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An important message about dismantling white supremacy in Charlottesville, VA tomorrow (right: flyer for the event).  From Sarah Thompson, the executive director of Christian Peacemaker Teams:

First and foremost I want to send love to you all.

Thank you for who you are and the work that you are doing in the world.

It is important. You are courageous. Now is the time to grow our souls.

Please read on.

This weekend, a racist rally is taking place in Charlottesville, Virginia called “Unite the Right.” You can read about it online (poster attached). This article by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors “hate groups and other extremists,” warns that the rally could be “the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States.” The convergence of alt-right folks has been emboldened by the national administration, and they do have a sense of their world falling apart. They chose Charlottesville to rally after that city’s vote to remove the Confederate statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Their goal is to bring white people on the right wing together, out from the shadow of the internet, so they can cultivate real relationships and craft a palatable platform to build more political power. The images they chose for the rally draw from Nazi-era propoganda. Continue reading