A Spirituality of the Feet Moment

OzBy Dr. Oz Cole-Arnal (far left in photo), former professor emeritus at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary

As a “once upon a time” born-again fundamentalist Lutheran, nurtured and raised in a Pennsylvania steel town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who bought into that epoch’s anti-Catholicism and anti-Communism, I reflected the standard “White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant—Male” (WASP-M) privilege while being blithely unaware of the advantages this reality provided. My intense discovery of the quintessential Protestant core belief that we are made right with God, through no works of our own but solely though divine love manifested through Christ’s cross and made personal through trust in this radical God of love, combined with my academic love and success, led me to the ordained Lutheran ministry and the hope of teaching New Testament after a stint in parish ministry. Such a dream was turned on its head by a more profound conversion on the evening of April 4, 1968 when the blood of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. poured out on the balcony of Memphis, Tennessee’s Lorraine Motel. At the very moment I heard the news of his death, I feel to my knees and through my tears, vowed never to be silent in the face of injustice. Whether or not I have been true to that pledge remains in God’s loving hands, precisely where it belongs, but I highlight here one glorious moment of a fifty-year pilgrimage that I celebrate to this very day. Continue reading

So I Sang

OnneshaAn excerpt from Onnesha Roychoudhuri’s recent release The Marginalized Majority: Re-Claiming Our Power In a Post-Truth America (2018): 

It was my Uncle Bill who I was thinking of when, one day recently in Brooklyn, a man boarded my subway train and let loose an impassioned and bigoted tirade. My fellow New Yorkers did their job of ignoring him admirably, but he didn’t keep up his end of the bargain, which was to move on after a few stops and pester the next car down. Continue reading

It’s Not Part of Our Vision

RamseyThanks to Detroit-based law student Cait De Mott Grady for passing along this profound interview Derrick Jensen did with former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark way back in 2000. His reflections are more relevant than ever. This is an excerpt, but the entire interview deserves a read.

Jensen: So how do we maintain our national self-image as God’s gift to the world, the great bastion of democracy?

Clark: But we’re not a democracy. It’s a terrible misunderstanding and a slander to the idea of democracy to call us that. In reality, we’re a plutocracy: a government by the wealthy. Wealth has its way. The concentration of wealth and the division between rich and poor in the U.S. are unequaled anywhere. And think of whom we admire most: the Rockefellers and Morgans, the Bill Gateses and Donald Trumps. Would any moral person accumulate a billion dollars when there are 10 million infants dying of starvation every year? Is that the best thing you can find to do with your time? Continue reading

time(lessness)

imagesBy Marcia Lee, Detroit, MI

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.
Albert Einstein.

Time in its measurements of hours, minutes, days, and years is a human construct that we have created to make order in our lives.  (Think of how many different calendars there are in different parts of the world and terms we use like people of color time, Asian time, etc.). We want a certain level of structure and having time to measure events allows us to have something outside of ourselves, a ‘science’ if you will, to give purpose and stability to our decisions.  This is how people come to say things like, “If only I had the time,’ or ‘there are not enough hours in a day.’ This, I call ‘human time.’ Continue reading

The Violence Happening in Our Midst

Clancy Dunigan

The Poor People’s Campaign resists and rises above systems of oppression in Olympia, Washington (PC: Clancy Dunigan)

The Poor People’s Campaign keeps on rolling. This is from Jeremy Porter in Kentucky:

There is a long history of nonviolent civil disobedience in this country and around the world. The goal is not to be arrested, but to bring attention to the violence happening in our midst. If we get arrested on the road to justice, then we are willing. This violence includes: People without dignified affordable housing (where an individual in KY has to work 77 hours a week on minimum wage just to afford a two bedroom apartment), the 40% of homeless youth who are queer, 200,000 people who die in this country annually from lack of wealth, 1 in 5 KY children who don’t know where their next meal will come from…these are just the tip of the iceberg of violence happening daily.

Our goal in the Kentucky Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is to wage peace and justice against this violence, but first people must know it exists…and so we name it and make it known through nonviolent moral fusion direct action, which sometimes means risking the breaking of a law to bring attention to the unjust laws all around us.

Kings Bay Plowshares- a poem

cards.jpgBy Kate Foran

Dissent without civil disobedience is consent. Philip Berrigan

Our friend Mark sits in a jail cell again
and I stand in the lunch hour line
under fluorescent lights
at the post office with my toddler
to buy a stack of pre-stamped postcards,
the only kind acceptable to mail,
written only in blue or black ink,
no stickers, glue, glitter, or pictures,
no letters or packages. Continue reading

We Are Not Anti-Police But Pro-Community

FirstFirst Congregational Church of Oakland recently made a decision to reduce their reliance on the police with the goal of not calling them, period. This is a statement they made to the media. We just had to share this.

First Congregational Church of Oakland is a multiracial church, and some of our own members have been followed, harassed, and even sexually assaulted by police officers. In addition, we live in the middle of an urban area experiencing an extreme housing crisis, so there are many unhoused people on and around our campus, some of whom struggle with mental illness and addiction, and the statistics show that Black and Brown people suffering from mental illness and addiction are among those most at risk of being shot by police even when unarmed. Continue reading