What We Learn in the Kitchen: An Introspection on the Black Queer Daughter

By Kendall Waterman, Re-shared from Geez magazine.

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Amanda Greavette, “With Woman,”

“My mother connects me to a past I would have no other way of knowing. And in this sea of whiteness, of friends, enemies and strangers, I look at her and know who I am.”
– Michèle Pearson Clarke, Transition

Two minutes into a phone call with my mother and she has launched into a full review of her church’s leadership transition, recounting details of a recent board meeting in which she was obliged to provide her unique clarity.

“Visionaries need me, they can’t explain what they want but I can see it. If you shut up and leave me alone, I can make it happen.”

We go on to chat about a young family friend who just broke up with her first girlfriend.

“It’s a big mess. This is why God never designed women to be romantically involved with other women. Too many emotions.” Continue reading

Mothering Behind Bars: A Conversation with Siwatu-Salama Ra

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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

Wild Lectionary: First Peoples Day Reflections

Metis-elder-Ken-Pruden4-7028-1024x681(1)On June 21 Canadians celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day and many churches observe a day of prayer. Rene Inkster reflects on the readings appointed for the Anglican Church.

Isaiah 40:25-31
Psalm 19
Philippians 4:4-9
John 1:1-18

I pray that my words will be acceptable to You, Creator; and to the people who read them.

Psalm 19:7-9

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean; the ordinances of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.

Bowsur, tawnchi, hello. I am a mixed blood person, born in Regina, Saskatchewan and also a Canadian history researcher. My name is Rene Inkster. I honour my Cree, Scottish and Métis heritage. Continue reading

Saying Hello and Goodbye

542ad78c3b0cd.imageBy Linda Johnson Seyenkulo

Culture is a funny thing.  You do not know it is there, until it is not.  What I mean by that is the culture to which we are born is so much a part of us that we are not aware.  Someone said, “It is the air we breathe.” Or if we were fish, it would be the water we swim in.  Culture allows us to live and move without having to think about everything we do.

I’m a white, educated, western woman living in a West African country where many people do not have much education.  Me being white, educated and western is part of my culture and my privilege.  I do not think about it much, but in being all that, I carry with me an expectation that the way I live and move and have my being is normal; how things should be.  I often function that way not thinking about what it means for those around me. Continue reading

KICKED & PRODDED by the SPIRIT

Descending, Front CoverBy Oscar Cole-Arnal (Oz)
A review of Descending Like A Dove: Adventures in Decolonizing Evangelical Christianity By Tommy Airey

As of April 4, 2018 I have lived a half century pilgrim’s existence hounded, kicked and prodded by the Spirit through weird and wonderful emissaries thereof.  Of course, she had to act this way, precisely because I am of that abominable character best described as a white old fart privileged male—you know that demographic who helped give our world the gifts of Donald Trump and Doug Ford.  So I say to the Spirit and her visitations to me—bring em’ on and more of the same.  Yes, as a young Lutheran pastor well on the road to pastoral and academic success in my first pastorate near Pittsburgh, my world became upturned by martyr’s blood, not my own, but that of Martin Luther King Jr.  With his shed blood pouring from Memphis into my heart, my family and I vowed to disdain our privileges and realign our lives after his model.  So we became civil rights and antiwar activists, strong supporters of Cesar Chavez’ boycott—going to jail, facing baton-wielding cops, having anonymous life threats and ending my paid vocational career in Waterloo, Ontario teaching Church History at the Lutheran Seminary there.  Since retirement, I remain active in a local group called the Alliance Against Poverty. Continue reading

For the Least of These

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Woodcut by Julia Jack-Scott

By Kelly Gallagher

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these siblings of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25: 35-36,40

The Rev. Dr. William Barber and the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis have created a core principal in the Poor People’s Campaign that they have held firm to and modeled over and over again – to lift up and deepen the leadership of those most impacted by racism, poverty, environmental devastation, and militarism. I like the language of “most impacted” better than “the least of these,” because “least of these” in today’s society can have connotations of “not as good as” or “not as important as.” Either way, the point is the same. Like Jesus, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, is calling us to engage the margins in an intimate and profound way. A way, I daresay, that has become foreign for many in the mainline church. Continue reading

Don’t Wake a Sleeping Dragon

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By Fritz Eichenberg

By: Anonymous

A few weeks ago I was sitting in Jose’s kitchen, waiting for his monthly phone call. Once a month he gets a call on a voice-recognition system: at some point during a two hour window, the phone will ring. He answers, then has to call back within three minutes. A machine recites a string of numbers, which he repeats, and then he is okay for another month. Since getting Administrative Closure of his case a few years ago, this has been the only contact he has had with the immigration folks. Finally the phone rang. I watched as he called back, heard him repeat the string of numbers. And repeat it again, and again, four times altogether. Finally he turned to me, ashen-faced. “It says it’s going to report me,” he said. Continue reading