Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously clarified that a law cannot make a man love him, but it can keep a man from lynching him.
King knew that it would take both a change of heart and a change of policy to create a world no longer built on what he called “the giant triplets of evil”: racism, materialism, and militarism. White Christians have long obsessed over the heart. One major theological underpinning of this trend is an abstract, sentimental interpretation of the death of Jesus that sidesteps the giant triplets by spiritualizing and futurizing salvation. While Black folks are catching hell on earth, white Christians counterfeit the cross by turning it into a VIP pass to heaven. Continue reading “Book Review: The Cross and the Lynching Trees”→
By Erika Fox, shared on facebook June 16. Shared with permission
Social media is not my platform (flip phone user here) so I have not mastered the art of articulating myself with fewer words. But the words keep rising up and waking me in the middle of the night, calling me back from a decade-long break from writing I was sure was permanent, and this seems a place to share some of them despite their length.
As a trauma therapist, there is so much I could say about this moment in history, about the relationship between trauma and oppression and the intergenerational transmission of trauma. And while I will continue to hold space for the trauma (and resilience and brilliance!) of Black bodies, Indigenous bodies, and bodies of color, those are not my words to share. My deep love compels me to share these words with white bodies – because addressing our unconscious racial conditioning and patterned responses from our unhealed traumas is necessary for the work of racial justice and restoring our humanity. Continue reading “This moment in history- from a trauma therapist”→
Joe Marlon Lee had the same philosophy for his kitchen table as he did for his onion patch, as he did for his pond and pocketbook – what is it all for if not to be shared?
He passed that worldview down to my mother, and together with my father, she has maintained an open-backdoor, open-pantry policy for all of my life. My friends, throughout college and young adulthood and now parenthood, found a sense of place just as I found a sense of place on that piece of Louisiana acreage. An insult it almost was for someone not to make our home their home throughout my upbringing. This sentiment echoed throughout my childhood town’s pharmacy, and football stadium, and the sanctuary in which I was pruned for a world much different than the one responsible for my raising. Continue reading “The Cognitive Dissonance of Southern Hospitality”→
On January 20th – the 34th observance and celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – approximately 22,000 people (mostly white men) rallied in Richmond, Virginia, to protest proposed legislation to address and decrease gun violence in the Commonwealth. Their numbers, and the accompanying threat of violence, was so great that many other annually held rallies were cancelled.
Content Warning: sexual assault imagery
The Gospel of Paranoia
“Come and take it.”
They cling to
Their own exploitation.
All more indicative
Their respective childhoods lacked
Than of ideological coherence
Or historical literacy. Continue reading “The Gospel of Paranoia”→
Following on from BKI2019, when we listened to and learned from a range of Indigenous voices, this year we are focusing on the work required of us white settlers to build deeper solidarity with Indigenous peoples.We have a new flyer (please use it) and a new program planning committee (PPC), including the BCM team, former attendees of multiple BKIs, local Chumash indigenous leaders and past BKI planners -artist Rev. Bob Two Bulls (who is kindly gifting use of his artwork again) and Rev. Art Cribbs from LA. As Art put it “The 2020 BKI aims to help us restore “20/20” vision”.
BKI 2020 is the middle year of a 3-year sequence curated to build capacity for Indigenous solidarity from different angles: at the 2019 BKI Indigenous Justice and Christian Faith: Land, Law, Language we listened to Indigenous Voices; in 2020 we will focus on the work required of white settlers; and in 2021 we’ll learn from the experience of non-white, non-indigenous settlers of color.
“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.
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 “Mothering Behind Bars: A Conversation with Siwatu-Salama Ra”→
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.
I pray that my words will be acceptable to You, Creator; and to the people who read them.
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.