By 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
By 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
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
By Fritz Eichenberg
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
By Julia Jack-Scott
By Liza Neal
“Nuestros sueños no se detendrán incluso en la muerte.” Our dreams will not stop even in death.
These words are painted on the Mexico side of the Border Wall. It could have been carved on the Mayflower. Half the Pilgrims that traveled to the “new world” died. The rest would have died if not for the mercy of the Wampanoag, who were repaid with disease, indoctrination, and their leader’s head on a spike displayed next to the Pilgrims’ crops. Continue reading
Samoset comes “boldly” into Plymouth settlement. Woodcut designed by A.R. Waud and engraved by J.P. Davis (1876).
By Dina Gilio-Whitaker. Reposted from Beacon Broadside.
November is Native American Heritage Month, when we as American Indian people get to have the mic for a little while. So, I’d like to take my turn at the virtual mic to talk about settler privilege, something you likely have never thought of, or have never even heard of. What you have undoubtedly heard of, however, is white privilege.
Peggy McIntosh first popularized the concept of white privilege in her now-classic 1989 essay “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” The impact of her essay was due at least in part to its clarity and readability; it broke down into a list of easy to understand ideas why white people have unearned advantages in society based on their skin color. Not that it was necessarily easy for white people to accept that they are in fact “more equal” than others, but the essay opened up a conversation that has gained serious traction in our social discourse, especially now when racism is on full, unobstructed display in this Trumpian moment. Continue reading
Cedar at the Poor People’s Campaign action on June 18 in Detroit.
By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann
“You have rocks in your bag.”
Stunned, I said, “it’s possible. I have kids.” I searched frantically through my bag that I had carefully packed that morning in hopes of getting quickly through security at the 36th District Court before court. I tried to gloss over the contraband tics tacs and pencil I had hidden at the bottom- necessities for keeping a 2-year-old silent in the court room that day. I can’t find anything. They wait, “Check another pocket.” Sure enough, there in the front, I find them. I pull out hands filled with mountain stones, Detroit River rocks, and pine cones all covered in sand that pours through my fingers. I hand them over to the security guard who doesn’t flinch as I apologize and she heads for the trash can. Continue reading