Unbroken Connection

DinaAn excerpt from Dina Gilio-Whitaker’s brilliant new release As Long As Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock (2019).

The very thing that distinguishes Indigenous peoples from settler societies is their unbroken connection to ancestral homelands. Their cultures and identities are linked to their original places in ways that define them: they  are reflected in language, place names and cosmology (origin stories). In Indigenous worldviews, there is no separation between people and land, between people and other life forms, or between people and their ancient ancestors whose bones are infused in the land they inhabit and whose spirits permeate place.

Our Most Sacred Relative

Jim BearAn excerpt from Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs’ powerful Thursday morning sermon at the February 2019 Bartimaeus Kinsler Institute on Chumash land (“Oak View, CA”). Listen to all 40 minutes of challenge and inspiration here.

The principle of non-Indigenous environmental justice work could be summarized like this:

The earth is our greatest natural resource and it is incumbent upon us to protect it.

Sounds good, but it is wrong. Because when viewed from an Indigenous perspective, we would state it like this:

The earth is our most sacred relative and it is incumbent upon us to protect her.

The Earth has an identity. The Earth lives. She breathes. She moves. She thunders. She nourishes.

Liberating Evangelicalism

HarperFrom the Twitter account of Lisa Sharon Harper, Founder and President of Freedom Road and Senior Fellow at Auburn Seminary. It was posted on March 18, 2019.

To all the people, designated White by colonizing nations, who are becoming disillusion by your evangelical or Christian faith: When you walk away from Jesus you are not #woke. You are operating out of the white supremacy you say you abhor. #LiberatingEvangelicalism

When you walk away from Jesus and Christian faith to be “woke” you are walking away from a faith that sprang from brown, indigenous, colonized people. You’re walking away from faith born on the underside of empire in the context of oppressed peoples. #LiberatingEvangelicalism Continue reading

How Making Friends with Indigenous People Changed My Life

By Joshua Grace, originally posted at Red Letter Christians

I’m a Polish-American settler. I didn’t choose the conditions of my birth or my original family. However, I do choose to actively undermRandyine the systems and lies beneath those conditions of various levels of privilege.

Ignorance of our nation’s history, and the systems that our national narrative myth supports, only perpetuate injustice and maintain roadblocks to our greater healing. I was fortunate that in the process, my own Western worldview got challenged and I realized it needed to be overcome. I could not and probably would not have put the work in without supportive community — the Indigenous friends, teachers, and relatives who offered a healing sense of belonging. Continue reading

The Faith of Abused and Scandalized People

Lynching TreeOn Good Friday, we get back to the basics: an excerpt from James Cone’s The Cross and the Lynching Tree (2013).

The real scandal of the gospel is this: humanity’s salvation is revealed in the cross of the condemned criminal Jesus, and humanity’s salvation is available only through our solidarity with the crucified people in our midst. Faith that emerged out of the scandal of the cross is not a faith of intellectuals or elites of any sort. This is the faith of abused and scandalized people—the losers and the down and out. It was this faith that gave blacks the strength and courage to hope, “to keep on keeping on,” struggling against the odds with what Paul Tillich called “the courage to be.”

The cross and the lynching tree interpret each other. Both were public spectacles, shameful events, instruments of punishment reserved for the most despised people in society. Any genuine theology and any genuine preaching of the Christian gospel must be measured against the test of the scandal of the cross and the lynching tree.

Latin-X Discipleship

Josh LR2By Rev. Josh Lopez-Reyes (right), Pastor and Community Life Specialist at The Loft in Los Angeles, California

*This is the 15th installation of a year-long series of posts from contributors all over North America each answering the question, “How would you define radical discipleship?” We will be posting responses regularly on Mondays during 2019.

What is radical discipleship? As I reflect on this question, the image of deep-dirty soil comes to mind. As many contributors have reminded us via this wonderful online community of resisters, the word ‘radical’ comes from the Latin radix or radic meaning roots. Therefore, radical discipleship is the inherit, deep and primary essence of apprenticeship concerning the brown Palestine prophet and peasant. As the Rev. Dr. Miguel De La Torre reminds us in, The Politics of Jesús: A Hispanic Political Theology (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), this is nevertheless saying “no” to Jesus.[1] That is, it is the rejection of a comfortable, gnostic, white supremacist savior. Radical discipleship is about going to the roots of our tradition, to recover the profoundly deep solidarity of Creator’s love demonstrated in the one who was crucified on Good Friday in unity with the crucified communities of our world.[2] However, it is also about going deep into the roots of who we are. It is about revealing the beloved community as the unique creation that the Creator birthed us to be. In my case, it is about being Latin-X. Continue reading

The Evidence is Clear

Rhiana GunnFrom Rhiana Gunn-Wright, policy director for the nonprofit New Consensus, one of the lead policy writers for the Green New Deal. She was interviewed on DemocracyNow.org and asked about the connections between racial wealth disparity and climate change and how the Green New Deal will address them.

There’s a couple reasons that we see [racial wealth disparity]  connected to the Green New Deal. One is, of course, a moral argument. A lot of the people who are dying from fossil fuel pollution or who are carrying the heaviest burden are people of color, and they’re poor people of color. And likely, when climate change picks up and we see more disasters, more deaths, those are the first people who are on the line. People like to say climate change will kill us all, but the truth is climate change will kill some people first. And so, there’s a moral imperative to make sure that in the green transaction the same people who bear the brunt of our reliance on fossil fuels are not the same people who the green transition is being built on their backs. So that’s one. Continue reading