What Freedom Means

robin d.g. kelleyAn excerpt from Robin D.G. Kelley’s 2016 “Yes, I Said ‘National Liberation.'” Re-posted from Verso. 

Whatever the reasons, our solidarity ought to be based on building a new world together. I am not suggesting that we abandon the struggle to hold Israel accountable for its continued crimes against humanity and violations of international law, or that we stop mourning and honoring the dead, or that we cease any of the immediate actions designed to sustain life and bring a modicum of peace. But peace is impossible without justice. The brilliant Egyptian writer Ahdaf Soueif put it best: “The world treated Gaza as a humanitarian case, as if what the Palestinians needed was aid. What Gaza needs is freedom.” And what is freedom for Palestine? “Free Palestine” means, at a minimum, completely ending the occupation; dismantling all vestiges of apartheid and eradicating racism; holding Israel accountable for war crimes; suspending the use of administrative detention, jailing of minors, and political repression; freeing all political prisoners; recognizing the fundamental rights of all Palestinian and Bedouin citizens of Israel for full equality and nationality; ensuring all Palestinians a right to return and to receive just compensation for property and lives stolen, destroyed, and damaged in one of the greatest colonial crimes of the twentieth century.

The Culture of Whiteness

RubyA Ruby Sales Ted Talk? Hell yes. This is just an excerpt. Watch and listen to the entire talk here.

Now that we’ve touched the hurt, we must ask ourselves, “Where does it hurt and what is the source of the hurt?” I propose that we must look deeply into the culture of whiteness. That is a river that drowns out all of our identities and drowns us in false uniformity to protect the status quo.

Notice, everybody, I said “culture of whiteness,” and not “white people.” Because in my estimation, the problem is not white people. Instead, it is the culture of whiteness. And by culture of whiteness, I mean a systemic and organized set of beliefs, values, canonized knowledge and even religion, to maintain a hierarchical, over-and-against power structure based on skin color, against people of color. It is a culture where white people are seen as necessary and friendly insiders, while people of color, especially black people, are seen as dangerous and threatening outsiders, who pose a clear and present danger to the safety and the efficacy of the culture of whiteness. Continue reading

Going Home By Another Way

lydia wkBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann, co-editor of RadicalDiscipleship.Net

*This is the sixth 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.

Radical Discipleship

Summons stories-
Communal ones of laughter and longings,
Ancestral ones with pain and truth and roots,
Ancient ones with context that can change the course of our lives.

Radical Discipleship

Plants seeds, saves seeds, shares seeds.
Puts them in the soil as sacred wonder,
as food for the mouths of our family and neighbors,
And as part of begging forgiveness for what we have done to seed and soil.
Plants seeds of our lives rooting in place,
falling in love with the ground where we stand,
Learning her history, and tending its future.
Shares seeds of hope in a time when the world feels barren and ready to ignite,
Yet here come the seeds of resistance, imagination, and hope.

It echoes of Dorothy Day saying that love is the only solution.
It heeds Dan Berrigan’s call to stand somewhere.
It joins what Martin Luther King calls for by nurturing Beloved Community.

Radical Discipleship

Is the tradition that calls upon
the courage of Shiprah and Puah, Miriam, Ruth, Mary Magdalene,
the writings from jail cells of Paul and Silas and John,
and calls us towards the risks of birthing in the face of a dragon.

Radical Discipleship

Depends on people gathering
But needs no institution, no building, no marble.
It needs just 2 or 3 to gather
To open the good book and the newspaper
And to ask the questions and share our lives.

Radical Discipleship

Claims the cultural and historical roots of a tradition
that it is a piece of our ancestral line,
And part of that, means confessing, reparations, listening, and sorrow
For Constantine’s sword, for slave owner theology, for the Doctrine of Discovery,
For ongoing appropriation, hegemony, and for the rise of empires that carry the cross.

Radical Discipleship

Knows that those of us who carry the cross
Are meant to walk the underbelly of empire
To love from the margins.
We know that the cross was (and is) used as a violent threat of suppression by empire,
Yet it is also a sign that neither empire nor death shall have the final word.

Radical Discipleship

encourages experiments of going home by another way
Calls to us to slow down and be where we are,
To be steeped in love for one another,
Gratitude for the cloud of witnesses,
And steadfast work for the generations to come.

Radical Discipleship

Leads us to unexpected places
So before we sign on the dotted line, we all should know,
We might end up with your hands covered in dirt,
Or spending nights in jail,
Or turning a guest room into hospitality space,
Or giving up all your money
And joining a Catholic Worker.
We might stop to admire the lilies,
Or start writing poetry,
Or falling in-love.
We might turn off your TV,
Or begin asking forgiveness,
And turning our lives upside down and forever.
So, be careful.

Radical Discipleship

Is love,
Joy,
Beauty,
Sorrow,
Community,
Hope,
Resistance,
And a loving embrace
Of history
And all that is to come.
In gratitude
That I get to do all of that
With you.

Risky Midrash: The Jubilee Pertains to Our Enemies Too

NaamanHappy Birthday, Ched Myers!!! 

To honor Ched, we feature this piece he wrote three years ago on Luke 4:22-30. Behold, the lectionary cycle always comes back around! 

Also, we’ve got 48 hours until registration closes for the 2019 Bartimaeus Kinsler Institute. Join Ched and others conspiring for indigenous justice and Christian faith. Click on and sign up!!!!

The audience reaction to Jesus’ inaugural sermon in Nazareth is somewhat ambiguous (4:22). Though they “witness to him” (the Gk emarturoun with the dative is usually positive), they also “wonder” about him (ethaumazon, which can connote surprise in a negative sense; see Lk 11:38), no doubt skeptical about how such eloquence can come from a humble construction worker’s son. This explains Jesus’ immediate move to the defensive, then quickly to the offensive. Continue reading

God’s Way of Whispering to Me

blockq (2)On June 18 2019 as part of the “40 Days of Action,” the Michigan Poor Peoples Campaign: of a National Call for Moral Renewal, undertook a series of direct actions in and around Campus Martius, center for the development priorities of Dan Gilbert and the administration of Detroit Mayor, Mike Duggan. Gilbert owns some 100 buildings downtown, is constructing a $billion skyscraper (over 60% in taxpayer expense, including school funding), is currently under indictment for predatory loans, is responsible for 1800 mortgage foreclosures (half of which are abandoned or demolished), co-led the Blight Task force selecting building (and neighborhoods) for demolition, and for some is the darling of the city’s comeback narrative – Making Detroit Great Again. The cities footprint is being concentrated and downsized at the expense of poor and Back people who are literally being expelled foreclosures, water shut-offs, school closures, and transit infrastructure withdrawal. Seven people, of the 23 arrested that day, are currently on trial for blocking the QLine (a three-mile streetcar name for Gilbert’s Quiken Loans and built at a cost of $146 million). The “Gilbert 7” did not deny their actions but testified to their reasons and justification for the action, naming the price of racism and poverty. At this printing, the jury has been out three days and is currently deadlocked with half the group committed to innocence by moral necessity. Dan Gilbert has plans to demolish the room in which the jury is deliberating, along with Circuit Court and Wayne Co. Jail, all of which will be rebuilt far from the now largely white downtown. What follows is the closing argument of Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann who defended himself in the case.

In my opening statement I thanked you for serving on the jury and underscored my conviction of importance of what we do as one. So again, thanks.

You’ve been instructed by the judge not to read any press accounts of the trial. It would actually be pretty hard to find any. You heard Charles Wilson of Rock Security, Dan Gilbert’s security operation testify that they have a whole unit, a room full of people who do nothing all day but scan the media for reference to him. We’re talking about the landlord of the Detroit News and Free Press here. Continue reading

The Nazareth Sermon as Jubilee Manifesto

Nazareth 2By Ched Myers, on Luke 4:14-21, for the 3rd Sunday of Epiphany (originally posted Jan 24, 2016)

Note: This post was part of a series of Ched’s occasional comments on the Lukan gospel readings from the Revised Common Lectionary during year C, 2016.

The setting of this famous story is significant. The obscure village of Nazareth has already been well established in Luke’s narrative as the home place of Jesus’ childhood, from Gabriel’s annunciation (1:26) to the Holy Family’s comings and goings (2:4; 39; 51), to the phrase in this week’s lection “where Jesus had been brought up…” (4:16a). Continue reading