Yet You Do Not Receive Our Testimony

MLKBy Tommy Airey, a seven-minute sermon at Storydwelling, a community of belonging, ritual and resistance in Bend, Oregon

“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony.”–John 3:11

Nicodemus, like most powerful men, knows how to conduct a covert operation. He was a Pharisee from Jerusalem with a lot to lose if others saw him associating with Jesus of Nazareth, the radical Galilean rabbi. Nicodemus’ night call would be like the President of the United States secretly meeting with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960’s, when Dr. King’s approval rating hovered around 25% in white America. Continue reading

A Spirituality of Disconnection

CPIBy Mark Van Steenwyk, executive director of the Center for Prophetic Imagination

Any spirituality that nurtures abstracted love, generic unity, and vague justice is worse than useless.

A Jesus-shaped spirituality moves us to love specific people, to struggle for tangible solidarity, and challenges us to work for particular justice.

If your spirituality provides positive feels and comfort because it helps you cope with the pain of the world, without ever addressing that pain, then it is, ultimately, a spirituality of empire. Continue reading

To Rebirth This Country

AlexanderFrom Michelle Alexander, on a panel with Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor and Naomi Klein in May 2017.

I have been having some trouble with the frame of “resistance” for some time. I understand completely why the term, the phrase, the rallying cry emerged following Trump’s election — it makes complete sense to me. But I think we’ve got to think beyond resistance. Resistance is inherently defensive. Continue reading

Indigenous Wisdom Re-Schooling Christian Vision

LilyFrom the Center For Babaylan Studies, this webinar is live tomorrow at 2pmEST. Click here to register!

Is it possible to learn from indigenous wisdom and practice across the globe and then re-read the biblical writings with an eye to the indigenous traces not entirely erased there? Or is going back to indigenous ways the same as going back to superstitious belief? Does following Jesus mean forsaking all other ancestral ways? This webinar will walk through the scriptural tradition to explore a possibility of calling Christianity to depth-work in recovering some of its own indigenous, anti-imperial roots. Continue reading

Rome Will Destroy Us: Resisting Anti-Judaism in John

Woman at wellA great opportunity for radical disciples as Lent approaches on our calendars. This free webinar starts at 8pmEST on Mon, February 24. Register HERE. It will be led by Rev. Anne Dunlap, Faith Coordinator for Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ).

The Lent 2020 lectionary readings from the Gospel of John are challenging for Christians trying to counter anti-Jewish/anti-Semitic interpretations of these stories. The choices seem stark, and the enemies seem clear. What alternative readings could there be that do not perpetuate dangerous interpretations that have been – and continue to be — the excuse for violence against Jews and others? Continue reading

The Yoke’s on Us

UrsulaBy Nichola Torbett

The following is a sermon I preached at Open Door United Methodist Church today. The scripture is Isaiah 58: 1-12.

I was reminded this week of a short story by science fiction writer Ursula LeGuin. The story is called “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” It’s the story of a city called Omelas. Imagine a place where everyone lives happy, peaceful, rich lives, a place filled with music and dancing and cultural expression, where everyone has what they need.

Well, almost everyone. There is one exception. A small one. Very small, in fact.

In a tiny, dark mop closet of a dank, unfinished basement in a single building within this vibrant and beautiful city lives a small child—emaciated, terrified, and alone. She has been in there for years, but you wouldn’t guess how old she is, because her development—physical, intellectual, and emotional—has been stunted by neglect and malnourishment. The only interruption to her unending empty terror comes when someone rattles the door open and slides in some meager food. At these times, she cries out, “Please help me! I promise I’ll be good! Just let me out. I’ll be so good! Just help me!” But every time, the door slams closed and she is left in the dark. Continue reading