Prayer for a Blue Day

candleBy Dee Dee Risher

Oh God, I wake up to weather
in this world you created whole and intricate
and I think how it matters;
How sun, season, gray or blue
can turn my heart. Such a little
and a cosmic thing.

And I ponder that in a world of agony,
small things—heat, cold, fleas, dust,
broken appliances—
cause me more emotion than
true tragedies and losses;
earthquakes and floods
elsewhere.
Sometimes I live so small. Continue reading

Radical Status-Reversal

Binding30 years in and Ched Myers’ Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus(1988) is more relevant than ever. This week’s commentary homes in on Mark 9:30-37.

They next reach the home in Capernaum. That the community would stop in here on its way south, specifically for instruction on internal matters of power and discipline, is significant, for Capernaum was the center of gravity for the first part of the Gospel (Mk 1:21; 2:1). It is here that Jesus really begins to unmask his disciples’ true aspirations to power. Not only do they not understand where Jesus is trying to lead them; they are headed full speed in the opposite direction. Mark contrives the episode for maximal irony: the disciples are caught debating who was greatest among them “on the way” (twice, 9:33b, 34a)! For Jesus’ response, Mark sets a familiar stage: the twelve are called (3:14; 4:10; 6:7; 10:32; 14:17) and Jesus takes his seat (4:1; 12:41; 13:3). The narrative signals: Pay attention to the teaching that follows! Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: What is a good wife anyways?

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Photo by Caitlin Reilley Beck

18th Sunday After Pentecost
Proper 20 (25)B

Proverbs 31:10-31

By Caitlin Reilley Beck

A capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:10-11

This passage makes it clear who is writing Scripture and who isn’t. It reads like the vision board of the patriarchy, and capitalism for that matter, though it doesn’t originate in this economic system. According to this reading, the dream is to have a wife who will do a thousand different things – truly she is  one who works to “have it all.” Except, surprise, surprise, she only gets “a share in the fruit of her hands” (31:31). If this is the Bible’s job posting for being a wife in a straight, monogamous marriage, it could use some workshopping because it is not very appealing. Continue reading

Disobedience Here Below

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Alana Alpert, Bill Wylie-Kellermann, and others shut down the Department of Environmental Quality on June 4 as part of the Poor People’s Campaign.

Re-shared from Tikkun.

Ordained from Hebrew College of Boston in 2014, Rabbi Alana Alpert serves a dual position as rabbi of Congregation T’chiyah and as a community organizer with Detroit Jews for Justice. Because they have been working closely together on the Michigan Poor Peoples Campaign, she invited Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann to share the teaching for Rosh Hashanah. A graduate of Union Theological Seminary in NYC, Bill is a non-violent activist, author, and United Methodist pastor recently retired from St Peter’s Episcopal, Detroit. What follows are their remarks for the day.

Rabbi Alana Alpert: Shanah tovah!!!

I suppose you are used to most of my heresies by now, but I’ll admit a new one: vegan coneys. There is a new place in Brush Park. Just a few weeks ago, I sat around a long table of Detroit Jews for Justice leaders discussing the implications of our recent arrests as part of the Poor People’s Campaign, a national campaign uniting tens of thousands to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation & the nation’s distorted morality. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Who do we say…

dear-tree-combo17th Sunday After Pentecost
Proper 19 (24)B
Mark 8:27-38

By Rev. Dr. Victoria Marie

The concrete and asphalt jungle of the Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill sections of Brooklyn are where I thought my heart and emotions were nourished. I thought my city dweller life and lifestyle defined me. It wasn’t until in I was in art therapy grieving the loss of several family members that I discovered the longing in my heart for nature’s spaces and places. Buildings, streets and other signs of city life were nowhere in my art works. Rather, they were of the sea, rocks, flora and fauna. It was self-discovery—a deeper look into who I am. Continue reading

Sit

talithaBy Talitha Fraser

Sit
empty cupped hands
outreached in supplication
for the daily bread
that feeds and sustains you.
Everyday you must
acknowledge your own hunger,
acknowledge your own emptiness,
acknowledge your own longing…
in this weakness
lies your strength.
Freed from all you cannot do
you are released to do what you can
and it begins when you sit
empty cupped hands
outreached in supplication.

The Cornerstone to the New Social Order

BindingWe continue our every-Sunday-celebration of the 30th anniversary of Binding The Strong Man, Ched Myers’ political reading of Mark’s Gospel. 

The story of the Syrophoenician woman bears certain affinities with its counterparts in the Jewish cycle. She, like the hemorrhaging woman, demonstrates inappropriately assertive female behavior that is vindicated. The parallel with the Jairus story goes beyond the common petition on behalf of ailing daughters at home. Both these episodes articulate feeding-symbolics that are carefully correlated to Jesus’ feedings of the masses in the wilderness. Jesus’ somewhat anticlimactic instructions in the aftermath of his dramatic raising of Jairus’s daughter were for those present to “give her something to eat” (Mk 5:43). In like fashion, Jesus instructs his disciples in the first feeding to “give the crowd something to eat” (Mk 6:37). Similarly, Jesus tell the gentile woman that “the children must first be satisfied” (Mk 7:27 chortastenai)–which satisfaction has indeed already been reported in Mk 6:42 (“they all ate and were satisfied,” ephagon pantes kai echortastesan)! This is how Mark prepares the way for the fulfillment of the Syrophoenician woman’s request–the feeding and satisfaction of the gentiles–which will indeed shortly take place (same verb, Mk 8:4,8). Continue reading