The Bone Lodged in Our Throats

By Darryl Brown

By Ruby Sales, First printed in Geez 59: Powers and Principalities

As a people and as a nation, we are experiencing a deep troubling in the land wrought by the enduring and dehumanizing practice and spiritual malformation of racism. It is a troubling that requires each of us to name and face the lies that we tell about ourselves and others. A country that dines on lies will ultimately choke to death on them.d

To this point, Vincent Harding, a scout and interpreter of our struggle, offered this explanation that explains the heart of the matter. He said, “Race is like a bone stuck in our throat, refusing both digestion and expulsion, endangering our life. […] It is the unmistakable need and desire of our nation to deal with its terrifying and compelling history, to exorcise the demons of our racial past and present, perhaps even to discover the healing possibilities that reside in our many-hued and wounded variations on the human theme.”

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The Sandbox Revolution: Raising Kids for Just World

Dear friends,

I am waking up this morning on the birthday of a project I’ve been laboring and loving into being for several years. Today The Sandbox Revolution: Raising Kids for a Just World takes some baby steps out into the world looking for homes where it can me nurtured, challenged, and grow deeper.

This book was dreamed up in the middle of long nights as I sat rocking and nursing my beautiful babies. I was exhausted and lonely. And I was terrified about the future these children would be walking into. I had so many questions and a deep hunger for community. I wanted to gather a circle of beloveds who were not afraid to tenderly hold, engage, and live into the questions. What does it mean to be human and how do we invite children into this messy, beautiful work?

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The Great Company of Humans

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

I long, I pray,
for the days when we step away from these screens
and find ourselves embodied in the great company of humans again.

I long, I pray,
for my senses to be entwined in another
in friend, in stranger, in community.
To feel and smell the breath of another in a casual hug
to taste food cooked by someone else’s loving hands
or pass a potluck dish around the circle

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From Rev. Lynice Pinkard, in a sermon on the Mary and Martha story in the Gospels (July 21, 2019)

I hear Jesus saying, “Listen, my loves. Inside of you lives Something that the society that seeks to control you can never know or reach. This Something is an inchoate, largely incoherent, and irrepressible energy which has the power to demolish empires. Every state, without exception, co-opts, corrupts and seeks to destroy all those capable of saying, ‘no.’ All those determined to refuse. But no state has been able to foresee or prevent the day  when their most ruined and abject accomplices…will growl, ‘No. This far and no further.’”

What the times demand—these times—and in an unprecedented fashion, is that one be, not seem, outrageous, independent, anarchical, feral, buck wild. That one be thoroughly disciplined. Steeped in readiness to resist, at whatever cost…This world no longer needs explaining or critiquing or denouncing. We live enveloped in a fog of commentaries on commentaries, of critiques of critiques, of revelations that don’t trigger anything other than revelations about the revelations. We are in a time of unparalleled talking, and I might add, that the only reason to talk now at all is to learn to speak treason fluently.

Lent: A Confusion Before the Cross: Confronted by the Powers in Prayer

seasonsExcerpt and reflection from Bill Wylie-Kellermann’s Seasons of Faith and Conscience: Explorations in Liturgical Direct Action (1991):

It can be fairly said that discipleship is the topic of Lent. The liturgical road from Ash Wednesday leads straight to Passion-week Jerusalem. To enter wholeheartedly into the season costs more than tag along admiration from the margins of a multitude. A call and a choice are put point blank: take up your cross and follow.

Lent was first and still remains a season of baptismal preparation. Before the church year took shape there was only the unitive feast of Easter which went on for fifty days until Pentecost. But for some (those initiates to be baptized into the death and life of Christ on Easter) it was the culmination of a three year period of instruction and discipline. In the underground rigors of pre-Constantinian faith the scrutiny was serious, the preparation prolonged, and the prayer intense. Those demanding final days before baptism were marked with a fast. In part, by a simple act of solidarity and intercession, other members even whole congregations, were drawn instinctively to join the fast and renew their own sacramental vows come Easter sunrise.

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Dispatch from the Dragon’s Belly

Illustration by Lucia Wylie-Eggert

By Kateri Boucher. First printed in Geez 59: Powers and Principalities

“We might not see the dragon’s teeth
but have surely become its belly.”
– Bill Wylie-Kellermann

Will you join me in this imagining?

We find ourselves together in the belly of a beast. From certain angles – with teeth not in view – it may not look so beast-like. But, like it or not, all of us are caught in its grip.

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By Tommy Airey

“It’s not simply: better jails, better police, better training. It’s no police, it’s no jails, no prisons. It’s creating a new means of justice that’s not based on criminalization but based on affirmation and reparation, and by reparation that is trying to repair relationships that have been damaged and destroyed as a result of five centuries of warfare against Indigenous peoples, Africans, poor white people, Asian-Pacific Americans, and Latinx populations.”—Robin D.G. Kelly

Lent starts next week. A season to take spiritual inventory. To assess crucifying realities. To grieve. To confess our complicity. To rise up into newness of life. This year, the Lenten journey begins on Wednesday, February 17—four weeks into a new Presidential administration committed to “going back to normal.” This year, more than ever, Lent resists “normal.” Lent lifts up what Dr. King called a radical revolution of values. Protecting people over profit motives and property rights. Black people. Brown people. Indigenous people. Immigrant people. Poor people. We want nothing to do with a “normal” world of racism, materialism and militarism. Following Jesus of Nazareth, we are inaugurating a world that brings good news to the poor and proclaims release to the captives. We are rolling away the stone guarded by those who protect and serve empire.

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What Keeps you Warm? A Prayer for Late Winter

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

In the cold,
of February,

I am kept warm.

By the taste of last season’s tomatoes in my salsa
and strawberries spread over fresh baked yeast and whole wheat flour.

By the monotonous moves of my knitting needles,
                and blue ink on paper writing love letters to elders.

I am kept warm.

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Forged in Fire

Forging the gun into garden tool,
Corey Simon, 2020.

by Corey Simon, re-print from Geez 59: Powers and Principalities

And they shall beat their swords into plowshares . . . and learn war no more.

My arm aches.

It’s the second day at the forge, and the sound of hammers and the fumes of coal smoke surround me as my classmates work on their own projects. I pull out what I’ve prepared for today: the barrel of my 9mm handgun, inexpertly cut from the rest of the gun which now sits useless at home.


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