Time to Kill “the Racist” (The Concept)

eduardoA Facebook post from Eduardo Bonilla-silva, professor of sociology at Duke University and author of Racism Without Racists (2013):

It is time to kill the racist (the concept folks, the concept). “The racist” concept, derived from the racism-as-prejudice view, describes individuals filled with rage and hate against the Other—albeit Archie Bunker, the popular TV character, was presented as good-natured ignoramus. All versions of the racist, nevertheless, assume racist individuals have little education, are not cosmopolitan, come from working class backgrounds, and reside in the South or in working class neighborhoods anywhere in America. And, unfortunately, social scientists in general have reinforced this concept with their work, commentary, policies, and actions as the concept is ultimately a very useful defense of their own racial souls (poor whites are “racist,” but WE, liberal, middle-class, educated whites, ARE NOT). Continue reading

“I am, We are, He/She/It is”: Learnings from the South Pacific

IMAG0166.jpgby Talitha Fraser with Kaumatua Gregg Morris

Allow me to invite you to join in for a game of kilikiti, to sing and dance with us, to walkabout…  sit here at the campfire and I will tell you story…

Coranderrk was one of several Aboriginal missions set up in Victoria .  Wurundjeri leaders William Barak and Simon Wonga advocated for Aboriginal people to live in their own place, their own way. Many times to petition the Victorian Government Barak and Wonga would gather a delegation together, speak to motivate and inspire them, then they would walk together the 60 miles (12 hours) to deliver the message: “Please leave us alone, give us our land back, don’t take it away again”. Leaders of one people to another, approaching as equal and in person. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: The Very Edges of Your Field

wheat.jpgSeventh Sunday After the Epiphany

“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am YHWH, your God.” (Lev 19.9-10)

By Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

More than any other biblical text, the book of Leviticus claims to express the direct voice of YHWH. Of the 160 uses of the phrase, “I am YHWH” in the Hebrew Bible, 49 uses are in Leviticus. And yet, the book may be among the least respected or understood scriptural texts. It is to this very chapter in Leviticus that Jesus turns when asked about the greatest commandments. Just a few verses down from the quote above we find: “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD” (Lev 19.18; cf. Mk 12.31). Indeed, not only Jesus, but also Paul and James—made into opponents of each other in the post-Reformation culture wars—cite Lev 19.9 as central to discipleship (Rom 13.9; Gal 5.14; James 2.8). Continue reading

Sermon:On Practicing a Mystical Anarchist Ethic

joanna shenk.jpgBy Joanna Shenk, February 5, 2017, First Mennonite Church of San Francisco

Isaiah 58:1-12

When my older brother went to college, I remember being taken aback when he said his roommate’s mom was an anarchist. I felt so sorry for his roommate and figured he probably had a terrible childhood. In my mind, being an anarchist meant something related to the anti-christ. It was all one category to me because I thought it was all related to the same word. Continue reading

Nana’s Cabbage Soup

IMG_0261.jpgBy Em Jacoby. Part of our series on food and discipleship

Nana is incomprehensible these days. We can laugh together, and occasionally a name will come from her lips that connects to a person in her long life, but most of the time we are laughing because she talks as much as ever and it is beyond recognition. Last time I visited her, I laughed until I wept. I pray for her to leave this earth, but Alzheimers has its cruel course and I must witness it. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Direct Laction

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The abandoned land from our Direct Laction in Camden, NJ

Sixth Sunday After Epiphany
by Andrea Ferich

And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations? For when one says, ‘I belong to Paul’, and another, ‘I belong to Apollos’, are you not merely human?

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labour of each. For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.     -1 Corinthians 3:1-9

A few years ago I lived for a decade in the Delaware River Watershed in Camden, NJ in an abandoned and contaminated landscape. Amidst the industrial collapse we planted orchards and took literal and symbolic action to reclaim the landscape. The reading from 1 Corinthians calls to mind the watering, the planting, the miracles and milk that were poured onto the land. Here is an excerpt from our “Direct Laction” to reclaim the land with milk, land that was not ready, nor suitable to grow food. Continue reading