Coronavirus: Mediator, Messenger, Principality, Teacher

Black Lives Matter protesters gather in Chicago, June 2020, Drake Toulouse CC

By Jim Perkinson, re-post from Geez magazine

“Despite what you might think or feel, we are not the enemy. We are Messenger.” – Karen Flyntz, An Imagined Letter from Covid-19 to Humans

“First bind the Strong Man.” – Mark 3:27

COVID-19 is a messenger. Unseen by us, it began, somewhere in the wild, as a mysterious particle—neither living nor non-living—riding bat wings! But now, it has become a Power. How such might be so is the subject of this writing. Under viral tutelage, we are made witnesses today to an “angel”, in biblical terms, “falling.” Right in front of our eyes! And its falling is essentially a matter of prodigality, of ballooning to unimaginable dimensions. But to see such, we need guidance. Water Wink of scholarly fame, a scant generation ago, ripped open contemporary vision to see behind the veil of “fake news” and political machination. Teasing out the varied meanings of an arcane discourse of “principalities and powers,” Wink unmasked institutional domination in a brand new (but very old) dimension. With his wisdom as counsel, we will track the way a rudimentary class of spirits he calls (quoting Paul) “elements” can be inflated into an overbearing regime of Domination. The “elementary” trope in New Testament use, ranges from angelic beings associated with new moons and zodiac signs to demonic creatures animating legal adherences or even natural forces exercising influence and pressure on human experience and decision-making. The piece to follow here will explore the recent advent of the coronavirus in human experience as just such a natural “element”—part of the winged world of bats for who knows how long a stretch of time, suddenly finding opportunistic opening to “work its magic” in searching for a new arrangement among a whole new constituency.

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Pillar of Fire- An Interview with Joyce Hollyday

Almost eight years ago, I meandered around the house with a bulging belly waiting and waiting for labor to begin. As I waited, I listened to Joyce Hollyday rattle off newly learned facts about weapons in the Middle Ages. At night, I would try to relax my body and she would read the early chapters of this beautiful book I now hold in my hands.

Joyce has written an incredible novel that is healing salve for our hearts in this moment. It is a page turner that takes you into a world and a character who sits in the midst of a harsh world and somehow manages to find a fertile faith, a loving community, and incredible joy.

It is the kind of book you might want to read in the candlelit darkness of Advent or gift to all your friends under the tree. Here are some words from Joyce about the book. I hope you enjoy! – Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

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Clare Grady’s Statement at Sentencing

Three of the defendants in the Kings Bay Plowshares were sentenced last week in court. You can find updates on their cases HERE.

Photo credit: Ellen Grady

Below is the sentencing statement from Clare Grady.

Good afternoon, Judge Wood, Mr Knoche and Mr. Gillully, and greetings to all the women and men who work in the courtroom there in Georgia. Also, greetings to all those who are listening in to these sentencing hearings on your phones, your presence as attendants and witnesses to this procedure as we work together to seek justice is essential. Without your participation, we might lose sight of the nature of a government of the People, for the People, and by the People.I come before the court today ready for sentencing. May my words and spirit today be rooted in truth with love, the two elements of non-violence.

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On Seeing Women Lead

By Rev. Tiffany Ashworth

When I was a kid, I told my parents that I wanted to be a pastor’s wife. At the time, I articulated my sense of ministerial call as such because I couldn’t dream what I couldn’t imagine. And in a world of white male leaders that touted female submission, my context was so that I simply could not make sense of my pastoral inclinations in any other way. Because of this, even though my drive to serve the church remained strong, I came up against enough “women don’t do that” pushback that I abandoned plans to begin formal biblical and theological studies and altered course. To make a very long story short, it was painful.

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Count the Vote Rally from One who Prays.

Opening remarks from Bill Wylie-Kellermann at a November 4 demonstration and march begun outside Detroit Election Offices.

Good afternoon. Great gratitude for the invitation to speak to you today.

You welcome me as 71-year-old, white cis male (he/him) Christian pastor.

Given that most of those intersections are aligned with power or privilege from which I am working to be liberated, your welcome is generous

About this time five years ago Marian Kramer of Michigan Welfare Rights and I stood trial in 36th district court for blocking, with seven others [including Baba Baxter here today], the Homrich company’s water shut off trucks at the beginning of what has become some 120k shut offs. They were ordered by Detroit’s Emergency Manager who had assumed all the powers of government in one person, replacing every elected official in the city. It seemed important to us to get those charges in front of a jury – under emergency management a jury was the last vestige of official democracy in Detroit.

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They’re Talking About Me

By Mark Van Steenwyk, re-posted from social media

It is a bizarre experience—I’m reading posts from right wingers about antifa, anarchy, socialism and the “radical fringe” that threatens their freedom.

And reading posts from liberals/centrists fundamentally agreeing with the premise that these are bad things and trying to show how the Democratic Party and Biden aren’t like these bad elements.

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The Psalms Summoned Something

By Tommy Airey

In the lead up to the election, I’ve been soaking my soul in the Psalms. I’ve found these Hebrew resistance songs profoundly relevant. They are rearranging my soul with both agony and ecstasy, two feelings foreign to most white folk like me. In hard seasons like this, I tend to get stuck in my head—and then head for the hills. However, these ancient, heart-wrenching words lend me the language to stay present and tend what is buried deep within me.

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4 Thoughts on Hope and Resistance

Note: This is part of a series of short posts, in the lead-up to the election, from leaders reflecting on hope and/or resistance.

By Marcia Lee

Thought #1

Lately I’ve been wondering if I’m doing enough.  With everything that is happening in our world, am I causing more harm but not doing enough or not doing the ‘right’ things with my time?  I definitely needed to make that pumpkin bread this morning instead of calling people for the election or checking in on someone, right?  Maybe…maybe not.  But one thing that does give me hope is the reminder that: i will never be enough.  No matter what I do, or not do, my contribution is not enough.  However, our contribution, when we mix and flow together, each of us, in our small and large ways, we are enough.  What I do or do not do, may not be the thing that changes the world, but if I do something and you do something, our somethings combined might, just might be enough.  Thank you for doing your something to make a more just and compassionate world.  I am grateful for you.

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Advent is coming

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

While fires still rage in our forests and our streets, it is time to start looking towards that season when we slow our bodies down, when we welcome in the darkness, when a single flame is enough. While the work of resistance never ceases, Advent is the liturgical season where we find more time for the quiet, waiting hours to prepare our hearts. Prepare our lives for the transformative power of story and its ability to turn the powers that be upside down. It is time. 

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