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.

Continue reading “#LentenAbolition”

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.

Continue reading “What Keeps you Warm? A Prayer for Late Winter”

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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Interview with Art Laffin on The Risk of the Cross

Art Laffin is one of those deep and beautiful souls worth listening to in these historic days. You want to be standing beside him holding a protest sign at the Pentagon or cooking in the kitchen with him at the Dorothy Day House Catholic Worker listening to him sing and pray “Rejoice in the Lord Always.”

I believe that the best writing on discipleship comes out of lives that are living the Gospel. Art Laffin is one such person and this is one such book. I had the chance to interview him recently on The Risk of the Cross: Living Gospel Nonviolence in the Nuclear Age (Twenty Third Publications, 2020)

RD: What is this book about?

“Jesus tells us, “Fear is useless; what is needed is trust” (5:36). These words from Mark’s gospel capture the spirit we wish to bear witness to in our lives and to express in this book.” This excerpt from the Introduction to the first edition of The Risk of the Cross, which I co-authored with the late Chris Grannis and Elin Schade in 1981, conveys the spirit of this new edition as well.

Continue reading “Interview with Art Laffin on The Risk of the Cross”

A Prayer for the Reckoning

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann and Kateri Boucher for Geez magazine.

School of Americas Watch in Georgia, November 2008 by Geez staff

Oh God,
whose spirit rests in the contours of Indigenous lands,
whose breath rises in the streets chanting “Black Lives Matter.”
whose rage boils when the cross is raised as weapon,
whose being is re-imagined by the honey bees, 
the mycelium, and the snow covered cedars.

We stand at a time when
the powers of death are gasping for air.
We are witnessing the ways that
Christianity’s tentacles have bound themselves
to patriarchy, nationalism, and white supremacy.

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Carolers on my Porch

by Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

These days my snow-covered porch is covered in discarded seed shells and bird poop. And I couldn’t be happier.

Cedar (age 4) and I have fallen into the Advent tradition of getting out pots and pans and measuring cups. He counts one cup, two cups, three cups, four cups of bird seed. Peanut butter, gelatin, cranberries. We mold wreaths and cookie cutter shapes and muffin cups. We wait days for them to dry. Then add them to gift boxes and stockings.

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