“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

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

Wild Lectionary: An Unordinary Time

Trees - Reddish Knob.jpgFifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 58:1-12

By Valerie Luna Serrels

We enter this week’s story through a blind spot. The people who historically have awakened to and connected to God, find themselves unable to see, disconnected from God, one another, and the land. This blind spot invites us to reflect on the ways in which we too are unaware and disconnected. Unaware of which world’s code of conduct we abide. What religion we practice. Continue reading

Other lives

pigeon.jpgBy Talitha Fraser

A pigeon and I shared morning tea,
Coconut rough and brine of the sea
Our feet rest on yellowed moss over stony cement
I think he talked, or perhaps I dreamt
“see these clouds, this sky, the fountain,
The roads, the houses and there a mountain
…these are connected but you cannot see
These must co-exist in harmony
You affect I and I affect you
In the ways that we go and the things that we do
Some have plenty and some not a lot,
It seems that we ought to share what we’ve got
It is as clear as the water, firm as the ground
Certain as sunrise, at least, I have found.””But pigeon,” I ask, “”What can we do?”
“Next time,” he answered, “You might buy two.”

Wild Lectionary: Holy Fools

holyfoolimagewquote32.jpg4th Sunday after Epiphany

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

by Tevyn East and Jay Beck, excerpted from Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice

The Catholic Feast of Fools was a day for liturgical dramas that dissolved church hierarchy, celebrated becoming a “Fool for Christ” (1 Cor) and enacted the Magnificat’s call to turn society upside down (Luke 1:52–53). This feast day was later suppressed by authorities lived on for centuries within medieval folk culture. Europeans eventually brought many such religious festivities to the New World under the common label “carnival.” Continue reading

A Modest Proposal for Radical Disciples: Swearing Off

road

Photo: Michael Smith

By Tommy Airey

Many of us have been unpleasantly awakened to the fact that “national politics” does matter, as Princeton’s Jeffrey Stout concisely articulated in Blessed Are The Organized (2010), his aptly-titled Obama-era book on grassroots democracy:

Presidents, federal legislators, judges, bureaucrats, Wall Street bankers, insurance executives, media moguls and generals are making decisions every day that have a massive impact on our lives.

A couple of weeks ago, our flight to snow-driven Portland diverted, Lindsay and I found ourselves laid over and out for two nights in Seattle. There we were, deliriously sharing a falafel burger at a hotel bar with Fox News on surround sound. After compulsory knee-jerk lamentations, we grounded ourselves in the reality of the next four years of banality. We acknowledged the tension, though, of committing ourselves to “knowing what’s going on in the world” with being bombarded with a plethora of despairing headlines and sound-bites, news spin a no-win situation. What now with the need to protect ourselves emotionally and spiritually more important than ever? Continue reading