Sermon- By this Authority.

14045939_10208859512578630_2180424516011809531_nBy Bill Wylie-Kellermann, January 25, 2020
This was the closing sermon to the United Methodist Global Water Summit at Cass United Methodist Church in Detroit. His opening sermon was posted on February 12.

Romans 6:1-18

In the summer of 2013 as the Water shut-offs spiked under Emergency Management, St Peter’s Episcopal became the first water distribution station of We the People of Detroit. The first contribution was a truckload borne across the Ambassador Bridge by the Council of Canadians. It didn’t have all the necessary paperwork, so the Border Feds had to decide whether to halt it and cause an international press incident or just allow I through irregularly. The latter wisdom prevailed. We received it at St Peter’s with a small ceremony, carried  it in brigade-style and stored it along the outside isles of the sanctuary. But mostly we grouped the bulk of it around the baptismal font which is the first thing you see as you enter. At one point we had 1500 gallons of water there. We hung a banner behind the font which said St. Peter’s Water Station, making the very same connection as this summit. Continue reading

Sermon “By Water and the Spirit: A Global Water Summit”

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Bill Wylie-Kellermann at his granddaughter’s baptism. Photo credit: Tony Eggert

By Bill Wylie-Kellermann, January 24, 2020

Isaiah 55:1-3

In the name of the One who breathed across the face of the waters in creation; the One who is Lord and Servant of all; and the Spirit militant that summons, fills, and holds us together as one, let all of this be.

I am a former pastor of this congregation, so I’ve preached many times from this pulpit; I was married in this sanctuary, my daughter was baptized here, and still I confess to feeling the burden of bringing a Word to this important summit. I’ve been asked to “lay a theological foundation” for these conversations. In that, I’m mindful that the charism we need in this moment is less one of speaking than of listening – especially to our guests from the African continent. Continue reading

Healing Trauma, Decolonizing Memory

ElaineBy Elaine Enns (right), re-posted from Vision: A Journal for Church and Theology.

All four of my grandparents fled Ukraine and Russia in the 1920s, coming to Saskatchewan with some 22,000 other Mennonite immigrants.2 During the Russian Revolution and Civil War (1917–21), they and other German-speakers endured a continuous climate of violence, plundering, rape, and killing. As a child, I knew something unspeakable had happened to them. But my grandparents spoke only about the good times and the vast abundance and beauty of the land. In my senior year at a Mennonite high school in Saskatchewan, our drama teacher had us perform a reader’s theater rendition of Barbara Claassen Smucker’s novel Days of Terror. 3 Survivors of the Zerrissenheit (a German term loosely translated as “a time of being torn apart”) spoke with us about their experience. Seeds of a call to become a “remembearer” in my community were planted in me, which have grown for thirty years. Click here to keep reading.

What is Whiteness? A Provisional Articulation

Council on the WayBy Jim Perkinson

Note: this is a long working definition of Whiteness. Dr. Perkinson laid this down for a committee reflecting in the wake of The Council on the Way (right), an October 2019 gathering of white men envisioning and embodying a redemptive white male theology. The conversation over two days in Washington D.C. was conceived and coached by Ruby Sales, theologian and veteran of the Black Freedom Struggle.

What is whiteness? I would understand the paler shades of skin color that are typically referenced, when the term “whiteness” is used, as a kind of shorthand for a whole social system of infrastructure and expectation, as well as conscious/unconscious identification. It is a system that is rooted in European Christian colonialism taking land on this continent by force (either violent conquest or coercive legal imposition) from indigenous peoples and making much of that land yield “resources” by means of enslaved African peoples (as well as other coerced peoples of color, and to some degree even coerced lower and working class European heritage peoples). Continue reading

The Gospel of Paranoia

Gun with flower

Photo by Marco Verch

By Jordan Leahy

On January 20th – the 34th observance and celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – approximately 22,000 people (mostly white men) rallied in Richmond, Virginia, to protest proposed legislation to address and decrease gun violence in the Commonwealth. Their numbers, and the accompanying threat of violence, was so great that many other annually held rallies were cancelled.

Content Warning: sexual assault imagery

The Gospel of Paranoia
Convenes them.
Foreboding presence
“Come and take it.”
They cling to
White supremacy
Disinformation
Their own exploitation.
All more indicative
Of what
Their respective childhoods lacked
Than of ideological coherence
Or historical literacy. Continue reading

We Still Have a Race to Run

RubyFrom the front porch of Mother Ruby Sales. This is the sequel to yesterday’s clarion call to young people. This was originally posted to social media on February 2, 2020.

As remnants and elders we still
have a race to run and a role to play.
Heed the call.

Earlier this week I wrote a post to my younger friends reminding them of their responsibility as new generations of leaders. I reminded them that it is now up to them to use the fluency of their bodies and minds to push us beyond where previous generations took us. Now they are the ones under the light of historical scrutiny. I hope that they realize that the glare can both blind and clarify at the same time. Continue reading

The Ball is in Your Court

RubyA two-part post from the front porch of Mother Ruby Sales. This is part I, originally posted to social media on January 31, 2020.

My young friends you have often stated that my generation should pass the baton of leadership. Well the ball is in your court as the Republicans take this nation down further into an abyss that chokes democracy to death.

I am listening to the roll call in the Senate, and it is clear that Republicans believe that Trump is above the law & they think that they are above your rebuke. Continue reading