Caitlin: During the season of Advent, I have a really hard time with how we talk about darkness, equating it with sin and evil, as though darkness isn’t created by and beloved of God. Especially because of how this is used to support white supremacy. So, I am going to be sharing some reflections on how great darkness is during Advent. Feel free to add your favourite things about darkness or how you embrace it this time of year.
Advent is a season of darkness. In the darkness of night your nocturnal creation awakes. In the darkness of winter we see your creation without the harsh light of the Sun. Give us new eyes to see this world in all its beauty. Continue reading
Homily by Lydia Wylie-Kellermann at Day House Catholic Worker
Second Sunday of Advent
My Advent has started out differently than I planned.
As I think most of you know, my dad was taken into custody for a 12-day sentence when he refused to pay a fine for an action he was part of (along with Tom Lumpkin) with the Poor People’s Campaign on May 21. They blockaded the doors of the Department of Health and Human Services in Lansing calling out the systemic racism and abuse of the poor by the very department that is supposed to support the needs of the poor. The director of DHHS is currently facing charges of manslaughter for his role in the Flint Water Crisis. And we recently learned that Child Protective Services has started following the Homrich trucks in certain neighborhoods in order to immediately remove children from their families when their water is shut off. To cry out against this injustice, Tommy Tackett and my dad have gone to jail. Continue reading
By Kim Redigan, an Advent reflection on Luke 3:1-6 for the Faith Outreach Committee of the People’s Water Board (Detroit, MI)
Today’s Gospel opens with a litany of the strong and mighty – the political and religious powerbrokers of their time. Ruthless men whose cruel governance in partnership with their corrupt religious lackeys oppressed the people in a thousand different ways. A violent alliance based on greed and domination with no tolerance for resistance or rebellion.
Does this sound familiar?
Today’s political and corporate tyrants embrace the same imperial imperative – to crush and control by any means necessary. Here in Detroit, water is used as a weapon in the hands of those who have crafted a well-woven matrix of subjugation and theft that includes water shutoffs and home foreclosures as part of a violent gentrification project that has created a diaspora of displaced citizens and a web of private security and surveillance systems to keep the people in line. As in the time of Jesus, many religious leaders either look the other way or are actively complicit, sometimes profiting handsomely from a relationship based on a mutual love of money. Continue reading
From our comrades at The Wilderness Way in Portland, OR:
“When we hear, there is something being woven. And what is happening is, I am making a real effort to hear not just your words but what is coming from your other chakras, and you are demonstrably showing that you are seeking to hear what I am saying. And we are in a fluid, almost musical, state in what we are doing right now. That hearing is love.”
— Gerald Jud, Love is an Intention
December 9: Week Two’s Skill of Loving is HEARING.
HEARING: I hear what you are truly saying, not what I wish you were saying. I also speak my own truth with kindness and respect.
This week we invite you to consciously practice HEARING (and speaking truth) as a way of loving our way through the darkest of days. Share stories, insights and discoveries in this group. Continue reading
By Pádraig Ó Tuama, comments on the Gospel reading for the second Sunday of Advent (reposted from Spirituality of Conflict)
Luke’s gospel is an extraordinarily political one. Over and over, the writer mentions the names of people in power, referencing their eras, areas of governance and even some of their policies.
The readings for the past two weeks have been filled with warnings about signs of the times. Now, rather than talking about signs, Luke’s gospel text drops us into the actual events, describing in detail the political landscape of the times. Even a casual acquaintance with the gospel texts brings some familiarity with the complicated dynamics of conflict in the politics of the day — names such as Herod, Pilate, Judea, Pharisees, Scribes, Samaria, Syrophonecia, Gentile, Rome, all trip off the tongue, even though our knowledge about these geographies, groups and geopolitical realities might be patchy. Continue reading
By Ched Myers
Note: These thoughts were shared on the 26th Sunday after Pentecost at Farm Church to give context for the readings and theme of the service. They are germane to this long but informative issue of the BCM Enews.
Yesterday Elaine and I attended the memorial service for my oldest friend’s mother. She was the last of the parents of our tight-knit neighborhood group to cross over during the last year, a string that began with my mom’s passing. We gathered at the venerable old St. James Episcopal church in South Pasadena, where I was baptized as an infant. The memories shared yesterday were about the halcyon days of our little suburban community—and it was by all means a very privileged and insular context in which to grow up. But as I listened, I was mindful of the fact that actually, from puberty onward, I was a pretty alienated kid. In 1970, I was 15, a vegetarian, and already marching against the Indochina war, to the great exasperation of my father, a veteran of two wars. This was on the heels of the 60s, and my older brother was stuck in Vietnam, sending me coded antiwar letters—in Elvish script! Continue reading
From our comrades at the Alternative Seminary in Philly…just in time for Advent:
In an age of Trumpism, can we liberate Christmas from its cultural captivity and rediscover the truly prophetic story that speaks to the crises of our world today?
Peace on Earth and the Politics of Christmas
Saturday morning, December 8
9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Project HOME, 1515 Fairmount Avenue
Much of the Christian church in the United States has been co-opted by an American gospel of prosperity, racism, violence, and militant nationalism. The celebration of Christmas is a victim of that co-optation: It is often wrapped in innocent, feel-good, Hallmark-card imagery. But in fact the biblical texts describing the coming of Jesus are making powerful assertions about the politics of the Bible that speak very much to our contemporary global crises. We will reflect on the “nativity narratives” in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke to see how they express core biblical themes of justice and liberation. We will try to “un-domesticate” these tales of liberation and reflect on how they are truly challenging us in terms of our allegiance and our discipleship. A perfect event for Advent. A light breakfast will be served. A $5 donation is requested to cover costs.
If you are interested in participating, please contact Will O’Brien at (215) 842-1790 or firstname.lastname@example.org by December 5.
The Alternative Seminary is a program of biblical and theological study and reflection designed to foster an authentic biblical witness in the modern world. For more information, see http://www.alternativeseminary.net.