Prayer for the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

USMC-09611By Bill Wylie-Kellermann

Spirit of the Universe, whose moral arc you make to bend toward justice,
thank you for birthing our brother Martin, right on time, into our history, into the journey of transformation for which we yearn. For uttering him in the Word, and forming him in the womb.

We lift him up this day in the communion of ancestors, summoning him from among all who have ever interceded and struggled for justice. Continue reading

Learning from Laughter and the Trees: Loved by the Generations

IMG_1945By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

I was terrified for Isaac’s first day of school. Terrified he wouldn’t go. That we would see his tremendous stubbornness arise. Somehow, we made it. The thrill of the newness got him there. I woke up on Day 2 even more worried. The newness had passed. The daily reality would start setting in and the idea of staying home all day to play with me and Cedar would be hard to leave. Erinn had gotten an attachment to her bike so that they could ride the 3 miles to school each day. We hoped that the excitement of biking would help and that the exercise would help him with the long days of sitting and focus. But by Day 2, the excitement of the bike wasn’t enough. We started hearing “I won’t go.” I kept a smile on my face and a calm, upbeat attitude as my heart raced. I had been on the opposite side of his stubbornness and there had been times I had lost. It is a powerful force that only joy seems to be able to crack. We went downstairs with him kicking and screaming, stepped outside, and there…..was Grandpa. On his bike, helmet on, ready for a race. Continue reading

Radical Recommendations for Gift-Giving

BWK (1)

Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann and his recent releases

Because Christmas has become so central to the American economy and American consumption is so central to global capitalism, this festival of ‘Holy Days’ has become a central expression and embodiment of American imperial domination, an imperial religion. 
Richard Horsley, Religion and Empire (2003)

Truly, this Season signals a major tension for North American radical disciples.  We resist and reclaim.  Whether it is our love language our not, we give.  But some forms of giving are far more redemptive than others.

It is in this Spirit that we offer gift ideas from more out-of-the-way, up-and-coming, long-suffering and open-hearted thinkers and artists.  Links to their work are provided here and will eventually be added to our now-pemanent “STORE” tab up top.  We hope this list is an Advent-instigator: please add your recommendations to the comments below or email us so we can add them to the store!!!

From the Poor People’s Campaign, coming to a watershed near you in 2018:

A beautiful 2016 publication from Philly-based pastor-parent-activist about using the difficult and challenging parts of life as a way to deepen your spiritual path and become more authentic.
The Soul-Making Room by Dee Dee Risher
There are two new releases from this Detroit-based pastor-activist who has been hauling the sanctuary on to the streets since the early 70’s.
From the dry creek-beds of Southern California comes this deep collection of young practitioners experimenting with place-based radicalism…
And a older-yet-timely offering…
….and yet another teaming up with a SoCal-based pastor.
Truly, it is a time of exile for those of us on the left.  Let’s set the clock back to the early Bush years with this re-examination of the Exodus from a Vancouver-based pastor-activist.
And More from Dykstra:
From two U.S.-based Filipinas displaying a celebration of the beauty, richness, and diversity of indigenous ways.
Back from the Crocodile’s Belly by Lily Mendoza and Leny Mendoza Strobel
This one takes Jesus out of the over-spiritualized heart and over-futurized heaven and places him right where he was in the Gospels: the street!
From the foot of Tiger Mountain in Washington State comes a vital perspective on early church history (aka, “the roots of why Christians want to make America great again.”).
And lest we think gift-giving is only for adults, the executive director of the Center for Prophetic Imagination in Minneapolis tells this St. Francis-inspired tale for our young ones.
A Wolf at the Gate by Mark Van Steenwyk
This year, Charlottesville exposed us all to some of the most vicious forms of American white supremacy.  But far less known, C’Ville is home to some radical experimentation, including sweet sounds from a young singer-songwriter.  Perfect for people defined by death-and-resurrection.
Claire Hitchins, These Bodies
And this!  From a Minneapolis-based artist and PhD candidate releasing her first album, a powerfully rich blend bursting with beauty, grief, creativity and prophetic wisdom.
Katherine Parent, The Wait for Green
Probably the most unique musical contribution of the movement is from Philly-based Holy Fool Arts, a voice of and for the wilderness that combines poetry, theatrical masks, ancient rhythms, traditional and modern dance forms, with a heavy side of the blues.
Beast, Groan
And for those who prefer dance as their desired form of resistance: this Detroit-based DJ dubs in Rev. Barber to raise the roof off the White House.
Peter Croce, Revival
For much of our own graphic inspiration heads north to Duluth to be captivated by beauty and truth on paper.

Lastly, a recommendation from author-activist Wes Howard-Brook fair-trade, organic chocolate from Mama Ganache.  From WHB:

They are THE BEST! As we all know, corporate chocolate production is  both a human and environmental horror show. The folks at MG use their profits to support farmers in West Africa in many ways, as explained on their website. I’ve been ordering from them for years!


Art and Politics of Indexing

index.jpgBy Bill Wylie-Kellermann, re-posted from his facebook.

A long aside. I’ve been indexing a book on the principalities and powers which will appear in October from Fortress Press. “Principalities” is a new testament name for spiritual structures of power (a notion important to movements various) – and I’ve actually been writing about them in the concrete for four decades or so. The index has been kicking my butt and taken a chunk out of my life at a very hectic time of transition. But in point of fact, and unlikely as it may seem, I love indexing. My first, twenty-five years ago, involved a highlighter, note cards and a shoe box. The process is still layered, but electronic search functions come into play now (toward the end). I always do them myself because there’s often a politics involved. A hired indexer is unlikely to enter, “Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). See also Ku Klux Klan.” Plus I love the ironies and accidental poems which surface. In my recent Detroit book (if you bought one and it doesn’t have an index, email or inbox me), we get: “Hicks, Charity; Hitler, Adolph: Homrich Wrecking; House, Gloria.” Or how about: “Climate change; Columbus, Christopher; Commodity fetishism; Conservancy; Corktown”? I smile at such conjoinings. In this current one, an entry can have 20 subheads that amount to a theological or biographical snapshot. Indexes are for the sake of the reader’s search, but can be a sly pedagogy tagging along. I also surmise that what’s turned so long and exhausting on this current one is to a certain extent personal. This collection does cover a broad range of topics (think: barbed wire, drugs, family, commercial sports, nuclear weapons, emergency management…) and yet because it’s a series of articles there’s a good bit of repetition on theological framing. Page mark every reference to demonic, war, or hope? Decisions at every click. But the real thing is that this is an integrative process in my own head – making connections and cross-connections in my life and world over four decades of work, right at a point where I’m trying to make sense of my history and discern what’s next. Sifting and sorting what’s incidental from what is absolutely crucial.

Truth Warriors and the Renewal of Vocation

IMG_0971By Bill Wylie-Kellermann, an excerpt from the newly released Principalities in Particular: a Practical Theology of the Powers .

The New York Times has begun to sell “truth.” Advertisements come to my email. You can read them in print. You can see them on TV: The truth is hard. The truth is hard to find. The truth is hard to know. The truth is more important than ever.” (Even “The truth is: alternative facts are lies.”) Though I myself have railed against the paper and know it needs to be read critically as liberal or neo-liberal corporate media, I’m actually thinking of getting a real world paper subscription. The truth is, as a paper of record, I’ve relied on it in this writing.

Will the attacks on journalistic integrity, on mainstream news as fake news, on the media as the “enemy of the people,” actually prompt a yearning within the fourth estate for the renewal of the journalistic vocation? Continue reading

The Jesus Story is What I’m Living Out Of

Bill WKBy Tommy Airey, co-editor of RadicalDiscipleship.Net

The first half of a two-post interview with Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann.

Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann is a man who has reclaimed civil disobedience as a spiritual practice and a vital component of Christian ministry for the past four decades in Detroit.  An ordained United Methodist minister, he only accepted part-time positions at churches in the city so that he could lavish time and energy into community organizing and direct action.  Back in the early 80’s, while serving a short stint in federal prison for an action at the Pentagon, the pastor-parish committee at his church inquired if it would be counted as “vacation time.”  His district supervisor countered, “Oh no.  Bill’s doing ministry.”  Continue reading

Sermon: Death Has No Dominion

By Bill Wylie-Kellermann, last sermon as Pastor of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Detroit

Romans 6:1-11
Matthew 10:24-39

When I was called to St Peter’s in 2006 it marked the close of an important part of my life and the beginning of another. On the last night of 2005, Jeanie Wylie crossed over to God, having lived 7 years, and gloriously, with an aggressive brain tumor. Though marked with grief, that was nonetheless an amazing time for me, for our family: in those seven years she was teaching us how to die, and so how to live.

Continue reading