The Dysfunction of Denial

BillFrom Bill Wylie-Kellermann’s newest release Dying Well: The Resurrected Life of Jeanie Wylie-Kellermann:

I don’t intend to use it as a frame, but I do want to say something about denial. I understand how healthy a survival mechanism denial can be in certain circumstances, a sane way to cope in the short term. So let me affirm it up front and in passing, but add that as a long-run tactic it is dysfunctional. As already stated, I also believe it is politically endemic to the culture. On societal scale, it hides the body bags, renders the tortured or the prisoners or mistreated workers invisible, obfuscates privilege, distances us technologically from the explosion, misdirects our gaze with media, deadens us to suffering (of others), and outsources the necessary violence of empire. Among other things.

Why is Grandpa in Jail?

33116241_10214353738810852_6880318968586829824_oBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

I wrote this as a children’s book for Isaac during the Poor People’s Campaign. He was very concerned about why Grandpa kept going to jail when we were also teaching about how we dont believe in jails and prisons. So, I wrote this to try to explain it to him. We printed it out and he and Cedar and Ira and their friend helped illustrate it as a birthday gift to my dad.

Why is Grandpa in jail?
We don’t like jails. We think they shouldn’t exist.

If people make bad choices, there are better ways to help them be better.
Talking.
Caring.
Paying attention to what they need.
Teaching.
Loving.

Locking people up for years of their life only….
Takes them away from their families.
Makes people feel lonely.
Takes them away from the sun and the trees.

It is a broken, sad system.

So, why is Grandpa in jail? Continue reading

Wedding Poem

crescent_moonBy Bill Wylie-Kellermann
For Joanna and Eitan, August 25, 2010

When the half-moon hangs
faint in the mid-day sky
and earth already turns toward dusk
make a wedding

When the city, faint and far, cracks and cries
and blood forgotten runs beneath the streets
make a wedding

When earth and sea gasp for air
when the heat is on
and dread would rise
make a wedding Continue reading

The Seminary, The Sanctuary & The Streets

Valerie Jean

PC: Valerie Jean

By Bill Wylie-Kellermann

There are a number of sweet connections between Word and World and the Poor Peoples Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. As the campaign heats up in the midst of these 40 days of action and witness, it’s worth remembering a few of them.

In 2003, we did one off our Peoples’ Schools, a week-long institute in Philadelphia. It was framed around a close study of Dr. King’s Riverside Church speech, “Beyond Vietnam: Breaking the Silence” which focused his national call for a “revolution of values.” In addition to the Plowshares Movement, that school included attention to the Kensington Welfare Rights Union in Philly, specifically their homeless union tent city which subsequently, as winter approached, broke open and moved into a boarded up Catholic Church, St. Edwards. Continue reading

The Undoing of Theodicy

BillFrom Bill Wylie-Kellermann’s newest release Dying Well: The Resurrected Life of Jeanie Wylie-Kellermann:

…in the course of Jeanie’s illness and death, I’ve not really found myself angry with God. I never really raged against the locked doors of heaven, or demanded to know why the Divine should permit such bad things happening to one so good as she. I suspect a reason for this that is theological. I wager it has to do with our shared biblical view of the powers. Continue reading

Remembering King’s Assassination 50 Years Ago

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Photo credit: The Guardian

By Bill Wylie-Kellermann

I remember precisely where I was when I got the news of Martin Luther King’s assassination. It was my freshman year in college, a midwestern liberal arts school, and I’d just walked into the lounge of my dormitory when a bulletin broke into regular TV programing. The lone other student, whose face and name I mercifully do not recall, was seated high on the back of an overstuffed black leather chair. He muttered, “Somebody finally got that n****r.” I remember running the length of hall to the pay phone booth and calling my folks in Detroit, weeping into the receiver. In those tears, something shifted in me vocationally that day which bears on who I am. Continue reading

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