Tommy Tackett and Bill Wylie-Kellermann begin 12 Day Jail Sentence

33170060_10214353732610697_5007133656053972992_oBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

On May 21, 2018, 16 people were arrested in Michigan as part of the Poor People’s Campaign 40 days of actions around the country. They blocked the entrances to the Department of Health and Human Services. It was a cry against the systemic racism so ingrained in our systems that claim to be supporting the poor. Continue reading

Truth Sunday

ChristtheKing-1-1500x926Sermon B Proper 29
“Christ the King”
Preached at the Church of the Incarnation, Ann Arbor, MI,
November 25, 2018
By Bill Wylie-Kellermann

Psalm 93
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
Revelation 1:4b-8
John 18:33-37

I do love the church’s liturgical year, setting the rhythms of our prayer, our community life – and, on occasion, our public witness and action. Even when it’s is appropriated by the culture – inverted, inflated, commodified, corrupted – it still stands primarily as a counter rhythm, a different drummer to which we move. Continue reading

An Unbound Spirit

JESUIT FATHER DANIEL BERRIGANBy Bill Wylie-Kellermann. A review of Jim Forest’s At Play in the Lion’s Den: A Biography and Spiritual Memoir of Daniel Berrigan (Orbis books 2017). A shorter version of this was published in the November 2018 issue of Sojourners Magazine.

When Fa. Daniel Berrigan and his brother Philip, along with AJ Muste, John Howard Yoder, and a handful of budding Catholic radicals gathered in 1964 with Thomas Merton at Gethsemani Abbey for a retreat concerning the Spiritual Roots of Protest, the intercessions of that meeting, I am convinced, not only seeded a movement, but fell upon me, summoning my vocation.

Four years later when the Berrigan brothers with seven others entered the draft board in Catonsville, MD, removed the 1A files (of those eligible for sending to the Vietnam War) and burned them with homemade napalm, those ashes too would eventually anoint my life and pastoral calling. Daniel turned that action toward liturgy, toward poetry. He edited the transcript of their conviction in Federal Court into a play of international repute, refused induction into the prison system, and went notoriously underground for four months writing and speaking from the “most wanted list,” before being captured by the FBI at the Block Island home of his friend William Stringfellow. When he was released after two years in the Federal system, Berrigan came to New York City and taught a course on the Apocalypse of St. John when I was a student at Union Seminary. Full disclosure: Dan Berrigan became to me not merely teacher, but mentor and friend. Continue reading

Disobedience Here Below

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Alana Alpert, Bill Wylie-Kellermann, and others shut down the Department of Environmental Quality on June 4 as part of the Poor People’s Campaign.

Re-shared from Tikkun.

Ordained from Hebrew College of Boston in 2014, Rabbi Alana Alpert serves a dual position as rabbi of Congregation T’chiyah and as a community organizer with Detroit Jews for Justice. Because they have been working closely together on the Michigan Poor Peoples Campaign, she invited Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann to share the teaching for Rosh Hashanah. A graduate of Union Theological Seminary in NYC, Bill is a non-violent activist, author, and United Methodist pastor recently retired from St Peter’s Episcopal, Detroit. What follows are their remarks for the day.

Rabbi Alana Alpert: Shanah tovah!!!

I suppose you are used to most of my heresies by now, but I’ll admit a new one: vegan coneys. There is a new place in Brush Park. Just a few weeks ago, I sat around a long table of Detroit Jews for Justice leaders discussing the implications of our recent arrests as part of the Poor People’s Campaign, a national campaign uniting tens of thousands to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation & the nation’s distorted morality. Continue reading

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