Sermon: An Oak, a Fig Tree, and a Burning Bush

oakBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann, homily at Day House Catholic Worker on March 24, 2019

Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15
Luke 13:1-9

It took me a while to get my hands deep enough into this Gospel to feel the unsettling force. At first, the reading seemed simple. The disciples ask Jesus about current events in their time, about people who had been killed, and asked if it was their own fault. Jesus declares with clarity, “NO! But if you don’t turn away from sin, it will happen to you.” This logic didn’t seem quite right to me.

Reading the text within a circle of community earlier this week, allowed the current events of Jesus’ time to morph into our own. Continue reading

Understanding & Responding to the Doctrine of Discovery

DoDBy Will O’Brien, executive director of Project H.O.M.E. in Philly and the curator of the Alternative Seminary

*This Saturday, September 29, the Alternative Seminary and a group of Mennonite pastors are hosting a gathering in Philadelphia to deepen understanding and discern a call to respond to the Doctrine of Discovery

Of the many crimes perpetrated through history in the name of an imperialized Christ, one of the most pernicious is also one of least known.

The “Doctrine of Discovery” is a philosophical and legal framework dating to the 15th century that gave “Christian” governments in Europe the moral and legal rights to invade and seize indigenous lands and dominate indigenous peoples. For more than five centuries, this doctrine and the laws based upon it have legalized the theft of land, labor, and resources from across the world – crimes that continue to this day. Continue reading

The Doctrine of Discovery and Watershed Conquest

doctrineOn November 3, 524 clergy went in solidarity to Standing Rock as part of a call for clergy to join the struggle. As part of the action, the clergy repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery (which coincidentally is 524 years old). They presented a copy of the doctrine to an elder who burned it.

Below is an excerpt from Kat Friesen’s chapter in Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice where she explores the Doctrine of Discovery.

The Doctrine of Discovery and its resulting “Watershed Conquest” provide an exceptionally relevant case study of the harmful outworking of Christendom theologies. Any work toward reconciliation as mission must take into account these exploitative theologies, and begin with repentance as metanoia. Metanoia, translated from Greek as repentance (e.g. Mark 1:4), carries a connotation of changing both mind and action. Thus, repenting of the theologies of placelessness that persist today means recognizing their error and actively changing direction. Continue reading