The Cognitive Dissonance of Southern Hospitality

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Old Age Security Credit: Jeff M for Short

By Britney Winn Lee. Originally in Geez 56: Entertaining Angels.

Joe Marlon Lee had the same philosophy for his kitchen table as he did for his onion patch, as he did for his pond and pocketbook – what is it all for if not to be shared?

He passed that worldview down to my mother, and together with my father, she has maintained an open-backdoor, open-pantry policy for all of my life. My friends, throughout college and young adulthood and now parenthood, found a sense of place just as I found a sense of place on that piece of Louisiana acreage. An insult it almost was for someone not to make our home their home throughout my upbringing. This sentiment echoed throughout my childhood town’s pharmacy, and football stadium, and the sanctuary in which I was pruned for a world much different than the one responsible for my raising. Continue reading

Hospitality as the Ground for Good

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Dough rising – it’s a braided bread night Credit: Mark Bonica (link below)

By Jayme R. Reaves. From Geez 56: Entertaining Angels.

When someone says “hospitality,” what comes to mind?

Offering a cup of coffee or tea, a hot meal, a bed for the night – these are the usual answers. When we dig deeper, there’s usually an emphasis on welcome, creating a space where people feel at home, a warmth, a commitment to the other’s wellbeing.

In English, the Latin roots for the word hospitality connote two different ideas. First, the root hostis implies both guest and host, indicating a fluidity of motion between the two, a reciprocity or exchange that is expected: “I do this for you because you did this for me.” In the ancient worlds that shaped our religious traditions, the common practice was to treat guests with respect for two main reasons. Either it was an act of diplomacy as you may be a traveler in their land one day, or because there was an understanding that a guest could have been a powerful being – a god – in disguise, testing the righteous. Therefore, welcoming a guest became a sacred ritual because you just never really know who this guest sitting at your table really is or what they may be able to do for you later. Continue reading

The Zeitgeist of Grief

By Lane Patriquin, originally printed in Geez 54: Climate Justice

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Grief Rituals Credit: Molly Costello (link below)

Tolstoy believed that every generation has a zeitgeist – an emotion that acts as the unspoken guiding force of a time in history.

^Lane Patriquin reads their piece as part of Geez Out Loud. The audio is an exact reading of the written article.

For those of us coming of age in the climate-changed world of late-capitalism, it could be said that the predominant guiding force of our generation is grief.

With the news media surrounding us every day, we are steeped in images of grief. Whales washing up on shores with stomachs full of plastic. Pollinators dying off. Climate change records surpassed decades before predicted, and neo-fascist governments suppressing environmental conservation efforts around the world. Continue reading

Let Me Sing to You Now, About How People Turn into Other Things

indexA Review of The Overstory by Richard Powers, by Sarah Holst. Originally published in Geez 54: Climate Justice.

Last year, during the enormous, bursting green of Minnesota in July, my partner and I welcomed our first baby into our arms and into the cradle of the Tischer Creek Watershed.

Somewhere within those first months of the strange unveiling upheave of being a mama, I learned to read a book with one hand while balancing a baby sleeping on my chest. We were fortunate to welcome a stream of loved ones into our home in this time, and one of them brought with her The Overstory, a book travelling on the relational lines of beloveds deeply embodying lives of meaning in a time of climate catastrophe (like adrienne maree brown’s Emergent Strategy before it). Continue reading

EcoFaith Recovery and the Practices for Awakening Leadership

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“Discover Our Stories” by Sarah Holst

By Solveig Nilsen-Goodin, originally published in Geez 54: Climate Justice

“Are you a self-help group?” “Are you a church?” “Where do you worship?” We get these questions a lot! But for EcoFaith Recovery, the answers are more evolutionary and revolutionary than simply yes or no.

EcoFaith Recovery was birthed in 2009, when Robyn Hartwig began calling together friends and colleagues in Portland, Oregon, to try to make sense of our addictive culture and its escalating symptoms – the economic, social, ecological, and spiritual crises culminating in global warming and climate chaos. Gathering in those early years, we embarked on a process of discovery. Not unlike the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, we discovered that we felt more sane just by coming together. We felt less alone. We were less despairing. And we also discovered common experiences and feelings among us that compelled us to seek a way of recovery. Continue reading

Geez Call for Pitches: G56 Breaking the Law

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Praise the Lord and Break the Law. As seen at the Sugar Creek Midwest Catholic Worker Gathering, fall 2019. Credit: Kateri Boucher

Deadline November 10, 2019

“We need to engage in whatever nonviolent actions appeal to us. There is no act too small, no act too bold. The history of social change is the history of millions of actions, small and large, coming together at critical points to create a power that governments cannot suppress. We find ourselves today at one of those critical points.” – Howard Zinn

“The decision to engage in civil disobedience is challenging not just what the symbol represents, but also the laws that are set up to protect it.” – Bree Newsome, after pulling down the South Carolina Confederate flag in 2015

In countries founded on the legality of slavery and Indigenous massacres, we begin naming the complex relationships between law, violence, and power. Historically, engaging with laws through breaking them has been part of the arc that moves us towards justice. In this issue we hope to unpack the nuances of breaking the law, and the choices we do (or don’t) make in the process. Continue reading

Watershed Eucharist

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Salal + Cedar outdoor altar Credit: Laurel Dykstra

By Laurel Dykstra, printed in Geez 54: Climate Justice

Salal + Cedar is a Wild Church community in the lower Fraser Watershed. Our Eucharistic prayer and our outdoor worship are active reminders that we do not practice our discipleship and celebrate our sacred meal in First Century Palestine nor on “England’s pleasant pastures” but among a little lifeboat of companions on the territory of the Coast Salish People at a time of global climate crisis.

Our Eucharistic prayer names the creatures – plants, animals, waterways, of our bioregion. Under our creative-commons-take on liturgy as the work of and for the people – you are welcome to borrow and adapt this prayer to your work and biome. In return please credit us, note that you have made changes, and make a financial contribution to Indigenous land defenders near you. Continue reading