By Kim Redigan, a teacher, organizer and author in Detroit, Michigan
*This is the 13th installation of a year-long series of posts from contributors all over North America each answering the question, “How would you define radical discipleship?” We will be posting responses regularly on Mondays during 2019.
There was an April day in a small West Bank town when a group of us serving on a peace team witnessed ancient olive trees ripped from the ground by a confluence of machines and the military – an act of violence that literally drove us to our knees in grief.
Years later, I danced among the olive groves in a small village in Greece with my great-aunt Demetra where ancestral trees brought me home to myself, awakening something deep down inside that speaks truth older than history. The same brilliant Mediterranean sun throbbing against a canvas of brilliant blue, the same terraced hills that undulate like patterned green blankets rolled out by Mother Earth, the same brown ground that feels solid and familiar under the feet. Continue reading
The Windsock Visitation by Mickey McGrath, OSFS
By Kim Redigan, an Advent reflection on Luke 1:39-55 for the Faith Outreach Committee of the Detroit Peoples Water Board
For a very long time now, I have been on a mission to liberate the white porcelain hands of Mary from clerics and capitalists who have turned our tough sister into little more than a cooing dove. A saccharine symbol of passivity. A willing tool of the patriarchy. A voiceless virgin who is venerated but never listened to, much less followed.
If I had a dollar for every time I squirmed in church pews and internally screamed, “No, no, NO!!!!!” as Mary was hijacked in homilies that completely denied her humanity and political-cultural context, I could pay for several of the exorbitant water bills that have resulted in shutoffs for so many of our neighbors. Continue reading
By Kim Redigan, an Advent reflection on Luke 3:1-6 for the Faith Outreach Committee of the People’s Water Board (Detroit, MI)
Today’s Gospel opens with a litany of the strong and mighty – the political and religious powerbrokers of their time. Ruthless men whose cruel governance in partnership with their corrupt religious lackeys oppressed the people in a thousand different ways. A violent alliance based on greed and domination with no tolerance for resistance or rebellion.
Does this sound familiar?
Today’s political and corporate tyrants embrace the same imperial imperative – to crush and control by any means necessary. Here in Detroit, water is used as a weapon in the hands of those who have crafted a well-woven matrix of subjugation and theft that includes water shutoffs and home foreclosures as part of a violent gentrification project that has created a diaspora of displaced citizens and a web of private security and surveillance systems to keep the people in line. As in the time of Jesus, many religious leaders either look the other way or are actively complicit, sometimes profiting handsomely from a relationship based on a mutual love of money. Continue reading
By Kim Redigan, an Advent reflection on Luke 21:25-28, 34-36 for the Faith Outreach Committee of the People’s Water Board (Detroit, MI)
The gospel reading this first week of Advent is wildly apocalyptic and, ultimately, hope-filled.
Jesus describes a creation in travail. Roaring waves and raging oceans are dire signs of a planet – a people – in distress. Water speaks in the cataclysmic tongues of rising sea levels, poisoned water, privatized water, weaponized water, withheld water. Continue reading
By Kim Redigan, a reflection on Exodus 16 for the St. Peter’s Episcopal community in Detroit
Today’s reading from Exodus is one to I turn to often. Not because it brings me comfort or consolation but because it so often mirrors my own spiritual condition. I am so like the disgruntled Israelites cursing Moses and Aaron for leading them away from the known, the familiar, the place of their oppression and into the desert where they would have to confront their own personal and communal demons. They are my people – I know them and their circuitous journey well.
For the past several months, I have been wandering in the desert of depression and grief related to some tough inner work that is part of my recovery. Although, I have been sober for 28 years, I reached a point last year where it was either grow or go. It was either stand up to the pharaohs of the past and say good riddance to Egypt or sit around a campfire ringed with barbed wire and eat to my heart’s content. All of us come to these turning points in our lives when we have to make the choice: Will it be bring on the Egyptian dessert or bring on the desert? Will we opt for fleshpots or what feels like famine? Oppression or liberation? Continue reading
By Kim Redigan
this advent i need a woman’s space.
a dark space.
a silent space.
somehow i’ve got to find my way
back to the womb of my own life.
this advent i need shawls and songs.
the sacramentals of ceramic mugs
and solitary candles
standing like sentries
throwing shadows on the darkened walls
of my winter heart. Continue reading
By Kim Redigan, high school teacher and activist, a reflection given at First Unitarian-Universalist Church, Detroit, Nov. 27, 2016
Twenty-eight years ago this very day, I made my way down a flight of church basement stairs – the longest walk I’ve ever taken – in order to save my life. Although I was confused and terrified, I knew that if I wanted to live I would have to embrace a new way of life that would require soul-shaking honesty, a focus on my own personal inventory and not the inventory of others, and a willingness to make real amends. In short, if I wanted to recover from the disease that had me in its grip, everything would have to change, beginning with my self-delusion and denial – a painful process that was devastating in its demands, but ultimately, liberating as I came to grips with a disease that left me soul sick and utterly out of touch with myself and others. Continue reading