On September 12, the brand new $800 million+ Little Caesar’s Arena kicked off with a Kid Rock concert on the southern edge of the Cass Corridor in Detroit. It was the culmination of white billionaire Mike Ilitch’s* fifteen-year “dereliction by design,” scores of properties purchased and left to rot. Land values were intentionally driven lower so Ilitch could buy even more. One week after the grand opening, prompted by this journalistic prose, Lindsay Airey was visited by a nightmare. Her attempt to relay it in poetry:
A sea of black faces.
by violent displacement,
Greed turned sick
of these precious ones’
seeping like poison,
out their murdering pores. Continue reading
By Lindsay Airey, LMFT (right: with her nephew Mason)
I didn’t choose for Frodo and Team Middle Earth to accompany me through pivotal points in my 20’s, nor to keep being a source of life-saving balm throughout my 30’s. I didn’t choose them to weave a deep bond between myself and other devoted followers of their epic struggle. I didn’t choose them to hold me through multiple seasons of disorienting grief, nor whisper to my deepest hopes, dreams, sorrows and visions of Beloved Community. I didn’t choose them to challenge and inspire me out of dark valleys of despair or numbing ancestral, cultural and imperial demons of depression, nor to rearrange my notions of power, success, and happiness. Continue reading
Readers may not know, but Tommy and Lindsay Airey are ending their time in Detroit this month. It is a serious loss for those of us in Detroit, but we trust it will mean wonderful things for http://www.radicaldiscipleship.net as Tommy and Lindsay continue to write, reflect, and place their feet in new places. This is a goodbye poem for them written by Bill Wylie-Kellermann.
This old world to that beloved Word
this watershed to discipleship
roots, sweet and thirsty, to the road;
in radical vocation, wed disciple to disciple
as time to time
(What kairos is it on the chronos of Detroit?
the nation, the planet, our hearts?) Continue reading
By Lindsay Airey
2He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ 4For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” -Luke 18:2-5
To understand why the Persistent Widow jumps off her small passage in the biblical narrative, startles me into attention, and lovingly beckons me to see and follow her, I first need to give some context. I have been in an active process of 12-step Recovery for a little over a year now. This kind of Recovery is a process that, among other things, encourages me to practice loving myself enough to advocate for myself. It’s the kind of Recovery that’s been helping me to unlearn codependent ways—taking false responsibility for people, only to find myself all dried up at the end of the day. Continue reading
By Lindsay Airey
The white fathers told us, I think therefore I am; and the black mothers in each of us—the poet—whispers in our dreams, I feel therefore I can be free.
Tangela. Dear, fierce and tender Tangela. I just heard the news. I don’t even know how you died. I just got word pouring in over social media. 40 years old. How can you be dead? How can it be true?
Mind racing with questions. And tears. Tears and tears and tears. How can it be so? You were so ALIVE! Oh, and the children. The babies who must be grieving your loss. You were so beloved. So depended upon. So ready to respond in the time of need. So true a human. Oh, and how great were the burdens you carried. Rest now, dear Sister. Though our tears and cries long to bring you back, to fill the great void you have left.
By Lindsay Airey (right, with nephew Riley), on the occasion of working her First Step, prodded by the context and struggle of Beloved Detroit…
Admitting our powerlessness may be very difficult for us. After all, we are the competent ones who held the family, the job, or the world together while the alcoholics in our lives created chaos. How can it be that we, the responsible ones, are powerless?
Pathways to Recovery, AlAnon Family Groups
It is so true. I thought my being “good,” “perfect,” “responsible,” “aware,” “sensitive,” and “insightful” would all be what saved my family and stopped the chaos I felt. If I just figured out what was wrong, what was hurtful, and told them, they would surely change. They just didn’t see it (I told myself), and when they do, they’ll change! But all my tears, insight, responsibility, “goodness,” and withdrawing never saved a single one.
By Lindsay Airey. Originally published in the Detroit Catholic Worker paper On the Edge. Lindsay is a marriage & family therapist, radical disciple, and recovering AlAnon member, living and working alongside her husband Tom, the Larkins St. Community, and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Her activist work has been focused with We The People of Detroit, organizing around the ongoing water struggle.
“T’was grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved.” -John Newton, Amazing Grace
If not for grace, I could never meaningfully engage the inner work of healing and repenting from white supremacy. This “taught my heart to fear” kind of grace is what compels me into this work. It is also what keeps me in it. Perhaps understood most deeply by recovering addicts and abusers, this “amazing” grace is foreign to the distorted, cheap & enabling grace vended on the daily at your local mainstream, white-dominated, suburban and affluent Christian church. Meanwhile, on the outer fringes of the (c)hristian tradition, this slave-trader-turned-abolitionist kind of grace may be the penultimate anti-white supremacist/anti-racist “program” we Christians have uniquely to offer the struggle for racial equity and reconciliation in America. Continue reading