By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann, co-editor of RadicalDiscipleship.Net
*This is the sixth 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.
Communal ones of laughter and longings,
Ancestral ones with pain and truth and roots,
Ancient ones with context that can change the course of our lives.
Plants seeds, saves seeds, shares seeds.
Puts them in the soil as sacred wonder,
as food for the mouths of our family and neighbors,
And as part of begging forgiveness for what we have done to seed and soil.
Plants seeds of our lives rooting in place,
falling in love with the ground where we stand,
Learning her history, and tending its future.
Shares seeds of hope in a time when the world feels barren and ready to ignite,
Yet here come the seeds of resistance, imagination, and hope.
It echoes of Dorothy Day saying that love is the only solution.
It heeds Dan Berrigan’s call to stand somewhere.
It joins what Martin Luther King calls for by nurturing Beloved Community.
Is the tradition that calls upon
the courage of Shiprah and Puah, Miriam, Ruth, Mary Magdalene,
the writings from jail cells of Paul and Silas and John,
and calls us towards the risks of birthing in the face of a dragon.
Depends on people gathering
But needs no institution, no building, no marble.
It needs just 2 or 3 to gather
To open the good book and the newspaper
And to ask the questions and share our lives.
Claims the cultural and historical roots of a tradition
that it is a piece of our ancestral line,
And part of that, means confessing, reparations, listening, and sorrow
For Constantine’s sword, for slave owner theology, for the Doctrine of Discovery,
For ongoing appropriation, hegemony, and for the rise of empires that carry the cross.
Knows that those of us who carry the cross
Are meant to walk the underbelly of empire
To love from the margins.
We know that the cross was (and is) used as a violent threat of suppression by empire,
Yet it is also a sign that neither empire nor death shall have the final word.
encourages experiments of going home by another way
Calls to us to slow down and be where we are,
To be steeped in love for one another,
Gratitude for the cloud of witnesses,
And steadfast work for the generations to come.
Leads us to unexpected places
So before we sign on the dotted line, we all should know,
We might end up with your hands covered in dirt,
Or spending nights in jail,
Or turning a guest room into hospitality space,
Or giving up all your money
And joining a Catholic Worker.
We might stop to admire the lilies,
Or start writing poetry,
Or falling in-love.
We might turn off your TV,
Or begin asking forgiveness,
And turning our lives upside down and forever.
So, be careful.
And a loving embrace
And all that is to come.
That I get to do all of that