Learning from Laughter and the Trees: An Armful of Bones

20190613_103426.jpgBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

I had never noticed how the melting snow of spring makes way for bones. One May morning, we wake early to walk the few acres of woods in the thumb of Michigan. Every few minutes, someone calls out “over here!” and we all rush over with our eyes on the composting leaves. A spine bone here. A skull there. Teeth still nestled in a jaw bone. A river otter? Fox? Racoon? Isaac tries to fit the bones back together in place and using his overly abundant 6-year-old animal knowledge attempts to determine the mysterious creatures. Later he will riffle through pages of his animal track books for further guessing. Cedar on the other hand just wants to fill his small arms with bones until he has so many he asks me to carry the extras. It’s not my first instinct to hold skulls in my hand with any delight or ease. Continue reading

Pentecost: Bellies in the Mud

20190608_144453By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann
Reflection offered at Day House Catholic Worker in Detroit on June 9, 2019

Psalm 104
Acts 2:1-11
John 20: 19-2

I admit that I come to these readings today carrying my own fear and anxiety. The kind of fear that can force you to lock yourself in a room. I’ve been scrolling through too many headlines these past few weeks that make it hard to breath. Continue reading

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

Offer vulnerable words to one another: A Book Review

dee deeA review of The Soulmaking Room by Dee Dee Risher
By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

When Dee Dee Risher’s book first came out in April 2016, I quickly posted an interview with her on RadicalDiscipleship.net to promote the book. I was already thirty pages in and in my short introduction, I swore that while reading books had fallen out of my life due to sleepless toddler nights, I would finish this book! Continue reading

Learning from Laughter and the Trees: The Child Come to Make Story Sacred Again

20190109_083129By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann
January 13, 2019

He wouldn’t get in his car seat. He screamed and arched his back. I felt the exhaustion in my own back with the car filled with groceries. Do I sit down and wait it out? Do I offer him candy? (I didn’t have any) Do I physically force his small body into the seat?

Out of desperation, I said “If you get into your seat, I will tell you the story of what happened three years ago on the day you were born.” Continue reading

Going Home By Another Way

lydia wkBy 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.

Radical Discipleship

Summons stories-
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.

Radical Discipleship

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.

Radical Discipleship

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.

Radical Discipleship

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.

Radical Discipleship

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.

Radical Discipleship

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.

Radical Discipleship

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.

Radical Discipleship

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.

Radical Discipleship

Is love,
Joy,
Beauty,
Sorrow,
Community,
Hope,
Resistance,
And a loving embrace
Of history
And all that is to come.
In gratitude
That I get to do all of that
With you.

Sermon 2- Poets and Prophets of Silence and Speech

50710739_10102808853282501_2206751022703968256_n

Snow is another thing that slows me down and helps me be still. And it is another thing I am watching with fear as we get less and less each year. I savor these days.

Sermon 1/20/2019 at Day House Catholic Worker
Isaiah 62:1-5
By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

Isaiah begins “For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet.”

I believe in refusing to be silent. But I also believe in silence and quiet. I believe that we need to still ourselves long enough to hear those words when we are each called “my delight” and listen for “our new name pronounced by the mouth of the Lord.” God calls us by name, but it is so easy to miss when we aren’t paying attention.

It is not easy in our culture to find total silence or to stay in one place long enough to see what is right in front of us.

This week I am thinking a lot about Mary Oliver who died on Thursday. She is a poet who always had the gift of helping me to be quiet and altered my way of seeing the simplicity of life around me.

I have found myself struck with gratitude and grief realizing that there was something steadying to know that Mary Oliver was out in the woods somewhere paying attention to the beetles and the dew drops. So, my reflections tonight are filled with words from Mary Oliver tonight. Continue reading