Summer Reading Subverting Supremacy Stories

By Tommy Airey, exclusively for RadicalDiscipleship.Net

This summer, Lindsay and I maneuvered a ministry of migration. We pivoted between and beyond the Kirkridge Retreat Center in the Poconos of northeast Pennsylvania, a studio apartment two blocks from the Deschutes River in Central Oregon and a wide stretch of beach on the Pacific Ocean on Acjachemen land in Southern California. I spent some of this time working on a book that lays out a biblical spirituality for white folks and middle-class people breaking rank from the default narratives of dominant culture. Those of us navigating the wilderness that borders both fundamentalism and liberalism need a spiritual training program for the ultra-marathon race of recognizing and resisting the supremacy stories scripted by whiteness, hetero-patriarchy, the profit motive, the penal system and patriotism.

My friend Sarah Nahar says this kind of inner work is like shedding colonial codes of conduct. Rev. Lynice Pinkard compares it to learning another language: speaking treason fluently. I like breaking rank because it sounds so subversive—what spirituality should be. Break rank with supremacy stories and you’ll gain your soul—and lose your social respectability. Try calling out capitalism at your church potluck. It sounds like a conspiracy, which in Latin means “to breathe with.” To grow our souls, us middle-class folk need mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Because our hearts have stopped. But here’s the rub: we can only get CPR from those chronically oppressed by supremacy stories. So we start breathing with those who are Black and Brown, Indigenous and Immigrant, women and working poor.  

Continue reading “Summer Reading Subverting Supremacy Stories”

What Keeps you Warm? A Prayer for Late Winter

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

In the cold,
dark,
dreary,
loneliness
of February,

I am kept warm.

By the taste of last season’s tomatoes in my salsa
and strawberries spread over fresh baked yeast and whole wheat flour.

By the monotonous moves of my knitting needles,
                and blue ink on paper writing love letters to elders.

I am kept warm.

Continue reading “What Keeps you Warm? A Prayer for Late Winter”

A Curriculum of Backyard Funerals

A collection of animal skulls for beauty and natural history study collected by Kristin Hugo in the hills of California. Credit: Kristin Hugo

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann. This piece first appeared in Geez 58: Breath and Bone.

“It’s okay to go slow,” he says. His four-year-old feet step gently in silence. “That way you can see more things.”

The air is still chilly but the snow has melted. Walking nudges us to take off our sweaters. Below the still-bare branches, wet dirt reveals stories of what has passed in the woods over winter.

Named for this very stretch of land in the thumb of Michigan, my son, Cedar, searches for stories . . . for friends . . . for bones.

Continue reading “A Curriculum of Backyard Funerals”

The Sandbox Revolution: Raising Kids for a Just World

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

Radical Discipleship friends,

I wanted to share some exciting news! For the past year and a half, I have been working on pulling together a beautiful anthology that will soon be a very real book! It’s called The Sandbox Revolution: Raising Kids for a Just World. It is being published by Broadleaf books and will be released March 30, 2021.

I began this book as a most selfish of projects as a parent overwhelmed and tired and searching for communities raising kids in these unbelievable times with a passion for justice. The contributors in this book are all ones I love dearly. They have been mentors, friends, co-conspirators, and kindred spirits.

Continue reading “The Sandbox Revolution: Raising Kids for a Just World”

Bread and Blessings

hands-mass-kitchen-flour-knead-bread
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By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann, reflection on the Beautitudes at Day House in February.

I’ve taken to making bread lately. I have a bread machine that makes great bread, but I found myself craving the act of kneading bread.

It feels like everyone around me these days are going through really painful times in their lives. While I am trying to walk beside them with love for them, I find that internally I am carrying a lot of the grief and anger inside of me—and I have turned to breadmaking. Continue reading “Bread and Blessings”

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 “Learning from Laughter and the Trees: An Armful of Bones”

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 “Pentecost: Bellies in the Mud”

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 “Sermon: An Oak, a Fig Tree, and a Burning Bush”

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 “Offer vulnerable words to one another: A Book Review”

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