Where is the theology that redefines to them what it means to be fully human?

indexFrom Ruby Sales, excerpt from interview on On Being.

Let me just say something before we have a question. I really think that one of the things that we’ve got to deal with is that how is it that we develop a theology or theologies in a 21st-century capitalist technocracy where only a few lives matter? How do we raise people up from disposability to essentiality? And this goes beyond the question of race. What is it that public theology can say to the white person in Massachusetts who’s heroin-addicted because they feel that their lives have no meaning, because of the trickle-down impact of whiteness in the world today? What do you say to someone who has been told that their whole essence is whiteness and power and domination? And when that no longer exists, then they feel as if they are dying or they get caught up in the throes of death, whether it’s heroin addiction. Continue reading

From Disposability to Essentiality

Ruby SalesDay 37 of our Lenten Journey beyond “Beyond Vietnam.  From Ruby Sales (photo right), Civil Rights veteran and long-distance runner for justice, in an interview with Krista Tippett:

I really think that one of the things that we’ve got to deal with is that how is it that we develop a theology or theologies in a 21st-century capitalist technocracy where only a few lives matter? How do we raise people up from disposability to essentiality? And this goes beyond the question of race. What is it that public theology can say to the white person in Massachusetts who’s heroin-addicted because they feel that their lives have no meaning, because of the trickle-down impact of whiteness in the world today? What do you say to someone who has been told that their whole essence is whiteness and power and domination? And when that no longer exists, then they feel as if they are dying or they get caught up in the throes of death, whether it’s heroin addiction. Continue reading

Frank Talk with Ruby Sales

ruby-salesSome highlights from Krista Tippett’s recent interview with Ruby Sales: 

I think that one of the things that theologies must have is hindsight, insight, and foresight. That is complete sight.

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I really think that one of the things that we’ve got to deal with is that how is it that we develop a theology or theologies in a 21st-century capitalist technocracy where only a few lives matter? How do we raise people up from disposability to essentiality? Continue reading

She is Breathing: Listening for Another World and an End to Empire

iluminadoBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann. Printed in Geez Magazine.

“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe… Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

― Arundhati Roy, War Talk

I think of myself as a generally hopeful person. I’ve always believed in Martin Luther King’s long arc bending towards justice. But being in Detroit, the city where I was born and raised, over the last 5 years has crushed me. In a blink of an eye, a place filled with community leadership and creativity was steam rolled by an illegitimate government and the banks. We’ve gone from a city facing transformation by thousands of gardens to facing gentrification by tens of thousands of water shut offs. Black and poor folks are being pushed out fast. The stories are too painful. The work too big. The struggle for survival too real. The powers and principalities seemingly unstoppable. It’s all too much. Continue reading

Empire Cracking: Words from Ruby Sales

ruby sales geez

This interview was taken by Lydia Wylie-Kellermann as part of a writing project for Geez Magazine entitled “She is Breathing: Listening for Another World and an End to Empire.” It was published in the Winter Issue.

Lydia Wylie-Kellermann: So, where are the moments for you where you are beginning to see a crack in the empire? Where is resurrection alive and being practiced? What is the story that lingers on your heart and keeps you moving forward? Is this the moment we’ve been waiting for? Is another world being birthed before our eyes?

Ruby Sales: Even if we don’t recognize empire cracking, it is. With Black Lives Matter and brown folks responding to the bigotry of immigration, suddenly we are seeing what has always been there. We are putting words to it again. The more we put it in words, the more empire loses its grip. Which has its downside because the more it loses its grip, the more repressive the empire gets. If you want to see where hope is manifested, it’s in African Americans. We have been getting up and doing the work even with no evidence of making a difference- that is hope. The reason we are so feared is that our very essence and resistance threatens white supremacy. We have to ask the question, “Why would the police shoot someone 137 times?” Saying that black people have rights in a society that says only white people have rights threatens the security of empire.

Our Children

ruby salesFor people of all colors.

In all of our conversation about Charleston, we have not focused on the children who witnessed this terror and how this traumatizes them. I know the trauma of being young and witnessing a white supremacist murder of a friend. Our children like all other children must have the space to grow up without having to raise their hands and say do not shoot. Black people if we do not stop this terrorism of our children, no one else will. Nor will they respect us or trust us not to abandon them. We must gather around them and let the world know that young Black lives matter. Either we protect them or they will protect themselves and trust me,it won’t be pretty.

This is an American problem, and people of all colors must stand up and declare that Black children deserve to be safe and grow up with the confidence that they can move freely in the world with the abandonment of youth.

Ruby Sales