One of my favorite things about my dear friend MJ Sharp was how he did his work, especially in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He gave his life for peace work there, but he was not simply a martyr. He was someone giving his all to investigative work. MJ was a complex character who pushed hard for justice, utilizing creative and courageous tactics that led to positive change in some key situations. Speaking at his memorial service, the representative from the United Nations remarked, “the international community has lost one of its best investigators.” Continue reading “Do your own work: Leadership on the Frontlines”
An important message about dismantling white supremacy in Charlottesville, VA tomorrow (right: flyer for the event). From Sarah Thompson, the executive director of Christian Peacemaker Teams:
First and foremost I want to send love to you all.
Thank you for who you are and the work that you are doing in the world.
It is important. You are courageous. Now is the time to grow our souls.
Please read on.
This weekend, a racist rally is taking place in Charlottesville, Virginia called “Unite the Right.” You can read about it online (poster attached). This article by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors “hate groups and other extremists,” warns that the rally could be “the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States.” The convergence of alt-right folks has been emboldened by the national administration, and they do have a sense of their world falling apart. They chose Charlottesville to rally after that city’s vote to remove the Confederate statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Their goal is to bring white people on the right wing together, out from the shadow of the internet, so they can cultivate real relationships and craft a palatable platform to build more political power. The images they chose for the rally draw from Nazi-era propoganda. Continue reading “Encircle Them With Energetic Encouragement”
3 July 2017, CPT International Reflection
Michael J. Sharp was a close friend. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) he was a Mennonite witness, scholar and peacemaker. Over five years, first with Mennonite Central Committee and then with the United Nations (UN) group of experts, he cultivated relationships of trust and respect with people who were experiencing dreadful violence, exploitation because of government corruption, and the oppressive impact of generations of corporate-colonial resource extraction. His teamwork there included demobilizing armed groups, investigating human rights abuses, and reporting to the UN Security Council towards their goal of creating the conditions for peace in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Continue reading “We don’t have to soldier on; grief is part of Christian peacemaking.”
By Sarah Thompson, Albany Mennonite Church
4 June 2017
I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord.
It is indeed good to be with you today in Albany. The first time I came this way was to begin a cross-country bicycle trip that focused on the needs of young adults in the Mennonite church and raise money for Mennonite World Conference, an experience that brings Anabaptists together from all tribes and nations and tongues. It was a really good experience. Continue reading “Sermon: Pentecost”
Day 5 of our Lenten Journey with Dr. King’s “Beyond Vietnam” Speech
Perhaps a more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.
Some highlights from Sarah Thompson’s MLK Day speech at Goshen College, January 16, 2017. Sarah is the executive director of Christian Peacemaker Teams.
Still dreaming the Beloved Community into reality, 50 years ago this April, King articulated the connections between the structures of white exploitation of black and brown people in this country, the exploitation of black and brown bodies and land through war, and the economic system that propelled it. Continue reading “In Brutal Solidarity”
Sarah Thompson, director of Christian Peacemaking Team, preaches on Martin Luther King Day at College Mennonite Church.
Sarah’s sermon begins at 46:15 minutes.
3rd Sunday after Epiphany
One thing I asked of the Lord, that I will seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent: he will set me high on a rock.
Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord. -Psalm 27:4-6
By Sarah Thompson and Na’Taki Osborne Jelks, excerpted from Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice
Sarah: Connecting people to land connects us with one another, enabling us to re-knit kinship ties that were broken by enslavement. In the Diaspora, Black folks have had a primarily extractive relationship with the land, and later in industrial factories. We were seen as people whose worth was in our productive capacity, but beyond that, as disposable. It is easy to understand, therefore, why we have had an extractive relationship with one another, and use a lot of disposable things. But this cycle is spiritually devastating. Continue reading “Wild Lectionary: Under the Cover of His Tent”
Radical Discipleship is excited to announce a book hot off the press that is an anthology exploring watershed discipleship. Many of the contributors are regular writers for radicaldiscipleship.net. We hope to have a review coming, but for now check out the book. And let us know if you want to review it!
Edited by Ched Myers
Foreword by Denise M. Nadeau
Contributors: Katerina Friesen, David Pritchett, Jonathan McRay, Lydia Wylie-Kellermann, Erinn Fahey, Sarah Thompson, Matthew Humphrey, Sarah Nolan, Erynn Smith, Reyna Ortega, Sasha Adkins, Vickie Machado, Tevyn East, Jay Beck, and Rose Berger.
This collection introduces and explores “watershed discipleship” as a critical, contextual, and constructive approach to ecological theology and practice, and features emerging voices from a generation that has grown up under the shadow of climate catastrophe. Continue reading “New Book- Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice”
A report from Christian Peacemaker Teams executive director Sarah Thompson:
Our Christian Peacemaker Team is accompanying refugees in Mytilene, Lesbos, Greece. As Executive Director I have a chance to do a two week team visit. I sat across the table from a man from Afghanistan yesterday. Neither he nor I are from Greece or speak Greek. I don’t speak Dari yet, and he just began the English classes offered to refugees. We don’t know each other’s names and yet we are deeply and violently connected. My village paid for his village to be bombed (through the US led war in Afghanistan).
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: 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?
Sarah Thompson: Two words: Compost toilets!
I love food justice, and I think I’m called to work on the “backside” of it. What I mean is, think it is the epitome of western hubris to crap in our most precious resource, potable water. Finding ways to help people deal with their own shit (both literally and metaphorically) is a liberating process. A lot can come up when we are faced with the “mess” we create daily. What we have learned to call “waste” can actually be returned to the ecosystem where the nutrients came from. Through a process it can become humanure and nourish the area where the local food came from.