The Prophetic In The Face of Plunder

Micah IconBy Tommy Airey

Alas for those who devise wickedness
and evil deeds on their beds!
When the morning dawns, they perform it,
because it is in their power.
They covet fields, and seize them;
houses, and take them away;
they oppress householder and house,
people and their inheritance.

Micah 2:1-2

*This is the second installment in a series of seven pieces on Micah posted every Wednesday during Lent.
This week, Micah takes us from the personal to the political. I write from a church office with a cold, crisp view of downtown Detroit. Just on the other side of the skyscrapers, a man worth $100 million lives in a 14,500 square-foot mansion. He is buying cheap land from the city to plant a tree farm. He is hailed as a job creator and a blight reducer. But there’s more to the story: banks, land developers and young middle-class white folks coming in from the suburbs are targeting certain (poor, black) neighbors through city-imposed tax foreclosure & water shut-offs. These powers (including the multimillionaire tree farmer) are not innocent bystanders. Their intentions inevitably create unintended consequences. They prosper off the misery of poor people.
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Full Frontal Prophetic Nudity

Micah IconBy Tommy Airey

For this I will lament and wail;
I will go barefoot and naked;
I will make lamentation like the jackals,
and mourning like the ostriches.

Micah 1:8

If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.
Virginia Woolf

*This is the first in a series of seven pieces on Micah posted every Wednesday during Lent.
Like us, Micah was living during imperial catastrophe and, like us, the reasons for the destruction and dysfunction were contested. In this prophetic leaflet, what Dan Berrigan calls “a torrid, icy mix of threat and promise,” Micah does what prophets do: he comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable in pointed, specific ways. To reclaim a phrase from the Religious Right who hijacked it from Gandhi who resurrected it from Augustine: “He loves the sinner, but hates the sin.”
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ripple_effectby tommy airey

Prayer from the heart can achieve what nothing else can in the world.

We do not want to be beginners [at prayer], but let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything but beginners, all our life!
Prayer is a pilgrimage into the deepest recesses of our being. It is being attentive to God’s active presence both with us and within us. The 15th century Indian contemplative Kabir wrote that “God is the breath inside the breath.” The Apostle Paul quoted the philosopher Epimenides as he sermonized the Athenians: “For in him we live and move and have our being.” God is that energy and power and inspiration that we draw upon to live and thrive. Continue reading

9 Advent Practices For Radical Disciples

Rise-770x1011by tommy airey

The task of prophetic ministry is to nurture, nourish, and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the consciousness and perception of the dominant culture around us.
Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination (1978)

Radical discipleship in North America entails much. A life devoted to spirituality, social analysis, simple living & suffering service can overwhelm us, leaving us with the same symptoms of the systems we are struggling against: addiction, alienation and anxiety. This final week of Advent season creates intentional space & time for us to reconsider and repent, alerting us to times we find ourselves sleepwalking an imperial trance. Here are 9 commitments that we can hold up to the light through Epiphany.
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The End is Here

by tom airey, co-editor,
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now…
Romans 8:21

Hope, for radical disciples, is intimately related to both our identity and vocaton as “children of God:” those committed to the Way of Brother Jesus, who taught and lived out a dangerous style of love, forgiveness, peace, inclusivity and solidarity with the poor and marginalized. We join a determined God in giving birth to a whole new world. This will take sacrifice and suffering.

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Let It Roll Down

By Tom Airey, Editor, RadicalDiscipleship.Net

The 1st of a two-day report from Detroit.
Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand. It is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy.
Wendell Berry

A couple of weeks ago, less than 48 hours from the time we moved in to Southwest Detroit, my wife and I visited the water payment station on the west side. When we arrived, about a hundred people (every single one of them African-American!) were lined up to make payments or inquire about a payment plan. Continue reading