Wild Lectionary: Holy Land

Mt Erbal caves

Mt Arbel Caves

Advent 3B

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Luke 1:46b-55

By Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

Just north of Magdala in Galilee stand the cave-pocked cliffs of Mt. Arbel. Twice in a hundred years, Roman soldiers shot fire into the caves to destroy Israelites who refused to give in to imperial rule. The first occasion was the imposition of Herod as king in 40 BCE, while the second was during the Roman-Jewish war of the mid-60s CE.

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Radical Recommendations for Gift-Giving

BWK (1)

Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann and his recent releases

Because Christmas has become so central to the American economy and American consumption is so central to global capitalism, this festival of ‘Holy Days’ has become a central expression and embodiment of American imperial domination, an imperial religion. 
Richard Horsley, Religion and Empire (2003)

Truly, this Season signals a major tension for North American radical disciples.  We resist and reclaim.  Whether it is our love language our not, we give.  But some forms of giving are far more redemptive than others.

It is in this Spirit that we offer gift ideas from more out-of-the-way, up-and-coming, long-suffering and open-hearted thinkers and artists.  Links to their work are provided here and will eventually be added to our now-pemanent “STORE” tab up top.  We hope this list is an Advent-instigator: please add your recommendations to the comments below or email us so we can add them to the store!!!

From the Poor People’s Campaign, coming to a watershed near you in 2018:

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A beautiful 2016 publication from Philly-based pastor-parent-activist about using the difficult and challenging parts of life as a way to deepen your spiritual path and become more authentic.
The Soul-Making Room by Dee Dee Risher
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There are two new releases from this Detroit-based pastor-activist who has been hauling the sanctuary on to the streets since the early 70’s.
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From the dry creek-beds of Southern California comes this deep collection of young practitioners experimenting with place-based radicalism…
And a older-yet-timely offering…
….and yet another teaming up with a SoCal-based pastor.
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Truly, it is a time of exile for those of us on the left.  Let’s set the clock back to the early Bush years with this re-examination of the Exodus from a Vancouver-based pastor-activist.
And More from Dykstra:
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From two U.S.-based Filipinas displaying a celebration of the beauty, richness, and diversity of indigenous ways.
Back from the Crocodile’s Belly by Lily Mendoza and Leny Mendoza Strobel
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This one takes Jesus out of the over-spiritualized heart and over-futurized heaven and places him right where he was in the Gospels: the street!
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From the foot of Tiger Mountain in Washington State comes a vital perspective on early church history (aka, “the roots of why Christians want to make America great again.”).
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And lest we think gift-giving is only for adults, the executive director of the Center for Prophetic Imagination in Minneapolis tells this St. Francis-inspired tale for our young ones.
A Wolf at the Gate by Mark Van Steenwyk
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This year, Charlottesville exposed us all to some of the most vicious forms of American white supremacy.  But far less known, C’Ville is home to some radical experimentation, including sweet sounds from a young singer-songwriter.  Perfect for people defined by death-and-resurrection.
Claire Hitchins, These Bodies
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And this!  From a Minneapolis-based artist and PhD candidate releasing her first album, a powerfully rich blend bursting with beauty, grief, creativity and prophetic wisdom.
Katherine Parent, The Wait for Green
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Probably the most unique musical contribution of the movement is from Philly-based Holy Fool Arts, a voice of and for the wilderness that combines poetry, theatrical masks, ancient rhythms, traditional and modern dance forms, with a heavy side of the blues.
Beast, Groan
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And for those who prefer dance as their desired form of resistance: this Detroit-based DJ dubs in Rev. Barber to raise the roof off the White House.
Peter Croce, Revival
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For much of our own graphic inspiration RadicalDiscipleship.net heads north to Duluth to be captivated by beauty and truth on paper.
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Lastly, a recommendation from author-activist Wes Howard-Brook fair-trade, organic chocolate from Mama Ganache.  From WHB:

They are THE BEST! As we all know, corporate chocolate production is  both a human and environmental horror show. The folks at MG use their profits to support farmers in West Africa in many ways, as explained on their website. I’ve been ordering from them for years!

 

Wild Lectionary: We Despised the Pleasant Land

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Fort McMurray Alberta Tar Sands, Kris Krüg CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Proper 23(28)
19th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 106

By Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

When you tell the story of your, your family’s, or your community’s journey, what role does the land and its nonhuman creatures play?

Central to God’s promise to ancient Israel was a land to call their own, both as a people and as local families. In this week’s reading, Psalm 106 presents one of several biblical summaries of Israel’s relationship with YHWH, the land and its peoples. It is framed by “praise YHWH,” although the core of the psalm laments the people’s constant disobedience and forgetfulness. Throughout the psalm, the land is close at hand, beginning with deliverance from Egypt via the Red Sea, and continuing into the wilderness struggles. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Joseph—God’s Agent or Agent of Empire?

Field Egypt Farmer PeopleEleventh Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 15(20)

“God has made me lord of all Egypt…” Joseph, son of Jacob (Gen 45.9)

“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.” Paul of Tarsus (Rom 8.19)

By Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

A decade or so ago, we spent two years of our monthly Saturday teaching/retreat series with the book of Genesis. Folks eagerly engaged Genesis’ anti-city perspective and its all-too-human characters. But when we got to the Joseph story, several rebelled angrily against our starting characterization of Joseph, son of Jacob, as a self-absorbed, manipulative power seeker, who “succeeded” by teaching Pharaoh how to manage famine for personal profit. What is it about Joseph that leads so many to want to see him as a heroic expression of faith? Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Beware the Cataclysm!

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Photo by Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

By Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson, Abide in Me

For readers of Wild Lectionary, there is hardly a Scripture passage more fitting than Genesis’ account of the Flood. The powerful, terrifying narrative is often reduced to a kids’ story, replete as it is with “cute” animals in the Ark. But, of course, beneath the surface is a story of divine near-omnicide, revealing a deep rift between the Creator’s vision and humanity’s response to God’s gift of the earth. In combination with the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 7.21-28), this week’s texts offer a sobering reminder of the cost of human violence to the earth and its creatures, including sapiens. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Jesus seeds, sprout!

4472671089_c4d4169f44_b.jpgEaster Sunday
By Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

Night and day, woman and man, soil and sky, humanity and God: all these primal pairs are present in this week’s proclamation of the Uprising of Jesus. Each pair echoes an element of the first chapters of Genesis, the foundational narrative of the “religion of creation” upon which John’s gospel is grounded. These connections help us to hear that the hope of Easter is not in an invisible part of one’s self (“the soul”) leaving earth for somewhere else, but in the power of the Creator God to continue to bring forth life from the earth, despite the murderous ways of empire. Continue reading

Raise the Questions They Cannot Raise

WesSueDay 11 in our Lenten Journey through Dr. King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech.

We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation’s only noncommunist revolutionary political force, the unified Buddhist Church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men.

Now there is little left to build on, save bitterness. Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call “fortified hamlets.” The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these. Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These, too, are our brothers.

By Sue Ferguson Johnson and Wes Howard-Brook

When King turned his prophetic voice to the war in Vietnam, he joined a long tradition of those who saw and named the connections between what he called the “evil triplets” of racism, capitalism and militarism. A century earlier, former slave Frederick Douglas, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, and women’s suffragette Susan B. Anthony combined in a campaign that similarly linked such evils in their own time (see H. Meyer, All on Fire). Now, fifty years after King, we, too, are called to speak and to act in solidarity for justice in all its interconnected manifestations. Continue reading