Note: This post is from http://candidobservation.com. Rev. Susan K. Smith (above) works closely with Ruby Sales, Cheryl Blankenship and the good sisters of "Breaking the Silence on Modern Day Lynching" and the SpiritHouse Project.
Freddie Gray is dead and nobody seems to know how it happened.
His body has not yet been released to his family. There has been an autopsy – though the results have not been yet released – and another, independent autopsy has been requested by the family.
But meanwhile, Freddie Gray lies dead and nobody seems to know what happened.
It is maddening that, after a week, nobody knows anything. It feels like incompetence and it begs an explanation as to why such incompetence exists. It feels like information is being withheld in an effort to protect the police.
It brings back memories of how the death of Michael Brown was handled. /more
"A Letter to Randy and Kimberly on the Occasion of the Closing of the Pasadena Peace and Justice Academy," by Ched Myers
Note: Today I received this email from Randy Christopher and Kimberly Medendorp (above): "When the Pasadena Peace & Justice Academy was conceived back in 2008 it was an experiment in hope. Since opening our doors in September, 2009, the experiment has been, in our estimation, an enormous success – a success in every way except one. We have not been successful in enrolling students to the school. Based on our projected enrollment of returning students and new students who have made a commitment, we will not have the revenue necessary to further sustain the school. At this time the board of directors has voted unanimously to suspend operations for the school at the end of May, 2015. You have both supported and sacrificed to help the school – especially Elaine, our champion of Restorative Justice and Peace & Justice Coordinator extraordinaire! We hope you can join us at our Graduation and P&JA Closing Ceremony on Saturday, May 23, 5:00 pm..."
Dear Randy and Kimberly:
Words can’t express how sad this news makes us.
When I think of what will no longer be at PAJA, these lines from Will Campbell’s eulogy come to mind:
Eastertide Reflection (Mk 15:40-16:2): The Women’s Witness of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection by Ched Myers
Image above: Mikhail Nesterov “The Empty Tomb,” 1889.
This brief midrash on Mark’s spare but evocative Easter narrative highlights a central aspect that is routinely overlooked. Let’s begin with the body. According to Mark, after Jesus’ execution, his body was granted by the Roman procurator Pilate to Joseph, a member of the Judean council that had condemned Jesus. As described in 15:43-46, this has all the hallmarks of a political move aimed at prohibiting those in Jesus’ community from executing their duties according to Purity and custom, thus further cutting off the new movement and preventing occasion for more protest during the volatile season of Passover (for further exegetical aspects of this passage, see Binding the Strong Man, pp 392ff. /more
Archived Webinar: “Easter Webinar: How Do We See the Risen Christ? An Interview with Theologian Thorwald Lorenzen"
(Recorded April 7, 2015). View this recorded webinar at your convenience.
Ched looked at three key themes in Mark’s Easter story, and then interviewed German theologian Dr Thorwald Lorenzen live from Canberra, Australia. Lorenzen is the author of Resurrection, Discipleship and Justice: Affirming the Resurrection of Jesus Today (Orbis, 2003) and he is an important progenitor of the radical discipleship movement whose theology of resurrection has been foundational. We also spoke with theological ethicist Geoff Broughton about his recent book Restorative Christ - Jesus, Justice, and Discipleship (Pickwick, 2015).$9.50
BCM's Elaine Enns will talk about her recent doctoral studies concerning historical response-ability, intergenerational trauma and building solidarity with indigenous communities. Webinar will be broadcast live from Mennonite Central Committee offices in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.$9.50
Note: On Maundy Thursday many traditions celebrate the Lord's Supper. This 2013 reflection by Abundant Table Farm Project colleague Sarah Nolan reminds us that the elements we use have a life and an economy about which should ever be mindful.
Every week, our little house church in Ventura County, CA practices a ritual ceremony, along with millions across the globe, that calls us to touch, taste, smell, see and” re-member” the life and work of a man who equated his body with bread and his blood with wine. Along with these central elements, other powerful symbols such as candles, water, flowers and oils make up these rituals that provide texture and life to the liturgy.
Note: This is my appreviation of our friend Nurya Parish's blog post of March 30, 2015, talking about how watershed discipleship relates to the church's missional strategy.
This Saturday, Episcopalians from greater Grand Rapids, Michigan, gathered with our bishop and staff at St. Mark’s, Grand Rapids for a Bishop’s Town Hall...
(Recorded Mar 24, 2015). View this recorded webinar at your convenience.
The West Atlanta Watershed Alliance is a pioneering effort at the intersection of ecological and social justice. In the wake of U.N. World Water Day (3/24), Sarah Thompson and Ched Myers talked with founder Na'Taki Jelks about WAWA, organizing around issues of environmental racism and "watershed discipleship." This program was our 2015 annual free Community webinar!$0.00
Lutheran pastor Kim Erno sends this reflection from Cuernavaca, Mexico about how Golgotha reflects the marginalization of the urban poor and oppressed pushed into the urban peripheries.
We were headed downtown for Saturday comida (midday meal) and were met with large numbers of people walking away from the city center. They were somber and for the most part silent as if they had just witnessed something unpleasant. We rounded a corner and saw people running across the central plaza of Cuernavaca. At about the same time the air carried the acrid scent of tear gas. //more
Note: Nisly (above) is a retired Mennonite pastor. He is spending 5 months at the Collegeville Institute of Saint John's Abbey writing stories from pastoral and peace ministry. This is a reflection on his time in Iraq with CPT last fall.
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest. Isaiah 62:1
Jesus came near and saw the city, he wept over it saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes.” Luke 19:41f.
Isaiah sees injustice and invokes Jerusalem, refusing to keep silent. Jesus sees Jerusalem and laments our refusal to see what makes peace. Jerusalem, a central and symbolic place whose name embraces peace -- salaam/shalom – embodies violence reverberating around the world.
Note: We have also received many requests for this amazing sermon, given at the Ash Wednesday worship service of the Festival of Radical Discipleship, Feb 18, 2015. Jennifer Henry (above) is the Executive Director of Kairos Canada.
Isaiah 58:1-12, Mark 1: 1-13
You and I, we are standing on the edge of the wilderness with Jesus; you and I, on this first day of Lent, driven by the Spirit; you and I, on this Ash Wednesday, made of earth and water. Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return. Today, whatever our justice ministry, we are invited, reminded, compelled, driven to enter into the wilderness to confirm our identity, to remember our names, and to reclaim our integrity, finding each other along the way. //more
We've received lots of requests to make this available, so below is an excerpt from Ched’s opening comments at the Bartimaeus Kinsler InstituteFestival of Radical Discipleship here in Oak View on Feb 16, 2015. (Above: A surprise appearance of the “Rt. Rev. Arch Squishop of the Ventura River Watershed” at the Carnival performance on Wednesday.)
What this week is really about is to commemorate 40 years of the Radical Discipleship movement. Radical Discipleship is NOT a dope slogan, or a mobilizing soundbyte, or a hip brand, or an ironic twitter handle. Hell, these terms aren’t even cool anymore. “Radical” is a term as unfashionable today as it was trendy in the 1960s. The notion of “discipleship,” meanwhile, is entirely shrugged off in liberal church circles, and trivialized in conservative ones. So let me explain why this is the handle of this Festival, why we insist on using the phrase. The etymology of the term radical (for the Latin radix, "root") is the best reason not to concede it to nostalgia. If we want to get to the root of anything we must be radical. No wonder the word has been demonized by our masters and co-opted by marketing hucksters, and no wonder no one in conventional politics dares use the word favorably, much less track any problem to its root. //more
At least once a month I get a call from a journalist looking for stories on food and faith.
Just last week a guy from the New York Times Magazine called looking for stories on faith-based agrarian communities. After getting over my initial jealousy that I wasn't the writer pitching that very story to the New York Times Magazine, I told him where he might look. After all, I spent three years writing a book on that very topic. It's called Soil and Sacrament. The story I told in that book was partly my own "agrarian conversion," as I called it, but most of the book was a profile of different actors in the faith-based food movement. After researching dozens of such communities, I narrowed it down to four: Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, and Jewish.
“Easter Webinar: How Do We See the Risen Christ? An Interview with Theologian Thorwald Lorenzen"$9.50
(Recorded February 17, 2015). View this recorded webinar at your convenience.
In this “live look-in” to the 2015 Kinsler Institute: A Festival of Radical Discipleship, Ched interviewed John (right), Carol, Sierra and Sydney Hirt, who joined us from Sydney, Australia.$9.50
Note: Today is the anniversary of Gandhi's assassination and tomorrow marks the 100th birthday of Thomas Merton. I came across this compelling article about Merton's reflection's on Gandhi which is an important and insightful read. These two men have greatly influenced countless people, including me, to follow the way of nonviolence, to live in accordance with the truth of God's commands and to be rooted in the Gospel of Jesus. They are among the holy cloud of witnesses now advocating for us! --Art Laffin
"Thomas Merton’s Reflections on Mahatma Gandhi," by Rasoul Sorkhabi (November 5, 2008), www.gandhifoundation.org.
Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in New Delhi 1948 (now sixty years ago) and Thomas Merton, a renowned Trappist monk and author, was killed in a tragic accident in 1968 (forty years ago). These anniversaries are valuable opportunities to reflect on the legacies, works and teachings of these two great men of peace. Gandhi has influenced many minds and movements of the twentieth century. In this article, we review Merton’s impressions of Gandhi and how they are helpful for our century and generation as well.
Archived Webinar: “Sun & Moon, Raven & Dove: A Conversation with Tevyn East and Jay Beck on Art, Politics and Faith.”
(Recorded January 20, 2015). View this recorded webinar at your convenience.
Ched talked with the founders of the amazing Carnival de Resistance about their vocation as performers/dancers/musicians, the ideals and history behind the Carnival, and their respective journeys that brought them together and inspired a whole community of ‘Carnivalistas’.$9.50
“If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness. And this morning, the thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”
These well-known words are from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermon “The Drum Major Instinct,” delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on February 4, 1968. Dr. King was explaining that we all start out with the ingrained instinct to be “drum majors”: everyone wants to be important, to be first, to lead the parade. Watch a group of children try to form a line and right away you’ll see this instinct in action. But Dr. King said too many people never outgrow this instinct—and by constantly struggling to be the most powerful or famous or wealthiest or best-educated, we forget one of the Gospels’ and life’s largest truths: the real path to greatness is through service. //more
It strikes me that having a national MLK holiday is a little like having Bibles in our church pews. A lot of struggle and work went into preserving and making these sacred, transforming memories and stories available. But that doesn't mean that most folk actually bother to read, engage and understand them, much less enact them anew. There's a certain comfort in having Bibles sitting around, or commemorating King--Google's front page simulating the Selma march today--that doesn't upset the status quo. more//