(Recorded November 18, 2014). View this recorded webinar at your convenience.
Ched spoke with Mennonite author Gordon Oyer about his groundbreaking 2014 book Pursuing the Spiritual Roots of Protest (Wipf & Stock), and how all Christian activists are children of an amazing gathering at Gethsemane Abbey 50 years ago this month. The webinar also included a small audio clip of Merton discussing the retreat with his novices.
Upon purchase you will be emailed a pdf with a link and directions on how to view the archived webinar.$9.50
Note: This is McKibben's response to this week's "climate deal" between the U.S. and China. A good summary worth reading. I'm happy to be on a panel with McKibben (pictured above) next week at the Society for Biblical Literature conference.
Last night, just weeks after the largest climate mobilization ever, the world's two biggest polluters -- the United States and China -- announced their most ambitious climate action yet. That is not a coincidence: it's a sign that our pressure is working, and that we need to apply much more. Here's my take on what the just-announced plan from President Obama and Premier Xi is, and isn't:
1) It is historic. John Kerry was right to use the phrase in his New York Times oped announcing the deal: for the first time a developing nation has agreed to eventually limit its emissions. This is a necessity for advancing international climate negotiations.
2) It isn't binding in any way. In effect President Obama is writing an IOU to be cashed by future presidents and Congresses (and Xi is doing the same for future Politburos). If they take the actions to meet the targets, then it's meaningful, but for now it's a paper promise. And since physics is uninterested in spin, all the hard work lies ahead.
3) It is proof -- if any more was needed -- that renewable energy is ready to go. The Chinese say they'll be using clean sources to get 20% of their energy by 2030 -- which is not just possible, it should be easy. Which they know because they've revolutionized the production of solar energy, driving down the cost of panels by 90% or more in the last decade.
A letter from our friend Art Laffin (Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in DC) who is visiting Jeju Island in Korea, which gives a taste of the Catholic resistance to the military base there:
"Greetings from Jeju Island which is located off the coast of S.Korea in the South China Sea. I left Manila on Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 29) and arrived on this beautful Island later that evening. I left an amazing community in Manila standing for life and justice and saying No to state-sponsored killing. And I have come to be with another amazing community who are saying Yes to life and No to the construction of new naval base that is a crime and a sin!
Seeing that I was going to be in the Asia-Pacific region, I was able to make arrangements to travel after the Manila conference to Jeju Island to support this very important peace initiative. For the last seven years I have been closely following this inspiring nonviolent campaign, led by local islanders along with priests and sisters, to stop the construction of this U.S.-backed Korean naval base on Jeju Island (named the Island of Peace by the Korean government).
Note: Mike Miles (above with a friend) and his family and community mates have been doing a rural Catholic Worker in Wisconsin for many years, and participating in anti-nuclear resistance. His reflection below describes his conversion to silvopasturing as an expression of his discipleship. --CM
As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a farmer. It started on my grandmother’s farm where twelve cousins would meet for the summer to help with chores, chase cows when they got out, put up hay, but mostly to hang out at her forty acre private lake. Not a bad life for a kid from the Chicago suburbs. Why would I want to be in Little League when I could be at the farm?
This all started for me in the early 1960’s when everything we did was about raising food to eat and sell. The garden was as important as all the work that went into filling up the milk bulk tank. Eggs were gathered every day, the whole clan gathered to butcher chickens, but the hardest job was battling mosquitoes for every last blueberry back in the swamp. Pies and jam made up for the torture we endured trampling through the thickets. It was a great life.
Fifty years later I still love farming. Our garden is much bigger than Nana ever would have put up with and now when we go back in the woods it is for maple syrup. Our kids always teased us that we weren’t really farmers because we didn’t have animals but we showed them when we got chickens, pigs, and steers after they all left for college.
Note: This poignant poem about the Israeli military's "humane" policy of calling households in Gaze one minute before they are about to be bombed was forwarded to us by our friend Clancy Dunigan in Seattle. --CM
"Running Orders," by Lena Khalaf Tuffaha
They call us now.
Before they drop the bombs.
The phone rings
and someone who knows my first name
calls and says in perfect Arabic
“This is David.”
And in my stupor of sonic booms and glass shattering symphonies
still smashing around in my head
I think “Do I know any Davids in Gaza?”
They call us now to say
Note: A dispatch from our friend Fred Bahnson from the weekend's People's Climate March in N.Y. city.
Two days ago on W. 58th street in Manhattan, I stood shoulder-to-shoulder in a massive throng of people, waiting.
I had joined Wake Divinity alum Caleb Pusey and current student Crystal Rook who had traveled overnight by bus from Charlotte to New York. We had come for the People's Climate March, the largest such gathering in history. We were ready to march, had been ready for over an hour, in fact. But the line there on W. 58th St. showed no sign of moving. And so we waited.
We've all been waiting, haven't we? When it comes to climate legislation, we've mostly heard rhetoric from our leaders. We've been wondering why can't we get going? It's clear climate change is real, that it's happening now, and that we need to take drastic steps to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels in order to avoid ecological catastrophe. Whether it's eating California tomatoes instead of growing them locally, or burning Kentucky coal instead of getting our electricity from wind or solar, the way we currently nourish and power our lives needs to change. We each can do our part, and the role of the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative is to train faith leaders to do their part to create "more redemptive food systems." But we're still waiting on our global leaders to do their part. Which is why we went to New York.
And what a hopeful day it was.
Note: This is a recent post from our friends at Faith and Money Network:
How much is enough?
"What kind of question is that?" we might respond. “You can never have enough.” There’s never enough money to cover every potential financial disaster. There’s never enough stuff to make us feel loved and whole.
“The notion that we will never have enough is part of the dysfunctional story of modern technological, capitalist society that we have internalized,” said theologian Ched Myers in a recent interview with FMN Director Mike Little. We carry, Myers said, a sense of anxiety that leads us to believe we can never have enough.
That’s not God’s message, however. “The old story [in the biblical book of Exodus] actually says there is such a thing as enough,” Myers contended. //more
Archived Webinar: “Heeding the Prophet's Call? The Life and Legacy of Dr. Vincent Harding--and His Challenge to Mennonites (and Other Peace Churches)"
(Recorded September 16, 2014). View this recorded webinar at your convenience.$9.50
Mark C. Johnson is Executive Director of The Center and Library for the Bible and Social Justice in New York. Below is his review of Pursuing the Spiritual Roots of Protest: Merton, Berrigan, Yoder and Muste at the Gethsemani Abbey Peacemakers Retreat. Gordon Oyer, Cascade Books, Eugene, Oregon, 2014.
Gordon Oyer’s book is an almost magical bridging of a half dozen genre in a single work. It starts out as a detective story, reconstructing, through sheer leg-work in archives and interviewing surviving participants, the explanation of how and why this retreat was held in 1964 at Thomas Merton’s residence, the Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky. It then becomes a day by day account of the proceedings, almost dramaturgical in its structure; one could envision it restaged. But it also works as meta-theory and meta-praxis, describing the way it which the event opened new ecumenical conversations and offering a powerful rationale for the continuing practice of retreats. It serves as a theological study of the roots of some strains of thinking later deepened by Merton and Yoder in particular. Historical biographies flesh out the incredibly significant small collection of agents of peacemaking in the room including, like a documentary film rolling credits, what they went on to do (or in the case of A.J. Muste what was brought to the table) with their witness. Finally the entire story is reexamined through the lens of contemporary voices, people who if the retreat were scheduled today would likely be in the room. //more
Last month Wipf and Stock published Zionism and the Quest for Justice in the Holy Land. Ched worked with the editorial team on this project and helped get it to press. From the book's press release:
A critical examination of political Zionism, a topic often considered taboo in the West, is long overdue. Moreover, the discussion of Christian Zionism is usually confined to Evangelical and fundamentalist settings. The present volume will break the silence currently reigning in many religious, political, and academic circles and, in so doing, will provoke and inspire a new, challenging conversation on theological and ethical issues arising from various aspects of Zionism—a conversation that is vital to the quest for a just peace in Israel and Palestine. //more