Monday, June 17, 2019

GO DEEP: "On Beauty"



"Beauty is a name for God...but we must not deify our conceptions of beauty."

Saturday, June 15, 2019

DISCIPLESHIP: "Repentance That Counts!"

"The time is now. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the gospel." ~ Jesus, Mark 1

CONSIDER: "Oppression, Privilege and Spiritual Practice"

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Friday, June 7, 2019

BECAUSE ART: "Maryam"



What a privilege it's been to watch this project emerge in the faith and imagination of my friend, Victoria Rue, and then in the courage and strength of artists and Palestinian women in the West Bank itself!  Watch for opportunities to see them perform in the Bay Area...sometime!  It's powerful and evocative...and it brings us together around Mary herself.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

WATCH THIS: "The Human Epoch"



Two recommendations today: a movie and a podcast.  Together they issue a thoughtful, urgent and emotionally-charged call: to discipleship, repentance and a new vision of earth's holiness.  The movie is vivid and arresting.  The teaching is deeply rooted in sacred story and watchful Christian resistance.  If you're part of a community--any community--doing ecological education or political organizing around climate change, I strongly recommend both of these.  Ched Myers is a profoundly gifted teacher, and a devoted mentor to many of us seeking an engaged Christian practice in a dangerous time.  See the movie first.  Then devote some time to Ched's podcast.  It will shake you up, maybe wake you up.  And you'll be glad you took the time!
FROM "ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH": "The earth is 4.5 billion years old and its history is recorded in the rocks.  Since 2009, a group of scientists has been investigating whether our 12,000 year-old geological epoch, the Holocene, has ended.  After 9 years of research, the evidence shows that we have left the Holocene and entered the Anthropocene Epoch, because humans now change the earth and its systems more than all natural processes combined."
Image result for thomas fire
Ched Myers' podcast (from "Studies in Mark") is an hour-long study on the discipleship practice, and staying awake to the pain and hope of our time.  Living and writing from the Ventura Watershed in Southern California, Ched begins this study is a very personal and raw reflection on the Thomas Fire and its terrifying consequences in the watershed he calls home.  He notes that the Anthropocene Epoch is indeed upon us, and requires bold analysis and bolder spiritual and political maturity.  He connects the climate crisis with the devastating economies of greed and inequity.  And then he moves on to consider Jesus' call to radical awareness and hopefulness in the Gospel of Mark.  

See www.bcm-net.org for more of Ched's teaching and work!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

BECAUSE MUSIC: "Kayhan Kalhor"

DO JUSTICE: "Why Care So Much?"

A thoughtful, probing piece on one man's journey into identity, solidarity and compassion...

Monday, May 20, 2019

DISCIPLESHIP: "Our Most Sacred Relative"

 

From The Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs: The principle of non-Indigenous environmental justice work could be summarized like this: "The earth is our greatest natural resource and it is incumbent upon us to protect it." Sounds good, but it is wrong. Because when viewed from an Indigenous perspective, we would state it like this: "The earth is our most sacred relative and it is incumbent upon us to protect her." The Earth has an identity. The Earth lives. She breathes. She moves. She thunders. She nourishes.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

READ THIS: "The Guest Book"

I love recommending good books...and I'm thrilled to recommend a great one.  Here's The Guest Book by Sarah Blake, a stunning and sweeping novel exploring privilege and power, race and racism, loss and memory.  At its heart, though, is the problem of America, the choices made and not made, the sins unconfessed and carried along, generation to generation.  The mayhem done in the name of good manners and confidence.  

For friends doing critically important anti-racism work and insisting on anti-colonial projects here at home, Sarah Blake's storytelling invites deep reflection, into-the-night conversation and profound conversion.  Hers are not the musings of a hasty thinker or an impulsive one; instead she seems to insist on courage and action, while wondering if meaningful transformation is even possible.  Can we recognize the horrors we inflict--even and especially in polite society--and choose another course?  Can we truly accept responsibility (or 'response-ability') for the pain, suffering and damage we've done?

It's heavy stuff, to be sure.  But this is the work before us, she seems to suggest.  To truly remember (or 're-member') our past, to come to grips with our bigotry and prejudice, how deeply, deeply rooted they are in the souls and soils of America.

For instance, just a bit, just a taste:

In this scene, Paul has just returned from Berlin.  There, he's encountered Gunter Demnig's Stolpersteine Project, 600+ small brass squares recalling the names of Jews deported and murdered by the Nazi regime.  Each square is embedded in a street, a sidewalk, in a stretch of pavement where the kidnapped soul last lived.
"Before the Holocaust," Paul was explaining to Daryl now, "when someone tripped on a paving stone in the road, the folk saying went, A Jew must be buried there.  So the stumble stones take the old folk saying and make it literal."
He folded his arms, leaning against the edge of his desk.  "I had heard about the project but had forgotten it was there."
"Pavement stories," Daryl mused.
Paul nodded.  "Told all over the city."
Evie came to stand beside them.  Ranged in neat rows, a grid above their heads, the small brass squares reminded her of blocks of moveable type: Here lived, or Here workied.  Then the name.  Their birth.  The date of deportation, and last, of their murder.
"Those were the ones outside the flat in Schoeneberg where I was staying," Paul pointed to the top three, what looked like a family.
Heir arbeiteteArthur Kroner,JG 1874,Gedemutigt,Flucht in den Todd, 1941
Next to his block lay his wife: Heir wohnte Sophie Kroner, JG 1878, Gedemutigt, Flucht en den Todd, 1941; and beneath her parents, Mildred Kroner, JG 1925, Deportiert, 1941, Ermordert in Auschwitz, 1942.
"Here worked and lived Arthur and Sophie Kroner."  Daryl paused. 
"Gedemutigt?"
"Humiliated," Paul translated.  "And flown into death, 1941."
"Meaning?"
"They probably killed themselves rather than be taken."

BECAUSE MUSIC: "Elias Lammam"



Today many gathered to remember the spirit, music and life of Elias Lammam.  It was such a privilege for me to be with them, to pray among Muslim and Christian friends, in gratitude and peace.  A true genius and beloved brother and father, Elias will be missed and his memory cherished by many.  May God bless his journey home, and may his memory be a blessing for his family, students and friends.