(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.
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
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
The purpose of chedmyers.org is to provide one-stop access to writing and talks by Ched Myers.
Ched is an activist theologian, biblical scholar, popular educator, author, organizer and advocate who has for 35 years been challenging and supporting Christians to engage in peace and justice work and radical discipleship.
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