Blogs

Apr
15

"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: 

Apr
9

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

Apr
2

Localize the Liturgy! By Sarah Nolan

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. 

//more

Mar
30

"I said what our diocese most needed. Then I realized: nobody knew what I meant." By Nurya Parish

Note: This is my appreviation of our friend '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...

Mar
20

"ZERO TOLERANCE AND THE WAY OF THE CROSS," by Rev. Kim Erno

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  

Mar
9

"From Silence to Salaam: A Reflection on Contemplative Peacebuilding" by Weldon Nisly

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.

Mar
7

"On the Edge of the Wilderness": An Ash Wednesday Homily, by Jennifer Henry

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 

Mar
6

"What is Radical Discipleship?" by Ched Myers

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

Mar
3

Is there a Christian Food Movement? by Fred Bahnson

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. 

/more

Jan
30

"Thomas Merton on Mahatma Gandhi," by Art Laffin and Rasoul Sorkhabi

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.

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