Make Your Own Discernment Flowchart

Back in February, I had the opportunity to travel back to Portland / Camas to speak at Chris Hall’s “Way of the Spirit” spiritual apprentice retreat program. I go to talk about the Bible, talk about discernment, Quakers and be in conversation with retreat goers. Some of the kinds of things I like to do.

While I was there I was reminded of my little discernment flowchart I created last June for my care committee (it’s like a personal support group for people under a particular ministry or calling). The flowchart is a pretty simple, yet fun activity of reflection one can do alone or in a group. So I thought it’d be worth sharing with others, in hopes that you find it useful as well.

Continue reading Make Your Own Discernment Flowchart

Code Switch it President Obama’s Legacy

Code switch is a podcast about race in America with some really incredible hosts. It’s worth subscribing and listening to, but this last episode where the begin a three-part series of looking at President Obama’s legacy as president, especially in regards to race and how that plays into the challenges he faced, is really on point. I can’t recommend it enough:

Rev. Barber: We Will Take Back Our Country, by Moral Means | Diane Ravitch’s blog

Diane Ravitch recently posted excerpts from an article Rev. Dr. William Barber wrote for Think Progress on December 15, 2016. If you do not know who Rev. Barber is, you should find out. He is the president of the NAACP in NC and a pastor of a church in Goldsboro, NC and wrote a book called, “The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear,” which I cannot recommend enough.

I learned about Rev. Barber a number of years ago when he helped build the Moral Monday protests, which were in response to the “extremist makeover of North Carolina’s government,” in other words, what it looks like to “take back America.” And this past spring, I had the good fortune to meet and work with Rev. Barber as we invited him to Guilford College to be our commencement speaker (video of his talk here). That was an incredible experience for me in so many ways. I admire Barber’s political insight as a community organizer and I am inspired by how it flows out of his theological commitments and analysis as a pastor and theologian. Barber is building a “fusion coalition,” rooted in a history of the fusion party in the South, of people across various issues, needs and communities, something he is working to build across the country.

Here is an excerpt of his piece via Ravitch:

When Obama broke through in North Carolina in 2008, we witnessed firsthand the whitelash that America is reeling from right now. Some folks are saying we’ll have to wait and see what a Trump administration decides to do. But we’ve already seen it in North Carolina. The blueprint for what it looks like to “take back America” in the 21st century was laid out in the extremist makeover of North Carolina’s government during the 2013 legislative session. What’s the policy agenda of Make America Great Again? I can tell you because we’ve seen it:

Give tax breaks to corporations and to the wealthy, attack public education, deny people access to health care, attack immigrants, attack the LGBTQ community in the name of “religious liberty,” strip environmental protections, and, finally, make it easier to get a gun than it is to vote….

First, we must recognize the need for indigenously led, state-based, state-government focused, deeply moral, deeply constitutional, anti-racist, anti-poverty, pro-justice, pro-labor, and transformative movement building. There’s no shortcut around this. We must build a movement from the bottom up. We must build relationships at the state level because that’s where most of the extremism of the current-day deconstructionists are happening. They see the possibility of a Third Reconstruction, which is why they’

Source: Rev. Barber: We Will Take Back Our Country, by Moral Means | Diane Ravitch’s blog

 

Mary: Revolutionary for Our Time

The Black Madonna

It is advent, a critical moment in the church calendar.

It is post-election, a critical moment in the life of the United States.

Advent is marked as a time of quiet, expectant waiting. There is hope in birth narratives of Jesus, but it is hope tempered by loss, defeat, and suffering that comes from living under a brutal imperial regime. There is no fanfare in his coming, it is noticed only by poor shepherds and Pagan Stargazers. The priests, pundits, and powerful elite were unaware.

This US election is marked by something vastly different. It unmasked the anger, pain, division, and in many cases, hatred of those ‘others’ operating as scapegoats for the US Empire. Fanfare is on order for the triumphant party, running victory laps, rallying one side over and against another. Whipping people up into a frenzy for a great return. The priest, pundits and powerful elite rejoice. Continue reading Mary: Revolutionary for Our Time

Trello Love In a Tweet

trello-logo-blue

I love trello.com and that’s not news to folks who know me. I use it for personal work and work work and everything in between. So I was happy to get Michael Chapman’s tweet and respond:

Here are my responses in tweets (okay – one tweet increments – does that count?):

There’s no reason to not try trello. It’s free and quick to setup and fun to play around with. They have super handy tutorials and a great getting started guide. While you’re out it, check out the trello inspiration page.

Revelation and Angelic Troublemaking

Over the last century, the book of Revelation has lost its edge in the West. What was understood as a letter written to small faith communities surviving the threat of Roman empire, propped up by its imperial religion, economics and violence, has largely become a book underwriting what some have called “evacuation theology.” In my view, these are two incompatible readings of Revelation.

The latter view is about how to get out of here: here often is construed as “this life” or “the world about to come to an end,” but could also be avoiding difficult conversations, uncomfortable or even dangerous issues arising within a particular community. In this reading, of which I too have subscribed to in my own life, the faithful are ultimately not committed to seeing the powers and principalities of this present order changed, challenged, or subverted. In this view, Jesus’ teachings on the Sermon on the Mount are ultimately too idealistic to be formative practices for everyday life.

On the other hand, the former reading of Revelation, reminds us that God is opposed to empire and its practices of religion, economics and violence that it generates to sustain itself. In this space the church is to be a “brave space” bearing prophetic witness against empire. Jesus’ vision of the church is designed to be a dynamic, revolutionary presence within this current order, demonstrating, what Quakers call, “Gospel Order.” Quaker testimony is born out of the leadings of Christ as present teaching, a conviction that suggests Jesus’ teachings are not only practices with ongoing usefulness in the here and now, but that they are ultimately in opposition to “the ways of empire.”

If the way of empire is about benefitting the few at the expense, exploitation and oppression of the many, then the way of the Lamb that was slain, is a subversion of all of this. It symbolizes God’s counter vision. The way of the Lamb that was slain is rooted in nonviolence, it is radically present to the needs of the disenfranchised in our communities, it does not scapegoat and it loves both enemy and neighbor. This reading of Revelation calls the followers of Jesus to be, what African-American Quaker Bayard Rustin named, “Angelic Troublemakers.” Radical love through radical presence – a vision of the church we desperately need today.

This is an entry previously submitted for a NWYM Peace Month Reader.