knowing in our gut

So I asked my mentor, “What do you mean white people don’t believe the Bible?”

He said, “Well, you don’t know those stories. You always have to check the book. They don’t live in your gut. I am Gix’an.* Stories that are important to me and to my people, we know them in our gut. We can take them with us anywhere. They inform the way we live. After you read one of your stories, you close the book and leave it on a shelf. The stories don’t touch your life at all.”

I began to slowly learn how we could let the stories of the Bible decolonize our community.

– Jodi Spargur, from “Decolonizing the Gospel” in Geez

*The Gix’an  (or Gitxsan) people are an Indigenous people that live in the interior of BC.

which parade?

[this is an excerpt from an article written by SSU alumnus, David Moore, printed in the Santa Barbara News-Press following a peaceful protest in the wake of the non-indictment after the Ferguson shooting]

Jesus occupied Jerusalem, and in his case, it meant occupying the Empire. On the Sunday before he was executed by the state, he led a peace march. His
procession countered another that happened annually on the other side of the city, on the same day, led by the Roman governor. Jesus rode a donkey. Pilate rode a horse.
This official’s objective was to prevent uprisings among the masses who traveled from many places for their festival.

Pilate’s procession, with hundreds of noisy boots, helmets, shields and swords clanging to ensure crowd control was an institution. Jesus’ procession was revolutionary, armed
only with truth. Later, Jesus told his followers, “This is my body, given for you,” while offering them bread, and “this is my blood, shed for you,” inaugurating the Eucharist, the
meal that Christians still share, commemorating his sacrifice. When we share this meal, and symbolically by extenuation, every meal, we remind ourselves that his was a given life. This life nourishes us with strength to resist forces that mistreat and dishearten us, armed with truth.

In the Eucharist anger becomes love. In every shared meal, I am energized to become involved in others’ struggles. The struggling are those who have most reason to be angry. They are the most nonthreatening and vulnerable members of our society if they discover what to do with their anger. Come to this table. Come, eat this bread and drink this wine. You will be revitalized.

My redeemer says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for justice’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Powerless ones, lay down your meager arms; discover truth. Be angry about narratives, like much state-sanctioned education, and other propaganda. I include most traditional
media. Be angry over resignation to an emergent police state. Most of Tuesday night’s demonstrators found out about our demonstration via social media.

I am angry about the ongoing theft of Jesus’ lovely message by those who use it to reinforce power and make loud the voices of those who are not voiceless. They support the wrong procession, the wrong parade.

– David Moore, Jr., ThD, has served as pastor for New Covenant Church in Santa Barbara for 31 years.

an attentive silence to hear the poor and weak

In those who have suffered too many blows, in slaves for example, that place in the heart from which the infliction of evil evokes a cry of surprise may seem to be dead. But it is never quite dead; it is simply unable to cry out any more….

…those who most often have occasion to feel that evil is being done to them are those who are least trained in the art of speech….

Apart from the intelligence, the only human faculty which has an interest in public freedom of expression is that point in the heart which cries out against evil. But as it cannot express itself, freedom is of little use to it. What is first needed is a system of public education capable of providing it, so far as possible, with means of expression; and next, a regime in which the public freedom of expression is characterized not so much by freedom as by an attentive silence in which this faint and inept cry can make itself heard; and finally, institutions are needed of a sort which will, so far as possible, put power into the hands of [people] who are able and anxious to hear and understand it.

– Simone Weil

an early quote suggesting you can’t take it with you…

“Do not lose by saving, but gather in by scattering. Give to the poor, and you
give to yourself. You will not be allowed to keep what you have refused to give
others.”

– St. Peter Chrysologus (406-450)

Christmas Thoughts

In the birth of the small and vulnerable Jesus, we already celebrate by extension the crucified and resurrected Jesus, and this means something concrete regarding materialism and the luminosity of the Gospel. As his imitators, we are called to simplicity just as Jesus was. We are called to identification with those whose financial status disqualifies them from participating in the mad rush of holiday shopping, just as Jesus is. We are called, not to family-centrism, but to open our doors to those who may be crushed by loneliness, just as Jesus did.

***

What I mean is that until we find ourselves looking like Jesus at Christmas: poor, humble, and extremely open, then we have nothing to say to the culture. But have good cheer! I am convinced that we have been given a wonderful party with incredible joy waiting for us in the humility of the pennyless babe!

– Joel Mason