Order Now: Daily Advent Reflections for Radical Discipleship Communities

Order you Advent 2017 chapbook from RadicalDiscipleship.org to get deep and timely Christian reflections from the grassroots and beyond. Listening in the Dark: Daily Advent Reflections for Radical Discipleship Communities is limited-edition and self-published in Detroit, with original art, and voices that include Rose Berger, Lydia Wylie-Kellermann, Timothy Jones, Ched Myers, Tim Nafziger, Wesley Morris, Jeanie Wylie-Kellermann, and more. Churches, communities, and book groups are making this their companion for the season. You can order them at www.radicaldiscipleship.net/store.

A Litany for All Saints Day

Below is a litany that is especially suited to Ember Days in November, All Saints’ Day or Reformation Day, or Day of the Dead memorial at the end of October.

Liturgical Notes. This litany works best when read responsively. It can be divided in to multiple parts. Each part can begin with the leader saying, “We call to mind the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us in faith…” and concluding the section with the “Grant us…” triplet.

This is not an exhaustive list. It’s made to be adapted. It contains some saints recognized by the church and many holy men and women of God who have served the cause of the gospel or the spirit of liberation through the ages. Not all of them are Christian, though all are Christ-like. We encourage each community to add the names of those known locally who have inspired us to live a Godly life in the service of others.

Many of the names listed here will not be familiar to the congregation. We invite you to use the month of November to tell the stories of those who are part of our Great Cloud of Witnesses (Hebrews 12:1), including remembering those who have died who personally have influenced us. This litany can also easily be set to a plain chant or other simple musical refrain. Find an easily printable version here.—Rose Marie Berger

All Saints Day: A Litany of the Great Cloud of Witnesses

by Rose Marie Berger

We call to mind the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us in faith…

Our parents of earth and life, Adam and Eve…Pray for us.
Mothers Sarah and Hagar, and Father Abraham…Pray for us.
Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob, Leah, and Rachel…Pray for us.
Puah and Shiprah…Pray for us.
Miriam, Moses, and Aaron…Pray for us.
Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz…Pray for us.
Daughters of Jeptha…Pray for us.
Daughters of Lot…Pray for us.
Dinah and Tamar…Pray for us.
Bathsheba, Uriah, and David…Pray for us.
Women of Midian…Pray for us.
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea and all Hebrew prophets…Pray for us.
Judith, Deborah, and Jael…Pray for us.

The Forerunner, John the Baptist…Pray for us.
Holy Mary, Mother of God…Pray for us.
Joseph, Elizabeth and Zachariah…Pray for us.
Mary of Magdala and Peter…Pray for us.
Andrew and James…Pray for us.
Mathew, Mark, and Luke…Pray for us.
John the Beloved Disciple…Pray for us.
Paul and Barnabas…Pray for us.
Anna, Dorcas, and Lydia…Pray for us.
Priscilla and Phoebe…Pray for us.
John the Revelator…Pray for us.
Stephen, the first martyr…Pray for us.
Perpetua and Felicity…Pray for us.

Amma Sarra, Amma Syncletica, Amma Theodora…Pray for us.
Abba Poemen, Abba Anthony, Abba Macarius…Pray for us.
Mary of Egypt and Elizabeth the Wonderworker…Pray for us.
Matrona of Perge and Theodora of Thessalonike…Pray for us.
Basil, Athanasius, Gregory, and John…Pray for us.
Gregory, Ambrose, Augustine, and Jerome…Pray for us.
Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Sienna, and Thérèse of Lisieux…Pray for us.
Isadore and Maria…Pray for us.
Benedict and Scholastica…Pray for us.
Cosmas and Damian…Pray for us.
Dominic and Diego, Clare and Francis…Pray for us.
John Calvin and John Knox…Pray for us.
Martin Luther and Menno Simons…Pray for us.
John and Charles Wesley and Sarah Gwynne…Pray for us.
All you holy men and women, saints of God…Pray for us.

Grant us your wisdom…Hear our prayer.
Grant us your patience…Hear our prayer.
Grant us your courage…Hear our prayer.

We call to mind the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us in faith…

Our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego…Pray for us.
Juana Inés de la Cruz and Bartolome de las Casas…Pray for us.
Hannah More and William Wilberforce…Pray for us.
Fredrick Douglass and Harriet Tubman…Pray for us.
Ottobah Cugoano, Olaudah Equiano, and Ignatius Sancho…Pray for us.
Sojourner Truth and Joseph Cinquez…Pray for us.
Angela Grimke and Sarah Grimke…Pray for us.
Antoinette Brown and Olympia Brown…Pray for us.
Peter Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky…Pray for us.
Mohandas Gandhi and Khan Abdul Ghaffar …Pray for us.
Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin…Pray for us.
Tagashi Nagai and the Martyrs of Nagasaki and Hiroshima…Pray for us.
Agnes Le Thi Thanh and the Martyrs of Vietnam…Pray for us.
Mother Jones and the Martyrs of the Coal Mines…Pray for us.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Karl Barth, and Martin Neimoeller…Pray for us.
Maria Skobtsova and Ilya Fondaminsky…Pray for us.
Etty Hillesum, Franz Jaegerstaetter, and Victor Frankel…Pray for us.

Rosa Parks and Fannie Lou Hamer…Pray for us.
Abraham Joshua Heschel and Sylvia Straus…Pray for us.
Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King…Pray for us.
Caesar Chavez, Helen Fabela, and the Martyrs of the Fields…Pray for us.
Mahalia Jackson, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane…Pray for us.
Oscar Romero and the Martyrs of El Salvador…Pray for us.
Elizabeth O’Connor and Flannery O’Connor…Pray for us.
Evelyn Underhill, Caryll Houselander, and Henry Nouwen…Pray for us.
William Stringfellow and Anthony Townes…Pray for us.
Howard Thurman and Sue Bailey Thurman…Pray for us.
Denise Levertov and Jane Kenyon….Pray for us.
Penny Lernoux, Jean Sindab, and Ginny Earnest…Pray for us.
Rosemarie Freeney Harding and Vincent Gordon Harding…Pray for us.
Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Miriam Carey, and all
#BlackLivesMatter Martyrs … Pray for us.
Dale Aukerman and Ladon Sheats …Pray for us.
Jerry Berrigan, Phil Berrigan, and Daniel Berrigan … Pray for us.
Tom Fox and the Martyrs of Iraq…Pray for us.
Verna Dozier and Jeanie Wylie-Kellermann…Pray for us.

[Invite the congregation to call aloud the names of the dead they want to remember.]

All you holy men and women, saints of God…Pray for us.
Grant us your wisdom…Hear our prayer.
Grant us your patience…Hear our prayer.
Grant us your courage…Hear our prayer.
Amen.

Rose Marie Berger, author of Who Killed Donte Manning?, is an associate editor at Sojourners magazine, a Catholic peace activist, and poet. She blogs at www.rosemarieberger.com.

Ched Myers: 50/500: A Season of Protest and Remembering

by Ched Myers

“[As] we prepare to embrace that great feast of remembering, the “Triduum of Saints”: All Hallow’s Eve, Saints and All Souls Day, or Dia de los Muertos (learn more about the Triduum by reading this blog or linking to this free 2012 BCM webinar).

As I have gotten older this season of the Saints has become my favorite time of year. This morning Elaine and I sat and prayed at our table, pictures of parents and other missed loved ones spread out. We both cried telling stories. Tears always help.

This season is personal, but also political. It reminds us that Movement history matters. A few days ago, on October 27th, we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the “Baltimore Four” action. And today is Reformation Day, which this year marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s famous protest, tacking 95 Theses onto Wittenburg’s door.

Luther was publicly naming what he saw as excesses and apostasies in his Roman Catholic Church (see more here), an action that eventually led to the world-historical changes of the Protestant Reformation, for good and for ill. Later in 1521 when called before Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms, Luther confessed: “My conscience is captive to the Word of God… Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise.”

The Baltimore Four witness, while not nearly as famous, was perhaps equally consequential, inaugurating a series of more than 100 subsequent draft board actions across the country between 1967–72. And it was just the second time in U.S. history that a Catholic priest was arrested for civil disobedience—the first being five days earlier, when Phil’s brother Daniel was arrested at the Pentagon in an anti-war protest …”–Ched Myers

Read Ched Myers’ full reflection and support the work of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries.

Abbot Philip: The Lord’s Positive and Negative Blessings

Abbot Philip, OSB

“…The challenge is simply to cling to Christ every day, in good and in evil circumstances, and to know that He is present with His love.

All of us, especially those of us who are older, can look back in time and see the blessings of the Lord. We can also see the catastrophes and crises that had to be taken up as blessings. Anything that remains in the past and has not been accepted as a blessing is something that will eventually cause us harm or grief or will impact our lives in negative ways.

In the present age, many people prefer to see themselves as victims of all that has happened in their lives—and that creates an illusion and a false vision of life. All is blessing if we are able to receive it and are capable of choosing it as blessing. Yes, of course, there have been negative things in every life. It is the receiving in a positive way of all that has happened to us that will form us into persons who reflect God’s glory!

We see this fairly often when there are terrible crimes against people. Some people react with hatred and rejection and anger and all negativity. This only injures further the person who has already been injured. On the other hand, at times we see incredible examples of people who have forgiven others and have forgiven situations. I think here especially of Immaculée Ilibagiza, the writer from Ruanda, who was able to witness the murders of her family members and forgive those who murdered them. There are countless witnesses like this in our own times: people who are able to forgive what many others consider unforgivable.

On talk radio we can often here the opposite: “I will never forgive.” “I hope they burn in hell.” “I hope that they suffer horribly.” “Forgiveness is impossible.” Such people are unable to understand and follow the teachings of the Lord Jesus. The challenge, however, is for us, you and me, to follow His teachings and forgive all who have ever harmed us. Such forgiveness brings life and grace and the blessing of God.

Continue reading “Abbot Philip: The Lord’s Positive and Negative Blessings”

Who Killed Donte Manning? Local D.C. News Report

OCT 24 2017 01:02AM EDT
by Paul Wagner, FOX 5 News
 – The shooting of a little boy playing outside of his Washington D.C. apartment 12 years ago really touched a nerve in the city. The police chief at the time was so angry that he offered a huge reward to find his killer. It is a reward that still stands today.

The murder of 9-year-old Donte Manning has never been solved, but the lead detective in the case says he came awfully close. Manning was an innocent bystander back in March 2005 when he was shot in the face on a sidewalk on 13th Street in Northwest D.C.

It was a case FOX 5 covered extensively back then. The bullet ended up getting lodged in the back of his head, according to police. After fighting for his life for over a month at the hospital, Manning died after being taken off life support.

The reward in this case shot up to $125,000.

“Every case that I have been involved in that particular neighborhood, an arrest was made without a problem, and this is the only case that I have been involved in that neighborhood where an arrest has not been made yet,” Detective Mitch Credle for the Metropolitan Police Department’s Major Case/Cold Case Unit said back in August 2006.

Eleven years later, Credle said he believes based on the information that they gathered, he believes he knows who was firing their weapon on the street that night in 2005 and who that person was shooting at.

“I believe we were close to making an arrest,” he said.

Credle is now retired. He agreed to discuss this case with FOX 5 as long as names were not revealed.

“I do remember receiving a call and this individual telling me he had information in Donte Manning’s murder,” said Credle. “I talked to detectives in Virginia and detectives told me, ‘Yes, he helped us close a murder, and yes, he was a witness in a case and his information was good.’”

Credle also said, “A lot of information did check out, but I couldn’t find a set of eyes to help me confirm some of the things he was saying that occurred here that particular night.”

The investigation hinged on the theft of a gun from a deputy sheriff’s car. It is a service weapon the informant says was stolen by the man suspected of shooting Manning.

“He said once he stole the weapon, one day he responded to the area, the ABC building where Donte Manning was murdered – he went up there to buy drugs and while he was up there to buy drugs, he was robbed of that particular gun,” Credle said. “He said the guy laid him down, took his money, took his gun and he left the area and never came back. At some point later, he found out the guy who robbed him was here in this neighborhood in front of the building where the murder occurred, so he told the informant that he came up here and saw the guy – he stood on the corner and fired shots at him – and at that time he did not know until later on in the news that a kid was shot during that particular time.”

The stolen service weapon was now the key to the case.

“The gun was later recovered in the same area in the Third District, which was three blocks from where Donte Manning was shot,” said Credle.

Credle said the people he has concluded that were probably involved are not currently walking the streets.

“Based on all of the information that I gathered during the investigation, those are the two people who at this particular point could bring some type of closure to this particular case, and one is doing 40 years-plus and the other one is doing life,” the retired detective said.

Credle told us that this case still bothers him to this day.

“A lot people said Donte used to come down to the Boys and Girls Club where I was a volunteer, but I never met him personally that I can recall and it’s always just [like], ‘Why? Why it occurred?’” said Credle. “And for me to be the detective on the case, I couldn’t bring closure to it in a neighborhood where I am rooted, where I know everyone. Man, this thing is going to haunt me forever. It really is and that’s the truth.”

Questions on a Sunday with Ursula LeGuin, Daniel Kahneman, and Ched Myers

My Sunday rest found me listening to an interview with Daniel Kahneman and completing the 800-page collection of Ursula Le Guin’s collected novellas. In the middle of those two, I studied Ched Myers’ Bible study on Isaiah 5-6 (Ecological Theology of the Vineyard).

Below are quotes that are significant to me and questions that arose:

From Paradises Lost by Ursula K. Le Guin:

” ‘You have a sense of duty,’ Bingdi told [Luis] affectionately. ‘Ancestral duty–go find a new world … Scientific duty–go find new knowledge … If a door opens, you feel it’s your duty to go through it. If a door opens, I unquestioningly close it. If life is good, I don’t seek to change it. Life is good, Luis.’ He spoke, as always, with little rests between the sentences. ‘I will miss you and a lot of other people. I’ll get bored with the angels [those who stay on board the spaceship]. You won’t be bored, down on that dirtball [planet]. But I have no sense of duty and I rather enjoy being bored. I want to live my life in peace, doing no harm and receiving no harm. And, judging by the films and books, I think this [the spaceship] may be the best place, in all the universe, to live such a life.’

‘It is a matter of control, finally, isn’t it,’ Luis said.

Bingdi nodded. ‘We need to be in the control. The angels and I. You don’t.’

‘We aren’t in control. None of us. Ever.’

‘I know. But we’ve got a good imitation of it, here. [Virtual reality]’s enough for me.”–The Pragmatist, in Paradises Lost by Urusula K. Le Guin

“Paradises Lost” is a science fiction novella by American author Ursula K. Le Guin. It was first published in the collection The Birthday of the World (2002) and was republished in The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin (2016), which I just finished reading.

From an interview with Daniel Kahneman, who won the Nobel Prize in 2002 for his work in behavioral economics in which his empirical findings challenge the assumption of human rationality prevailing in modern economic theory.

“When you look globally at people’s actions, overconfidence is endemic. I mean we have too much confidence in our beliefs, and overconfidence really is associated with a failure of imagination. When you cannot imagine an alternative to your belief, you are convinced that your belief is true. That’s overconfidence. And overconfidence — whenever there is a war, there were overconfident generals. You can look at failures, and overconfidence had something to do with them. On the other hand, overconfidence and overconfident optimism is the engine of capitalism. I mean entrepreneurs are overconfident. They think they’re going to be successful.

People who open restaurants in New York think they’ll succeed; otherwise, they wouldn’t do it. But at least two-thirds of them have to give up within a few years — more than two-thirds, probably.”–Daniel Kahneman is best known for his book Thinking, Fast and Slow. He’s the Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Princeton University, Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs Emeritus at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School, and a fellow of the Center for Rationality at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. (See “Why We Contradict Ourselves and Confound Each Other” at OnBeing.org)

Ched Myers wrote this for the Wild Lectionary series at Radical Discipleship.

Isaiah 6:7 returns to the narrator’s voice that began the parable. The prophet now decodes the parable as an allegory about the nation. The image of Israel as a vineyard being assessed by the true Landowner recurs several times throughout Isaiah (we find a parallel song in Isa. 27:2-6). In 6:7 YHWH’s lament is a poignant play on words:

God looked for justice (mishpat),
but saw only bloodshed (mispach);
righteousness (tsdaqah),
but heard only a cry (tsa`aqah)

This last verb, which could be translated as “scream” (or “groan” as Jim Perkinson calls is) connotes an outcry against injustice or a cry of distress. It is used in Exodus 3:7, upon which the whole liberation history of Israel turns: “Then the Lord said, ‘I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their oppressors. Indeed, I know their sufferings…’”–Ched Myers, Ecological Theology of the Vineyard

My questions:
What is duty? Where does it come from?
What is the relation between duty and community?
What constitutes control?
What is the role of religious belief in control and duty?
What is the relationship between duty and delight (see Dorothy Day quote; see also conclusion of “Paradises Lost”; see the wine vat and harvest festival in Isaiah)
What is the relationship between peace and control?
What is the relationship between overconfidence and duty?
What is the role of religious belief in imagination?
Regarding Myers’ on Isaiah, if the rich crush the worker “like grapes” and the poor “like grain,” then do the rich not eat the body of the poor and drink their blood and is this not an abomination?
What is the role of mercy in duty?
What is the role of imagination in economics?

Send me your questions.

Video: Fr. James Alison – Reading Scripture and the LGBT Question

Fr. James Alison spoke in September at the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. How do we begin to  understand the ways religion is used to marginalize the LGBTQ+ community? What are thoughtful ways to move out of the binds around faith and a desire to be affirming? James considers the framework around scripture pertaining to gender and sexuality.

Alison is one of my heroes for the gentle and tenacious way he opens scripture, especially using the interpretive lens of Rene Girard’s mimetic theory and scapegoating. Here he examines Genesis 9:20-29, 2 Samuel 10:1-5, Genesis 19 and Judges 19-21 (Sodomites and Benjaminites), Leviticus 18:22, Acts 10:1-11:18, Romans 1-3, Mark 5:1-20.

His talk is one hour, followed by 25 minutes of Q & A.

Video: Protecting the Sacred – Water, the Environment, and Climate Change

This 30 minute CBS News video includes some of our best leaders on water, climate change, and watershed discipleship.

Christiana Zenner Peppard is a professor of theology, science, and ethics at Fordham University. She wrote in Come Ye to the Waters (If You Can Afford It) in Sept-Oct 2017 Sojourners and is author of Just Water: Theology, Ethics, and the Global Water Crisis.

Tara Houska, Ojibwe, is a tribal-rights attorney and the national campaigns director for the indigenous-led environmental-justice organization Honor the Earth. She has served as adviser on Native American issues for Bernie Sanders’s campaign, cofounded Not Your Mascots to fight the appropriation of indigenous culture, and protested the Dakota Access pipeline at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

Katharine Hayhoe is a climate scientist at Texas Tech University. She wrote Climate Scientist, Christian on Climate Change and Wildfires for Sojourners, as well as the book A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions and contributed to the June 2017 Global Climate Report.

Melinda Harnish Clutterbuck (pastor at Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster) and Mark Clutterbuck are cofounders of Lancaster Against Pipelines. Sister Sara Dwyer, ASC, is peace, justice, and integrity of creation coordinators for the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. I wrote about their courageous witness in Developers Are Trying to Build a Pipeline Through a Watershed. These Nuns Built A Chapel In Its Path.

This week, Oct 1-6, Lancaster Against Pipelines and the Adorers will be defending their land and waterways through blocking Transco-Williams’ bulldozers. Please pray and contribute to the collection for these saints.

Randy Woodley on U.S. people and knowledge

“People in the United states are so abstract and dualistic in terms of how they understand knowledge and what they do with it. They think if they know something that they’ve lived it–as opposed to actually living out what they know. That’s the problem in the church and with the citizenry. Just because you know of something doesn’t mean you really know it. You don’t know it until you live it out.”–Dr. Randy Woodley

Elaine Enns and Ched Myers interviewed Randy Woodley on their webinar commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the 1992 worldwide protests around the Columbus Quincentenary and explored the legacy of Indigenous activism that arose in its wake, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was 10 years old the week of this broadcast.

Rev. Dr. Randy Woodley is a Keetoowah Cherokee Indian descendant. He currently serves as Distinguished Professor of Faith and Culture and was director of Intercultural and Indigenous Studies at Portland Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He talked about his journey, his writing (recommended book “Shalom and the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision,” Eerdmans, 2012), and gave the background to the recent theological statement condemning White Supremacy he helped draft (https://www.thedeclaration.net/).