Matt Maher’s “Alive Again”

Here’s a shout out to Kim Priore who pointed me to Matt Maher‘s beautiful song “Alive Again.” The lyrics are based on the Confessions of St. Augustine. Below is a video clip of Alive Again. Enjoy.

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Matt’s also got a great song title Come Together Now that he did as part of a benefit for Haiti earthquake relief.

Elderly Raid Nuke Site (God, It’s Hell Getting Old.)

Mark Rahner at the Seattle Times produced a great satirical video interview with 81-year-old Jesuit priest Bill Bichsel after Bichsel and four others (Susan Crane, 65; Lynne Greenwald, 60; Steve Kelly, S.J., 60; Anne Montgomery RSCJ, 83) , using bolt and wire cutters, broke into Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor to protest its storehouse of nuclear weapons. It’s not quite up to the standards of Stephen Colbert – but worth the watch!

Bichsel and the others were caught and faced charges of misdemeanor trespass and destruction of government property. They were scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 6 in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. The government has since asked that the charges be dismissed. Prosecutors and investigators say they need more time to determine whether felony charges are more appropriate, said Emily Langlie, the spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle. Once that decision is made, then it’s likely charges will be refiled, she said.
disarmnow_plowshares09Nov
Susan Crane, one of the Disarm Now activist, said “Bix was disappointed that everything he said about international law, about love of enemy, and the reasons for our action was left out. But, we did get a laugh from the video!”

The Disarm Now Plowshares activists will continue to vigil at the gate of Naval Base Kitsap, and invite everyone to join them at the Martin Luther King celebration at the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, in Poulsbo, Washington, on Saturday, January 16, 2010. Find out more at www.gzcenter.org (That’s Ground Zero Center, not Geezer Central.)

Operation Noah Reports from Copenhagen

Daily film videos from the UN climate summit starting on Copenhagen next week are part of a December plan of action to make sure that the voice of faith is heard at this “make or break” time in our history. These will be on the new ON website at: www.operationnoah.org.

Watch the 3-minute introductory video below.

Operation Noah, the ecumenical community which campaigns exclusively on climate change, is working with a US web-based organization, Odyssey Networks, to bring you the voices of religious wisdom as monks, nuns, rabbis and holy men and women converge on the Danish capital.

“It’s quite an ambition,” said ON’s Mark Dowd, who will be fronting many of the reports. “We’re following everyone from the Archbishop of Canterbury, to youngsters from the Christian-Muslim forum, Benedictine and Franciscan nuns, Hindu gurus, Buddhist monks and American evangelicals.”

Using the full range of new media potential, there are plans for daily video diaries, blogs and film reports which will feature, for example, the huge religious gatherings on the weekend of December 12th and 13th.

“I am sure that much of Copenhagen will de dominated by the politicians and policymakers with endless talks of carbon trading, cap and trade and mitigation measures,” said Mark Dowd. “That’s all well and good, but we need to stand back and give the faith voice a platform. Creation is a gift and unless we include some sense of the sacred in our reflections, we are not going to get back on course to living in greater balance and harmony with the natural world.”

Hip-Hop News: Jasiri X on Afghanistan

Hip-Hop News: It’s what the kids are listening to.

This Week With Jasiri X is the groundbreaking Hip-Hop news series by Pittsburgh-based Nation of Islam minister Jasiri X.

Each episode of This Week With Jasiri X features him reporting the national news over the rap and hip-hop tracks. “Using lyrical skills, controversial subject matter, and phat beats, Jasiri X shows that real Hip-hop is not dead,” says his Web site.

Chuck D of Public Enemy once said that “Hip-hop was the CNN of the ghetto.” No artist embraces and embodies that concept better than Jasiri X.

jasiri-x-picHis newest video is on Afghanistan. It examines what lead up to Afghanistan’s intimate and volatile relationship with the U.S.

In the classic tradition of Romantic poetry, Jasiri X identifies Afghanistan as a woman and examines her relationship with the Men (and their armies) surrounding her. The strategic use of video from Dr. King and the resonant refrain “Bring the Troops Home” is powerful!

Jasiri X’s putting the prophetic politics back into hip-hop, returning it to its roots from Public Enemy, with its reference to John Dillinger who was named by the FBI during the Great Depression as “Public Enemy Number 1” (though many of the hungry poor public referred to Dillinger as a “Robin Hood”).

Jasiri X is a MC, activist and entrepreneur who made his way onto the national and international hip-hop scene with the controversial hit song “FREE THE JENA 6,” which played on more than 100 radio stations across the U.S. It was also named “Hip-hop Political Song of the Year” and won “Single of the Year” at the Pittsburgh Hip-Hop Awards in 2007.

Afghanistan (HerStory) was produced by Kai Roberts and directed by Paradise the Arkitech of X-Clan. Check out more videos at Real Talk Express and Justin Richardson’s page at The Gathering for Justice.

Video: The Young Are Dreaming Dreams

In June 2009, 19 young Israelis and Palestinians, who have been working together for three years, came together in Tel Aviv to show that music can overcome conflict by creating a unique track and this 5-minute video.

The project is a collaboration between peace organization Windows for Peace and pioneering London-based music college Point Blank Learning. This video ‘Step for Peace’ is the final result of all their hard work.

For me, it’s a contemporary expression of Joel 2:28-29: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.”

“At first [working on the project] was kind of weird. We all have different stories. We all had a bit of trouble trying to understand each other. Just our traditions are different; we are living different lives. After some time, we got to know each other and be friends.” – Natalie, Palestinian from Bethlehem, 15.

“It has changed my life. Before, I thought Israeli people were bad and that they thought of us as bad. When I met the group it was a shock for me – now I’ve changed my thoughts about Israelis” – Tamara, Palestinian from Bethlehem, 15.

“It’s fantastic we are talking, because we are supposed to be enemies. I came here because I wanted to understand more the other side. It’s hard for me to talk about the hard things [Palestinians] go through. There is something in their voice that blames me and I can’t blame them for that” – Gili, Israeli from Tel Aviv, 14.

“[The song] won’t make people meet the other side, but it will change the way they think about the conflict” – Orin, Tel Aviv resident, 14.

Video: Bartimaeus Institutes and that Really Old Time Religion

bartimaeuslogo2There is no better Bible-buster/activist teaching today than Ched Myers and the good folks at Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries. Here are two up-coming residential week-long intensives–the Bartimaeus Institutes–in lovely Ventura County, CA, for you to check out. And watch the fantastic video! It’s visually rich and theologically exciting.

January 18-22: “A N.T. Theology and Diverse Practices of Restorative Justice and Peacemaking.” We are pleased to announce that Revs. Murphy Davis (right) and Eduard Loring of the Open Door Community in Atlanta will be joining Rev. Nelson and Joyce Johnson of the Beloved Community Center and Rev. Geoff Broughton from Sydney, Australia as special guests. Murphy and Nelson were interviewees for the second volume of Elaine & Ched’s Ambassadors of
Reconciliation project.

February 22-26: “Ecojustice, Sabbath Economics and Luke’s Gospel.” This Institute is co-sponsored by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, whose missionary Dorothy Stang (right) was martyred in Brazil five years ago. We’ll hear her story and Ched will look at Year C lections from the third gospel as they relate to our economic and environmental crisis.

Watch the video!

Video: Oliver Stone on Bill Maher Talking about Jim Douglass’ “JFK and the Unspeakable”

Film director Oliver Stone was on the Bill Maher show in June. Stone brought along a copy of Jim Douglass’ book JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. Stone’s support for Jim’s book bumped it up to #31 on Amazon the day after it aired.

Though HBO pulled the video of the interview, it’s now back up and you can see it here. Also, you can see my video interviews with Jim Douglass from last spring here. The JFK part starts at about 3:45 minutes.

Waterboarding is “Tip of the Iceberg” says U.S. Lt. Col. Yvonne Bradley

Yesterday on CNN Live, Lt. Col. Yvonne Bradley outlined how waterboarding is only the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to torture by U.S. military and paramilitary contractors.

Call the White House comment line at 202-456-1111 and tell President Obama to not back down on closing Guantanamo.

Last February, before Binyam’s release, Bradley wrote a piece for The Guardian outlining in greater detail her experience representing Binyam. Here’s an excerpt:

I am a lawyer and a soldier, and I act for [UK citizen] Binyam Mohamed, who is currently on hunger strike in Guantánamo Bay. …

The Joint Task Force, which runs Guantánamo Bay, gives me no information about Binyam. When I called to enquire about his condition, they said first, that they would look into it and then that they would tell me nothing and that I should make a Freedom of Information request, which would have taken months to process. Therefore, whenever I want information about Binyam, I have to make the 5-hour trip to Guantánamo. Each time, he asks why he is still there.

It is worth bearing in mind that all charges against Binyam have been dropped and that Binyam’s chief prosecutor resigned, citing the unfairness of the system.

I profoundly hope that he is not being kept in Guantánamo to avoid information surrounding his rendition and torture coming out.

Read Lt. Col. Yvonne Bradley’s full commentary in The Guardian.

Read the transcript of Clive Stafford Smith and Lt. Col. Yvonne Bradley’s address to a UK Parliament subcommittee on “extraordinary rendition” about the Guantanamo prisoners the two are representing.

Obamas’ Sharin’ of the Green

Well, it’s happened. The famous line from the musical Hello, Dolly! has come true. “Money is like manure. It’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread about, encouraging young things to grow.”

Not only is President Obama spreading ‘Bama Bucks like night soil on the languorous fields of the American economy, but Mrs. Obama is getting her hands dirty with a little Victory gardening of her own.

The kids from Bancroft elementary school — located in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood, one over from Columbia Heights — digging and turning up the White House “back 40” (aka the South Lawn). The planting list includes: spinach, broccoli, various lettuces, kale, collard greens, assorted herbs, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

For some reason, they are not planting corn. No doubt White House insiders will uncover the reason soon. My guess is that Big Corn exerted some influence here and didn’t want average citizens getting the idea that they could crowd in on AgriBusinesses profit share.

Another interesting tidbit is that the White House garden is also planning to host some bee hives and, as Mrs. Obama said, “grow their own honey.” This is great news! But someone needs to let them know that currently it is illegal to keep bees inside the District. They are considered “livestock” by the District agriculture code. While I’m sure that the White House falls under a federal law, not District law, I’m hoping the hives on the South Lawn will bring a big boost to the renegade bee-keeping revolution that’s been quietly raging in the District over the past few years. Maybe the apiarists can finally come out of the shadows.

Check out the video here: