Co-conspirators in the Faith that Does Justice: The Legacy of the Martyrs of El Salvador Inspiring Water Justice in Detroit

One would have to be morally tone deaf and blind to the signs of the times to talk of justice and peace tonight without acknowledging the grim and graced reality of the present moment. This is truly a revelatory moment – a biblical moment – a moment when the curtain is being pulled back with a terrifying ferocity. Despite the very real dangers of the present moment, this is also a season of grace . . . if we have eyes to see. After this election cycle, no one can claim innocence – say Read more [...]
Water is Life

When I Think of Art

the only art i know is the art of looking deeply and then surrendering to the work at hand. i may dabble in parody and poster paints but i am not an artist. the art that grabs at my guts is art borne of necessity. art that resists. art too busy to look at itself. when i think of art i think of palestine. of brilliant red flowers growing out of tear gas canisters gathered from grieving olive groves after the day’s demonstration. of a steadfast village shaping peace signs out of Read more [...]

And Still We Wait: Christmas in the Water Wonderland

The candles encircling the wreath burn down to their nubs as we approach the final hours of this advent season – an appropriate metaphor for life here in a state that was once proudly known as the Water Wonderland. Today, that moniker mocks the good people of Michigan who have had their water shut off and poisoned as part of the trajectory toward privatization. The flame of all that is good, decent, and humane is flickering and tenuous after an era of union busting, emergency managers, Read more [...]

Tools for Times Like These

I would like to start with a question: What does it mean to graduate at a time like this? What does it mean to graduate during a time of water shutoffs and home foreclosures?  Of elders without water urinating in plastic bags and longtime homeowners being kicked to the curb? What does it mean to graduate at a time when black men lie bleeding on our nation’s streets while rich - mostly white - men on Wall Street bleed our cities dry? What does it mean to graduate at a time when an alphabet soup Read more [...]

Beauty and the Apocalypse

The assault on beauty in these times is brutal, unrelenting, traumatic as we fall ever more deeply into the nightmarish throes of what Naomi Klein calls “shock doctrine.” It doesn’t take a prophet to see that we are living through the end times of a ruthless economic system that is willing to soil its own nest and destroy its own children in order to feed its insatiable appetite for all that is good and God-given. A system predicated on every kind of violence imaginable. This is a profoundly Read more [...]
WWW for Peace

Mothers, Let’s Get Radical!

Radical peacemaking means looking deeply in order to understand the roots of the violence that is choking our world.  Some of the roots seem obvious, but unless we’re willing to do the digging, we may find ourselves parroting old, tired tropes:  violence is inevitable, violence is necessary, violence is part of our makeup. Read more [...]

Good Friday in Detroit: It’s a Sad Day

Today, the Detroit Peace Community walked the Stations of the Cross through the city as it does each year, led by the question: Where is Jesus being crucified in this time and place? Were a station written to represent each injustice that has Detroit in its grip at this moment, we would be walking for weeks rather than a mere three hours on Good Friday afternoon. To hold onto the certainty of resurrection in the midst of water shutoffs, home foreclosures, the deliberate dismantlement of public Read more [...]

Of Thrones and High Places: Lessons from Selma

  This is not a movie – this is real life! shouted the elderly woman standing near the base of the Edmund Pettus Bridge as a human wave of tens of thousands rolled past her in a people’s-led march on the day after dignitaries, including the President and Congressman John Lewis, observed the fiftieth anniversary of Bloody Sunday in a far more officious manner. The hand-lettered sign she carried read: Justice is Still Blind in Selma, AL . . . Unfair treatment of citizens by certain Read more [...]
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When Advent Meets the Academy

One of the principal truths of Christianity, a truth that goes almost unrecognized today, is that looking is what saves us. - Simone Weil, Waiting for God “Be watchful! Be alert!” The words smack like a Zen stick as the stern command is issued to shake off the bittersweet beauty of autumn and awaken to the sober season of Advent. Advent. The place on the liturgical calendar where I could most easily park my bones, the time of the church year when I feel most at home. I once described Read more [...]