Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"Radical welcome"

Last night I started to write up some of what Tanya Erzen said at the presentation she gave at my church the other night, which was about the two years she spent studying the "ex-gay" movement and how it fits into the agenda of the "Christian right". But, man, was some of that stuff depressing and anger-inducing. So I decided to share some other things first, which fit in with the notion of churches (and individuals) practicing "radical welcome".
Radical welcome kicks welcome to the next level. It asks, Who would never even come to the door, because they are so sure we will not receive them, and because, historically, we have not?
Click here to read Now *that's what I call "good news"!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Interfaith Prayers for Peace

A Brethren Love Feast

When: Thursday, April 5, 2007, 12 noon - 1 PM
Where: St. Thomas More Newman Center (near OSU campus), 64 W. Lane Ave., Columbus OH 43201.
Phone: 291-4674, Ample free parking available in church parking lot

The April 5th prayer service will be a special Brethren "Love Feast" complete with foot-washing and communion, for the third year in a row. Come experience the Church of the Brethren's 4-fold communion in an open, interfaith setting. All are welcome as participants or observers; the Brethren belief of "no force in religion" applies both in life and in worship.

The worship service will be led by Dr. Verdena Lee, Columbus physician and national board member of On Earth Peace, an agency of the Church of the Brethren. Dr. Lee is also a member of Living Peace Church of the Brethren in Columbus. All are invited to attend.

We gather together as communities of diverse faiths to:
- pray for peace
- promote peace, harmony, restraint, and interfaith understanding, and
- foster unity among people in Central Ohio and around the world.

Sponsored by
Faith Communities Uniting for Peace

Faith Communities Uniting for Peace is a gathering of people of faith, prompted by the war on Iraq, to find common ground, encouragement and wisdom for the transformation of the world. The organization affirms that "all faiths call followers to live and speak with peace, justice and compassion," and commits itself to putting our faith values into action.

Members of Faith Communities Uniting for Peace include persons affiliated with several faith groups (American Baptist, Baha'i, Buddhist, Church of the Brethren, Episcopal, Friends, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, Lutheran, Mennonite, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Sikh, United Church of Christ, and United Methodist) as well as other people of conscience.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

From the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio:

The House of Bishops met this week at Camp Allen in Texas for their regular spring meeting. The main topic of the meeting was to respond to the Primates' Communique issued in February. They crafted a letter called a Message for God's People that explained their collective response to the Communique. They also developed "Mind of the House" resolutions and issued an invitation to the Archbishop of Canterbury to meet with a group of the bishops and discuss the issues.

Southern Ohio's Bishop-elect Tom Breidenthal and Bishop Ken Price offer their reflections on the House of Bishops meeting. Click here to read Bishop Price's response. Click here to read the Bishop-elect's response. They also encourage folks to use this forum as a place to talk about the events this week -- and about other issues in the diocese.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Soup and Study at St. Stephen's

From the church newsletter of Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church...

Sunday Soup and Study meets again on March 25. As the final session on Christianity in America: the Present, Assistant Professor Tanya Erzen, Department of Comparative Studies, OSU, will talk about the religious right and its impact on society. From her biographical statement: "Her research interests include American Religion with a focus on Christianity and Evangelicalism, religion, gender, and sexuality; religion and American politics, American social movements, and the Christian Right." Her 2006 book Straight to Jesus is subtitled Sexual and Christian Conversions in the Ex-Gay Movement. Supper begins at 5:30, the program at 6:15 ending at 7:30. The fee for this single session is $8.00. Students are welcome free of charge.

Saint Stephen's is on the campus of The Ohio State University
30 West Woodruff Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210

From Salon.com: Gay, godly and guilty

The thoughtful new book "Straight to Jesus" reveals the torment suffered by gay Christians who entered a residential program to battle their sexual desires.
Click here to hear Tanya Erzen on NPR's Fresh Air (taped in October of 2006)

From National Sexuality Resource Center, an article by Tanya entitled Straight to Jesus: Sexual and Christian conversions in the ex-gay movement

A Columbus Dispatch article from June 2006: Rejecting gay feelings, some strive to change

And from Free and Responsible Search,
Tanya Erzen is an ethnographer who did her dissertation field work at New Hope Ministry, a California program devoted to "healing" gay men of their homosexuality. In other words, she plunged right into the heart of the Christian Right and set up shop in a West-pointing Temple of the Sunrise. If you can stand it, her new book Straight to Jesus: Sexual and Christian Conversions in the Ex-Gay Movement is a crash course on the worldview of conservative Christianity.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

From We Believe Ohio

Just two days before the release of Governor Strickland's proposed budget, We Believe Ohio held a press tele-conference to call on both the administration and the State Assembly to maintain civility in the budget negotiation process, and to keep the focus on the most vulnerable citizens in the state. Clergy leaders of We Believe Ohio also specifically called on the administration and State Assembly to work together to expand health care coverage for the more than one million uninsured Ohioans and to comply with the Supreme Court's mandates on public education.

* You can read the press release by visiting:

* Individual Statements from We Believe leaders who were on the call can be found at : http://www.webelieveohio.org/press/teleconferencestatements.html

During the call, We Believe also announced plans for a "Day of Prayer and Action," when clergy and lay leaders from across the state will lobby the administration and legislature. Additional details regarding the May 3 event will follow in the coming weeks!

To learn more about the State budget, please Please join us at one of our March meetings:

In Columbus:
March 22, 8:45-11:00 a.m. at Congregation Tifereth Israel, 1354 E.
Broad St., Columbus Ohio 43205

In Cleveland:
March 29, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Trinity Cathedral, 2230 Euclid Ave,
Cleveland, Ohio 44115

War protest at National Cathedral

This action alert is from Faith in Public Life

3,500 Christian Leaders from 48 States to Protest War at National Cathedral, Mass Arrests Expected at White House

(Washington, DC) – Christian Peace Witness for Iraq will begin with a worship service on Friday, March 16 at Washington National Cathedral to be attended by more than 3,500 people of faith from 48 states, followed by a candlelight procession through the center of our nation’s capital, where thousands will surround the White House bearing the light of peace, and 700 will risk arrest by remaining in prayer in front of the White House. The service begins at 7 p.m., and the White House vigil will begin at 10:30 p.m. It will be the largest Christian peace demonstration, as well as the largest single civil disobedience action at the White House, since the beginning of the Iraq war four years ago.

More than 190 Christian and interfaith peace vigils and actions will also be held around the country in conjunction with Christian Peace Witness for Iraq-- including large-scale acts of moral civil disobedience organized by Christian Peace Witness coalition member group the Declaration of Peace .

WHAT: Christian Peace Witness National Cathedral Worship Service, Procession and Action at White House

WHEN: March 16, 2007 at 7pm

WHERE: The National Cathedral
Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues, NW
Washington, D.C. 20016-5098

WHO: Features speakers include:

Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners/Call to Renewal and author of God’s Politics

Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of America in the King Years and a Presbyterian Elder

Rev. Raphael Warnock, Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga.

Dr. Bernice Powell Jackson, President of the North American Conference of the World Council of Churches.

Rick Ufford Chase, convener of Christian Peace Witness for Iraq’s steering committee and former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church.

Celeste Zappala, a United Methodist and founding member of Gold Start Families Speak Out, whose son was killed in Iraq in April 2004

SPONSOR ORGANIZATIONS: Adventist Peace Fellowship, American Friends Service Committee, Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, Brethren Witness, Catholic Peace Fellowship, Christian Alliance for Progress, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Declaration of Peace, Disciples Justice Action Network, Disciples Peace Fellowship, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Every Church a Peace Church, Faith in Public Life; Kairos: A Time to Speak, A Time to Act; Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Lutheran Peace Fellowship, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Peace and Justice Support Network of Mennonite Church USA, National Council of Churches, No2Torture, On Earth Peace, Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, Pax Christi USA, Pentecostal Charismatic Peace Fellowship, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Protestants for the Common Good, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, Sojourners/Call to Renewal.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The meaning of a "Black Value System"

This is related to my post about A Black Theology of Liberation from the other day. In addition to the overview link I posted, I had also looked at a PDF that went into detail about what is meant by a Black Value System. This part stood out to me, and I think I heard it echoed when listening to Barack Obama speaking at an event in Selma commemorating the voting rights march that took place there 42 years ago.

Disavowal of the Pursuit of "Middleclassness"

Classic methodology on control of captives teaches that captors must keep the captive ignorant educationally, but trained sufficiently well to serve the system. Also, the captors must be able to identify the "talented tenth" of those subjugated, especially those who show promise of providing the kind of leadership that might threaten the captor's control.

Those so identified as separated from the rest of the people by:

Killing them off directly, and/or fostering a social system that encourages them to kill off one another.

Placing them in concentration camps, and/or structuring an economic environment that induces captive youth to fill the jails and prisons.

Seducing them into a socioeconomic class system which while training them to earn more dollars, hypnotizes them into believing they are better than others and teaches them to think in terms of "we" and "they" instead of "us".

So, while it is permissible to chase "middle-incomeness" with all our might, we must  avoid the third separation method-the psychological entrapment of Black "middleclassness": If we avoid the snare, we will also diminish our "voluntary" contributions to methods A and B. And more importantly, Black people no longer will be deprived of their birthright, the leadership, resourcefulness, and example of their own talented persons.

Anyway, I thought that excerpt was worthy of some reflection. In yesterday's post, I linked to the lively exchange between Sean Hannity and Barack Obama's pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, about whether Trinity United Church of Christ espoused a "radical separatist" agenda. What I failed to mention at the time is that I do "get" why many White people are uncomfortable with the wording Hannity referred to from the church's web site--commitment to the Black family, the Black community, etc. Hannity asked, wouldn't it sound racist if you substituted the word White--if there was a church that openly stated it was all about supporting and strengthening the White community.

And I can't judge him for asking that. I've wondered the same thing in the past. Wright responded that churches have been that way for ages--White by default. White is "generic" to many of us, so we don't even use the word as a descriptor when we are describing a new person we met, for example.  But that's not an easy concept to "get".  It's going to take some serious thoughtful discussion among people of good will. Which means, and this is just a guess, it will likely be taking place somewhere other than Sean Hannity's television program.