Category Archives: Current Events

Why I like New York 41: The World Cup?

isMost of my friends know that I am not a football (soccer) fan. It is not a sport I played, in part because of when I grew up, and in part because I am not built for the game. I don’t understand the rules. I watched Bend It Like Beckham multiple times and still don’t understand the offside rule. Perhaps that’s because none of the players dress like posh French mustard.

But today, as I returned home from Queens, I heard that Iceland had played Argentina to a draw. And I know enough to recognize that Argentina is a big name in football. I also know that this is Iceland’s first World Cup and they are a small nation. It seems to me a big deal.

As I walked the 1 Train platform at Penn Station, I saw a father and son wearing Iceland t-shirts. The father had a smile wider than the New York Harbor. As I passed them, I made eye contact with the father and said, “Good game!” His smile increased in size, pride filled his eyes, and he said, “Thank you.”

New York.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Current Events, New York, Sports

The idol roars

The idol roars again and
spews forth hunks of metal
that tear tender flesh
wounding, maiming, killing;
its demand for sacrifice
insatiable.

19 May 2018
Manhattan, New York

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Filed under Current Events, Poem

40 Days of Moral Action launches a multi-year movement

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival begins a Season of Nonviolent Moral Fusion Direct Action to launch a multi-year movement to address the intersecting issues of systemic racism, systemic poverty, the war economy/militarism, ecological devastation, and the distorted moral narrative. Here’s a graphic that provides an overview. Links follow.

PoorPeople'sCampaign

Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival
Kairos: The Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice
Repairers of the Breach
Poor People’s Campaign Facebook Page
New York State Poor People’s Campaign

 

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

I-271

Bumper to bumper
the traffic coiled around Cleveland’s east side,
tail lights in the darkness
provided an illusion of a unified being,
undulating around the city,
a metal and glass reminder of the
black snake to which we are addicted
even as it chokes the Mother

27 October 2017
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

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Filed under Cleveland Heights, Current Events, Poem

Theological Declaration on Christian Faith and White Supremacy

It is past time to join the chorus of many inside and outside of the church crying out in the face of racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, homophobia, misogyny, and any form of human hierarchy—conscious or unconscious—that diminishes the inherent dignity of those whom God created. We can no longer be silent. We cannot and will not retreat. We believe the good news of Jesus Christ is freedom to those held captive by bigotry, hatred and fear; liberating oppressed and oppressor alike.

2017-09-10 (2)A wide array of Christian faith leaders from across the United States have issued a Theological Declaration on Christian Faith and White Supremacy. This statement calls  for a return to the liberating work of the Gospel and a rejection of racism and colonization and suggests action steps: listen, lament, repent, and re-imagine.

In the face of white privilege, white normalcy, white supremacy, and white nationalism, the Declaration offers an alternative vision, rooted in faith in Jesus Christ. The Declaration notes that:

The churc\\\h has always stumbled toward the promise of scripture. At times it has done well. Other times it has suffered under the weight of white nationalism.

The crafters of the Declaration write and act in the hope that followers of Jesus will reject hatred and violence and work to disrupt racism and work to renew both the Church and our society.

Check out the Declaration. As it states, if you hear God’s Spirit speaking, consider signing the Declaration and joining in the suggested actions and work. If you do not, pay no further attention.

See you along the Trail.

 

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events

Stop the execution of Marcellus Williams!

Marcellus Williams is scheduled for death on Tuesday despite circumstances that he might be innocent. Sign a petition to the Governor of Missouri to halt the execution.

Why should we halt the execution?

Mr. Williams might be innocent.
But even if he is not, executing people to keep people from committing crimes has proven ineffectual.
Execution lowers us to the level of those who kill.
The violence of an execution feeds violence.
Thou shall not kill.

Background from Amnesty International

The state of Missouri is scheduled to execute Marcellus Williams on August 22 despite a lack of solid evidence used to secure his conviction and a new report from a DNA expert that his lawyers argue supports his claim to innocence.

“The death penalty is abhorrent in any circumstance, and as we have seen time and time again, the capital justice system is capable of error,” said Zeke Johnson, senior director of programs at Amnesty International USA. “The state of Missouri must not allow this execution to go forward, and must commute the sentences of all of those on death row. There is no acceptable way for the state to kill its prisoners.”

Williams was convicted of the 1998 murder of former St. Louis reporter Felicia Gayle by a jury consisting of 11 white jurors and one black juror. Williams is black and Gayle was white. There was no forensic evidence or eyewitness testimony linking him to the crime. The jury was not presented evidence of Williams’ background, which included severe abuse and mental disability.

Two experts retained by the appeal lawyers have concluded that DNA testing conducted in December 2016 on the murder weapon excludes Williams as the contributor of the male DNA found on the knife. The lawyers have just filed the latest expert report they have obtained on this with the Missouri Supreme Court in a bid to obtain a stay of execution.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Capital Punishment, Current Events, Death Penalty

An act of commitment

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Staff and friends of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) gathered this morning at the Presbyterian Center for a chapel service in response to racism and white supremacy in Charlottesville and other places. (An archived live stream of the service is available.)

My colleague and friend, José Luis Casal, director of World Mission, helped celebrate communion.

During the Words of Institution, José Luis observed that, “The bodies of all who have been victims of injustice, the victims of rejection, the victims of violence…are the body of Jesus Christ.”

He reminded us that to come to the table and to partake of the bread and the cup is to commit ourselves personally to stand on the side of love with Jesus and to work against racism, white supremacy, every form of systemic oppression, violence and all that harms any of God’s precious children.

Silently, I shouted “Amen” as loudly as I could.

And I wondered—when the Presbyterian Center or any church or worshipping community gathers to celebrate communion, isn’t that organization making a similar statement? The act of gathering at Christ’s table is, for the community as well, a radical act of commitment to Jesus and to justice, to love and to grace.

May it be so. Amen.

See you along the Trail.

Thanks to my friend and colleague Marissa Galván who posted some of José Luis’s word and inspired me to write this post. The image appeared on the cover of the worship bulletin this morning. View the bulletin for the service

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Friends, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Worship