Thursday, January 14, 2016

Water Everywhere

We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spike into the wheel itself.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Note: We will be coming to Southern California in a month to work the Bartimaeus Institute (Mon–Fri, Feb 15-19) in the Ojai Valley (this year's theme is timely: "Landscapes of Trauma, Stories of Healing: Women in Luke’s Gospel"). We will be leading a marriage workshop during the morning sessions (still room for one more couple!) but there are also delicious sessions on trauma, justice, reconciliation, Bible Study and even an intro to New Testament Greek--If you have any interest in attending all or some of it, check it out HERE…we would LOVE to see you there).
Meanwhile back in Detroit: Momentum has been cresting this month as news of the Flint water scandal was picked up by many news sources and an #ArrestGovernorSnyder campaign went viral. Flint is an hour north of Detroit, another black majority city that was placed under Emergency Management by the Governor. To save money, the EM decided to switch the water source from the Detroit's large water infrastructure to tapping the Flint River. After more than a year of many complaints of bad smelling and tasting water coming from residents and the EM assuring the city that the water was clean, an independent study coming from Virginia Tech confirmed what these residents knew: there was a high concentration of lead in water coming from household taps. It's clear that the Governor knew about this too long ago. We hope this scandal (A) puts the focus on the horrifying effects of democracy-stripping EM all over Michigan (including Detroit) and (B) that it will magnify (not take away from) the media coverage about water shut-offs to low-income Detroiters.

We continue to work bandaging the wounds of these victims of water shut-off and organizing to drive the spike into the wheel of water injustice. We rented a couple of Uhauls and picked up 1000 gallons of water to store at the church to bring to Detroiters without water. Then, the women of We The People of Detroit picked up another 1000 gallons and drove the Uhauls up to Flint to deliver to residents with water that is still poisoned by lead.

Last week, Lindsay joined Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann and friends Cait and Sarah in Chicago at a week-long seminary course on urban peace-making that Bill was teaching. It was tiring and exhilarating, educational and FUN! Besides the incredible hospitality she and Cait received from Sarah throughout the week - getting to cook, clean, juice, play & laugh together, as well as being invited to participate in her inaugural Capoeira class with Sarah's beloved Capoeira community in Chicago - Lindsay was especially thankful for the opportunity to wrestle with the complexities & contextualities of urban peace-making, itself.

This inner & outer wrestling was done within a majority White, Protestant space of seminarians, and it specifically brought into view the question of what a particular gospel call might be to us white Christians, who tend to find it much more intuitive to "bandage the wounds" caused by "the wheel of injustice", while simultaneously bristling, flinching & (oftentimes) instinctually balking at models of grassroots organizing which are attempting to "drive a spike into the wheel itself" (perhaps most poignantly & widely seen in the current, vibrant, peace-disturbing & justice-seeking #BlackLivesMatter Movement going on in the streets of majority black U.S. cities today… which, despite how mainstream media has tended to portray it, is a largely disciplined, well-organized & nonviolent social movement). Much inner & outer wrestling that will, no doubt, continue to demand a hearing.

We joined a peace rally on Woodward Ave that has been happening every Monday night since the beginning of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The weather has been in the teens all week. The snow is falling...

…and one of the consistent guests at the soup kitchen and our church is actually living in this makeshift tent made out of boards and blankets.

Happy New Year from Cecil!

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