Steven Charleston is an elder of the Choctaw Nation and the retired Episcopal bishop of Alaska. He is the author of The Four Vision Quests of Jesus and many other books.
Posts By This Author
Poems that Draw Out the Poison
ROSE MARIE BERGER doesn’t know it yet, but through her tour-de-force poems in Bending the Arch, she has become a holy woman of many nations. Among my own people, she would be called one of the alikchi, a sacred healer, a doctor of the people, a woman who can restore balance to lives that have been shattered. She does this through the strong medicine of words.
Berger, poetry editor and a columnist for Sojourners, describes Bending the Arch as “ethnopoetic documentary poetry.” “Ethno” because it speaks with the accents of a dozen different cultures: European settlers, Chinese miners, Native American leaders. “Poetic” because it uses a cat’s cradle of language from different moments, people, and realities. “Documentary” because it covers a vast scope of America’s manifest destiny history, symbolized by the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, which is depicted on its cover. All these are contained in layers of history, one on top of another, until the spiritual sediment of Berger’s meaning begins to become clear.
Apocalypse is Not a Dirty Word
I HAVE WORKED WITH progressive Christians for a very long time, and I’ve noticed that too much talk about heaven seems to embarrass them.
Many people I’ve encountered have been eager to talk about the gospel of social justice but much less enthusiastic talking about eschatology. They seemed happy, for example, to talk about the feeding of the 5,000, but not so much about the Book of Revelation or the apocalypse.