Protest

'Now is a Time for Theology to Thrive'

a katz / Shutterstock.com
a katz / Shutterstock.com

AUG. 9, 2014, is a day I’ll never forget. It was the day that Michael Brown was killed by Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson.

For many young people in the United States, especially those of us involved in the Black Lives Matter movement, this was our Sept. 11. We all remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when the news broke of another police-involved killing of an unarmed black citizen.

I was in the final days of a yearlong internship with Sojourners. My fellow interns and I were on our closing retreat in West Virginia. I was on my phone checking my Twitter timeline when I began to see retweets of images: Michael Brown laid out on Canfield Drive with blood still leaking from his bullet wounds. I remember the anger that instantly came over me. “Not another one!” was all I could think.

As the day wore on, I felt frustrated that I was stuck in a retreat house, forced to sit idly by while the grieving community in Ferguson was antagonized by officers in riot gear with police dogs. I knew then that I had to do whatever it would take to join the people in this fight for justice. I never imagined how this movement would change the way I—and many others—actually do theology.

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Massachusetts Church Vigil Ending After 11 Years

Image via REUTERS / Brian Snyder / File photo / RNS

After 11 years of defiantly occupying a parish building that the Archdiocese of Boston ordered closed in 2004, the people of St. Frances X. Cabrini Church in Scituate, Mass., are finally handing over the keys. The tenacious protesters, angry their parish would be closed in the wake of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, lost their final Hail Mary bid to reopen the church May 16 when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear their case.

Signs of Things to Come

buttchi 3 Sha Life / Shutterstock
buttchi 3 Sha Life / Shutterstock

FOR THOSE PAYING attention, this has been a fairly terrifying winter and spring. And I don’t just mean the presidential election. I mean that the signals we’re getting from the natural world indicate we’re crossing thresholds much more quickly than expected.

February, for instance, was the most anomalously hot month ever recorded on the planet, crushing all records. The world had pledged in Paris in December to try to hold global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius—well, February was just about at that level already.

The elevated temperatures were especially noticeable in the Arctic—for long stretches of the winter the region as a whole was as much as 18 degrees Fahrenheit above average. (Christmas Eve was almost 50 degrees warmer than normal at the North Pole). Not surprisingly, this meant the lowest levels of Arctic sea ice ever recorded by late March.

Meanwhile in the Antarctic, new data showed that sea level may be set to rise far faster than expected, as the great ice sheets start to slide into the ocean—the water could go up by meters in the course of this century, which would make the defense of most of the world’s great cities a nightmare.

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The Mother Who Hated Nukes and Loved the Lord

Markus Gann / Shutterstock.com
Photo via Markus Gann / Shutterstock.com

“Why did you, American Mother of the Year, commit civil disobedience in front of the Trident nuclear submarine?” a reporter asked the white haired, 78-year-old woman as she left the courthouse.

The woman, accused of being in a little boat blocking a nuclear submarine, answered without a moment’s hesitation.

“I did it for the children of the world,” she said.

Refugees Sew Their Own Lips Shut to Protest Demolition of Calais ‘Jungle’

Image via CNN Breaking News/Twitter

Migrants are stitching their own lips shut to protest the French government’s clearing of the refugee camp in Calais, known as the "the Jungle." Authorities are clearing the southern half of the camp and relocating the refugees, they say in response to unsanitary conditions. They bulldozed a church and a mosque in the camp on Feb. 1.

Things Fall Apart

jadimages / Shutterstock
jadimages / Shutterstock

If Facebook feeds are any measure of anxiety levels, then we’re reaching a new high. Friends’ posts share news of overt hatred and violence, the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades:

  • A seemingly unending onslaught of police killings of unarmed black people.
  • White supremacists shooting people as they pray, setting fire to churches, and shooting into crowds of multiethnic protesters.
  • More than 1,000 mass shootings in the U.S. since the 2012 massacre of children at Sandy Hook.
  • Millions of Syrian and African refugees flowing into Europe—the greatest movement of people across Europe since the Holocaust.
  • The so-called Islamic State ushering in what looks to be a new world war.
  • Oh, and the climate is changing at an alarming rate.

It feels like the world is unraveling.

But what if it is? What if we are, in fact, witnessing the end of the world as we know it? Would that be so bad?

Think about it. The world order, as we know it, rests on deep foundations built by worldwide colonization, imperialism, slavery, patriarchy, exploitation, and ecological consumption. Most of the violence listed above traces back to economic and social systems of dominance—one group over another or humanity’s domination of the rest of creation. White supremacists feel threatened because people of color are finally rising up and saying “No more!”

While 16 mass shootings occurred between 1995 and 2005, there were 38 from 2005 to 2015, according to a recent report by Mother Jones. In recent years, people have pushed against the gun lobby with all their might, but the NRA seemed invincible.

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