Author Archives: specialcommunion

Blogging Against Disablism 2010 + May Day

Just wanted to give you a heads up that a post about the priesthood and mental illness is coming on Saturday.  This is part of the Blogging Against Disablism Day.  Join in if you feel so moved!

May 1 is also May Day.  Please, please, please (God is begging you) find your local protest – many are being organized in response to the horrible, disgusting Arizona immigration law SB1070.

In case you need something to put on your sign:

Deuteronomy 1:17-19

17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the orphan and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.

Immigrant people stand up to the Pennsylvania DOT

Implementing an idea that other states have been toying with for a few years now, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has started revoking driving privileges for thousands of immigrant people in order to “mitigate the risk for fraud and identity theft” (ahem, BULLSHIT, ahem).  With their jobs, livelihoods, and the well-being of their families at stake, six South American immigrants (who did not have the benefit of legal counsel) stood up to defend themselves. And won.

“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.” Deuteronomy 10:17-19

Reason, Faith, and Revelation

Terry Eagleton’s new book looks awesome.  Stanley Fish wrote about it here.

Select quotes from the article:
“And as for the vaunted triumph of liberalism, what about ‘the misery wreaked by racism and sexism, the sordid history of colonialism and imperialism, the generation of poverty and famine’? Only by ignoring all this and much more can the claim of human progress at the end of history be maintained: ‘If ever there was a pious myth and a piece of credulous superstition, it is the liberal-rationalist belief that, a few hiccups apart, we are all steadily en route to a finer world.'”

“‘Ditchkins,’ Eagleton observes, cannot ground his belief ‘in the value of individual freedom’ in scientific observation. It is for him an article of faith, and once in place, it generates facts and reasons and judgments of right and wrong. ‘Faith and knowledge,’ Eagleton concludes, are not antithetical but ‘interwoven.’ You can’t have one without the other, despite the Satanic claim that you can go it alone by applying your own independent intellect to an unmediated reality: ‘All reasoning is conducted within the ambit of some sort of faith, attraction, inclination, orientation, predisposition, or prior commitment.’ Meaning, value and truth are not ‘reducible to the facts themselves, in the sense of being ineluctably motivated by a bare account of them.’ Which is to say that there is no such thing as a bare account of them. (Here, as many have noted, is where religion and postmodernism meet.)”

Yes.

Buy it from an independent bookseller, please. (God is looking at your online banking statement. Really. She wants you to keep independent businesses alive.)

Welcome to Special Communion.

Special Communion: The Blog is a community effort because we do our best work together, not alone. Also, we’re tired of boy bloggers who blog incessantly about “community” and yet name their blog and mini-media empire after themselves. Consistency much?

The name of the blog comes from a tight-knit and amazing group gathering that several folks formed at Union Theological Seminary in 2006 in order to not be eaten alive by the ridiculous politics of the supposedly “liberal” seminary and to act as protective space against the white-guys-who-have-a-lot-of-feelings who tend to derail or monopolize every single public conversation in grad school.  (For an informative look at the classroom dynamics of our “progressive” seminary and “progressive” graduate schools, please see Derailing for Dummies.) This group prayed, laughed, ranted, exorcised demons, performed healings, prayed some more, and drank a considerable amount of unconsecrated wine (hence the name “special” communion!).

The inspiration for this blog came from noticing serious rises in attention paid to blog writing by men in both right-wing “orthodox” camps and in the “emergent” church world. While some of the concerns raised by these bloggers are relevant (church music sucking, irrelevance of church messages, the increased privitization of faith, concerns about the Prosperity gospel preachers, etc.), they shared common characteristics: tokenization of people(s) of color, speaking about – but never with – the poor, near-total inattention to issues that affect women, queers and gender non-conforming folks, marginalization of sexual life and a shutting down of any discussion of sex work that doesn’t involve making sex workers “perfect victims”, ignorance of systemic racism, pathologization of physical resistance (i.e. all “real” activism looks like upper-middle-class white cis boys going to jail for their pretty little non-violent SOA protest), lack of concern about sexual violence, a refusal to directly point to the police state as a direct cause of harm to people of color and poor people, and only glancing mention of the ways that oppressions link and intersect. This blog means to serve as one place where these issues can be raised and talked about by empire-critical Christians committed to the Reign of God on earth and to demolishing the empire.

We will have several guest posters, because we have awesome friends who have awesome things to say.

And we are:

Besocuda is a Sagittarius woman living in Austin, Texas, who has a deep desire to learn how to play the fiddle. She likes to sit on her porch and drink beer and listen to the tejano and death metal bands playing at the bars down the street. She and God are on speaking terms most of the time.

Danielle is an amazing person who will write more about herself soon.

Onleilove is is a progressive evangelical African-American woman, currently studying in the M.Div/MSW program at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University. After earning her B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in African-American Studies from Penn State University, she worked in New York City’s non-profit sector. Onleilove continues to work in the non-profit sector, with a focus on faith based advocacy to end poverty.  A native of East New York, Brooklyn she will return to create a faith-based community organizing and development non-profit. With a passion for the inner-city she truly believes that the Gospel is “good news to the poor” and will humbly work to proclaim this message in her community. Since September 29, 1996 by the grace of God she has been learning how to live in joy and freedom. Onleilove believes that LIFE IS FOR THE LIVING & LOVE IS A CHOICE.  Her personal blog is Esthers Call

Tiffany is an amazing person who will write more about herself soon.

Aaron is a gender non-conforming Jesus freak with a heart for bible study, economic justice, sexual ethics, immigrant rights, youth leadership, good cheap food, and beer. She was raised the child of a Methodist pastor in a rural, poor, white, tongue-talking congregation in the Northeast from ages 9-15.  At 15, she dropped out of church (but not off of God’s radar) because it wasn’t safe to be queer in that particular time and space. Aaron graduated from a Jesuit university with a dual degree in Spanish and Latin American/Latin@ Studies, and after being evangelized during a semester of study in Central America, she entered seminary at Union. Seminary was ROUGH, but she met and fell in love with her partner there, so she’ll stop complaining. Now Aaron works for a statewide research study on poor folks’ experiences with health care in Oregon. Sometimes Aaron changes up her pronouns– she’ll let you know if/when this happens on the blog.

Sharaya is a first year Master of Social Justice student at Loyola University of Chicago. Before attending Loyola, she was the Career Development Coordinator at The Coalition for the Homeless. In 2003, Sharaya graduated from Hofstra University. Between graduation in 2003 and working at Coalition for the Homeless, Sharaya wandered aimlessly around the for-profit world trying to make the connection between God’s purpose for her life and the obvious hindrances to accomplishing that. She experienced a spiritual wondering that led her from New York to Washington, DC and back. In early 2006, Sharaya realized that relegating God to the position of “co-pilot” was a fatal mistake. She decided to change places and allow God to “pilot” her life. It has been her best decision to date. Sharaya is a former member of an intentional community in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn from 2008-2009. She is on a constant quest for genuine community, spiritual family and help kicking her addiction to hokey expressions like “God is my co-pilot”.

Aram is an amazing person who will write more about herself soon.

locustsandhoney is a white, queer, rural-identified, able-bodied+mentally ill Episcopal priest lady with serious fixations on Camper shoes and good cheap red wine. She grew up in rural eastern Washington as a white minority in a white supremacist culture, with more money than the kids she went to school with but less than other people in her state. She spent a year as a resident volunteer Housemother in a shelter for women who were pregnant and homeless in south central L.A. that was run by Mother Teresa’s sisters, which taught her everything she needed for this life. And the next. She has worked as a nanny, a slime line fish processor, barista, preschool teacher, and crew on a troller out of Sitka, AK. She’s accumulated a couple degrees in theology, barely surviving the soul-scraping that is academia, and is currently happily turning bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ and fucking with people’s ideas about Jesus at a large white suburban church.