BARTIMAEUS KINSLER INSTITUTE | February 12–15, 2021

Registration and Information

The BKI2021 theme is “Deepening Practices of Restorative Solidarity.” For a third consecutive year we’ll explore the work of decolonizing discipleship. We’ll look at how white settlers can build just relations with Indigenous and other communities of color in North America, hearing from seasoned faith leaders who are theologian/activist/pastors. This online BKI will include “community mixers,” book and film debuts, and for the first time two pre-Institute Zoom gatherings and several post Institute workshops for ongoing engagement. Schedule and resource persons will be announced as they are confirmed.

–BKI program planning committee

Image above: Braided River, Blue Green by Robert Valiente-Neighbours, Lino-Monotype. artbyrvn.com As a braided river, we diverge and connect. We contour the land we travel through, shrinking and growing with each season. And we are shaped by our journey, from the peaks of our source to our destination in the oceans. This piece was created through a linocut monotype process.

 

Eco-Lent Resources

Lent is a meaningful time in the church calendar to focus on watershed discipleship: How will you be a more faithful disciple within your watershed this season?

We suggest below a number of Lenten devotionals focused on care for creation and environmental justice. A member of the watershed discipleship community, C. John Hildebrand, put together a daily reading schedule for Elaine Enns and Ched Myers’ new book, Healing Haunted Histories: A Settler Discipleship of Decolonization, so you can read through it during Lent, knowing others are doing the same. Here are some of our suggestions for focusing your Lenten practice on watershed discipleship:

Image: “Sunset through Horatio N. May Chapel,” Tim Nafziger

Pre-order “Healing Haunted Histories” | Discount code

In Healing Haunted Histories, Elaine Enns and Ched Myers invite readers to consider how the call to follow Jesus is also a summons to racial justice and decolonization. They chart a path for how we can dig into our family histories to face our own “ghosts” of settler colonialism, Indigenous displacement, and white supremacy.

This 400-page book is equal parts: memoir (mostly focusing on Enns’ Mennonite family and community, who endured the Russian Civil War, fled the Soviet aftermath, and settled on Indigenous land in Saskatchewan in the 1920s);  social analysis; theological reflection, and workbook for those ready to “do their own work.”

For a limited time, friends of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries are eligible for a special discount off the softcover edition of Healing Haunted Histories $38 USD retail price. Get the coupon code and learn more>

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Celebrate MLKJ with a special (online) gathering

What a week it’s been! Epiphany indeed shed light on toxic white supremacy, challenging us to go deeper in our discipleship of decolonization and racial justice.

As we prepare for our upcoming Bartimaeus Kinsler Institute 2021 online next month, we invite you to the second of two pre-Institute “stepping stone” programs: celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. this Sunday, January 17, 2021 from 3:30–4:30 PST.

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Bartimaeus Kinsler Institute 2020 | February 17–21, 2020

Unsettling Histories | Decolonizing Discipleship | hukišunuškuy

Forest Home Camp, Oak View, CA

Register now through January 29, 2020 for this year’s Bartimaeus Kinsler Institute (BKI) hosted by Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries. This year’s BKI builds on last year’s theme (although you don’t need to have gone to the Institute last year to gain much from this year’s experience). The gathering will focus on: Read more

Unsettling the Word

Those in the watershed discipleship community will be interested in a recent book called Unsettling the Word: Biblical Experiments in Decolonization (Mennonite Church Canada, 2018), edited by Steve Heinrichs and illustrated by Jonathan Dyck. With 69 short entries by an excellent list of contributors, this book helps us grapple with ways the Christian tradition has been co-opted by empire, and uncover the stories and themes that help us connect with land, creation, and other people groups. The book is beautifully laid out, with artwork appearing throughout the book (see some examples here). A number of people connected to the watershed discipleship community contributed to the book, including Ched Myers, Katerina Friesen, Randy Woodley, Joshua Grace, Bob Haverluck, Rose Marie Berger, Wes Howard-Brook, and Robert Two Bulls. You may also recognize the names of several of the other contributors from biblical studies and various areas of theology, including Kwok Pui-lan, Joerg Rieger, Norman Habel, Walter Brueggemann, Miguel A. De La Torre, and Ellen F. Davis.

The reflections contained in this book are short — 3-5 pages each — and seek to reinterpret, wrestle with, or reimagine biblical texts, particularly pointing the reader toward Indigenous themes in the text, immigrants, and Read more

Eco-Stewards | Richmond, VA | June 29, 2019

The Eco-Stewards Program, an organization that uses a week-long, place-based learning program to create community among young adult leaders (ages 20-30) who care about the importance of the intersection between their faith and environmental stewardship, will be in Richmond, VA on June 29, 2019. This year’s experience will be a little bit different: Eco-Stewards is inviting alumni, those interested in networking with Eco-Stewards, and those interested in participating as an Eco-Steward in the future to join together for an afternoon along the James River.

You may recall the reflection Vicki Machado wrote about the Eco-Stewards Program‘s last visit to Richmond. If that sparked your interest and you’re able to get to Virginia for a gathering of prayer, reflection, storytelling, and connection, learn more here or RSVP here.

Watershed Snapshot | The Jordan River Watershed, Part 2

Above photo: Jordan River today, Christopher-Sprake / iStock / Getty

My name is Jonathan. I am a Mennonite Christian Palestinian US American. My dual identities as a Palestinian, and as a white US American offer me insight to Christianity both as an indigenous wisdom tradition, and as a religion serving as a tool of global imperialism. I write each entry of this two-part blog post from the first person, as a Palestinian Christian, and as a Western Christian respectively. See part 1 of my Jordan River Watershed snapshot here.

Last year, over 2.4 million Christians visited the “Holy Land.” To put that into perspective, 60% of the tourists to Israel were Christian, compared to only 20% Jewish. Christian tourists spent billions of dollars to walk where Jesus walked, visit sites from the Bible, and see the remains of the world Jesus inhabited.    

Group baptism at Yardenit, from the Yardenit Facebook page
Group baptism at Yardenit, from the Yardenit Facebook page.

A favorite spot for these tourists is the Yardenit Baptismal Site, the most visited spot on the Jordan River. This site is not the site traditionally believed to be that of Jesus’ Baptism—that’s Al-Maghtas on the Jordanian side, or where Elijah ascended into heaven—that’s Qasr el Yahud, in the West Bank Palestinian territories. The Yardenit Baptismal Site has no biblical significance at all.

So why does virtually every “Holy Land” tour visit it? Because it is in Israel. It is a fictionalized baptismal spot created by the Israeli minister of tourism in the 1980s for Christian tourists to be “baptized in the Jordan.” Its purpose is to give Christian tourists the experience without having to interact with Jordanian or Palestinian Arabs. Read more