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.

 

If an Ancient Cathedral Had Burned: Farewell to Grandmother Oak

by Ched Myers

Old trees are our parents, and our parents’ parents, perchance.

— Henry David Thoreau, Journal, Oct 1855

On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, three weeks into the Thomas Fire here in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, the losses from California’s largest wildfire on record (scorching more than 280,000 acres) became searingly real, personal, and almost unbearable.

Ventura County, CA after the 2017 fires, photo by Tim Nafziger, used by permission.

The weather was warm and blessedly clear of smoke, the fire now 85% contained and only still burning far in the backcountry. So after the Farmer’s Market, Elaine and I took a ride on our little scooter. We figured we’d recovered enough psychologically from the immediate trauma of the conflagration to be able to take a look around the perimeter of the Ojai Valley. What we saw was sobering: from East End to Matilija to White Ledge Peak (upon which we gaze every day from our home) to Red Mountain, there was little but ashen scars in every direction. Entire mountainsides had been burned down to dirt and stone.

We saved the last leg of our impromptu tour for that part of our watershed most beloved to us: the hills behind Lake Casitas. Here in 2005 we first encountered uncompromised chaparral and undisturbed old growth oak savannahs—exceedingly rare in overdeveloped southern California. Here we hopped fences and hiked off grid, sat under trees, and came to know plant communities. Here we received the deepest confirmation of our decision to move to this place. Read more

Small Gestures

On Sunday morning, as part of our celebration of the MLK Day weekend, we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the destruction of the site of the Asistencia Santa Gertrudis a few miles from our home, where a small Chumash village survived between 1830 and 1865, giving the name “Casitas” to the area. After a hurried archaeological excavation of the site, the state ran a freeway over it in January 1968, something that could never happen today because of laws around disposition of native artifacts. So our little Farm Church circle said some prayers, told the story, and planted some new plants, as the memorial site was burned over in the fire. A small gesture of mindfulness in our watershed.
–Ched Myers

Re-posted from Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries (photo by Chris Wight)

For more detail on our ‘re-membering’ of the Asistencia Santa Gertrudis, see Ched’s blog post from January 10th

Book review: Watershed Discipleship by Cherice Bock

In 2017 Cherice Bock is uwdndertaking a project which will include assisting us to revamp this website. She has recently had a review of Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith & Practice published by Sojourners (in the April 2017 issue). Her full review of Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith & Practice is available here: https://chericebock.com/2017/03/09/book-review-published-watershed-discipleship/

Amongst many other things, Cherice Bock, lives in Oregon where she teaches at George Fox University and its seminary, and serves as the community garden coordinator.  Cherice edits the environmental studies journal Whole Terrain, and is a regional editor for Christ & Cascadia, an online journal exploring theology and culture in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.

 

Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice

wdAvailable now is the new anthology publication: Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice, EDITED BY  Ched Myers, Cascade Books (Fall 2016).

The much anticipated “Watershed Anthology” is now available. With over a dozen contributes, this anthology introduces and explores “watershed discipleship” as a critical, contextual, and constructive approach to ecological theology and practice.

More details here, or purchase your own copy today here.

CONTRIBUTORS: Introduction and Afterword by Ched Myers; Poetry by Rose Berger, Foreword by Denis Nadeau.  Chapters by: Sasha Adkins, Jay Beck, Tevyn East, Erinn Fahey, Katarina Friesen, Matt Humphrey, Vickie Machado, Jonathan McRay, Sarah Nolan, Reyna Ortega, Dave Pritchett, Erynn Smith, Sarah Thompson, Lydia Wylie-Kellermann.

 

 

Coming into the Watershed – Facebook roundup 11/17

Interesting recent posts from the Coming Into the Watershed Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/watersheddiscipleship/):

Mike Little posted about Potawatomi and Indigenous peoples are taking the lead in addressing climate change: http://www.potawatomi.org/news/top-stories/1855-potawatomi-and-indigenous-peoples-take-the-lead-in-addressing-climate-change

Bill Wylie-Kellermann let us know about Ryan Camero who is working with Restore the Delta, a grassroots group committed to restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta:

 

Here is a great example of neighborhood based organizing around ecojustice and watershed work posted by Dave Pritchett – “Eastwick in the Middle: Organizing for Environmental Justice” by Media Mobilizing Project TV:

 

-Chris Wight

Watershed Now NC

Rev. Stuart Taylor is a longtime friend; he collaborated with me on “Say to This Mountain: Mark’s Story of Discipleship” (Orbis, 1994). A year and a half ago he participated in a week long workshop I led in Asheville, NC, not far from where he is based as a Presbyterian minister. He really drank the Kool Aid on watershed discipleship, and has since done magnificent organizing in and about his watershed. See the website below. Exemplary stuff! – Ched

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Modern Tools, Ancient Values: Year-Round Farming at Taos Pueblo

by Todd Wynward

Think the local food movement is a fad for elite yuppies and homesteading hipsters?  Think again. Meet the Red Willow Growers Cooperative: Taos Pueblo food producers who use cutting-edge technologies to promote place-based values that have sustained their culture for a thousand years.

The Red Willow Farmer’s Market is a high-desert haven, providing abundant food year-round at 7,100’ above sea level. Located next to two substantial greenhouses and an educational building at Taos Pueblo, the market is open Wednesdays year-round and offers grass-fed beef, seasonal produce, eggs, fresh breads and pastries, fruits in season, jams, jellies, and soaps. From their rangeland nearby, the Taos Pueblo War Chief’s Office provides local buffalo, which is USDA certified, 100% grass-fed, and sustainably produced. During summer the farmer’s market is both indoor and outdoor, with a dozen vendor tables and an outdoor grill; in the off-season the market moves inside and is more limited.

Read more