‘A Seat at What Table?’

Vice Moderator of Presbyterians For Earth Care, Sue Smith, challenges the church’s position when it comes to investment and climate change. In a recent reflection called “A Seat at What Table?” she writes:

Today, too, Jesus’ table is open to all people. But there were different tables in the temple, tables where commerce was conducted instead of prayer. Those tables Jesus overturned. Jesus was not interested in sitting at tables of the powerful where the worship of God was subsumed by profit.

This reflection is particularly important for those of us engaged in watershed discipleship — showing the wide reach of corporate greed and the more subtle struggles of complicity within our own communities.

Challenging a Theology of Waste, or “On Dealing with Our Crap,” part 2

by Sarah Thompson and Cherice Bock

In a recent post, Sarah Thompson shared about her understanding of the theology of waste that grips much of the church in the United States: a theology that sees this world, its people, and its resources as disposable, and that has a hard time dealing with physical and emotional crap (waste, trauma, colonialism, racism, etc.). Thompson connects the idea of learning to deal with our physical waste with learning to deal with our emotional and spiritual waste. In this week’s post, she discusses what challenges to this theology of waste look like in environmental activism. We particularly discussed her recent work as the director of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), and we also discussed the work required of white environmentalists in order to deal with the theology of waste spread by the combination of Christianity and Western imperialism.

CB: How do you think Christians can actively challenge the theology of waste you’re outlining? I know you recently worked for CPT, so I would love to hear more about how you see their work relating to helping people deal with their crap. Read More

Watershed Snapshots

We want to get to know one another’s watersheds and the watershed discipleship work people are doing in their regions. We would love to hear from you! A new series called “watershed snapshots” will appear on this blog in coming months and you are welcome to contribute. Here are some ideas and questions to get you going. Read More

A Sermon, A Poem, A Prayer? To Speak as Water

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann
Preached at Day House Detroit Catholic Worker, February 18, 2018
Originally posted on the Radical Discipleship blog

Genesis 9:8-15
1Peter 3:18-22
Mark 1:12-15

Who am I?
I am fierce and gentle.
I am life and death.
I am ancient and new.
I am solid and fluid and gas.
I am in you and around you.
I am above you and below you.
I am the snow and the rain,
The creek, the stream,
the river, and the sea. Read More

Challenging a Theology of Waste, or “On Dealing with Our Crap,” part 1

by Sarah Thompson and Cherice Bock

Sarah Thompson contributed an excellent chapter to Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith & Practice entitled, “An Ecological Beloved Community: An Interview with Na’Taki Osborne Jelks of the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance.” I loved reading their thoughts and conversation focused around the question, “What might it mean to be in solidarity with struggles in other watersheds to build the ecological Beloved Community?” (102). Recognizing that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” (Martin Luther King, Jr. in “Letter from Birmingham City Jail”), Osborne Jelks and Thompson discussed the concept of SSDP: “Same Struggle, Different Place,” between the communities with whom they work. Osborne Jelks has been working with the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA) to advocate for the predominantly African American community living in a region of northwest Atlanta where a sewage overflow system results in raw sewage running through a creek in residents’ backyards. Learning about WAWA’s activism and successes is an inspiring read, and covers some important ground regarding the intersection between racism and environmental degradation.

I also wanted to learn more about Sarah Thompson. She shares a bit of her story in the chapter, and what she shared made me want to learn more about her own work, and the directions she would like to go with watershed discipleship. Until recently, Thompson worked as executive director for Christian Peacemaker Teams, so I was particularly interested in hearing her insights about the connections between nonviolent direct action, international conflict, civil rights, environmental justice, and faith. Read More

Trickle Up: U.S. Housing and the Biblical Call to Redistribution of Wealth

by Sam Greenlee
Guest Contributor

A couple of years ago, when we were trying to find a home to buy, we hoped to purchase a fixer-upper that would require us to take on less debt. There were plenty available, or so it seemed.

Time and time again our offers lost out to investors who had cash in hand and were looking to make a profit by flipping or renting out the homes. We often lost to investors who were actually making offers lower than our own, because their cash offers didn’t carry the risk of the loan falling through in the escrow process.

While we love the home where we eventually ended up, we found that we had to purchase a home that was near the top of what we could possibly afford. It didn’t have much left to be done and so there wasn’t a sure profit left to be squeezed out of it by investors. Read More

Mardi Gras & Watershed Discipleship: an interview with Tevyn East

This Tuesday is Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday,” the last day before Lent (the season of fasting and prayer leading up to Easter on the Christian calendar). On Mardi Gras, many people gather for big events called Carnival: eating, dancing, and making merry. Historically, this Christian festival provides a means to purge perishable items before Lent while also allowing space for a rebellious mockery of existing orders. This practice of over-the-top excess right before weeks of self-denial may seem to encourage the unhealthy cycle of binging and purging in Western culture, rather than a more sustainable equilibrium of “enough.” However, with the historical context of Carnival in mind, we can see it as a celebration of community vitality, which often must take the shape of a defiant rebellion against the unhealthy constraints of a repressive church hierarchy. With this lens in mind, how can we approach Mardi Gras as a practice of watershed discipleship? Read More

Anglican Theological Review’s Water Volume

A recent edition of the Anglican Theological Review focused on water, and included an article on watershed discipleship by Ched Myers: “Prophetic Visions of Redemption as Rehydration: A Call to Watershed Discipleship” (see abstract here). The volume also includes a number of sermons, poems, and other theological expositions around the theme of water. Though the full text is not available online, you can order a copy through the ATR website, or email them including your name and full address. Through watershed discipleship, Ched invites Christians to “reimagine baptism as a liturgical sign of terrestrial resistance and renewal.”


Photo by Cherice Bock

Water in the Desert, and a Prayer for Migrants

by Katerina Friesen
Watershed Discipleship Editorial Team

In 2016, I walked 75 miles along the U.S.-Mexico border along with over 60 other people on The Migrant Trail, an annual walk to bear witness to the thousands of inhumane deaths that migrant sisters and brothers have suffered as a result of U.S. immigration policies. Over the past 20 years, 7,000 deaths have been documented, and many human remains found in the desert remain unidentified. We walked to remember these known and unknown loved ones, carrying crosses marked with either their names or simply, “desconocido” (unknown), which we called out from our line of walkers to the collective response of:


The temperature hit over 110 degrees one day as our group walked near the border in Arizona. Sweat dripped down my face and back, and we were advised to walk on the white line on the road since the black asphalt was so hot. Even though we had plenty of water in support vans and at rest stops (in contrast with most migrants crossing the desert, who can’t carry very much), my water bottle was low and all I could think of while walking was our next stop for water. We rounded a curve in the road, and suddenly I saw a humanitarian aid truck carrying water that they regularly leave out in the desert, water that saves many migrants’ lives. I only had a brief taste of the heat and exhaustion migrants go through in their perilous journey north, but at that moment I started weeping when I saw the water truck there, offering our group water and encouraging us on our way. Water is life, especially in the desert. Read More

Water and Health in the Bronx: Protecting the Sacred

by Kelly Moltzen
Guest Contributor

Photo © Kelly Moltzen, NYC Watershed Tour

It is hard to not be awed by the scale and tremendous care that goes into supporting the gigantic system bringing water to New York City and the surrounding counties. Flowing from the Catskill/Delaware Watersheds and the Croton Watershed, approximately one billion gallons of water are consumed in New York City every day, serving 8.5 million residents as well as millions of tourists each year. In all, the New York City Water Supply System provides nearly half the population of New York State with high-quality drinking water.

It is humbling to realize just how dependent all these millions of people are on the water supply functioning the way it is supposed to. Water constitutes about 50-70% of our bodies as human beings. Water from the reservoirs, aqueducts, and street-side sampling stations is quality tested by the Department of Environmental Protection’s scientists, with nearly 630,000 analyses performed on the samples in four state-of-the art laboratories (NYC DEP). Read More