Liberating Our Waters

by Lydia Wylie-Kellermann
Guest Contributor

One hot afternoon, my kids and I headed for Belle Isle, dressed in swim suits and looking for relief in the waters of the Detroit River. Cedar, who is now 2, immediately lay down at water’s edge, tummy in the water, and kept saying, “Thank you, water.” He said it over and over again with joy beaming from him. Where does he get it? Yes, indeed, he is right: thank you water.

After that, the kids both started digging a hole that the waves would fill. Isaac would lean his ear close to the water and say, “Water, what do you need? Oh, you want us to dig you a hole with a path for you to have as a home. Ok.” And he would start digging. Water became the third playmate. It had ideas and needs and there was real intimacy. I sat back and just listened. I would hear things like, “Ok, water, we will help you,” or, “The water says it loves it,” or, “I love you, water.” Read More

Rooted & Grounded Conference | September 27–29, 2018

Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart, IN will hold its fourth annual Rooted & Grounded conference September 27–29, 2018. With keynote speakers Karenna Gore on Thursday, Valerie Bridgeman on Friday, and Randy Woodley on Saturday, the conference will be filled with conversations at the intersection of creation care and social justice. The AMBS campus is closely connected with Goshen College’s Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center, which includes a sustainable farm and areas for research and native species habitat.

The conference will bring together academic, practitioner, and justice lenses, and will provide opportunities for networking with other ministers interested in creation care.

The full conference costs $110 for regular attendees or $35 for students, and single day rates are also available.

Register soon! The deadline is July 16.

Carnival de Resistance Photo Essay: reclaiming our sacred stories from Disney

Photos and article by Tim Nafziger, Watershed Discipleship Editorial Team Member
Incorporating quotes curated by Jay Beck, Carnival de Resistance

 

Much of the landscape of America has been shaped by big brands. A strip mall in Boston is little different from one in Houston. McDonald’s has displaced the greasy spoon. Target has replaced the local clothing store. And in everyone’s hand is a smart phone from Apple or Samsung or Google.

This homogenization has warped our faith as well. Kelly Brown Douglas in “Black Christ” looks at how “slaveholder Christianity” become dominant among white evangelicals in the US through the 1700s and 1800s and has persisted long after the end of slavery. The focus on right belief (orthodoxy) over right practice (orthopraxy) began at least 1300 years ago when the emperor Constantine decided things would work better for the Roman empire if there was one “correct” line of belief rather than a variety of Christianities. Read More

ReMembering for Life

by Sara Wolcott
Guest Contributor

“Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?”
— Matthew 8:18, King James Version

So much has been disMembered in our current United States society that when we come to the process of ReMembering, it can feel like a bit of a surprise. Even overwhelming. We come to see the world around us differently. We hear words or songs differently. Everything changes even as it all stays the same. Except it is not the same. At least that is my experience of ReMembering.

I capitalize the words because I want to differentiate it from the rest of the English language — try to jar it a bit, create a bit of dissonance in a world of so much noise that sometimes it is uncertain if anyone hears anything, if we ever have. Read More

Counter Mapping: a decolonization tool

by Dave Pritchett
Watershed Discipleship Editorial Team Member

In my essay, “Watershed Discipleship in Babylon,” in the Watershed Discipleship anthology, I argued that the grid system is fundamentally opposed to the watershed. Where the watershed unites creatures within it by the hydrological cycle, the grid divides by parceling land into commoditized areas. Water in the watershed follows the contours of the earth, whereas the grid superimposes its lines across the landscape. Moreover, since Ancient Greece, the grid has been used as an imperial tool of colonization; it affords empire with a mechanism to quickly and strategically map an area for population and resource control. Read More

Aloha ‘Aina: Reflections from the Eco-Stewards Program in Kailua, Hawai’i

Editor’s Note: The Eco-Stewards Program is entirely grassroots and is sustained by the grace of God in addition to the energy and passion of a handful of volunteer leaders.

by Vickie Machado
Watershed Discipleship Editorial Team Member

This year’s Eco-Stewards trip was a new experience for us as we invited nine young adults at various stages in their lives to join us for our program entitled Aloha ‘Aina. Past participants, speakers, hosts, and inspirational voices converged on the island of O’ahu for a special edition of Eco-Stewards that looked to further expand our networks, partnerships, and relationships with those engaged in meaningful work that mixes faith and environmental action. Represented among us were a variety of perspectives, backgrounds and spiritual practices including followers of the Roman Catholic faith, a practitioner of Traditional Longhouse spirituality, a leader from the African Methodist Episcopal tradition, mainline Protestants, Evangelicals, a follower of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village Tradition and some self-identified Christian-anarchists.

We were warmly welcomed by one of our core Eco-Stewards Leadership Team members, Rev. Liz Levitt, and her Kailua congregation, Christ Church Uniting Disciples & Presbyterians. Through this congregation and its community ties, our group of mostly mainlanders were introduced to Hawaiian culture Read More

Incarnate in Nazareth

Editor’s note: Sam Greenlee preached this sermon on January 14, 2018 at City Life Church in Midtown Sacramento, CA.

by Sam Greenlee
Guest Contributor

The image in the meme above comes from The Lion King and shows Simba talking with his father, Mufasa. Mufasa is instructing Simba and says, “Look, everything the light touches is Sacramento.” Simba notes that the light doesn’t touch everything he can see and asks, “But what about that shadowy place?” Mufasa answers, “That’s Oak Park. You must never go there, Simba.”

This meme made the rounds a couple of years ago, and people edited it over and over again to update the “joke” for their context. There was one in which San Francisco was the light and Oakland was the dark. There is one in which Stockton is the shadowy place. There was one for Modesto and one for Fresno and one for Bakersfield. And of course, there is this one that makes a mockery of Oak Park, the neighborhood I call home. Read More

Christian Food Movement: an interview with Nurya Love Parish

by Cherice Bock and Nurya Love Parish

In 2014, Rev. Nurya Love Parish began organizing a network she called the Christian Food Movement, and started a farm-based ministry called Plainsong Farm in Michigan. A former Unitarian Universalist and now Episcopal priest, Parish preached on ecology, food, and faith as far back as 2002, but her vision for putting the themes of faith and ecology together in her life and ministry began to coalesce in 2014 when she encountered Fred Bahnson’s Soil & Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith, which led her to Wake Forest School of Divinity’s Food, Faith, & Religious Leadership Initiative. There, she heard about watershed discipleship, and hatched the idea for catalyzing a Christian Food Movement that connects Christians who are integrating food and faith, in the style of the Jewish Food Movement. Read More

Choosing #DayOne

by Craig Stewart
Originally appeared in The Warehouse newsletter

I didn’t come to public activism easily or naturally. In August of 1989 Archbishop Tutu and Rev Boesak led a series of beach protests in Cape Town to highlight the racial segregation of South African beaches. The first one was violently broken up by the police and that week I decided I could no longer vacillate on the sidelines and joined the next one on Strand Beach. I had made the choice to turn from apathy to anger and action.  A few weeks later, on September 2, 1989, a police water cannon loaded with purple dye aimed and fired on thousands of protesters in the city centre. This ‘purple rain’ covered protesters, cars and buildings and the police arrested all those drenched in purple, some friends were smuggled out of town to escape. Chaos and violence and fear seemed in control. Read More

Sacred Earth Youth Camp, Vancouver, BC, July 29-August 10

Youth ages “13-25ish” are invited to attend the third annual Sacred Earth Camp, organized by Salal + Cedar, a watershed discipleship community in Vancouver, British Columbia (Coast Salish Territory). Salal + Cedar hopes other watershed discipleship communities will send young people to learn together and build community. Read More

Poetry from a Time of Drought

Today we feature three poems by Julia Baker, which were written during the long-lasting California drought from 2012–2017.

Eden’s Drought

I had forgotten the music of water touching earth.
My tears have been the only rain.

Drought is slow death, shroud of smoky sin
keening between the mountains.

“In the red,” they say:
“Air unfit to breathe”

Bodies are made for the taking in,
Valley lungs are dust. Read More

Elaine Enns & Ched Myers teaching at Ghost Ranch retreat on watershed discipleship June 24-30

Join Elaine Enns and Ched Myers at Ghost Ranch June 24-30 for a retreat called “Signs of the Times — Watershed Discipleship and Restorative Justice: Mapping Bloodlines, Landlines, and Songlines.”

Ghost Ranch is a beautiful education and retreat center in New Mexico, an excellent location in which to rest, explore, and learn together with others. Read More