“The Surprising, Expanding, Confounding Nature of the Kingdom of God”
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“The Surprising, Expanding, Confounding Nature of the Kingdom of God”

“The Surprising, Expanding, Confounding Nature of the Kingdom of God” June 7, 2020; Texts: Luke 13:10-17, 18-21 Have you ever wondered how God works in the world? What the fulfillment of God’s promises to us looks and sounds like in our own earthly experience? Jesus sought to teach us something about the kingdom of God...

Welcoming in the Time of COVID
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Welcoming in the Time of COVID

I see her waiting for me through the plate glass window that separates us. On her work uniform, her name is written in blue threads that match the kitenge headscarf she’s wearing. I recognize it. It’s the same kitenge she wore on a brutally cold December morning when she walked down the escalator steps at Bluegrass airport, into the arms of the family she had been separated from for nearly eleven years.
I had been there too, just after midnight, waiting to welcome her to America. She smiles at me beyond the door, teeth glinting in the late March air.
“Emmy, no kazi,” she says in Swahili. The only people who ever call me ‘Emmy’ are clients and my mother.
“No job,” she says again, this time in English, and holds up papers she wants me to read. But I don’t read them. I already know what they say. Dawa has lost her job, and she’s come to Kentucky Refugee Ministries to find someone who can help her understand why.
Just an hour before, the manager at the restaurant where she works cal..

COVID-19 Visualization of Inequality in the United States
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COVID-19 Visualization of Inequality in the United States

In addressing COVID-19, governments around the world began to close borders, stop flights, and placed militaries on the street to force individuals to shelter in place. These efforts were not sufficient in the United States because the virus had already arrived – no amount of military or police force could stop its spread. Coronavirus had already reached the continent, crossed the vast oceans, and it did not come from impoverished immigrants or refugees, but from individuals who had traveled the world on vacation or for business in planes and cruise ships.
Currently, in the United States, more people have died from the pandemic than were killed in the Vietnam War, the attacks on September 11th, and Afghanistan War combined. As of May 26, 2020, 1,680,625 individuals have been infected, and the virus had claimed the lives of over 100,000 thousand people according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. Virus Exposing Inequality in the Country
The media narrative at..

COVID-19 Visualization of Inequality in the United States
Post

COVID-19 Visualization of Inequality in the United States

In addressing COVID-19, governments around the world began to close borders, stop flights, and placed militaries on the street to force individuals to shelter in place. These efforts were not sufficient in the United States because the virus had already arrived – no amount of military or police force could stop its spread. Coronavirus had already reached the continent, crossed the vast oceans, and it did not come from impoverished immigrants or refugees, but from individuals who had traveled the world on vacation or for business in planes and cruise ships.
Currently, in the United States, more people have died from the pandemic than were killed in the Vietnam War, the attacks on September 11th, and Afghanistan War combined. As of May 26, 2020, 1,680,625 individuals have been infected, and the virus had claimed the lives of over 100,000 thousand people according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. Virus Exposing Inequality in the Country
The media narrative at..

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Holy and Sacred, Black Rage

In Honor and Praise to Black Rage Deep in the shadow of night, down near the crossroads and cemetery gates, with bitter liquor and cigar smoke wafting, I greet you.
Clad in white, upon the floor before shrines, following the names of the Ancestors being uttered, I greet you.
You are the sacred and righteous rage of my people. Echoing throughout time from the Lands of our Ancestors, from depths of the oceans, I hear you now.
You call out to us in the whirling winds, in the clamoring of lightning, in the crashing of waves, in the flow of rivers, in the rustling of forests, in clouds that move across the heavens, in the drum beat of the earth.
You are present in the cries of “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace.” You shimmer brightly in the flames of buildings crumbling to the ground as they are consumed in flame. In the calls for protests and direct action. In the stirring of pots, the laughter of children, in the tears and prayers of guardians.
You are Black Rage. Holy,..

Climate, the Coronavirus, and Justice
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Climate, the Coronavirus, and Justice

As a climate activist living during the coronavirus pandemic, the world feels pretty heavy these days. Watching the pandemic in America is like watching the entire climate crisis unfold over just­­ a few months. First, experts give warnings that are largely dismissed, but are later proved right. Then, as their predictions come true, our political institutions fail to protect the public interest, especially as the suffering falls upon groups who were already the most vulnerable.
Unfortunately, a new crisis doesn’t erase an old one. In many ways, it feels like we failed our dress rehearsal for climate change:
From Mik Aidt at the Centre for Climate Safety. 4/14/2020. For COVID-19, we weren’t able to avoid the trap of undervaluing our expert warnings and digging a hole for society. The next challenge for those who care about justice is to avoid that trap on climate change.
I stray away from making precise connections between individual weather events and climate, since it can feel op..

God, the Keening Woman: Wailing the Lost
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God, the Keening Woman: Wailing the Lost

Communal expressions of grief have been shaped over time by religion, gender and power in ways that leave us with few ways to express mourning in public. In response to the #NamingTheLost, a vigil in which over 24 hours people impacted by the pandemic read names of those lost to COVID-19, a minister who has walked her own journey with grief reflects on grief customs her own ancestors lost and the work of mourning as resistance when lives are treated as disposable.
Yesterday at my church’s virtual Zoom service, our preacher Priscilla held up her Sunday copy of the New York Times to the screen.
The headline, floating above specks of ink covering the front page – each a name and sentence of someone lost to coronavirus, is one I know my future children may see in history books: “U.S. Deaths Near 100,000 an Incalculable Loss.”
It was Memorial Day weekend, a time when we remember the dead. This year the memorials on our lips are also a necessary work of visibilization: It is easier, em..

6 Ways White People Can Dismantle White Supremacy
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6 Ways White People Can Dismantle White Supremacy

In a moment when our Asian siblings are being harassed, when people of color are disproportionately being affected by COVID-19, when white protesters are storming capitol buildings putting economy over lives, when white people instinctively call the police on people of color, and when black men are dying because of police brutality, this is the perfect time for white people to do some serious soul searching. Dismantling white supremacy is not only a social must, it is a spiritual need. Here are 6 ways white people can begin the process of dismantling white supremacy:
Do the inner work.
White people are conceived, born, and raised into spaces of privilege so the work to dismantle our own perpetuations of white supremacy is the place to start. The author and activist, Layla Saad, provides white people a day to day guide on doing the inner work of dismantling white supremacy. Get the book and begin the work.
Realize that being “woke” is not a trend.
It is almost the “in” thing to be “..

Introducing JustLists by Unbound
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Introducing JustLists by Unbound

JustLists by Unbound is a new accessible way for our audience to receive information and content. JustLists will appear on our social media platforms as well as on the Unbound website. Lists will be published weekly with occasional extended content attached.
Keep up with JustLists at www.justiceunbound.org/just-lists
The post Introducing JustLists by Unbound appeared first on Unbound.

Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations Calls for a Global Ceasefire
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Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations Calls for a Global Ceasefire

On March 23, 2020, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a global ceasefire because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war…That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world. It is time to put the armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.” Many nations responded while others did not. Not unlike the Olympic Truce, called for every two years before the Olympic Games, this ceasefire is necessary and hopeful for our world, but war and war business keep leaders fighting.
During this time, the United States of America, a global leader in confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID 19, also stepped back from treaty obligations to end the use of land mines. While the US government says that it will abide by international law in its use or proposed use of landmines, to reduce civilian harm, our government has concluded that war and destruction are more i..