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Monday, May 9, 2011

Easter/Resurrection Everyday

Two women, two angels, and a dead body walk into a bar.

Wait, wait. Don’t make a joke of this day.

It is Resurrection Sunday.

The day pews fill with guilty faces.

The pastor begins.

Hymn #1: Christ Arose

Suits and flowery dresses

Chanting so Peter will write their names down.

Hymn #2: In the Garden

“Our father who art in heaven

Name and such. Thy kingdom or will is nice

Forgive us our daily bread and love, amen...”

Offering plates in your face

Fifty, one hundred dollar bills fall in.

“Maybe Peter will see how much I gave.”

Sweat makes bills soggy and sticky.

Sermon: Jesus is alive and stuff

Shouts of amen and halleluiah

Silent prayers of thankfulness

permeate the air.

Last Hymn: He Lives

Whew, JC is back for another year.

“Thanks Pastor, you always nail it.”

“Come on, kids. Let’s have brunch!”

Maybe he should have stayed dead this year.

Maybe that would make people more conscious.

Zachary Rodriguez -

A Closed Government and an Empty Church

We avoided a government shutdown! In cities across the United States, citizens celebrated government workers, high-fiving their mail person, calling their local congress people to congratulate them on doing their job from last year, and as always, we collectively knelt in front of the altar of Barack Obama in reverence of Hope. Meanwhile in Wisconsin they turn out 100,000 people to hold their public officials accountable and imagine a different polis. I, like most people in the U.S.A., used the government shut down as a conversation piece, simple coffee-talk. Overwhelmed by the details of what is in the budget, both the public media and street pundits pick their least favorite part of the government to cut: social security, defense spending, healthcare, etc. As people of faith, what is our role in the debate? Wearing my What Would Jesus Cut wristband, I wonder what Jesus would cut, knowing full well that the Jesus in scripture never asks this question or one like it. If we are to carry the weight of our tradition forward, if our Church politics and local theologies are going to matter, can we really allow 13 Billion dollars to be cut from the Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services? Do we really not have a problem with the rhetoric of our politicians: “We avoided terminating 60,000 children from the Head Start Program.” ‘Terminating children,’ even if only from programs, should wrench our hearts and stir our Christian collective conscious to remember the ‘terminated’ children in scripture. From the numbers to the words, the language of politics is disturbing to say the least, but the worst of it is the failure of faith communities to speak the language of justice, love and Good News in these times. A faith that does not proclaim love in politics is the faith that empties pews across this Country. For those that have the courage to speak, thank you. For the silent, the powers that be thank you for your compliance.

Patrick Reyes -

Thursday, March 24, 2011

tuesday morning

Moments of restlessness and hopelessness
Stewing a poisonous brew for my heart.
What can we really do?
Who can I really trust?

The almighty left long ago
The Devil bored, creativity waning.
Functioning misery.

But then sun opens glimmering white,
the children's teeth.
A laugh, a question.
An argument, a touch.

Strength fills my bones
and I leave Delilah amidst the sheets.
It lies in the people
Deep seeded,
almost forgotten

There is a Hope
silently deliberating.
Placing the pieces
waiting for us to pick them up.

Zachary Rodriguez -

Egypt's Eschatological Moment

I was studying when former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak made what history will undoubtedly remember as his final act of defiance before his people, his last exasperated attempt to hold on to abused power. This confluence of an iron-fisted dictator’s attempt to retain his position with the overwhelming collective voice of what one can only call “Egypt” made for a deeply surreal moment as I attempted to write out my thoughts on eschatology. The next day, the Pharaoh fled and the fervor of revolution ensued. That initial euphoria is now gone and the world watches as Egypt’s future remains as unknown as the eschaton. As Libyan citizens are currently being slaughtered in their streets, it would seem that the weight of the Pauline “already-not yet” seems heavier than ever as those behind the thumb of power push it even harder upon a people whose emancipatory spirit simply won’t die. Immediately following Mubarak’s resignation, a few of the protestors were reported saying they felt that “anything seemed possible.” Indeed, the eschatological moment, when it comes, if it comes, is the very experience of the impossible, of what previously seemed unimaginable. But after the impossible comes the hard work, the unknown, the liberative drive that demands fidelity to its founding event. The question, then, is whether this drive will permeate and dismantle the entire ideological superstructure that creates rulers like Mubarak or if it acquiesces to the tired and familiar surface-level transformations that have all but diluted that onerous ‘c-word’ — change.
Blake Huggins -

Response to BU Today Article

I'm a feminist. Many of my peers balk at this label, seeing visions of burning bras and screaming hippies. In a solidly middle to upper class environment, most BU students have not been exposed to any part of the women's movement outside of this image. And although American women still earn roughly 75% of men's wages for equal work, such upper class women still choose not to identify as different from their male counterparts. Instead of using the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day to celebrate pioneering BU alums, or educate the student body about ongoing struggles, BU Today chose to highlight SED alumna Suzanne Venker. Co-written with her aunt, Phyllis Shlafly, Venker's book The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know - and Men Can't Say attempts to counter the liberalism she believes dominates discussions about and by women.

It's not hard to see what Venker stands to gain from controversy surrounding her book. Such opportunism should be seen for what it is, but the impacts of the article do not stop there. Although some identify her freedom to promote her views as the ultimate expression of the success of the very feminism she decries, the type of false information she touts is dangerous.

I leave it to the reader to delve into Venker's other claims, but her assertion that "the abuse problem is smaller than it’s made out to be," is simply untrue. Let alone her complete lack of factual basis, Venker's statements feed the "blame the victim" mentality that all too often accompanies sexual assault and domestic violence. Compounded with the shame and fear of re- victimization many victims suffer, sexual assault remains one of the most underreported crimes.

In a comprehensive study of its 13 four-year campuses, the University of Wisconsin System found that the estimated number of rapes (based on records and interviews with victims, advocates and administrators) outnumbers reported sexual assaults by a margin of 17 to 1. Even those victims that do seek help are often subjected to treatment that follows Venker's "just get over it already" mentality. Many date rape victims on college campuses also question if what happened to them was "rape" if they were drinking, and especially if they are underage. Rather than encourage their safety and empower them to reach out, BU Today chose to highlight a view that risks pushing sexual assault victims further into silence.

Such a potentially harmful stance, published without resources for victims or information about the prevalence of such crimes, requires a thoughtful response from our community. For an example of a thoughtful response, search "domestic violence gbcs resource hoxie" for this resource for United Methodists from our own Meredith Hoxie. If you need help, call the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center's 24 hour hotline: 800.841.8371
Stephanie Edwards -

Marching with Farmworkers

STH students marching on Huntington Ave, Boston, MA. From left: Molly Nason;
Meredith Hoxie; Allison Bovell; and Ashley Anderson.
The snow fell throughout the night on Saturday and into Sunday morning. By the time we gathered in Copley Square on Sunday afternoon, four new inches of snow lined every tree branch and sidewalk. The cold set in, and we found ourselves surrounded by hundreds of activists from cities throughout the Northeast, united in support of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ campaign to get Stop N’ Shop grocery stores to pay one penny more per pound of tomatoes harvested by farmworkers in South Florida. As Christian Activists working to be aware of and active in social and economic justice in our school, city, country, and world, we decided to embody our belief that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and we hit the streets of Boston alongside the workers who harvest the tomatoes we eat. Actually recognizing and embodying our fundamental connectedness with the human beings in South Florida by walking with them to the corporation (Stop N’ Shop - Brigham Circle) that benefits from their labor is the work of an activist: a person who combines the thinking work of the academy with the activity of an agitator. It is the theory of the theologian that must be constantly checked by the realities of human relationships, both in our very own school community, in our city, in our country, and in our world. Indeed, the only possibility for change/ justice is in the coming together of theory and practice in our actual relations with one another. As we all know, thousands of people around the world--Boston, Wisconsin, Egypt--are trying to do something about the situations in which they find themselves. As students, it is often difficult to reconcile the academic lifestyle with the social and economic injustice that grieves us. Sunday with the farmworkers felt like a step in that direction.
Alex Froom -