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Finding Harmony

By | Changemakers, Immersions, Migration, Roots of Migration | No Comments

20160120_132820_HDR   IMG_2107 

Entry by Xan West

I was born in Oakland, California.  My parents were pastors, but my elders were Black Panthers.  I was trained to live and be willing to lay down my life for my people.  I was trained to help people 20160117_194533struggle for a life worth living in honor of God.  My elders were ideological Communists based heavily in atheism.  My parents, both pastors, raised me in the church.  My parents didn’t care for revolutionaries training me to put myself in harm’s way.  I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual.

Most of my life I’ve held separate tensions.  I am a guerrilla, I am a spiritual leader.  Yet these two have rarely existed in harmony.  Most of my life my politics and my spirituality have felt mutually exclusive.  In my early twenties I found liberation theology.  Conceptually, I began to see how these two aspects of my life could exist in relationship to one another.  Yet, these two aspects of my purpose still seemed to grow independently of one another.

But in Guatemala I found my wholeness.  Here, many of the people we’ve met were the trained resistance as well as the Mayan cosmovision spiritual leaders.  They are people that talk of tactical training in resistance as readily as naming books as weapons.  20160120_133652_HDRThe ancestors have guided and  instructed their resistance to all that would hope to suppress their humanity, with weapons of reclaiming indigenous culture, teaching children and weapons of spiritual practice.  At the same time, the ancestors dreamed my comrades onto a bridge to shut it down in the name of black freedom and justice.  As Che Guevara famously said “at the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.”  IMG_1350Love of God which informs love of self which informs love for your people.  A warrior without love is not warrior at all.  A lover not willing to fight for justice is useless.

Professor Emeritus Bishop Roy I. Sano: Amid hysteria, a call for hospitality

By | A World on the Move, Main News, Migration | One Comment

BishopRoySanoDecember 3, 2015 | Oakland, California (United Methodist News Service)

Bishop Roy I. Sano, the author of the below post, is Professor Emeritus at Pacific School of Religion and a United Methodist Bishop who served in the Denver and Los Angeles Areas. An earlier version of this article was published by Heather Hahn, United Methodist News Service reporter, at newsdesk@umcom.org or (615) 742-5470.

After President Obama urged the United States to welcome some 10,000 refugees from Syria, more than 30 governors said they refused to welcome refugees in their states.

Following the Paris terrorist attacks on Nov. 12, David Bowers — the mayor of Roanoke, Virginia — urged local governments and nonprofit groups not to accept Syrian refugees.

According to the Roanoke Times, the governor appealed to the precedence of President Franklin D. Roosevelt who, Bowers said, “felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from ISIS now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then.”

A flurry of protests prompted Mayor Bowers a few days later to express regret for offending people with his remarks. More than apologies for hurting people’s feelings are in order.

If we do not curb such reckless pronouncements from public figures, frightened and angry people will become violent in their war on terrorism. I can attest personally to the costs of such fear and hatred. 

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Perspective Matters: Preparing Leaders for a World on the Move

By | Main News, Migration, President | No Comments

by Rev. Dr. David Vásquez-Levy, President

“On January 19, 1848, gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill. This event sparked the congregation of what the 1878 Historical Atlas of Alameda County described as ‘the most heterogeneous mass of humanity ever assembled since the confusion of tongues.’ From that moment on, nothing would ever be the same on the east shores of the San Francisco Bay.” ­

‑­Historical marker along the Ohlone Greenway, Berkeley, California

Pacific School of Religion was founded in 1866, just over a decade after California became a state. Those early years were shaped by the aftermath of the Gold Rush, the Civil War, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad that connected east to west across the United States. Conflict and opportunity—the pull and push of migration—brought people to this region from everywhere in the country and around the globe, gathering this “most heterogeneous mass of humanity ever assembled since the confusion of tongues.” Read More