By: Keith Hebden
One of the ways individuals and societies have been shaped by unjust systems is in relation to violence. Violence is that which works to reduce our humanity. This may be physical force, but not all force is violent. It may be any form of coercion that forces one to adopt a position of power over another.
Violence is a dominant theme through both the Old Testament and the New Testament. But violence is not the last word even if much of Christian witness might lead us to believe that God’s violence is a moral and practical option.
In the Old Testament we often read of a wrathful even genocidal God: one minute sending in agents to destroy everything in a given area (Isaiah 13:15–18) and the next moment espousing love and showering the object of affection with gifts and blessings (Isaiah 14:1–2). In this concept of God, love and violence go hand in glove without a trace of irony (Psalm 136:10).
The prophets, to whom we turn for visions of justice, and mercy, are rarely any gentler than the Judges, Kings, and Psalmists. We have already heard from Isaiah’s God but Elisha’s temper and cruelty is hideous yet sanctioned by the divine. The comical brutality is narrated when Elisha was confronted by children calling him ‘Baldy’ and responded by getting God to set bears on them, murdering forty-two of them (2 Kings 2:23–24).
By: Derek Minno Bloom
To be clear, I identify as a Judeo-Christian and a radical, but in the last few years my politics have transformed from anarchistic politics to a more de-colonial politics. In this essay I will explain how de-colonial thought first changed my politics and then my spirituality. When I use the word de-colonial I mean thoughts and ways of living/governing without colonial rule/Western thought. Learning about visions of decolonized futures from different Indigenous folks, I realized that there is not only one way in which decolonization is envisioned. These visions include a return of land and resources, healthy rivers, return of traditional life ways and languages, a return of the buffalo and grasslands and salmon runs, a return to matriarchal societies, abolition of the Prison Industrial Complex, an end to systematic prejudice, racism, and sexual violence, and for their settler neighbors to realize, understand and deconstruct their settler privileges/white supremacy culture (look here for an definition of white supremacy culture), and to recognize each nation or tribes’ right to self determination.
Thinking about competition and perfectionism, which are two major forms of white supremacy culture, I started to think of how competitive the activist world is today. It reminded me of the Christian idea of Manifest Destiny that says everything on this land is for settlers, and our ways (Science, Religion and Politics) of life are the only correct ways to live.
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Nekeisha Alayna Alexis
Liza Minno Bloom
Eda Ruhiye Uca