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Signs of the Times  •  3 May 2017  •  No. 118

Processional.What Wondrous Love Is This,” Cantores Celestes Women’s Choir and The Trillum Brass Quintet.

Above: 6000 years-old baobab tree in Senegal.

Invocation. “All the weary mothers of the earth will finally rest; / We will take their babies in our arms, and do our best. / When the sun is low upon the field, / To love and music they will yield, / And the weary mothers of the earth will rest.” —Joan Baez, “All the Weary Mothers of the Earth

Call to worship. “Oh, Strong Refuge, incline your ear to the clamor of children and all of weary voice. / Hasten now, all you whose life is spent with sorrow, you of bone-wasting days, of sighing weeks and storm-tossed years, / Come to the Sheltering Presence of the One who knows, / The One who tapes your photo to Heaven’s refrigerator door.” —continue reading “By Thy might,” a litany for worship inspired by Psalm 31

In a slippery-fact environment, this is way cool. “These high school journalists investigated a new principal’s credentials. Days later, she resigned.” —Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post

¶  “Mother’s Day is celebrated in many cultures. Although others are given credit for founding the observance, Julia Ward Howe led in establishing what some believe to be the first observance of Mother’s Day in the U.S. (2 June 1872) after witnessing the carnage of the U.S. Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War in Europe. The Mother’s Day festival, she wrote, ‘should be devoted to the advocacy of peace doctrines.’” —continue reading “A brief history of Mother’s Day

Hymn of praise. “We were blessed by the minister / Who practiced what he preached / We were blessed by the poor man / Who said heaven is within reach / We were blessed by the girl selling roses / Showed us how to live / We were blessed by the neglected child / Who knew how to forgive / We were blessed by the battered woman / Who didn't seek revenge.” —Lucinda Williams, “Blessed

¶ “Bread-baking, kitchen-dwelling, breast-feeding God, / we return to your lap and to your table / because we are hungry and thirsty. / Fill us again / with the bread that satisfies, / with milk that nourishes.” —continue reading “Bread baking God,” a Mother’s Day poem

Confession. “I, Brian, a sinner, a most simple suburbanite, a generally decent sort but subject to fits of unrelieved selfishness, do here wish to confess and be shriven, in such a manner that speaking of that which I have not done well will provoke me to do better; this slight daily improvement being exactly the work we are asked to do by the Shining One. So then. . . .” —continue reading Brian Doyle’s “Confessio,” Christian Century

Hymn of lamentation.Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” Sweet Honey in the Rock.

Persistent mothers. “Haydée Gastelú was among the first to arrive. ‘We were absolutely terrified,’ she recalls. On the afternoon of 30 April 1977, 14 courageous women set aside fear—and their families’ warnings—and left their homes to confront the dictatorship that had stolen their children. That day marked the first weekly march by the mothers of Argentina’s “disappeared” against the military commanders who had planned the systematic murder of [some 30,000 people].” —Uki Goñi, “40 years later, the mothers of Argentina’s ‘disappeared’ refuse to be silent,” The Guardian. Above: The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo march against the military commanders who had planned the systematic murder of thousands. Photograph: Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images.

History review. “Alabama is the first state to rescind the legal right of men to beat their wives (Fulgrahm v. State).” —You can trace the history (going back to 753 BCE) of judicial norms governing the rights of men to subject their wives to physical abuse in “History of Battered Women’s Movement.”

By the numbers. “In 1997 the US ranked 52nd in the world for women’s representation in government. This year we fell to 97th?” —Sarah Kliff & Soo Oh, “Whey Aren’t There More Women in Congress?” Vox (Thanks Alan.)

Words of assurance. “С нами Бог"” (“God Is With Us”), Divna Ljubojevic and Melodi.

Professing our faith. Eastertide reflection from Pope Francis: “Revolution of tenderness(includes the text, translated into English, of Pope Francis’ TED talk and 17:52 video).

For Mother’s Day: On Keeping Silence in the Church. “As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silence in the churches.” (1 Corinthians 14:33-34)
    I know a woman named Silence
    She said her parents did not know her very well when they
          named her.
    They thought Silence was a beautiful name for a girl.
    She stands up in her pew and speaks her mind:
    When a couple in church announces the birth of a girl
    Silence says, “I think we should all clap for that.”
    When a foreign student speaks about war in Ethiopia
    Silence says, “Keep telling us about that, we need to
         hear.”

    When someone complains about the church needing air
         conditioning
    Silence says, “That’s why I bring my fan.”
    I love this woman named Silence
    And I think we should definitely
    Keep Silence in the church.
—Margalea Warner, Daughters of Sarah magazine

Hymn of resolution. “And if it's bad / Don't let it get you down, / You can take it. / And if it hurts / Don't let them see you cry, / You can make it. / Hold your head up, woman.” —Argent, “Hold Your Head Up

More persistent women. Among the reasons women’s charges of workplace harassment are beginning to be heard is because of Anita Hill’s testimony in 1991 of abuse by Clarence Thomas, during Thomas’ confirmation hearing for his nomination for a seat on the US Supreme Court. In a recent interview, Hill commented. “The idea that these kinds of behaviors can stay hidden is fading because there are ways to get them out. I think the key is to keep pushing. When you deal with someone like Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly, the key is for people to keep coming forward." Jessica Guynn, USA Today

¶ “The most incredible thing about the Fox News-Bill O’Reilly story is just how common it is. The first time a story of workplace sexual harassment by the boss gained widespread attention was in 1991, when then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas was accused of sexually harassing an employee of his when he was chairman of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Since then, workplace sexual harassment and assault stories by powerful executives have become a mainstay of headline news.” Gina Scaramella, Washington Post
        It wasn’t O’Reilly’s sexual harassing behavior that got him fired. Fox has been paying millions to settle such suits since 2004. What got Fox’s attention was the sheer number of advertisers (more than 80 companies) that pulled their ads from O’Reilly’s show.

Right: Portrait of Anita Hill.

Hymn of intercession. “As we come marching, marching, we battle, too, for men— / For they are women's children and we mother them again. / Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes— / Hearts starve as well as bodies: Give us Bread, but give us Roses!” —“Bread and Roses” from the movie “Pride,” inspired by an extraordinary true story.  It’s the summer of 1984, Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers is on strike, prompting a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists to raise money to support the strikers’ families.

Arbor Day (generally commemorated on the last Friday in April). “I confess I complained more than I should, / of your small branches falling in my yard, / having to stop the mower to toss them / to the side, for later bundling at the / curb for the city’s yard debris pickup. And / for your prodigious leaf rain each fall. / I suspect, though, you were pleased to / know your petals fed my compost. Did your / sensors recognize parts of your own / genome sequence in my cherry tomatoes?” —continue reading “Elegy for an Ash,” a poem

Preach it. “The wounds of the world deserve better than just making space for more complaints. We need to create places for new dreams to be born—the dream of protecting people who may be in danger, the dream of introducing our privilege to the integrity of sharing power with others, the dream of listening to the still small voices otherwise ignored.” —Gareth Higgins, “An Introduction to The Porch

Can’t makes this sh*t up. “Man Accidentally Shoots Himself at NRA Headquarters.” NBCWashington

Call to the table. “We are free to act boldly because we are safe. We are safe because we are at rest. We are at rest because we have been forgiven. We are forgiven because we have come to know that Jesus meets us in our weakness, not our strength.” —continue reading “Such is the journey: A call to Jesus’ memorial table

The state of our disunion. “[President Trump’s] fondness for Big Macs and KFC is well-known, but we shouldn’t let Colonel Sanders and McDonald’s run the school cafeteria.Ken Cook, after news that the Trump administration is rolling back health regulations on school lunches requiring more whole grains and limitations on fat, sugar and salt, in an effort to address the fact that one-in-six children in the US are obese. “At stake are the profits of several large food companies that sell frozen pizzas, french fries and other prepared foods to schools.”

For parents facing empty nests. “As each take your leave / now charting your own courses / I pause and ponder your absence / with dreaded joy: / joy that your wings have spread / so far so fast, / dread at the silence filling the air / which your voices once stirred.” —continue reading “On the Flow of Tears: For my daughters (as they take their leave)”

Right: “Theotokos” (MPOV) icon. Mary, Mother of God. Literally, “God-Bearer.” Linocut art ©Julie Lonneman

Best one-liner. “The chemistry of caring is reciprocal: You get it, you give it.” —R.I.P. Eugene Lang, who contributed over $100 million to education over his lifetime. Listen to this NPR story.

For the beauty of the earth. Pod of dolphins. Natural choreography. (42 second video. Thanks Jo.)

Altar call.Wash Me Thoroughly,” George Frideric Handel, performed by the St. Andrew's Womens Ensemble.

Benediction. “Forget my sins upon the wind / My hobo soul will rise / Lie-d Lie-d Lie / I'm not afraid to die.” —Gillian Welch, “I’m Not Afraid to Die

Recessional. “The building block that was rejected became the cornerstone of a whole new world.” —Noel Paul Stookey, “Building Block” [cf. 1 Peter 2:7]

Lectionary for this Sunday. “The large tension in the book of Acts consists in the interface between imperial authority and the work of the Holy Spirit. . . . Given the interface of Spirit and empire, we may not be surprised that this tension concerns money and possessions as well. Thus the notion of a community that holds money and possessions in common is a radical departure from imperial economics.” —Walter Brueggemann, commenting on the Acts 2 and 4 statements about the early Jewish-Christian community having all things in common, in his book, “Money and Possessions”

Lectionary for Sunday next. Remembering St. Stephen (Acts 7:55-60), whose imitatio christi included refusing the demand for a just war on his executioners, in obedience to both the practice and teaching of Jesus: Lord, do not hold this sin against them.

New Yorker cartoonist Jack Ziegler died 29 March at age 74. He will be sorely missed.

Just for fun. Comedienne Ellen DeGeneres on procrastination. (7:00 video.)

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Featured this week on prayer&politiks

• “A brief history of Mother’s Day

• “By Thy might,” a litany for worship inspired by Psalm 31

• “Bread baking God,” a Mother’s Day poem

• “Such is the journey: A call to Jesus’ memorial table”

 
Other features

• “Elegy for an Ash,” a poem

• “On the Flow of Tears: For my daughters,” a poem for parents experiencing “empty nest”

©Ken Sehested @ prayerandpolitiks.org. Language not otherwise indicated above is that of the editor, as are those portions cited as “kls.” Don’t let the “copyright” notice keep you from circulating material you find here (and elsewhere in this site). Reprint permission is hereby granted in advance for noncommercial purposes.

Your comments are always welcomed. If you have news, views, notes or quotes to add to the list above, please do. If you like what you read, pass this along to your friends. You can reach me directly at kensehested@prayerandpolitiks.org.

Such is the journey

A call to Jesus' memorial table

by Ken Sehested

We are free to act boldly because we are safe.

We are safe because we are at rest.

We are at rest because we have been forgiven.

We are forgiven because we have come to know that Jesus meets us in our weakness, not our strength.

In the strength of our weakness we find our security, allowing our fears to recede, which is what allows us to act boldly, even in the face of threat, for the “sake” of Jesus, which he himself identified as the sake of the world’s little ones lacking protection and provision. (cf. Matthew 25)

Such is the journey, ever onward, of spiritual formation for God’s coming Commonwealth when Earth’s bounty will be freed from the shackles of privilege.

©ken sehested @ prayerandpolitiks.org

News, views, notes, and quotes

Signs of the Times  •  25 April 2017  •  No. 117

Processional.Testimony,” Voices of Hope, acclaimed women's choir made up of inmates at Lee Arrendale State Prison in Georgia.

Above: Wisteria tree, Kawachi Fujien Wisteria Garden, Japan, photo by Peter Lourenco.

Special theme issue
DEATH PENALTY

Invocation. "[God] raised Jesus, not as an invitation to us to come to heaven when we die, but as a declaration that He himself has not established permanent residence on earth. The resurrection places Jesus on this side of the grave, here and now, in the midst of this life. The Good News of the resurrection is not that we shall die and go home with him but that he is risen and comes home with us, bringing all his hungry, naked, thirsty, sick, prisoner brothers with him." —Clarence Jordan

¶ Good news.When was the last time you heard a tourism expert talk about land redistribution and debt forgiveness?" TV travel program host Rick Steves donates $4 million apartment complex for homeless women and children.” Read Steves’ remarkable commentary and watch this video (2:49) on his travel blog.  —news commentary by Ken Sehested

Photo at right. TV travel program host Rick Steves with some of the new residents of the housing complex he donated for use by single moms coming out of recovery and reuniting with their children.

Call to worship. “You can never hold back spring / You can be sure that I will never / Stop believing / The blushing rose will climb / Spring ahead or fall behind / Winter dreams the same dream / Every time / Even though you've lost your way / The world keeps dreaming of spring.” —Tom Waits, “You Can Never Hold Back Spring

¶ “Arkansas on Monday night executed two inmates in back-to-back lethal injections, carrying out the country’s first double execution since 2000.” Mark Berman, Washington Post

Hymn of praise.Ndaive Mbava,” Harare [Zimbabwe] Central Prison Gospel Choir.

¶ “Support for death penalty lowest in more than four decades.Pew Research Center, September 2016

This is big. “The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced that it had imposed sweeping controls on the distribution of its products to ensure that none are used in lethal injections, a step that closes off the last remaining open-market source of drugs used in executions. More than 20 American and European drug companies have already adopted such restrictions, citing either moral or business reasons. Nonetheless, the decision from one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical manufacturers is seen as a milestone.” Erik Eckholm New York Times (Thanks, Hillary.)

¶ “You can release an innocent man from prison, but you can’t release him from the grave.—Freddie Lee Pitts, who was exonerated from Florida’s death row for a crime he did not commit

¶ “Police chiefs consider the death penalty one of the least effective tools for halting violent crime and the least effective use of taxpayer money, according to a nationwide poll of police chiefs released today.” Gabrielle Banks, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Three organizations working on death penalty issues:

        • “The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penaltys mission is to abolish the death penalty in the United States and support efforts to abolish the death penalty worldwide.”

        • “The Innocence Project's mission is to free the staggering number of innocent people who remain incarcerated, and to bring reform to the system responsible for their unjust imprisonment.”

        • “The Death Penalty Information Center is a national non-profit organization serving the media and the public with analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment.”

Recommended long read.The Death of the Death Penalty: Why the era of capital punishment is ending,” David von Drehle, Time.

Since 1973, 158 people on death row have been exonerated. —see Death Penalty Information Center

Confession. “No more, my Lord, / No more, my Lord, / Lord, I'll never turn back no more. / I found in / Him a resting place, / And He have made me glad. / Jesus, the Man I am looking for, / Can you tell me where He's gone? / Go down, go down, among flower yard, / And perhaps you may find Him there.” —“No More, My Lawd,” Negro Prison Blues and Songs

Prayer on the eve of execution. “God of justice and mercy, we gather as people of conscience and as people of faith. In our rich diversity, we assemble tonight in one spirit and with one purpose. We convene our hearts, our hopes and our voices. Break us, remake us, from blinded might to the Light that foreshadows the Dawn of Delight. Gracious Host, we acknowledge the frailty of human judgment. We acknowledge that our highest institutions are fallible, are plagued by racism and blindness, as are we." —read the “Litany of lament and longing: Public prayer vigil on the evening of Troy Davis’ execution.”

¶ “Had it not been for slavery, the death penalty would have likely been abolished in America. Slavery became a haven for the death penalty.” —Angela Davis

Hymn of lamentation. “The search light in the big yard / Swings round with the gun / And spotlights the snowflakes / Like the dust in the sun / It's Christmas in prison / There'll be music tonight / I'll probably get homesick / I love you. Goodnight.” —John Prine, “Christmas in Prison

¶ “An evil deed is not redeemed by an evil deed of retaliation.—Coretta Scott King

Words of assurance. “Hold on, just a little while longer. Everything’s gonna be alright.” —Sounds of Blackness, “Hold On Just a Little While Longer

¶ “From this day forward, I shall no longer tinker with the machinery of death. For more than twenty years I have endeavored—indeed, I have struggled—along with a majority of this court to develop procedural and substantive rules that would lend more than the mere appearance of fairness to the death penalty endeavor. Despite the effort . . . the death penalty remains fraught with arbitrariness, discrimination, caprice and mistake. I feel morally and intellectually obligated simply to concede that the death penalty experiment has failed.—former Supreme Court Associate Justice Justice Harry Blackmun

¶ “I think this country would be much better off if we did not have capital punishment. . . . We cannot ignore the fact that in recent years a disturbing number of inmates on death row have been exonerated.” —former Supreme Court Associate John Paul Stevens

¶ “Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders.” —Albert Camus, French philosopher

¶ “It can be argued that rapists deserve to be raped, that mutilators deserve to be mutilated. Most societies, however, refrain from responding in this way because the punishment is not only degrading to those on whom it is imposed, but it is also degrading to the society that engages in the same behavior as the criminals.” —Stephen Bright, human rights attorney

Testify.Harmony In Hard Time,” trailer (3:26) for movie about the Voice of Hope Choir, inmates at Lee Arrendale State Prison in Georgia.

¶ “I've been haunted by the men I was asked to execute in the name of the state of Florida. This is premeditated, carefully thought out ceremonial killing.” —Ron McAndrew, former prison warden in Florida

¶ “The reality is that capital punishment in America is a lottery. It is a punishment that is shaped by the constraints of poverty, race, geography and local politics.” —Bryan Stevenson, founder and director of Equal Justice Initiative

¶ “The most glaring weakness is that no matter how efficient and fair the death penalty may seem in theory, in actual practice it is primarily inflicted upon the weak, the poor, the ignorant and minorities.” —California Governor Pat Brown

Hymn of resolution. “Circle round for freedom / Circle round for peace / For all of us imprisoned / Circle for release.” —San Diego Women’s Chorus, “Circle Chant

¶ “As if one crime of such nature, done by a single man, acting individually, can be expiated by a similar crime done by all men, acting collectively.” —Lewis Lawes, warden of Sing Sing prison in NY in the 1920s and 30s

¶ “I have yet to see a death case among the dozen coming to the Supreme Court on eve-of-execution stay applications in which the defendant was well represented at trial. . . . People who are well represented at trial do not get the death penalty." —Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Hymn of intercession.Sunny Day,” Death Row Choir–Uganda.

¶ “The forfeiture of life is too absolute, too irreversible, for one human being to inflict it on another, even when backed by legal process. And I believe that future generations, throughout the world, will come to agree.” —Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations

¶ “When once a certain class of people has been placed by the temporal and spiritual authorities outside the ranks of those whose life has value, then nothing comes more naturally to men than murder.” —Simone Weil

When only the blues will do.Black Woman,” Negro work songs recorded at the Mississippi and Louisiana State Penitentiaries by Alan Lomax.

By the numbers. “A 2014 report by the National Academy of Sciences estimated that 1 in every 25 people given a death sentence are in fact innocent of the crime for which they are sentenced. Moreover, we know that more than 150 people have been exonerated since the death penalty’s return in 1976. Because of such problems, public confidence in the fairness of the death penalty process is eroding. Thus, a 2013 Gallup poll found that only 52% of the American public believed that the death penalty was administered fairly.” Austin Sarat, Guardian

Preach it. “With every cell of my being, and with every fiber of my memory, I oppose the death penalty in all forms. I do not believe any civilized society should be at the service of death. I don’t think it’s human to become an Angel of Death.” —Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner

Can’t makes this sh*t up. “Arizona to death-row inmates: Bring your own execution drugs.” Fox News

Wait . . . what? “Society needs to execute those criminals who cannot live under its rules and recognize the sanctity of human life.” —pastor in North Carolina, in a letter to the editor, Winston-Salem Journal

Call to the table.Theme Song from Schindler’s List,” performed by Itzhak Perlman.

The state of our disunion. “[R]ace of victim was found to influence the likelihood of being charged with capital murder or receiving the death penalty, i.e., those who murdered whites were found to be more likely to be sentenced to death than those who murdered blacks. This finding was remarkably consistent across data sets, states, data collection methods, and analytic techniques.” —The U.S. General Accounting Office, “Death Penalty Sentencing: Research Indicates Pattern of Racial Disparities”

Best one-liner. “I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.”

For the beauty of the earth. In my neck of the woods, each spring the Smoky Mountains National Park has one of the country’s greatest light shows. Lampyridae, a family of insects in the beetle order Coleoptera. They are winged beetles, commonly called fireflies or lightning bugs. (0:52 video)

Altar call. Go Down, Moses,” Gospel rendition featuring Louis Armstrong.

Benediction. "Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior,” The Craguns. (This hymn is among the most popular among inmates.)

Recessional. “If you get worried, what you ought to do is sing.” —The Wood Brothers, “Sing About It

Lectionary for this Sunday. “One empty tomb poses no threat / to present entanglements, / any more than annual and / specially-adorned sanctuary crowds / encroach on Easter morn. / It’s Easter’s aftermath / resurrectus contagio, / contagious resurrection / that threatens entombing empires / with breached sovereignty.” —continue reading Ken Sehested’s “Easter’s aftermath,” a poem inspired by Luke 24:13-35 and Matthew 25:1-13

Lectionary for Sunday next. “Following the dramatic response to Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost, the text reports that the newly-formed People of the Way devoted themselves to listening and learning, to lingering in each other’s presence, to potluck dinners, and to prayer—with praise and pintos, songs and salads, received and given ’round the Bountiful Table. Hands and hearts, bound together, loosed for life and Love’s consent.” —continue reading Ken Sehested’s “Loosed for life and love’s consent,” a litany for worship inspired by Acts 2:42-47

Just for fun. Comedic juggling by Michael Davis.

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Featured this week on prayer&politiks

• “Loosed for life and love’s consent,” a litany for worship inspired by Acts 2:42-47 

• “Easter’s aftermath,” a poem inspired by Luke 24:13-35 and Matthew 25:1-13

• “Litany of lament and longing: Public prayer vigil on the evening of Troy Davis’ execution.”

• “When was the last time you heard a tourism expert talk about land redistribution and debt forgiveness? TV travel program host Rick Steves donates $4 million apartment complex for homeless women and children.” 

©Ken Sehested @ prayerandpolitiks.org. Language not otherwise indicated above is that of the editor, as are those portions cited as “kls.” Don’t let the “copyright” notice keep you from circulating material you find here (and elsewhere in this site). Reprint permission is hereby granted in advance for noncommercial purposes.

Your comments are always welcomed. If you have news, views, notes or quotes to add to the list above, please do. If you like what you read, pass this along to your friends. You can reach me directly at kensehested@prayerandpolitiks.org.

When was the last time you heard a tourism expert talk about land redistribution and debt forgiveness?

TV travel program host Rick Steves donates $4 million apartment complex for homeless woman and children

by Ken Sehested

        Years ago, when I first heard Rick Steves’ squeaky voice, channel flipping late on night, I thought it was satire. This being my last resort of delaying bedtime, I continued watching. And then later, in my night owl habit of TV diversion to put my brain in neutral to (hopefully) coast toward sleep, I would stumble across his show again. Over time, I actually began to look for the “Rick Steves’ Europe” program.

        Why? I don’t remember exact details now, but interspersed with touristy stuff, he actually made a few honest comments about some of the history that had occurred in that place which the local chamber of commerce doesn't mention, the kinds of things travel brochures will never say.

        Then there’s his talking about travel as an education in global awareness (and not just voyeurism), talking about “Travel as a Spiritual Act”  and as a “political” act, about the way travels helps us “challenge truths we were raised to think were self-evident and God-given,” and his desire that travel help us “become better citizens of our planet.” He has initiated multiple fundraising efforts to support things like Habitat for Humanity, and is an active member in his hometown Lutheran Church.

        But Steves’ vision and commitment go beyond simple charity.

        “I traveled in Central America, where I learned civil wars that I thought were between communists and capitalists were actually between obscenely rich oligarchs and landless peasants. I hung out with poor Christians who took the Biblical Jubilee Year (the notion that every fifty years the land is to be re-divided and debts are to be forgiven) seriously . . . even though rich Christians assumed God must have been kidding.”

        Just goes to show you never know in advance when kindred spirits will emerge in the most unlikely of places. That’s why healthy spiritual communities emphasize paying attention in all things. There is no secular space. There are only sacred spaces and desecrated spaces. Jesus had a marked proclivity for being in the latter.

        Our confidence in claiming to track the coordinates of when, where and how the Spirit will show up is often misplaced. More often we are surprised, and even make us look foolish. So don’t be afraid of feeling foolish. Foolishness is Spirit’s middle name; surprise, Her nickname.

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Read Steves’ commentary, “Travel, Budget Beds, and the Homeless.”
©ken sehested @ prayerandpolitiks.org

 

Loosed for life and love’s consent

A litany for worship inspired by Acts 2:42-47

by Ken Sehested

Following the dramatic response to Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost, the text reports that the newly-formed People of the Way devoted themselves to listening and learning, to lingering in each other’s presence, to potluck dinners, and to prayer—with praise and pintos, songs and salads, received and given ’round the Bountiful Table.

Hands and hearts, bound together, loosed for life and Love’s consent.

The Promised Pardon freeing furrowed brow and anxious gaze alike.

Hands and hearts, bound together, loosed for life and Love’s consent.

The Spirit’s grip brought all together and broke the spell of stingy response.

Hands and hearts, bound together, loosed for life and Love’s consent.

Led beside still waters, seated amid green meadows, fretful hearts and frail hands revive in pledged allegiance to the Commonwealth of Creation.

Hands and hearts, bound together, loosed for life and Love’s consent.

Sisters and brothers, this is our marketing plan—this is our strategy for growth:

Hands and hearts, bound together. Praise, to God; and peace, for the earth!

©ken sehested @ prayerandpolitiks.org

News, views, notes, and quotes

Signs of the Times  •  18 April 2017  •  No. 116

Special theme issue
Earth Day

Processional.For the Beauty of the Earth,” Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Above: The spiral Sombrero galaxy. Thick dust lanes encircle the brilliant white core of the galaxy, which is 50,000 light-years across and 28 million light-years from Earth. For more astounding photos, see “Hubble's Greatest Hits. Pictures from the space telescope have dazzled us for 25 years.”

Invocation. “Creation is not simply the props and drops, / the costumes and orchestra, / the catwalks and footlights / on the stage of salvation’s drama. / Rather, creation is an active part / in history’s narration. / Without the cosmos, / Salvation’s story / cannot be comprehended.” —continue reading Ken Sehested’s “Earth’s habitus: A meditation on creation"

¶ “If you defile the land, it will vomit you out(Leviticus 18:28).

Call to worship.Earth Day,” Immediate Music-Believe, Aleksandar Dimitrijevic. (3:19 video)

Awesome news. “A small-town Iowa newspaper has won a Pulitzer Prize for taking on powerful agricultural companies over farm pollution.
        “Art Cullen, who owns the Storm Lake Times with his brother John, acknowledged it wasn’t easy taking on agriculture in a state like Iowa where you see hundreds of miles of farm fields in every direction. The Cullens lost a few friends and a few advertisers, but never doubted they were doing the right thing.
        “‘We’re here to challenge people’s assumptions and I think that’s what every good newspaper should do,” he said.” The Guardian

Earth day strategies. Think of the now-familiar trilogy of recommendations: reduce, reuse, recycle. Then add a fourth observation: refuse—break habits of mindless consumption. And to undergird it all, a fifth: rejoice—fostering a vision of Creation's blessedness granted at the beginning: "God saw everything that was made, and indeed, it was delightful" (Genesis 1:31—the English words "very good" fail to convey the outright glee of the Hebrew text). —continue reading “Covenant-making on Earth Day

 ¶ “The Trump administration plans to take a sledgehammer to the Environmental Protection Agency. Thursday’s proposal by the White House would slash the EPA’s budget by 31% from its current level of $8.1 billion to $5.7 billion. It would cut 3,200 positions, or more than 20% of the agency’s current workforce of about 15,000.” Brady Dennis & Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post

In case you need a reminder, in light of the threatened gutting of the Environmental Protection Agency. “This is why we need the EPA.” (50-second video. Thanks Lisset.)

Left: A Pakistani Christian woman prays during an Easter service at Catholic Sacred Heart Cathedral church in Lahore, Pakistan, Sunday, April 16, 2017. Photo by K.M. Chaudary, The Associated Press. See more photos in “Photos: Easter Around the World 2017.” —Denver Post

Hymn of praise. “In colors, / In colors the fields are dressed / In the springtime / In colors, / Colorful are the little birds / That come from far away / In colors, / Colorful is the rainbow / That we see shine / And that is why the great loves / of many colors are pleasing to me(English translation). —Joan Baez, “De Colores

You know you’re down the rabbit hole when the CEOs of fossil fuel icons ExxonMobil and General Electric join “in slamming the White House’s environmental environmental policies.” Bess Levin, Vanity Fair (Thanks Kristen.)

Creative resistance. The Alt National Park Service is “a growing coalition of 59 National Park Service employees from nine different National Parks. We formed to ensure the protection of the environment for future generations to come. We were forced into a media blackout, hiring freeze, policy changes, and possible reduction in funding. We are here to stand up and speak out against the current administration. We all refuse to be silenced while we watch everything we love crumble. Join the movement.” Alt National Park Service,  (Thanks Lenora.)

¶ “For Texas, this most Republican-dominated, oil-rich and fracking-friendly of states, has found itself with the improbable status of being a national leader in this growing form of renewable energy. . . . [A]ccording to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, wind turbine technician is by far the nation’s fastest-growing occupation.” —Tom Dart & Oliver Milman, The Guardian

Climate change “at a rate faster than at any time since the end of the ice age—change too fast perhaps for life to adapt, without severe dislocation”. That was the startling warning issued by the oil giant Shell more than a quarter of a century ago. The company’s farsighted 1991 film, titled Climate of Concern, set out with crystal clarity how the world was warming and that serious consequences could well result.” Damian Carrington & Jelmer Mommers, The Guardian

¶ "All the light of the Earth / everyone shall see / through the window / of the drop of a tear." —Mexican poet León Felipe

Confession. “For 200 years we've been conquering nature. Now we're beating it to death.” —Tom McMillan

¶ “The Breathing Earth.” (1:40 video)

Hymn of lamentation. “And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County / Down by the Green River where Paradise lay / Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking / Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away.” —John Prine, “Paradise

Words of assurance. ““There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.” ―John Calvin

Professing our faith. “This ‘world’ is not my home; but this earth is. / We are not drifters: directionless, detached, / disaffected, suffering neither loves nor longings, / risking no hopes, claimed by no promises. / We are in fact squatters, occupying the land / and waters whose only trustworthy deed / challenges every indenturing creed, every / realty’s lien which privileges the few at the / expense of the many. We seek no flight to / another terrain for it is this very domain— / every meadow’s shadow, every peak’s brow, / every river’s careen, every furrow’s plough— / which asserts heaven’s riposte to Hades’ advance.” —continue reading Ken Sehested’s “Pacem in terris: Easter. Earth Day, and Pentecost’s promise

One thing Jesus did not say: “You are the sugar of the earth.”

¶ “What the earth would look life if all the ice melted,” produced by Alex Kuzoian. (2:44 video)

Hymn of resolution. “And all the trees of the field will clap their hands! As you go out with joy.” —“Trees of the Field” (cf. Isaiah 55:12) performed by Cantate Domino of the congregation of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Singapore

By the numbers. “Global biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate, putting the survival of other species and our own future at risk. The Living Planet Index reveals that global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles declined by 58% between 1970 and 2012. We could witness a two-thirds decline in the half-century from 1970 to 2020—unless we act now to reform our food and energy systems and meet global commitments on addressing climate change, protecting biodiversity and supporting sustainable development.” World Wildlife Federation

The earth, and human presumption, in perspective. Carl Sagan, “Pale Blue Dot”. (3:45 video)

Right: Ricardo Levins Morales, ©RLM Art Studio

Hymn of intercession.Trees of the Field,” Winfield Bennett Marine.

Call to Earth—A message from the world’s astronauts to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. (8:03 video)

¶ “Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, or by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitude wherever or with whomsoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there.” ―Meister Eckhart

Offertory. Lucia Micarelli, “To Love You More.”

¶ “The ultimate test of your conscience may be your willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.” —Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day

Short story. A brief profile of Senator Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day.

Preach it. “It is striking how the earliest Christians, like mainstream rabbis of the period, clung to the twin doctrines of creation and judgment: God made the world and made it good, and one day he will come and sort it all out. Take away the goodness of creation, and you have a judgment where the world is thrown away as so much garbage, leaving us sitting on a disembodied cloud playing disembodied harps. Take away judgment, and you have this world rumbling on with no hope except the pantheist one of endless cycles of being and history. Put creation and judgment together, and you get new heavens and new earth, created not ex nihilo but ex vetere, not out of nothing but out of the old one, the existing one." —N. T. Wright

¶ "When the well's dry, we know the worth of water." —Benjamin Franklin

Can’t makes this sh*t up. “A new law in Michigan will prohibit local governments from banning, regulating or imposing fees on the use of plastic bags and other containers. You read that correctly: It’s not a ban on plastic bags — it’s a ban on banning plastic bags.” Chelsea Harvey, Washington Post

Call to the table.Ô Sang et eau” (“O blood and water”), Chant de la communauté de l' Emmanuel.

¶ “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, one finds it attached to the rest of the world.” —John Muir

For the beauty of the earth. “A stunning new map (left) shows the complex network of rivers and streams in the contiguous US. Created by Imgur user Fejetlenfej, a geographer and GIS analyst with a ‘lifelong passion for beautiful maps,’ it highlights the massive expanse of river basins across the country.” —see more details, and an animated video, at Cheyenne MacDonald & Mark Prigg, “The veins of America: Stunning map shows every river basin in the US,” Daily Mail (Thanks Marti.)

The state of our disunion. “Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Vestavia Hills [a wealthy suburb of Birmingham, Alabama] is trying to establish its own police force.”  Lauren Walsh, ABC News

Best one-liner. “If the environment were a bank, it would have been saved by now.” —Senator Bernie Sanders

Altar call. “Leave the field and leave the fire / And find the flame of your desire / Set your heart on this far shore / And sing your dream to me once more.” —English translation of lyrics to “Mo Ghille Mear,” performed by UCD Choral Scholars

Benediction. “Farewell, my friends, I'm bound for Canaan, / I'm trav'ling through the wilderness; / Your company has been delightful, / You, who doth leave my mind distressed. / I go away, behind to leave you, / Perhaps never to meet again, / But if we never have the pleasure, / I hope we'll meet on Canaan's land.” —Second Ireland Sacred Harp Convention (2012), “Parting Friends.”   (Thanks Chris. If you’re unfamiliar with sacred harp/shape note singing, the song is first sung using names of the “shape” of the note. Here is a site with more info on Sacred Harp singing.)

Recessional.Sing, Sing, Sing,” Benny Goodman Orchestra, featuring the dance of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.

Lectionary for this Sunday. A breathtaking, breathgiving, statement. “‘As the Abba has sent me, so I send you.’ When [Jesus] had said this, he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’” —John 20:21-23

Lectionary for Sunday next. “One empty tomb poses no threat / to present entanglements, / any more than annual and / specially-adorned sanctuary crowds / encroach on Easter morn. / It’s Easter’s aftermath / resurrectus contagio, / contagious resurrection / that threatens entombing empires / with breached sovereignty.” —continue reading Ken Sehested’s “Easter’s aftermath,” a poem inspired by Luke 24:13-35 and Matthew 25:1-13

Just for fun.Astronaut Tips: How to Wash Your Hair in Space.” (2:57 video)

#  #  #

Featured this week on prayer&politiks

• “Earth Day resourcesfor local congregations

• “Easter’s aftermath,” a poem inspired by Luke 24:13-35 and Matthew 25:1-13

• “Pacem in terris: Easter. Earth Day, and Pentecost’s promise,” a meditation on our lectionary journey

• “I arise today,” a litany for worship inspired by Acts 2:25-28, Psalm 16:8-11, and “The Deer’s Cry,” anonymous 8th century poem often attributed to St. Patrick

©Ken Sehested @ prayerandpolitiks.org. Language not otherwise indicated above is that of the editor, as are those portions cited as “kls.” Don’t let the “copyright” notice keep you from circulating material you find here (and elsewhere in this site). Reprint permission is hereby granted in advance for noncommercial purposes.

Your comments are always welcomed. If you have news, views, notes or quotes to add to the list above, please do. If you like what you read, pass this along to your friends. You can reach me directly at kensehested@prayerandpolitiks.org.

Holy Saturday 2017

by Ken Sehested

Betwixt and between. Jesus’ disciples and followers are bereft and adrift. The world seems to be coming apart.

As are we.

North Korea’s Kim Yong-un, among whose titles is “Fate of the Nation,” has finished his nation’s 15 April “Day of the Sun” founding day parade with its “North Korea First” bluster; and US “Fate of the Nation” Donald Trump—who requested but was denied tanks and missile launchers in his inauguration parade—is ensconced in his luxury resort, fresh off his “mother of all bombs” strike in Afghanistan, following our heightened entanglement with the escalated cycle of violence in Syria.

Children everywhere, playing with fire, oblivious to the risks.

As a child, on those few occasions when I watched shoot-em-up TV shows with my grandfather, he would laugh sarcastically at each casualty and say “meat on the table!” I don’t know if he was aware of it, but he gave me my first lessons in mocking the myth of redemptive violence—the myth which turns Easter’s claim into retail opportunity. (Wall Street has already declared this weekend a success.)

But there’s nothing silly about the armada of US warships now prowling the Korean peninsula’s coast. We know for certain (this time) that North Korea has nuclear weapons. But, by God, we got more. Both nations’ leaders are known for their impulsive decisions. Some 75 million are in harm’s way.

Holy Saturday. Betwixt and between, asking “was Jesus on a fool’s errant, or what?” Did Caiaphas and Pilate have a firmer grasp on reality? A clearer vision of the future?

Time will tell. An Easter inferno is not out of the question.

But it will require far more than that, we trust, to keep the tomb’s stone in place and resurrection’s power at bay.

#  #  #

©ken sehested @ prayerandpolitiks.org

Funeral songs

by Ken Sehested

When I was in seminary I remember thinking that all of us, as part of our final year of study, should be required to build our own casket, hauling it around as a storage chest wherever we lived, until the day for its final use. Odd as it sounds, the “remember you are dust” charge provokes an intensity and a freedom to the living of our days, chipping away at the anxiety that too often drives our frenetic habits.

Along that same line, one element of our congregation’s seven-week Lenten reflection group was beginning and ending each meeting by listening to songs participants’ want at their funeral service, in keeping with the season’s invitation to reflect on our own mortality.

Below is our list. Feel free to add your own suggestion, in the “comment” section at the page’s bottom or by sending it directly to me: kensehested@prayerandpolitiks.org (I’ll add it to the list on an ongoing basis.) These are in random order.

§ “How Can I Keep From Singing,” Judy Collins

§ “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs,” Henryk Górecki (1st movement, second part)

§ “Morning Has Broken,” Cat Stevens

§ “Who Will Watch The Home Place,” Laurie Lewis and Her Bluegrass Pals

§ “So May We All,” Charlie King & Bright Morning Star

§ “Psalm 23,” Bobby McFerrin

§ “Song of Peace (Finlandia),” Indigo Girls, with Michelle Malone

§ “Largo in D Flat” (“Going Home”), music by Antonin Dvorak, New World Symphony, piano

§ "Largo in D flat" (“Going Home"), music by Antonin Dvorak, performed by Libera

§ “Come Sunday,” Mahalia Jackson

§ “The Deer’s Cry,” (aka “St. Patrick’s Breastplate”), Rita Connolly, with the Curtlestown Choir

§ “In the Arms of An Angel,” Sarah McLachlan

§ “Lone Wild Bird,” Lynda Poston-Smith

§ “Ain’t No Grave [Can Hold My Body Down],” Johnny Cash

§ “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go,” Westminster Chorus

§ “It Is Well With My Soul,” Zero8 Chorus

And one special mention, this one full of levity, which also helps us stare death in the face without flinching: “Funeral Food,” Kate Campbell.

#  #  #

Readers add to this list.

§ “Gabriel’s Oboe” [from “The Mission”], performed by Henrik Chaim Goldschmidt (from Michael S. Mulberry)

§ "What a Wonderful World," Louis Armstrong

§ “Foinn Bhriotáineacha,” Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill

§ "Long Time Traveller," Wailin’ Jennys

§ “Glory Bound,” Wailin’ Jennys

§ “I’m Coming Home,” Staples Singers

§ “Parting Friends,” Second Ireland Sacred Harp Convention (2012)

§ “Ashokan Farewell,” Jay Ungar and Molly Mason Family Band

§ “Precious Lord Take My Hand,” Aretha Franklin

§ “In My Time of Dyin’,” Bob Dylan

§ "Why Me, Lord?" Ray Charles & Johnny Cash

§ “Now the Day Is Over,” Mormon Tabernacle Choir

§ “Tell Heaven,” Staples Singers

§ “Children of the Heavenly Father,” Concordia Choir

§ “I’m Not Afraid to Die,” Gillian Welch

§ “Wayfaring Stranger,” Rhiannon Giddens

§ “Blue Skies,” Ella Fitzgerald

§ “In My Life,” John Lennon

§ “Pressing On,” Bob Dylan

§ “Pussywillows, Cat Tails,” Gordon Lightfoot

§ “I’ll See You In My Dreams,” Joe Brown

§ “Keep Me In Your Heart,” Warren Zevon

§ “Imagine,” John Lennon

§ “Am I Born to Die,” Solas

§ "The Best Is Yet to Come," Frank Sinatra

§ “We Shall Walk Through the Valley in Peace,” Cantus/Chanticleer 

§ “Sit Down, Servant/Plenty Good Room,” Chanticleer

§ “Get Away, Jordan,” Take Six 

§ “Mary,” Take Six 

§ “A Gaelic Blessing,” John Rutter 

§ “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” John Rutter 

§ “A Clare Benediction,” John Rutter, Cambridge Singers 

§ “We Shall Behold Him,” Sandi Patty 

§ “All Day Dinner,” Reba Rambo Gardner

§ "All Day Dinner," Allison Speer

§ “What a Day,” Phil Keaggy

§ “The Land of Oohs and Ahs / Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” Reba Rambo

§ “The Lord Is My Shepherd,” Keith Green

§ “The Lord Is My Shepherd,” John Rutter

§ “Lux Aeterna,” John Rutter

§ “Sheep May Safely Graze,” J.S. Bach (many versions—here is a lovely piano transcription by Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili)

The United States at War

There have been only 17 years that the US has not been involved in a war since 1776

“We’re at War!”
And We Have Been Since 1776: 214 Years of American War-Making

Danios, loonwatch.com blog, 20 December 2011

Year-by-year Timeline of America’s Major Wars (1776-2011)

1776 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamagua Wars, Second Cherokee War, Pennamite-Yankee War

1777 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Second Cherokee War, Pennamite-Yankee War

1778 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1779 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1780 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1781 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1782 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1783 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1784 – Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War, Oconee War

1785 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1786 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1787 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1788 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1789 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1790 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1791 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1792 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1793 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1794 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1795 – Northwest Indian War

1796 – No major war

1797 – No major war

1798 – Quasi-War

1799 – Quasi-War

1800 – Quasi-War

1801 – First Barbary War

1802 – First Barbary War

1803 – First Barbary War

1804 – First Barbary War

1805 – First Barbary War

1806 – Sabine Expedition

1807 – No major war

1808 – No major war

1809 – No major war

1810 – U.S. occupies Spanish-held West Florida

1811 – Tecumseh’s War

1812 – War of 1812, Tecumseh’s War, Seminole Wars, U.S. occupies Spanish-held Amelia Island and other parts of East Florida

1813 – War of 1812, Tecumseh’s War, Peoria War, Creek War, U.S. expands its territory in West Florida

1814 – War of 1812, Creek War, U.S. expands its territory in Florida, Anti-piracy war

1815 – War of 1812, Second Barbary War, Anti-piracy war

1816 – First Seminole War, Anti-piracy war

1817 – First Seminole War, Anti-piracy war

1818 – First Seminole War, Anti-piracy war

1819 – Yellowstone Expedition, Anti-piracy war

1820 – Yellowstone Expedition, Anti-piracy war

1821 – Anti-piracy war (see note above)

1822 – Anti-piracy war (see note above)

1823 – Anti-piracy war, Arikara War

1824 – Anti-piracy war

1825 – Yellowstone Expedition, Anti-piracy war

1826 – No major war

1827 – Winnebago War

1828 – No major war

1829 – No major war

1830 – No major war 

1831 – Sac and Fox Indian War

1832 – Black Hawk War

1833 – Cherokee Indian War

1834 – Cherokee Indian War, Pawnee Indian Territory Campaign

1835 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Second Creek War

1836 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Second Creek War, Missouri-Iowa Border War

1837 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Second Creek War, Osage Indian War, Buckshot War

1838 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Buckshot War, Heatherly Indian War

1839 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars

1840 – Seminole Wars, U.S. naval forces invade Fiji Islands

1841 – Seminole Wars, U.S. naval forces invade McKean Island, Gilbert Islands, and Samoa

1842 – Seminole Wars

1843 – U.S. forces clash with Chinese, U.S. troops invade African coast

1844 – Texas-Indian Wars

1845 – Texas-Indian Wars

1846 – Mexican-American War, Texas-Indian Wars

1847 – Mexican-American War, Texas-Indian Wars

1848 – Mexican-American War, Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War

1849 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians

1850 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Yuma War, California Indian Wars, Pitt River Expedition

1851 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, Yuma War, Utah Indian Wars, California Indian Wars

1852 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Yuma War, Utah Indian Wars, California Indian Wars

1853 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Yuma War, Utah Indian Wars, Walker War, California Indian Wars

1854 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians

1855 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Yakima War, Winnas Expedition, Klickitat War, Puget Sound War, Rogue River Wars, U.S. forces invade Fiji Islands and Uruguay

1856 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, California Indian Wars, Puget Sound War, Rogue River Wars, Tintic War

1857 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, California Indian Wars, Utah War, Conflict in Nicaragua

1858 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Mohave War, California Indian Wars, Spokane-Coeur d’Alene-Paloos War, Utah War, U.S. forces invade Fiji Islands and Uruguay

1859 Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, California Indian Wars, Pecos Expedition, Antelope Hills Expedition, Bear River Expedition, John Brown’s raid, U.S. forces launch attack against Paraguay, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1860 – Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Paiute War, Kiowa-Comanche War

1861 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign

1862 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign, Dakota War of 1862,

1863 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign, Colorado War, Goshute War

1864 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign, Colorado War, Snake War

1865 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Colorado War, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War

1866 – Texas-Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Red Cloud’s War, Franklin County War, U.S. invades Mexico, Conflict with China

1867 – Texas-Indian Wars, Long Walk of the Navajo, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Red Cloud’s War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War, U.S. troops occupy Nicaragua and attack Taiwan

1868 – Texas-Indian Wars, Long Walk of the Navajo, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Red Cloud’s War, Comanche Wars, Battle of Washita River, Franklin County War

1869 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War

1870 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War

1871 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War, Kingsley Cave Massacre, U.S. forces invade Korea

1872 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Modoc War, Franklin County War

1873 – Texas-Indian Wars, Comanche Wars, Modoc War, Apache Wars, Cypress Hills Massacre, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1874 – Texas-Indian Wars, Comanche Wars, Red River War, Mason County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1875 – Conflict in Mexico, Texas-Indian Wars, Comanche Wars, Eastern Nevada, Mason County War, Colfax County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1876 – Texas-Indian Wars, Black Hills War, Mason County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1877 – Texas-Indian Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Black Hills War, Nez Perce War, Mason County War, Lincoln County War, San Elizario Salt War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1878 – Paiute Indian conflict, Bannock War, Cheyenne War, Lincoln County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1879 – Cheyenne War, Sheepeater Indian War, White River War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1880 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1881 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1882 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1883 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1884 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1885 – Apache Wars, Eastern Nevada Expedition, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1886 – Apache Wars, Pleasant Valley War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1887 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1888 – U.S. show of force against Haiti, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1889 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1890 – Sioux Indian War, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Ghost Dance War, Wounded Knee, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1891 – Sioux Indian War, Ghost Dance War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1892 – Johnson County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1893 – U.S. forces invade Mexico and Hawaii

1894 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1895 – U.S. forces invade Mexico, Bannock Indian Disturbances

1896 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1897 – No major war

1898 – Spanish-American War, Battle of Leech Lake, Chippewa Indian Disturbances

1899 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1900 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1901 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1902 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1903 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1904 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1905 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1906 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1907 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1908 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1909 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1910 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1911 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1912 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1913 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars, New Mexico Navajo War

1914 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico

1915 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico, Colorado Paiute War

1916 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico

1917 – Banana Wars, World War I, U.S. invades Mexico

1918 – Banana Wars, World War I, U.S invades Mexico

1919 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico

1920 – Banana Wars

1921 – Banana Wars

1922 – Banana Wars

1923 – Banana Wars, Posey War

1924 – Banana Wars

1925 – Banana Wars

1926 – Banana Wars

1927 – Banana Wars

1928 – Banana Wars

1930 – Banana Wars

1931 – Banana Wars

1932 – Banana Wars

1933 – Banana Wars

1934 – Banana Wars

1935 – No major war

1936 – No major war

1937 – No major war

1938 – No major war

1939 – No major war

1940 – No major war

1941 – World War II

1942 – World War II

1943 – Wold War II

1944 – World War II

1945 – World War II

1946 – Cold War (U.S. occupies the Philippines and South Korea)

1947 – Cold War (U.S. occupies South Korea, U.S. forces land in Greece to fight Communists)

1948 – Cold War (U.S. forces aid Chinese Nationalist Party against Communists)

1949 – Cold War (U.S. forces aid Chinese Nationalist Party against Communists)

1950 – Korean War, Jayuga Uprising

1951 – Korean War

1952 – Korean War

1953 – Korean War

1954 – Covert War in Guatemala

1955 – Vietnam War

1956 – Vietnam War

1957 – Vietnam War

1958 – Vietnam War

1959 – Vietnam War, Conflict in Haiti

1960 – Vietam War

1961 – Vietnam War

1962 – Vietnam War, Cold War (Cuban Missile Crisis; U.S. marines fight Communists in Thailand)

1963 – Vietnam War

1964 – Vietnam War

1965 – Vietnam War, U.S. occupation of Dominican Republic

1966 – Vietnam War, U.S. occupation of Dominican Republic

1967 – Vietnam War

1968 – Vietnam War

1969 – Vietnam War

1970 – Vietnam War

1971 – Vietnam War

1972 – Vietnam War

1973 – Vietnam War, U.S. aids Israel in Yom Kippur War

1974 – Vietnam War

1975 – Vietnam War

1976 – No major war

1977 – No major war

1978 – No major war

1979 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan)

1980 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan)

1981 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), First Gulf of Sidra Incident

1982 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), Conflict in Lebanon

1983 – Cold War (Invasion of Grenada, CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), Conflict in Lebanon

1984 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), Conflict in Persian Gulf

1985 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua)

1986 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua)

1987 – Conflict in Persian Gulf

1988 – Conflict in Persian Gulf, U.S. occupation of Panama

1989 – Second Gulf of Sidra Incident, U.S. occupation of Panama, Conflict in Philippines

1990 – First Gulf War, U.S. occupation of Panama

1991 – First Gulf War

1992 – Conflict in Iraq

1993 – Conflict in Iraq

1994 – Conflict in Iraq, U.S. invades Haiti

1995 – Conflict in Iraq, U.S. invades Haiti, NATO bombing of Bosnia and Herzegovina

1996 – Conflict in Iraq

1997 – No major war

1998 – Bombing of Iraq, Missile strikes against Afghanistan and Sudan

1999 – Kosovo War

2000 – No major war

2001 – War on Terror in Afghanistan

2002 – War on Terror in Afghanistan and Yemen

2003 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, and Iraq

2004 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2005 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2006 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2007 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen

2008 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2009 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2010 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2011 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen; Conflict in Libya (Libyan Civil War)

20 February 2015 update WashingtonsBlog

In most of these wars, the U.S. was on the offense. Danios admits that some of the wars were defensive.   However, Danios also leaves out covert CIA operations and other acts which could be considered war.

Let’s update what’s happened since 2011:

2012–2017 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Yemen

So we can add 6 more years of war. That means that for 224 out of 241 years – or 93% of the time – America has been at war. (We can quibble with the exact numbers, but the high percentage of time that America has been at war is clear and unmistakable.)

•Using statistics compiled by the Federation of American Scientists, Gore Vidal has listed 201 overseas military operations between the end of World War II and September 11, 2001, in which the US struck the first blow. . . . It should be noted that since 1947 . . . in no instance has democratic government come about as a direct result.” —Chalmers Johnson, “Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic”

•“The United States [as a national-state, i.e., not counting the War of Independence] has formally declared war on only five occasions: the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II. Yet it has sent its armed forces abroad over 300 times ‘for other than normal peacetime purposes,’ according to a congressional report issued in 2010.” Jesse Greenspan, History.com

ken sehested @ prayerandpolitiks.org

Follow-up on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech.

by Ken Sehested

¶ Connecting the dots—or, as we now say, intersectionality. “But when, exactly, did the post-civil rights era begin? Arguably it was fifty years ago today when in a speech [‘Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence,’ aka ‘Declaration of Independence From the War in Vietnam’] at Harlem’s Riverside Church Martin Luther King Jr. definitively broke ranks with the liberals he once considered allies. . . .
         “The very liberals who supported and signed civil rights legislation while waging war in Vietnam would wind up in the years ahead being the chief promulgators of new laws that criminalized the daily lives of the urban poor and authorized the militarization of municipal police forces. The 1968 Safe Streets Act, signed by Johnson, poured hundreds of millions of dollars into building up law enforcement and the criminal justice apparatus—astronomically more than was ever spent on the same president’s anti-poverty programs. This legislation would lead to a slew of other law-and-order policies that together helped lead us into the age of mass incarceration.” —Eric Tang, “‘A Society Gone Mad on War’: The Enduring Importance of Martin Luther King’s Riverside Speech,” The Nation

¶ Can’t turn back now. “At first blush it may seem counterintuitive to elevate [the ‘Beyond Vietnam’] speech above the watershed ‘I Have a Dream’ speech delivered four years earlier, or the "[I Have Been to the] Mountaintop’ speech he would give on the eve of his death. But if King's address at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom made him into an American icon, his Riverside Church speech announced him as a genuine prophet for social justice, one who willingly sacrificed his hard-won status to defy an empire.” —Peniel Joseph, “This speech made Martin Luther King Jr. revolutionary,” CNN

¶ “‘The March on Washington was a powerful speech,’ [Congressman John] Lewis said to me recently, over the phone. Lewis was present for that one, too: he spoke on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial minutes before King did. ‘It was a speech for America, but the speech he delivered in New York, on April 4, 1967, was a speech for all humanity—for the world community. . . .’
        “‘The cross may mean the death of your popularity,’ [King] said at a conference the following month [after the “Beyond Vietnam” speech]. Even so, he added, ‘take up your cross and just bear it. And that’s the way I have decided to go. Come what may, it doesn’t matter now.’” —Benjamin Hedin, “Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Searing Antiwar Speech, Fifty Years Later,” The New Yorker

¶ The “dream” is now a bit dreamy. “Dr. King’s Riverside Church address exemplified how, throughout his final 18 months of life, he repeatedly rejected the sunny optimism of his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech and instead mourned how that dream had “turned into a nightmare.” But the speech also highlighted how for Dr. King, civil rights was never a discrete problem in American society, and that racism went hand in hand with the fellow evils of poverty and militarism that kept the country from living up to its ideals. Beyond signaling his growing radicalism, the Riverside speech reflected Dr. King’s increasing political courage—and shows why, half a century later, he remains a pivotal figure in American history.” —David J. Garrow, “When Martin Luther King Came Out Against the Vietnam,” New York Times

¶ Spied. Over the course of several years, Dr. King was subjected to intense surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency, and the US Army Intelligence and Security Command. Most of it was illegal.

¶ Dr. William Barber’s sermon at Riverside. You can view online the 2 April 2017 worship service at The Riverside Church in New York City commemorating King’s speech in 1967. Guest preacher Dr. William Barber’s sermon, “When Silence Is Not An Option,” begins in the 48th minute.

¶ “Likely” a conspiracy. “The United States House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) was established in 1976 to investigate the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. . . . In its 1978 report, the Committee concluded in its report that while King was killed by one rifle shot from James Earl Ray, ‘there is a likelihood’ that it was the result of a conspiracy.” Wikipedia
        You can read some of the declassified documents from the FBI files at American Radio Works, “The FBI’s War on King.”

¶ Hard conclusion. “[The angry young men I’ve talked to] in the ghettos of the North . . . asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today—my own government.” —Martin Luther King Jr., “Beyond Vietnam”

¶ Preparation for Palm Sunday & Holy Week. “I Have Been to the Mountaintop,” King speaking at Mason Temple in Memphis, Tenn., 3 April 1968, the night before his assassination.

        •Complete speech (43:14 audio)

        • Excerpts (22:14) of the speech along with photos, video clips and commentary from some of his colleagues.

        •Brief excerpt of the speech’s key lines. (2:37 video)

©ken sehested @ prayerandpolitiks.org