We meet the 1st and 3rd Thursdays at St. Gertrude's Ministry Center
(6214 N. Glenwood), beginning at 8:00 p.m. Folks are welcome to join us at anytime.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

This was published in the St. Paul Universal Local Progressive Non-Violent Reader:

Chicago Resistance Group Meets in St. Paul
by Nebby Davidson
Published Sunday Edition, May 30th, 1a

On a usually hot Minnesota Saturday morning a group of young adults met in Day-by-Day Cafe on West 7th in St. Paul. Reminiscent of the original recovery group that founded the cafe, these young people shared, drank coffee (actually only one, but he drank a lot) and supported each other for a couple of hours. They were members of Kairos Chicago, a group of folks in Chicago that resists faith and justice.

The four people were; Claire Wiltse, Ben Anderson, Emily Anderson, and Annemarie Barrett. After catching up on the recent events they all ordered their meals and got down to business. Barrett shared about her brothers wedding and how she was still pondering her existence in St. Paul. Wiltse talked about a conversation she had with a priest from India about woman's ordination. She reported that he saw the church as a family that he wishes he could change but must respect as a parent. Anderson (Ben) shared about his trip to Kansas City where he visited a work place for Catholics. His animated hand gestures showed his excitement for working Catholics.

Answering where they found hope for the summer, Wilste enjoyed her ricotta cheese pancakes and talked about family/friends and their openness to watching depressing documentaries with her. Barrett and the Andersons swapped stories about wise grandparents they recently saw. Barreet, with a profoundly deep look on her face, shared a story of an intense yet productive conversation she had with a family member.

Eating her granola with yogurt, Anderson (Emily) shared how she is moving to Chicago next year to live in in a post-volunteer school called Amelia's House. This sparked a long discussion about community, as all four will be residents in communes starting this August. Anderson (Ben), having finished his breakfast burrito and four cups of coffee, shared stories of previous alternative multi-person living situations he had participated in. The other three inspiring young resisters were distracted by the cute kids playing in the pond and the stray cats.

After a couple of hours the group decided to call it quits. They left energized and embraced each other. All were committed to continue their lives of non-violent faith resistance in the manner of the Cafe's name, Day-by-Day.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Resistance Gardening

By Julia Walsh, FSPA and Amy Nee

In a land of concrete and cold stone, restlessness for New Life stirs and shakes.

We fumble through work in an urban landscape. We speak to the oppressed and vulnerable, saying they are empowered to free others; they are powerful and rich beyond measure; they need to contribute to the betterment of the world. Yet, how can this sink in or resonate when they are overwhelmed by their own needs and struggles? We don’t have an answer, yet our voices ache from trying to obey the Spirit, to share convictions, to offer hope and healing.

This paradox mirrors what bruises the world: we who decry it are a part of the system of oppression. We are oppressed by our own participation in the torture, in the violence, in the poverty and discrimination. We are seeped in the things that we despise because we are a part of this world.

Yet we resist. We stutter and whisper “peace” while the world cheers “Fight! Fight!” The chant is global and it’s in the microcosms of high school hallways. We are conflicted by conviction, shadowed by shame. We have been socialized to believe that we are the best, or at least better than those who are different than us. We walk forward and proclaim that we believe in equality and justice in the ways that God has dreamed. Then, haunted by hypocrisy, we cry in confessionals with the realization of our own racist tendencies.

And, we look for cracks in the concrete; in the system, in ourselves, in the land that surrounds a school, broken like a battlefield. We don’t wait for permission and we find our own ways to be generous to the earth and people who we love. We drive through violent neighborhoods and buy seeds at Home Depot, stir up sick soil and pray over the life we try to plant.

Then, we step back and trust that God will guide the seeds to life. God will shed the Light and shower the water. We’ll have the strength to weed and pull out garbage that blows in. Along the way we are awed and surprised with the transformation and affirmation. Others shall be supportive, generous, and we’ll find Jesus hidden under tarps around corners that seem abandoned.

This is the story of the Genesis of the Hales Franciscan High School garden. It is also part of the larger story of the Truth of this earth that has God placed us on together.

(Cross-posted to: http://youngadultcatholics-blog.com )

Monday, May 17, 2010

Brick walls are coming down.

At the recent "Cost of War" Catholic Worker Retreat, I heard numbers, figures, and estimates of the cost of war. Frida Berrigan's talk contained endless amounts of numbers and explanations- which were helpful in grasping the big financial picture- but I found myself most struck by the title of her speech. The Cost of War. Or, maybe, the costs of war. What are the real costs of war? Loss of human dignity, compassion, love- my mind swirled.

Chris Hedges's presentation was also striking, and contained more information than I could ever process in one evening.
And again, I sat wrapped in the idea of what war means for us. Not us-Americans, or us- 'Global Citizens', but us- the living, breathing, even gasping- Body of Christ.

And for a while, all I could think of was my friend Paul and the costs of war for him. At the center of Paul is a beautiful, devoted desire to follow the will of God in his life. And now Paul is in Iraq. Even as I type this, I struggle to really grasp what that means. What war is costing Paul. This war is not an act of love, or the will of God-- yet Paul is there, and Paul is struggling- living, breathing, gasping.

When I sit with the idea of war, and when I pray and converse with Christ about war, I can sense how deeply war has seeped in and affected me. I can feel the walls of fear war has built around my heart, and I can see those walls of fear in the eyes and actions of others. I can see those walls in the Body, how we've segmented ourselves from each other. The white picket fences that keep well-intentioned neighbors at an arm's length, the privacy that rarely invites others in, and the literal walls America has built to blockade the world.

Christ's love has not always been apparent to me through others. My mother has an exclusive love that I'm in or out of and my father has a harshly conditional love. My extended family does not operate as a whole; it looks out for the good of the individual members. However, love through community has torn down the brick walls of fear in my heart. However we separate ourselves in the Body, we remain united in love. The love of Christ in community creates a tangible beauty that overcomes fear. This love enables us to reach our arms out towards each other instead of wrapping them in a barrier around ourselves. This love seeks to heal wounds, to breath new life into the broken, gasping Body.

In this love, Christ challenges me to continue to reach my arms out. I am challenged to have faith that another set of arms will reach back and catch me, or I will learn something valuable in falling.

"This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is so to speak His name written in us, as our poverty, as our indigence, as our dependence, as our sonship. It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely." -Thomas Merton

Our work is to unite Merton's points of light, to build the Kingdom through love of each other. War has cost us a great deal, and continues to... but we know a unity and love through community that evaporates the walls of fear war has built. My hope in Christ, in the Body, in community sustains me amidst all that strips humanity of dignity. Amidst all the costs of war.