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Activism

"To paraphrase a well-known text of Pascal, we can say that all the political theologies, the theologies of hope, of revolution, and of liberation, are not worth one act of genuine solidarity with exploited social classes. They are not worth one act of faith, love, and hope, committed—in one way or another—in active participation to liberate humankind from everthing that dehumanizes it and prevents it from living according to the will of the Father."    - Gustavo Gutiérrez ; A Theology of Liberation: 15th Anniversary Edition


"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly."    - Albert Einstein ; The World As I See It


“It’s about how we show up in this world in the limited time we have.”    - Michelle Alexander ; Spirit of Justice with Michelle Alexander & Angela Davis


"We seem to have picked up the idea that holiness is a trance-like sense of peace and well-being in relation to those all around, an experience of floating on a magic carpet of tranquility. Wherever that picture of holiness came from, it certainly wasn't Mark's Gospel. Jesus is constantly having heated debates with everyone who held Israel in check. The one thing everyone seems to agree on today is that there's plenty wrong with the world. There are only two responses to this—either go and put it right yourself, or, if you can't, make life pretty uncomfortable for those who can until they do. When we take stock of our relationship with the powerful, we ask ourselves, 'Does the shape of my life reflect my longing to see God set people free, and do I challenge those who keep others in slavery?"    - Sam Wells ; Introuction to Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus by Ched Myers


“Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages and make no resistance, either moral or physical. Men may not get all they pay for in this world, but they must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others.”    - Frederick Douglass ; If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress, 1857


"It is when compassion is linked to positive action that we at last start to get somewhere."    - Steven Greenebaum ; The Interfaith Alternative: Embracing Spiritual Diversity


“Well of course I get depressed sometimes, yes I do. But at the same time these changes never take place overnight. They always require protracted struggles and I can look back at my life and add all of the struggles I’ve been involved in, and I can see that we made a difference. We really did make a difference.”    - Angela Y. Davis ; Interview with Jennifer Byrne, 1999


"You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time."    - Angela Davis ; Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. February 13th, 2014


"I did not want to be mistreated, I did not want to be deprived of a seat that I had paid for. It was just time . . . there was opportunity for me to take a stand to express the way I felt about being treated in that manner. I had not planned to get arrested. I had plenty to do without having to end up in jail. But when I had to face that decision, I didn't hesitate to do so because I felt that we had endured that too long. The more we gave in, the more we complied with that kind of treatment, the more oppressive it became."    - Rosa Parkes ; Excerpts from an interview with Lynn Neary, National Public Radio (1992)


"It is crucially important for Christians today to adopt a genuinely Christian position and support it with everything they have got. This means an unremitting fight for justice in every sphere—in labor, in race relations, in the 'third word' and above all in international affairs."    - Thomas Merton ; Peace in the Post-Christian Era


"As we gather at tables, grieving the state of our nation, may we gain spiritual strength for the journey ahead, drawing on the deepest wells of wisdom from those on whose shoulders we stand and the various faith traditions that have fueled their freedom march and continue to energize ours. In the spirit of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Dr. King, may the pioneers of the civil rights movement collaborate with the young leaders in Ferguson, New York City and other cities, and may they impart their knowledge and understanding of nonviolent resistance that is not passive, but is spiritually active with an abiding faith that the universe is on the side of justice, and that, in the end, love will triumph over evil. May this spiritual strength, fueled by prophetic fire and love, reveal to us our neighbors’ humanity, our own complicity in their suffering and liberate us once and for all from the history that continues to enslave us."    - Peter Heltzel and Cornel West ; A Thanksgiving Prayer


"It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, Which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us. No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No program accomplishes the church's mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything. This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything, And there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, An opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference Between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders, Ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own. Amen."    - Archbishop Oscar Romero ; Taking the Long View


"Alternately, revolutionary strategies usual repudiate the dominant symbolic system altogether, either fundamentally redefining the old terms or appealing to entirely different ones. Such an ideological project must simultaneously introduce and legitimate the new symbol even as it is 'delegitimating' the old ones. Sometimes there is no desire to transform or overthrow the dominant order, the strategy being one of withdrawal and establishment of a 'counter-culture', as in the case of Jehovah's Witnesses or Hutterites. In an atmosphere of tolerance or pluralism, such efforts represent only an incidental threat to the dominant order."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


" . . . two key themes that I believe should characterize our theological reflection and guide our practice . . . The first is repentance, which for us implies no only a conversion of the heart, but a concrete process of turning away from empire, its distractions and seductions, it hubris and iniquity. The second is resistance, which involves shaking off the powerful sedation of a society that rewards ignorance and trivializes everything political, in order to discern and take concrete stands in our historical moment, and to find meaningful ways to 'impede imperial progress.'"    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"The traditional way of understanding discipleship as one of taking people out of the world because it is a hostile place, promising them a better place in God's heavenly kingdom, has been radically transformed by this insight. Jesus call us rather to change the world in such a way that it will cease to be the hostile place it is, as we construct the way for God's reign on earth."    - Sam Wells ; Introduction to Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus by Ched Myers


"I don't know any other scripture scholar or theologian who has been arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience in opposition to war, injustice, and empire. Because of those dramatic experiences, my friend Ched Myers understands the Gospels, the story of Jesus, like few other scholars."    - John Dear ; Introduction to Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus by Ched Myers


"I believe scholarship that does not start and end in praxis is not worth engaging in."    - Osvaldo Vena ; Quoted by Ched Myers in Binding the Strong Man: a political reading of Mark's story of Jesus


"As for the first chasm, this book stands apart from academic commentaries in its fundamental commitment to contemporary practice of radical discipleship, and the place of Mark's Gospel vis-à-vis that practice.  I accept the axiom of liberation theology that practice must lie on either side of reflection."    - Ched Myers ; Binding the Strong Man


"Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; they throw it away."    - Jesus ; Luke 14.34-35


"'Kingdom of God' is a political as well as religious metaphor."    - Borg, Marcus J.; Crossan, John Dominic ; The Last Week


"No problem can be solved with the same level of conciousness that created it."    - Albert Einstein ; The World As I See It


"A protest against injustice and violence is incomparably more valuable if it comes entirely from people who have been prompted to it purely by sentiments of humanity and a love of justice."    - Albert Einstein ; The World As I See It


"When the fear of jail disappears, repression puts heart into the people."    - Gandhi ; The Onion Thief


"Jesus did not advocate non-violence merely as a technique for outwitting the enemy, but as a just means of opposing the enemy in such a way as to hold open the possibility of the enemy's becoming just as well."    - Walter Wink ;


"When you're silent, your silence condones it. Thus, whatever you believe in goes down the drain."    - Jennifer Tindugan-Adoviso ;


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