Monthly Archives: August 2013

Miami Memory


I have been tasked with writing a number of devotionals. This is rather difficult.  It’s been a good experience to try to write some of my stories.

This one is too long, dealing with John 20:19-31 as a text. So, I’ll put the full length here and chop it for the publication.  This is from my experience protesting the Free Trade Area of the Americas meetings in Miami Florida in the Fall of 2000.

“We tried that already and we lost Rashon!” Jamie’s pained voice bounced off the scattered picket signs on the floor, as the fluorescent lights dangled and buzzed above in the small warehouse. The movement leaders of the nonviolent protestors huddled in the humid Florida evening, swatting flies and desperately trying to decide how to proceed.

Earlier that day Jamie’s Atlanta-based affinity group led the hundreds of other affinity groups, unions, families, and others in the economic justice march.  Thousands rallied in Florida as part of a plan to amplify the voices of Latin American small-scale farmers (campesinos) who were most affected by the economic deals happening at closed-door meeting at the 5-Star hotel in downtown Miami.  The campesinos were not invited by the lawmakers to share their perspectives on how these deals deeply impoverished their families and communities. With the voices of those most affected by changes in economic policies absent, the pattern of “the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer” would continue.

Everything was going well for the protestors until the police decided to disperse them by shooting rubber bullets directly into the gathered, peaceful crowd. A number of the movement leaders at the meeting in the eerie warehouse were nursing bruises on their legs and welts on their arms from the police weapons. Rashon, a shorter member of Jamie’s affinity group, was hit in the head by a policeman’s rubber bullet. He was emergency evacuated and currently in critical condition.

The affinity groups were made up of US American people who saw the impacts of unjust economic policies on campesinos, and were sent by them to represent their voices…if not allowed in the meetings, then shouting out on the streets in hopes of reaching the suites and the general public with the good news that there are many alternative ways to organize our economic societies so it reduces the gap between rich and poor.

The activists caught the vision and sought to heal society by raising their voices to speak on behalf of Latin America’s most vulnerable people. It was clear their quest put them in harm’s way.  The police protected the powerful at the meeting and did not want the shouting of the advocates or the cries of the poor to be heard.

Not only Rashon, but many were getting wounded. Even in their wounded state however, the movement leaders’ desire to be agents of peace, inspired them to return to the streets the next day to continue their efforts to heal. They made some adjusts to the methodology, but continued their efforts to witness to another way: of peace, of inspiration, of power-together rather than power-over-others.

In the Scripture reading of John 20:19-31, Jesus joins the scared disciples, the movement leaders who were huddled and trying to figure out what to do. What is powerful about his appearance to them is that Jesus does not hide his wounds. He does not hide that what he went through hurt and has forever changed him.  Yet he still breathes a clear message to the disciples: Deep peace, inspiration, and power.  Just as he was sent to share good news, so he sends them to continue witnessing, knowing they will be wounded, but providing an example to them as their wounded healer.

Life of the Mind


Well, after a series of morning runs on a trail lined by fields of grain on the left and sunflowers on the right, my body has recuperated.

My mind on the other hand, is on fire. More like a wildfire. Spirit ignited, perhaps.  The situation is aggravated by a willingness to engage anyone and everyone no matter what topic in no matter what language.  I’ve had a broader range of conversations (and stilted attempted-conversations) in the last 120 hours than I ever thought possible.

Hee hee. Whoa.  It’s great though.

It’s been 4.5 countries in 4.5 days (Palestine/Israel, Switzerland, Netherlands and Spain) in addition to the stimulating scenes and interactions at the airports of Tel Aviv, Zürich, Amsterdam, and Madrid. I enjoy people-watching like some people enjoy bird-watching.  I especially enjoy being watched by birds.  They get so embarrassed when you catch them watching you…they usually get all flustered and fly away.

There is a lot to see in Spain, apparently it is the number 2 tourist destination in the world after the United States. I had no idea. Probably because no me solía viajar como turísta.  But here I am in the number 2 destination!

Spain seems to enjoy a number 2 ranking in many areas:KLM Bicycle Box
No 2. in average height of people in Europe after the Netherlands
No 2. in sports overall in the world
No 2. in consumption of seafood after Japan
No. 2 in important European bike races after the Tour de France.

So yeah, I will tour around a bit.  Yet, at the place where I am staying there is a world of books to tour  as well, and this is why my mind has not rested yet.  I’m brushing up on my Enneagram knowledge, skimming The Shock Doctrine, a translation of the Qur’an given to me by an Imam of Omar’s Mosque in Bethlehem, and I just picked up one more book called “Seven Things Children Need.” It’s hard to read these books–and this one in particular–without trippin’ on past experiences, questions, and my own psychological ‘stuff’. The list is:

1. Significance10 Estrella Polar
2. Security
3. Acceptance
4. Love
5. Praise
6. Discipline
7. Spirituality

As I read I am reflecting on how my intersectional analysis of ecology, equity, and education shows itself in the way I express any of these seven things to the children I am around.  How the life of my mind interacts with the life of their minds.

For the birds. Watch out! More mind-enlivening data here.

Land of mz Ancestors


Greetings from Yurich, Swityerland, where the ys and the zs are switched on the kezboard.

I am beginning the slow movement north and west from Palestine and Israel back toward beloved Elkhart. It’ll take me a whole month to get there; decompressing with everz step.
öüäääèàéäüöSwiss Madonna A Swiss rendering of Marz and Jesus.

I don’t feel a need to decompress from the trip though, but just get some more rest, perhaps.  I don’t feel compressed. On the contrarz, the time guiding the group in the Land of the Holz One was energiying, breathable, instructive. I felt affirmed in mz calling to teach and lead people into grappling with the complicated realities of this world, aided bz a faith based analzsis of szstemic oppression and wholeness.

A number of people in the group reflected back to me their excitement about how the trip events and mz facilitation of group process encouaged them to become more aware of the power dzamics at plaz as we encountered ourselves, our group, and the larger context.  Illhumdulillah!!

I feel so blessed to be able to have a chance to invite people into often confounding areas of life together…to notice and enhance our abilitz to hold tension, act carefullz, reflect criticallz, and love fearlesslz. (however the zs and ys fall)

The last two dazs of the trip were some of the most epic dazs of mz life too!  Though sleep deprived, it was so clear to me that as I held healthz tension and unhealhtz conflict that I sensed around me, I was also being held and cared for bz the Animat(or/ing/ion) of the universe.  Ahhhh!

There were the manz connections that happened between capoeirstas, anarchists, scholar-entreprenuers and postgrads…there was the integration I felt in mz soul…there sense of abilitz to breath deeplz no matter where I am…Halleluzah+++

And I now move through Swityerland with a new curiousitz. I am 1/2 of Swiss-German descent, though mz mommäs people left here long ago. I am going to walk around wondering how this place–it’s culture, language, landscape, and status–shape how I move and be in the world.

The storz continues. How are zou?

More pics: 1. Limmat River drowning of Anabaptists, 2. Limmat River todaz (Stop the Prawer Plan!) and 3. Police break up meeting of Anabaptists in the woods.
Limmat River drowning         Limmat River         Anabaptists in the woods