Reverse Freedom Flights, Fiona and Flooding, Football and Fake Persecution
KTF Weekly Newsletter
Check out Jonathan’s recommendations to see how you can give toward relief for people affected by recent natural disasters that much of the media is not covering.
This is one of our occasional free newsletters. Click here or on the button below to subscribe to get the newsletter every week, listen to the bonus episodes of our podcast, and support everything we do at KTF Press! And now, let’s get to this week’s highlights in political education and discipleship that help us leave colonized faith for the Kingdom of God.
Hurricane Fiona struck Puerto Rico and made its way through the Dominican Republic and other parts of the Caribbean. And serious rain fueled by climate change killed thousands of people, placed millions at risk of disease, and destabilized an already unstable economy in Pakistan. While these disasters ravage the Global South, dominating our news cycles are the people and institutions that hold the most power and wealth. But what theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez called God’s preferential option for the poor must push us to prioritize the marginalized and oppressed. Leaving colonized faith looks like a different media diet that engages us with those Christ most highlighted. Click here to learn more about how you can help in Pakistan via World Vision. And click here to support the Happy Givers NPO doing relief work in Puerto Rico.
Yvon Chouinard gave away the $3 billion company he built to save the planet he loves. Chouinard founded what is now Patagonia in 1973, and now at 83 years old, he ensured the company will continue running how he always ran it. Patagonia’s owners are now a trust and a nonprofit dedicated to fighting climate change and ending exploitation of the planet. This is a modern-day example of what Matthew and Zacchaeus did with their wealth. More rich people need to follow suit and normalize this behavior for the Kingdom of God to push back against the hyper capitalism and greed that rules are days. What if the church decided to be as generous as this CEO? What if followers of Jesus en masse decided to disadvantage themselves for the sake of society rather than disadvantaging society for the sake of ourselves. May this story be like gasoline and a match that ignite a different reality in our hearts, minds, and lives.
At the end of June, I wrote in this newsletter about the Supreme Court case involving a public high school football coach who claimed he quietly prayed on the sidelines after games, and lost his job for it. He actually prayed on the 50-yard line with players from both teams and the media. When an atheist student complained of feeling forced to participate to get playing time, the school district put the coach on paid leave to investigate. The facts I didn’t write about in June were that the coach remained on paid leave until the end of his one-year contract, and did not reapply for his job. But the Court found that the coach was fired for his quiet, sideline prayers so that it could reach its preferred legal outcome, and ordered the school district to reinstate him. As the Seattle Times reports, the school has now repeatedly offered a job to a man who never applied for it. He hasn’t responded at all. Instead, he is touring the country on the conservative speaking circuit, monetizing his fake story. The American, Christian culture of inventing persecution to gain influence and money knows no bounds, and the Supreme Court is complicit in spreading the narrative that allows the lies to proliferate.
Minister and writer Roy Mong has a newsletter I read; each edition consists of a quote, his reflections on it, and a question for the reader. A recent edition discussed a passage from Audre Lorde’s speech, “The Uses of Anger,” that Suzie also brought up on our Shake the Dust bonus episode on tone policing. Mong reflects on the costs he pays in terms of time, energy, relationships, and mental health when he spends resources on communication with people who are not angry at the same things that he is. He ultimately finds both solace and a prayer to help him move forward in a story about the prophet Nehemiah. It’s a thoughtful post that models healthy emotional reflection, and demonstrates how such reflection can help clarify priorities for disciples of Jesus.
While many Americans are familiar with the Freedom Rides of the civil rights era, fewer know about the Reverse Freedom Rides that followed. Part of the backlash to victories in desegregation, Southern politicians lured vulnerable Black families to Northern states with a one-way ticket and false promises of jobs and a rosy reception. Of course, just like Governor Ron DeSantis recently shipping two planes full of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard with similar promises, it was all a ruse. Also in both cases the political stunts highlighted the generosity and solidarity of the people whose hypocrisy they were meant to expose. This excellent Mother Jones article draws on these parallels to argue that DeSantis’ actions were not only cruel, but also unoriginal. They were straight out of the playbook of white supremacist politicians in this nation’s history.
The TED Radio Hour recently rebroadcasted a timely and powerful episode titled “Changing Our Minds.” The episode includes the story of Bob Inglis, a long-time evangelical and former Republican Congressman who went from climate change denier to climate activist. It also gets into why the ability to explore and accept critiques of our worldview is so important, and offers tips on how to reframe our thinking and our interactions with others to facilitate ongoing growth and inquiry. The final segment is an interview with civil rights activist Loretta J. Ross on “calling in” rather than “calling out” to better hold ourselves and others to account in love.
Shake the Dust Preview
The episode dropping tomorrow is our season 2 finale! The team answers questions from listeners, diving into several different topics, reflecting on the season as a whole, and talking about where we’re going next. We get into spiritual direction of white people, when to leave your church, what media outlets should get your money, and a whole bunch of questions about our episode on queer Christianity. It’s a great episode to cap off a great season. We’re so proud of what we’ve done this year with the show, and thank you all so much for listening!
Thanks for reading, and see you next week!
The KTF team