¿Encontrará todavía fe en la tierra? (Lucas 18:8b)

The words are Gerado Oberman’s; the translation is Katie Fiegenbaum’s; the challenge belongs to us all!

Una fe capaz de resistir lo injusto,
una fe que sepa insistir, a tiempo y a destiempo,
una fe que no se resigne,
una fe que no se doblegue,
una fe que no se arrodille ante los poderes,
una fe que sepa defender los derechos de las personas,
una fe que se involucre, una fe activa,
una fe política, una fe social, una fe económica,
una fe sensible ante el dolor del prójimo,
una fe luchadora, presente en marchas y protestas,
una fe que conoce su historia, que tiene memoria,
una fe que se hace carne en el presente,
una fe que mira al horizonte con esperanza:

Estamos tan mal enseñados y enseñadas sobre la fe,
que la creemos apenas un “sentimiento”
o la capacidad de “saber” ciertas cosas
o la costumbre de repetir algunas frases de memoria
o la tradición de ir a un templo de tanto en tanto.
Pero la fe es mucho más que sentir, saber, repetir…

La fe es confiar en Dios, esperar en él;
y, mientras tanto, en el camino, en la vida de cada día,
la fe es resistencia a todo lo que se oponga al amor de Dios,
a la plenitud de la vida y a la justicia del Reino.

La fe es parecerse a esa viuda
que supo doblegar la indiferencia de un juez.
¿La hallará Dios aún?

Would there still be faith found on earth? (Luke 18:8b)

A faith capable of resisting that which is unjust,
a faith that knows how to insist, on time,
at the right and the the wrong time,
a faith that does not give up,
a faith that does not yield,
a faith that does not kneel before the powerful,
a faith that knows how to defend human rights,
a faith that gets involved, an active faith,
a political faith, a social faith, an economic faith,
a deeply sensitive faith when faced with a friend’s pain,
a fighting faith, present at marches and protests,
a faith that knows its history, that has memory,
a faith that becomes flesh in the present,
a faith that looks at the horizon with hope:

We are so badly taught about faith,
that we believe it to be just a “feeling”
or the capacity to “know” true things
or the custom to repeat some phrases from memory
or the tradition to go to some religious place ever so often.
But faith is much more than feeling, knowing, repeating…

Faith is trusting in God, confiding in God;
and, in the meantime, on the path, in everyday life,
faith is resistance to all who opposes the love of God,
the fullness of life and the justice of God’s realm.

Faith is being like that widow
who found out how to overcome the indifference of a judge.
Will God still find it?

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After Robert Frost – Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
that sends children across,
risking desert thirst to dream another life.
The work of coyotes is another thing:
there is self-interest there.
They leave not one kindness on another,
but are all about the money.

There are differences between us
languages, the way we dance or pray,
the stories that we tell —
but they are less boulders
than builders – the living stones
that remind us to be
not “great again” but grateful.

We’d need a spell to make it balance:
walls are not meant to stay —
we wear our fingers
till they bleed with tending them.
The truth is we do not need a wall,
and even less to send the travelers back
with their Spanish songs, or perhaps hijab.

The man with unusual hair says
(as if his saying makes it so)
‘Good fences make good neighbors.’
November eighth is the mischief in me,
and I want to put a notion in his head –
Isn’t that where there are terrorists?
But these are no more terrorists
than pine cones are to apples.

Before I build a wall I want to know
what I was walling in —
a legacy of hating for our children
or walling out — the desperate
and very gifted of the world.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
that wants it down.’ I could say “courage.”
or maybe “hope,” but I’d rather
those who listen to him
meet an immigrant face to face.

I see them there with signs and stones
grasped firmly, also razor wire and guards.
They move in darkness as it seems to me.
Not of border patrol only,
or graffiti on a mosque.

They will not even hear the stories
of the new Americans coming
to make this people strong,
but like a campaign slogan,
or a child afraid
of what’s under the bed in the night —
they say again,
breaking the nation’s heart —
‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

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Blessing for a Child born in Autumn

Born into the color of chrysanthemums –Autumn-Bridge
umber and amber,
purple and gold and bronze,

may you have color in life.

Born into the leaf-falling
and the life-clarifying time,
of the scarlet-chasing of maples,
and the dark true silhouettes
of oak and elm,
bare as bones,

may you always be able to shed the
scattered things,
and find roots deep,
to outline in the glow of sunset
the naked beauty of your soul.

Born into the abundance of pumpkin
and Indian corn, of squash,
and apples, red as joy,
born into a ripeness,
when the earth is warmer
than the wind, born into
the grey and weathered ingathering
of New Hampshire barns,
and the shabby rich fruition
of roadside farmstands,

may you have harvest, and touch
the bounty you have planted.
Born into the season of all souls,
ghosts and saints, season
of bonfires to hallow the hunting dark
and lanterns to shine
the wandering spirits in,

may you have wandering in you,
and a holiness no cloister
can define;
may a great creative fire
be kindled on the horizon of you;
and, yet, may there always be windows
where love lights a candle
to welcome you home.


photo Katie Fiegenbaum

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Workshops for Transformation in Zimbabwe

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Lancelot Muteyo of Trees of Peace Africa Zimbabwe and Director- Pan African Peace Network often shares his workshops throughout Africa and in other places as well with me here — I am so very happy to have his report of not only workshops but of mentoring a young woman from the country of Georgia and letting her lead programs in Zimbabwe before she returns to her home to continue in work for peace. This is Lance’s report.

Zimbabwe is in a state of democratic transition. The country has witnessed serious citizen activism through mass protests and demonstrations in the last four months. Protesters are crying for electoral reforms ahead of the 2018 National Elections. But there is a problem! The struggle is violent! Protesters are ill equipped for non-violent struggle. This is a serious challenge. Therefore, Trees of Peace Africa Zimbabwe is working to address this issue through teaching non-violent struggle and conflict transformation to grassroots.

1 and Christina Muteyo invited Ketevan Murusidze from Georgia Eastern Europe to do two separate conflict transformation workshops with Catholic University of Zimbabwe and SOS Children’s Villages in Zimbabwe in August 2016.

My wife Christina aka Chrissy was trained in the Ukraine at a gathering of Training of Conflict Transformation Trainers (TCTT) in 2015 by Daniel Buttry and I. Keti was also trained in the same training. Keti came to the Ukraine TCTT on the invitation of Dan Buttry through the recommendation of Rusudan a Baptist pastor in Georgia. Keti had never been to Africa and this was her first time hence I wanted her to explore Africa and prepare herself for what God may do in her life in the peace field. It was also good for me to mentor her in the trainings as I learned more from her vast experience with Generations for Peace. Keti was staying in our humble house.
Unfortunately, one week before Keti arrived; the Catholic University of Zimbabwe cancelled the program. They chickened out about the possibility of non-violent struggle.

We did a one day workshop with 40 SOS Children’s Villages youths and the Director of the village was so happy. We also did two days’ workshop with 14 Girls Wisdom Hub girls. The organization works with vulnerable girls by teaching them cooking and tailoring skills. Finally we did a vibrant workshop with 27 young Christians.
“This is the best ever workshop I have attended, usually in these workshops I am always on my phone or dozing but this is empowering” Anesu- Girls Wisdom Hub
“So funny and energetic exercises with deep meaning at the end of the day. Thank you Lance, Chrissy and Keti” Takudzwa- Christian Youth
The following were achieved from this training;
• Almost eighty (80) people were trained.
• Keti was highly empowered as she gained international experience.
• We transformed participant’s perception of life from been negative to positive.
• Our training designs made us to complement each other well in our weaknesses.
• We managed to brainstorm on future possibilities.
• We did several strategic meetings.

Below is an extract of Keti’s experiences;

“It is almost a month I am back in Georgia but I am still in Zimbabwe with my mind and thoughts. This was amazing experience for me, and I believe for our trainees as well.

The next step was the training at SOS Children Village in Harare. First we talked with a director of the centre, we introduced ourselves to him and explained him importance of informal education and experiential learning. During the training, we had about 40 participants, boys and girls around ages 14 to 17. The training was really amazing, participants were very engaged and they wanted us back! During the training we had such great emotions and energy that some teachers, mothers and staff members with the director joined us and were watching our activities. At the end of the training, some participants thanked us for that day. Especially one boy was so emotional; I will never forget his thankful eyes and words he told me! I can say among these youths there are some very bright minds but they do not have much opportunity to find themselves and their talents in that environment. But I hope we could open some new windows in their mind.

We conducted the next training at Girls Wisdom Hub in Harare. We had around 14 participants, but these girls were really great and clever, especially some of them. Engagement level was really high, they liked this new approach a lot and tried to experience and understand as much as was possible. You should watch their Ankle Walk. The success of the training can be measured by their comments and feedbacks they shared at WhatsApp, and the next day there was a graduation ceremony of their program and everybody was talking about our two-day training. During the graduation ceremony they invited me to give a speech, I did not expect that but I did my best to encourage our girls and donors to keep moving on this direction. I also gave them certificates as other donors and representatives of NGOs. After the graduation ceremony I had some networking conversations with local NGO representatives and human rights activists. Also I talked with a Catholic priest Fr. Joe Arimoso who is a very influential person in education field in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Madagascar as I heard. As a result, he invited us at the St. George College where he is a rector, and I and Lance had quit interesting strategic meeting there with his team. I hope this meeting will have some successful continuation. Lance is already invited to attend their training for teachers and to conduct one-day pilot training for their students. So girls training were very successful, I still receive their messages on WhatsApp, they are so thankful and want to have more training like that. Also this training was productive for networking and promotion the TCTT program.

The last training for Christian youths was the one I am so proud of. All the time I have been doing things what were planned and organized by Lance and Chirssy. In this case, I was an initiator of this training, I pushed the local priest to organize this training for their church youths. I attended two services while I was there, and I felt these youths needed our training. They have a lack of love and honesty, I mean they can get jealous so easily and can do many wrong things because they cannot control their emotions and dreams. At the second church service I felt how jealous some of them were even toward me. So I felt like I needed to do something, and thanks to the priest and Lance we conducted amazing training for 27 youths. We planned to have two-hour training as it was very difficult group, but we ended up with three-hour training and still did not want to finish it, but it was already dark and we did not have more time to work with this group. I got so emotional feedbacks from the participants that I will never forget. I am happy that this was not only one day training but that the priest is going to continue working with these youths through Lance and Chrissy. The priest emailed me that he is working on some strategies to get funds to establish a school for these youths. I am more than happy because I am part of this process, and I am not shy to say that I started this process with blessing of God and the priest, with great help from Lance and Chrissy.

I believe we planted really good seeds in Harare, and I am looking forward to seeing how our trees of peace will flourish.

Just two words about my free time. Victoria Falls is wonderful, one of the best memories in my life. But giraffes – I had seen them for the first time in my life (we do not have them in Georgia, even in zoo). I rode a horse after maybe 10 years and that was amazing.

Thank you for this great experience!

Thanks Chrissy, Lance and Adriano Kundai your son for their hospitality, love and interesting talks. Special thanks to Chrissy, she is a really great cook. Also Kundai for giving me his bedroom for two weeks.”

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Indigenous peoples’ day liturgy at Coulson Park and action at Wells Fargo, Billings, Montana

Michael Mulberry sends on word of this action and this liturgy. Please think of them today and send your prayers. Continue in prayers for the ongoing witness of Standing Rock.

We are going to do this action on Monday, October 10, known to white imperialists like myself as Columbus Day, or Indigenous Peoples’ Day. J

… provide some context. Native people are leading the way on this event. Before we do our water blessing, there will be a Native blessing that will probably take close to an hour. (I’m hoping we will be about 15 minutes.) Then we will march to downtown Billings where the Wells Fargo building is. Again, before our little ritual, Native people will smudge (sage for purification and sweet grass for blessing) each corner of the building. We will then move to the courthouse lawn where we read the Bozeman ordinance on Indigenous Peoples’ Day hoping to get a movement to have it changed in Billings.

Grace and peace,

Rev. Michael S. Mulberry
Senior Minister
Billings First Church (UCC)

Indigenous peoples’ day liturgy at Coulson Park

One: (scooping up water) Let us pray. Our story begins with your Spirt hovering over the water. Before you even spoke anything into being, water was present. From water you called forth all of life—even the creatures that walk the earth. Water is life. Do not let us abandon this sacred story for something more fleeting and transient. Join with us today, Maker of All Things, to remember, pray, march, and act with courage. We give you thanks for this water you have given as sacred trust. May we not abandon you. Amen.

Two: As we are learning, oil is the seductive charmer that leads us to believe that we can extract and exploit from God’s good earth, from each other, and bring life. Oil sweetly whispers in our ear false wisdom. Oil is the product of long deceased organisms—dead for millions and millions of years. Dredged up, burnt, death in the form of asthma in the lungs of our children. Death in the oceans in the form of oil spills. Death in the skies in the form of climate chaos. Oil is death.

One & Two: So let us say it together: Water is life. Oil is death. Water is life. Oil is death.

Three: (drawing a land between water and soil) From chaos, God draws boundaries: night from day, water of the earth from water held in the sky, earth from sky, sea from dry land. Boundaries are intentional, necessary, and purposeful for life and healthy and growth to occur. The balance of ecosystems is established through good boundaries.

Four: Creative purpose is found in good and proper boundaries. Today we affirm that good boundaries have not been kept. Profit and pipeline have been preferred over people. Production and consumption cannot be the sole path. Oil should not threaten the necessary boundary of life-giving water.

Five: We say, “This is not the way of the Maker of All Things. The Creator of the Universe has a different way, a different path, a different order to the earth.”

Three, Four, & Five: So let us say it together. Water is life. Oil is death. Water is life. Oil is death.

Six: (dipping escallop shell in water) In Christian tradition, we use the escallop shell as a way of saying that the Maker of All Things has ordained creation through baptism that we be connected to all things: plant, animal, earth, and water.

Seven: Water is life. It purifies, quenches, cleans, brings about renewal and transformation. Through baptism, water dissolves all of our differences so that we might know our common ancestry in a loving Creator. In prayer and solidarity, we are one with the people of Standing Rock.

Eight: We are a people made from fertile soil, Divine Breath, born out of life-giving water.
So that all tribes and nations might know God’s intent for our full joy in one another.

Nine: Let us pray. We know, Creator of the Universe, that what happens at Sacred Stone Camp, among the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota of Standing Rock, happens to us. We belong to each other. We covenant with you today to say that death will not overtake our sisters and brothers. Bind us together in baptismal covenant. You have made us one. Do not let stories of greed and corruption separate us. Amen.

Six, Seven, Eight, Nine: So let us say it together. Water is life. Oil is death. Water is life. Oil is death.

Ten: May this water of the Elk River reminds us of our baptisms so that we may affirm sacred covenant, our common ancestry, necessary boundaries, and that water is life. Amen!

(All affirm baptism through evergreen boughs)

Indigenous peoples’ day liturgy at Wells Fargo Bank

Using sage and sweetgrass, smudging is done at all four corners of the Wells Fargo building.

One: Funding the Dakota Access Pipeline are several banks, Wells Fargo among them. If it is true, that corporations are people capable of free speech, then even more so, they have an obligation to act as good neighbors in our community and good citizens in our country.

Two: Wells Fargo has not done so in the support of this pipeline. Rather, they have not known their own good boundaries. They open the way for evil.

Three: Today we say, “No more!”

Four: No more profits over people! (Response: No more!)

Five: No more pipelines over homeland prosperity! (Resonse: No more!)

Six: No more tipping the scales of justice so that Mother Earth is despoiled! (Response: No more!”)

Seven: No more robbing our Native sisters and brothers of their sovereign rights! (Response: No more!)

Eight: No more. Today we draw a boundary around the practices that Wells Fargo does so that they are restrained from the practice of injustice and evil. The Living God calls you to be neighbor and citizen.

Nine: Let us pray. No more. God of Justice, transform their hearts so that they might know they also belong to us. Though they may try, we say that by your name any evil they do shall bring consequences to them until your justice is secured, maintained, and becomes like rolling water, like an everflowing stream. This shall be sealed. This shall be done. Today, O God, bind Wells Fargo with boundaries and consequences. Let the people gathered say, “No more!” and “Amen

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Thanksgiving wishes for Canada

Monday, October 10 is Thanksgiving in Canada. Many countries have different dates for the celebration of thanksgiving. Some of these occasions reflect gratitude for the harvest and some for the end of conflict, drought or some other unfortunate situation. Examples of these festivals are found in the biblical text.

I am reprinting these particular resources from this blog posted four years ago and offer it to all with good wishes. My thanks to Canadian writers Richard Bott and Patti Rodgers for the reminder of thanks and for taking me out of the stress of the US pre-election time which is daunting this year. A call to worship and a prayer:

ONE: From the eagles’ aerie, to the fishes’ deep –
ALL: from the colour drenched leaves, to the rain drenched street
(or “to the frost covered street” – the first is Vancouver,
 the second is just about everywhere else!)
ONE: with our lips, with our hearts, with our hands, with our feet –
ALL: we sing out, “ALLELUIA!”
we laugh out, “HOSANNA!”
we shout out, “THANK YOU, LOVING GOD!”
ONE: For all that was.
ALL: For all that is.
ONE: For all that will be.
ALL: Alleluia. Hosanna! THANK YOU, LOVING GOD!
ONE: For all that we were.
ALL: For all that we are.
ONE: For all that we could be!
ALL: Alleluia. Hosanna! THANK YOU, LOVING GOD!
ONE: So, together we sing…
ALL: Let it be.
ONE: Together we say…
ALL: May it always be so.
ONE: Together we shout…
Richard Bott

Rain Drenched Streets of Vancouver

God, remind me to look beneath my feet at the rich world of life going on down there.
God, remind me to look up, hear the wind whisper and see the arms of the mother trees outstretched to the sky.
God, remind me that I am not walking to burn calories, but to feed my soul
God, remind me that beyond my sight are silent eyes of moose, bear, deer and chipmunk watching to see what I will do.
God, remind me to be still and feel resurrection all around me in falling leaves and growing moss
God, who are we to build cathedrals?
Patti Rodgers

Read this again with her photographs interspersed.

God, remind me to look beneath my feet at the rich world of life going on down there.


God, remind me to look up, hear the wind whisper and see the arms of the mother trees outstretched to the sky.

Maple Branches

God, remind me that I am not walking to burn calories, but to feed my soul
God, remind me that beyond my sight are silent eyes of moose, bear, deer and chipmunk watching to see what I will do.


God, remind me to be still and feel resurrection all around me in falling leaves and growing moss.


God, who are we to build cathedrals?
Patti Rodgers

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Prayers for the storm

Not every sound of rushing wind
is holy spirit, nor
every Matthew a good news.

But every wind calls us to speak hope
in the languages needed –
Haitian Creole and Spanish,
Portuguese, English, Sign,
and the lexicon of kindness
understood by the old and the young,
the anxious and the lovers of pets,
who are afraid to leave home.

This is Pentecost –
speaking comfort to those
who grieve in Haiti,
rescue to those who fear in Florida,
and a not one-morning-newscast
but a long gospel of helping
in Cuba and the Bahamas
and the Carolinas
and wherever there is need
for cleaning and housing,
feeding and building,
restoring and reminding
the last words of Matthew
spoken in the midst of Matthew —

“Remember, I am with you always
to the end of the age.”

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