Recycling 

Recycling by John Paul Ross

I had such a roller coaster day.
It started with a hangover and depression
then some hope to darkness and desperation
then to hope and some thing to offer
to not being wanted and desperation
to relapse on cigarettes and another hangover.

Worship and Hillsong (Brief Reflection)

I’m a recovering cynical Christian but, this is so true. I’ve been going to Hillsong and although I didn’t really like that kind of thing for ever, I’ve realized that outside of activism and being a wannabe theologian etc…I love Jesus and like an addict in recovery who makes meetings. I need worship, I need the communion of saints but I also need rest from all that I do and going to a church that is about worship and hope in a resource oriented setting provides that.

So…Worship changed everything. Let go and let God, look to God and praise God then God will reveal what you need to do! God is dope!!!

Lastly, if I could just figure out how to make a mega activist worship heavy fleshly Jesus centered church that would be my swan song and final offering.

https://youtu.be/VaDAJa2HO-o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaDAJa2HO-o&feature=share

I love Russell Brand (Joe Rogan Experience Podcast with Russell)

I just love Russell Brand so much, he’s just fascinating. His speech is sincere and he although being wealthy and a recovery addict uses that influence and experience to bring hope and enlightenment. Especially speaking in this podcast the role of sacred scripture and mythology on his pathways toward healing and connection with humanity and the earth. Amazing. I definitely have a man crush on Russell Brand. 💜✊🏾✊🏻✌🏻️✌🏿👏🏻👏🏽👏🏿😎🔥🌞💕🙏🏻🙏🏽🙏🏿

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEc”>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEc</a>1qeD7UQc&feature=shareI

Joy! Don’t Ever Give Up

I watched the movie Joy last night about a woman who created the first ever self cleaning mop, it was a great story and movie. Some of you may remember that it stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro he sure is great. I posted this because there is a scene where Joy is in front of a Kmart trying to show her product that she just used all of her life savings to make. She’s in the parking lot with her daughter and doing demonstrations of the mop, after some time, the cops show up and confiscate her product and she is in her car with her daughter. She is crying and the opening piano of Racing In The Streets by Bruce Springsteen begins to play. I knew it instantly it’s one of my my favorite songs of all time and my favorite Bruce Springsteen song. There is something powerful about that song. It’s beautiful, it’s powerful, it’s painful…it’s real.
The juxtaposition of Joy being in front of Kmart, trying to get into Kmart to sell her product, which she knows is the best product. Then later on meeting Neil (Bradley Cooper) who was previously responsible for every product sold by Kmart…Is just…breathtaking…it’s like this moment where your passion has to be more than your reward. Your passion has to be life and death for you. She made the product because she knew it was the best and she was trying to make her life and other women’s lives (men too hopefully) easier. She overcame great odds and she eventually was incredibly successful. I think about that and I think about that song, the choreographer that chose to have that song in that scene. It was perfection, it was the most telling moment of the whole film, her head on the steering wheel, in her car, in a Kmart parking lot, with her daughter, seemingly defeated…
In the christian tradition we are told to, “not lose heart”. Well it’s hard not to lose heart when it seems like every creative endeavor fails. But, I do believe that we are designed to bring something to the world. If your a nurse comfort in a time of need and support to those who can’t support themselves. A social worker provides companionship and advocacy to those who are immobilized by chemicals, housing issues, abuse etc…
Pastor’s are here to give you faith and hope. We are guides to the father or mothers heart. We help people understand that they are divinity and that because they are in nature divine then they can do anything. Hard to believe that most of the time. Unless, you grew up hearing that positive message. I think we are made perfect through adversity. I cry many tears, as I think about who or where I want to be. The choices I have made, but I am encouraged because years ago I made a choice to follow love. I find that in the christian tradition and teachings of Jesus. I believe in the social justice message of Jesus, I believe in the anti capitalism of his philosophy, the anti homophobic acceptance he offered, the anti sexist approach to women and gender division. I believe that I was called to write. Because I fall a part if I don’t.
As a young man I was sexually assaulted. My whole life was never the same. But from that pain and confusion I found a way to use it for my creative endeavors. You could say I used violence to bring peace. Violence done to me and the violence I have done to others. Has helped me to be humble, to accept where I need to change and offer what I can to a broken world, and a broken self…me.
I’m writing about this film, because I want to encourage you. Do not give up! If you are an artist and it seems like your just painting and going broke, or designing and going broke, or writing and no one reads, or loving and no one keeps you, or buying but your never satisfied or creating a new invention but the powers that be are saying, “No this isn’t for you”. I want to encourage you that the universe says yes.
In that scene where Joy Mangano is about to give up. The que of Racing In The Streets, the backdrop of Kmart an entity too large to give her 5 seconds, seemingly hopeless. She was not without hope, she was an inventor. She was called to invent and she never gave up, if anything she learned and studied her opposition and overcame them. She used the law and her will to fight!
I was in tears at that scene. I feel in many ways I’m in that parking lot too. I feel that I’m outside of Kmart hoping to get five minutes to demonstrate my product. I’m outside Kmart, scared, desperate and in need. To provide for my family and yet know that I have something to offer this world, that other writers, other social workers, other pastor’s just aren’t writing, or offering, or preaching… I encourage you to cry, let it out and then drive away, and regroup and come back in the morning.
don’t give up, don’t ever give up!

Vegangelical: A Review of Sarah Withrow King’s newest addition to Animal Liberation Theology from Zondervan

A Review of Sarah Withrow King’s, Vegangelical: How caring for animals Can shape your faith

     When I first ordered Vegangelical by Sarah, I was cautiously optimistic. I was encouraged to be reading a book about a topic that matters a great deal to me. A great deal in the sense that for me I believe to be a Christian should mean to live a vegetarian/vegan diet. I personally feel that as I have grown in my faith, I find the idea of Eden restored in the Genesis narrative to be one of being vegan. Also, that this restoration would mean harmony with the divine created order. That’s why I had cautious optimism about this book. I had to get it, because I was working on a final paper for my Eco Feminist Theology class at New York Theological Seminary and was focusing on Veganism. I was reading Andrew Linzey and Peter Singer among others. I found Dr. Linzey’s research to be the most compelling of all the thinkers and activist’s I have researched. I found that even with Linzey being an ordained Priest in England his morals and convictions to the treatment of animals to be brilliant.
    So I received Vegangelical in the mail. I was encouraged and excited. I had been reading Animal Theology, Why Animal Suffering Matters and Animal Gospel all by Andrew Linzey as I mentioned above. These were all great works, but what he lacked was a sense of praxis for America. How can I be a Christian and encourage others to be a vegan? I had initially started this research thinking that just a couple years ago, four to be exact I could not find anything on veganism and Christianity. Then along came Sarah.
    I love this book. It was fun, it was scriptural and it was shockingly painful and specific about the treatment of animals and our planet. There was even mention to how caring for animals will help us to care for human beings, especially our black and brown sisters in the #blacklivesmatter movement. Let’s see as I continue. I don’t want to give the book away. I want everyone to buy it and support Sarah. She has written a fantastic work, that I think is an appropriate way to spread the message of animal compassion in a evangelical voice. This book is every bit as much evangelical, and bible based as it is authentic to her years working for PETA and now today with her initiatives for animals. 
    I too was once a PETA supporter, I was once a circus protester and I at one time damaged property trying to spread the message of Animal Rights. I was a teenager and while I believe those actions were holy. I lacked a context and background I lacked a climate for conversation. I was a slave to my ego and anger. This work by Sarah is going to help you to come into animal rights, first by introducing you to her faith, what is her theology. 
    After you learn of her theology, then you learn about her convictions for humanity and the planet, how for years she was ignorant to the pain of animals and the injustices of racial discrimination. Then she gradually brings you into her worldview and how her time at PETA started something inside of her, how she left what she was doing and began a quest to learn about what God thinks about animals. What she learned is what made this book…
    I”m honored to follow behind her as a voice in the Christian community for the ethical treatment of animals. What you read will make you laugh, cry, get angry and hopefully make you get involved in whatever way God leads you. Sarah, writes this in a way that I could never do, she is filled with love and believes that the grace of God can lead us all to repentance even repentance of how we continually mistreat, kill, enslave, eat and sell animals, like commodities in a superstore. She puts flesh on her faith and she helps us see that Christ was crucified for animals lives too. What you wear, what you eat, what you drink, and what you buy matters…This book will enrich your faith and maybe even save it…I know I love Jesus even more now after having read this book, I see where I need to focus more of my energy and how I need to focus my activism on love first. I leave you with this quote from the book, 
          “In this way, our relationship with God’s animals and with one another reflects the Trinitarian nature of God in the world. We are unique and related, mutually interdependent, and our true flourishing depends on the true flourishing of one another. Adopting a vegan diet and lifestyle is one of the easiest ways I have found to honor the gift of God’s creation and to follow the example of Jesus’ love for all” (149).

Rolanda Celina

No meat, no milk, no wool, no silk,
No eggs, no honey, 

my choice, my money.

No shooting, no snares, 

no coursing of hares, 

No circus, no zoo, 

no rodeo too. 

No fur, no leather, 

no saddle, no tether, 

No eggs, no fish, 

no cruelty’s my wish. 

No feathers, no suede, 

no ivory trade,

No poison of ‘pests’, 

no animal tests.

No killing, no using, 

my values, my choosing, 

No cage, no pen, 

no veal crate again.

No hunting, no breeding, 

no hurting, no bleeding, 

No feedlot, no kill floor, 

no tail dock, no declaw.

No blood, no bones, 

no screams, no moans, 

No suffering, no pain, 

their freedom, my gain!
-Rolanda Celina

Repression, Sexism, Homophobia and the Religious Right a Legacy of Exclusion: Responding to Evangelicals For Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up a Bible during a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa, last year.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/06/trump-is-surrounding-himself-with-evangelical-pastors/488114/ 

http://www.npr.org/2016/06/21/483018976/inside-trumps-closed-door-meeting-held-to-reassures-the-evangelicals

In 1979 Jerry Falwell, started the Moral Majority (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_Majoritygroup) of free market capitalist interest groups designed to help Ronald Reagan’s prominence from governor of Cali to President of the United States see (http://countrystudies.us/united-states/history-136.htm). Reagan’s rise to president was a strategy to help destroy the remainder of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense and any bit of Black Power left afterward, including the Black Liberation Army, the instigating of the Watts Rebellion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watts_riots) or more popularly known as the Watts Riots in California. Also the Watts Rebellion was for many a foreshadowing of the Rodney King riots in 1992. After several years of neglect and lack of governmental help to the most at risk communities including Compton, South Central, Oakland, Watts, there was an explosion against white supremacy and white racism, dating back to when 1967 the first year of the Ronald Reagan’s term as Governor of California. Reagan was connected to Nixon’s tough on crime initiatives. This was a way for the Right to return to political power. To use religion and social conservative propaganda disguised as Christianity to gain political power and fuel free market capitalism without any push back, from the majority of voters, who were soaked up in the Golden Age of post World War II.

It’s all connected and Trump’s religious supporters goal is reinstate these policies and go back to an economic system fueled by racism. Why? because they have no other idea on how to address society and they don’t really have an interest in helping society, their only goal is maintaining more profits, maintaining more land, and maintaining more white privilege.

Reagan rose to president with a hate speech campaign disguised as rugged individualistic economic policies and procedures that would crush the poor, demonize single mothers, and hell even in And the Band Played On, by Randy Shilts see (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/And_the_Band_Played_On), claimed that the Religious Right created AIDS to kill the LGBTQ populations, that’s why nothing was done for years and hundreds, thousands died. Incidentally the writer was a journalist in San Francisco, Ca the same state that a young Reagan was Governor of and was President at the time of the books publishing in 1987.

That’s why initiatives like ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) see (www.actupny.org) had to start, that’s why in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, NY there is Callen-Lorde Medical Clinic. Callen-Lorde see (www.callen-lorde.org)  was started as a political action and also a just moral, personal and passionate action to educate the LGBTQ and A community about their rights to health care, and prevention, to understand STD’s and other catastrophic, diseases that were being found more and more, that were literally killing their community. Not do to some sexual “sin” as Falwell or Robertson would have suggested and did suggest but out of sadly, ignorance. People just did not know, and access to proper health care was hindered to them, because according to these moral fascist’s they were not worthy. Because of actions by ACT UP and others we now have peoples needs being met (through health care, laws…I mean it still needs work), we have political power (some at least), that did not exist before, we have LGBTQ pastor’s, priests, and Reverends and probably Imam’s (although I’m not sure, forgive me). Who can offer hope for a change that seems to never come, we have people in power that can represent Queer folks, but the fight is not over. With supporters of Trump that he is reaching out to, all progress that has been made will be abolished I fear.

This was all funneled by Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson and many more, as time has continued the list has grown…Some of these same names listed in Trumps supporters are actually the children of these men of hateful valor. In other words these men these new men, on the Right and some women and like 2 black men..continuing their family business of private interest first.

In 2004 before his timely death Falwell, started the Moral Majority Coalition.  When words like family, culture, and values come from Religious Right televangelists its rhetoric for racism, sexism, free market capitalism. Bet it has nothing absolutely nothing to do with your interest unless your part of that club. These people are terrible. Trump is reinstating the Reign of Reagan again. These policies don’t work. It’s designed for major corporations and interest groups to grow in wealth while everyone is put against each other. They’ve done it for years starting with the introduction of white privilege in the south at a time when poor whites and newly freed slaves were getting hip to exploitation. W.E.B. Dubois introduced the knowledge of a “psychological wage” when he wrote Black Reconstruction in America, 1935 by saying,

It must be remembered that the white group of laborers, while they received a low wage, were compensated in part by a sort of public and psychological wage. They were given public deference and titles of courtesy because they were white. They were admitted freely with all classes of white people to public functions, public parks, and the best schools. The police were drawn from their ranks, and the courts, dependent on their votes, treated them with such leniency as to encourage lawlessness. Their vote selected public officials, and while this had small effect upon the economic situation, it had great effect upon their personal treatment and the deference shown them. White schoolhouses were the best in the community, and conspicuously placed, and they cost anywhere from twice to ten times as much per capita as the colored schools. The newspapers specialized on news that flattered the poor whites and almost utterly ignored the Negro except in crime and ridicule.

These people don’t give a shit about love, community, safety, acceptance, the poor. These people are Devils. 

That is why we have to rise up and fight for love! We have to say to this hate endorsed candidate we have #FaithOverFear and that #LoveTrumpsFear. I say this because, this is affecting all of us, there are privately owned prisons being built right now, and we have to fight back. There polices will no doubt be used to fill those prisons, to me that does not warrant an endorsement from a God of love, but an endorsement for future fascist’s of America. We are on the verge of total state sponsored fascism in America, no longer veiled behind a white sheet, or a smile…No people we are on the verge of the fourth Reich I pray that I am wrong. I just know that these people are not Christians, I don’t care. You can disagree with me, but there is no way in hell that Jesus would ever endorse this, he didn’t even have a home…remember, “foxes have holes and birds have nests but the son of man has no where to lay his head” (Luke 9:58).

Wise up! Speak Out! If you are of a sacred faith, and you know that your traditions militate against this madness, speak out, use your passages and texts, use your voice, lift up a banner of love, lets put our differences on faith, etc to the side and really, finally live for humanity, not commerce and commodity…

I love what Charlie Chaplin says here in his historic speech in the last scene of, The Great Dictator…”you are not machines”!!! https://youtu.be/V1fMvLbE85E

 

The Slave Master: Corrections Corporation of America (CCA)

disclaimer: profanity ahead, no images, a lot of profanity

 

With that said, I just finished watching the last episode of season 4 of  Orange Is The New Black, this was by far the best season. But away with all that happy shit. Please see (http://www.revelist.com/tv/oitnb-season-4-prison-convention/3099) to know what the fuck I’m talking about. Also read (http://www.alternet.org/story/17392/the_truth_about_private_prisons)

 

Yo! for real. I’m fucked up right! I can’t even stomach it. One that was wild, what an ending. 2. We need to shut down the prison system NOW!! Right Fucking NOW!!!

 

No disrespect to families and friends that have been cops, are cops or corrections officers, but for real. FUCK THAT!!!

 

After seeing the portrayal of privately owned prisons. Yo! we don’t know what the fuck is going on inside these places. If any of this is true I want to help bring a firestorm to this inhumane, vial, sinful, god damn piece of shit industry. Your fucking warehousing bodies. Your putting men and women mostly Black and Latino and growing Asian populations of people in warehouses, your reducing them to commodities, your fucking putting them on an auction bloc, yo! there was another time when this happened it was fucking slavery.

 

Right NOW!!! all my comrades, friends, families, homies that know anything about private prisons, where they are, how they are run, how they are funded, who is funding them etc… etc… post that shit, tweet that shit, flood that shit, burn that shit, fuck that shit up. I believe in prayer…but now its time to instigate for their release, it’s time to instigate for the end of the modern day slavery machine, the NEW JIM CROW!!!!! If you need fuel, if you need motivation if you need a will, a determination watch this season. I had no idea, now honestly I really get the anger in Kanye’s voice in “New Slaves” when he said,

 

“Meanwhile the DEA

Teamed up with the CCA (http://www.cca.com/our-history)

They tryna lock niggas up

They tryna make new slaves

See that’s that privately owned prisons

Get your piece today

They prolly all in the Hamptons

Braggin’ ’bout what they made

Fuck you and your Hampton house

I’ll fuck your Hampton spouse

Came on her Hampton blouse

And in her Hampton mouth

Y’all ’bout to turn shit up

I’m ’bout to tear shit down

I’m ’bout to air shit out

Now what the fuck they gon’ say now?”

-Yeezy’s New Slaves (https://youtu.be/IyOL-f_UO5k)

The problem before I go any further with this rant, is that the CCA are not just a privatized prison corporation but they are very much a business with quotas etc. What does that mean? By having a quota this means that the prison has to fill that quota. For instance some prison’s have a 50/100 quota, this means that in order the prison to get and maintain funding a minimum of 50 beds must be filled out of 100. Now that doesn’t seem to bad, the problem is that most prisons are a 100/100 ratio and that means those beds have to be filled. How do those beds get filled? I thought you would never ask!!! Those beds get filled by trumping up petty crimes into felonies and then forcing inmates into taking a “plea” or what is known as a plea bargain. A plea bargain means you plea guilty to a lesser crime than the one arrested for but the state gets to still house you in a facility and you inherit a felony. What happens with felonies? Shit, what doesn’t happen with a felony?!?! What I’m getting at is that with these felonies, reentry is destined to fail, newly released inmates have a difficult time finding work and many go back to prison, such as Taystee in season two of OITNB. So with that said, I want you to know that this is not right. Corporations are one thing and pivatization but human beings, inmates, forcing people to be a prison stat, is sin! Point Blank!

 

So this is personal for me, and I know its personal for you and you and you and you and you….and it goes on and on and on and on.

 

I want to fight back, I’m in tears, there’s everything that’s happening growing up in a world, that represses you for fucking how you want to, for loving how you are born too, for believing in what moves you, doing dumb crimes because you feel forced to, it’s not a good Samaritan issue, it’s a justice one, this system is not just, this game is rigged, our prayers are fervent and their effectual but action is what makes our prayers answered.

 

I don’t know what else, to say…I’m moved and troubled and I’m ready to fight, I’m tired, I’m angry…A lot of my friends went prison, some died in prison, some are still their, stats continue to rise, you know fam that are in prison, you know loved ones locked up, there are so many scenario but it’s time to actually change this fucking excuse for slavery…it’s all races too!!! but, we know that this is racist system it’s always been and always will…Until we stop it, until we end it, until we burn it to the ground and rise like a fucking phoenix from its ashes…broken, smelling like smoke, beginning a new, building something new…

 

I’m done…have a good night….please flood my email with an arsenal of info to shut this down, especially this privately owned bullshit, this ain’t right, all you anyone who may read this and you actually are a part of this, fuck! I hope the smells of the cells you never enter, the faces you incarcerate but never see haunt you, the lives lost and the history forever altered gives you post traumatic stress. Until you stop going to work, until you stop this system, this is sick…it’s not a business it’s slavery, it’s not a fucking CorrectiCon these are real people real bodies, real stories…your disgusting…

 

Apologies…to anyone I might have kicked up feelings in…I’m probably gonna get booted for this…so be it….stop being a slave to this corporate bullshit…

 

Lastly, for all of you who have loved ones, family, friends etc who are victims to this insanity…I”m sorry. I’m sorry that as a christian and eventual pastor that other pastors and “Christians” have not done more to shut this down, I’m sorry that we live a world, that can disacaite feelings and connection in order to earn a paycheck…this system prison, private prisons destroys you the guard, you the warden, you the inmate, you the family, you the society, you the small town, you the city, you the world…This system does no good.

 

We have to encourage mentoring programs at least in the meantime, a buddy system where inmates have a bro, or a sis to help them at least for their first year out. Some of these styles of programs do exist, one in particular is called #CommunityConnectionsForYouth Community Connections For Youth  @cc4y. This program was started by a justice related friend Ruben Austria find his info here (https://cc-fy.org/people/ruben-austria/) What CC4Y does is really address the #PrisonPipeline that is affecting many of our youth especially black and brown young men. But, the stats are rising for women especially Transgender women of color. I offered this as just a sort of imagination to see and believe that their are organizations working to affect this cancer of injustice. But, we have to do more. We have to end the prison system and also support and encourage and be their for our brothers and sisters who are coming home too. We have to do something, We need more…We need more…than this…

Thank You

“So…Like What Is Your Theology?” -Nathan at The Boulevard

Outreach Ecclesia MinistriesWhat is Theology
What is my theology

-Nathan at the The Boulevard shelter on 124th and Lexington in Harlem

“So what is your theology, like what is theology for you, personally?” Nathan said as we sat outside the Boulevard a shelter on the east side of Harlem located just in off the corner of 124th and Lex. Nathan’s question had me rattled. What was I supposed to say? I am nearing the end of my seminary tract and I still don’t really know what I believe or what is the definition of theology for the common person. So when Nathan asked me to explain my theology I was lost. I thought, “I can’t believe that I still don’t have an answer for those with a simple request of what theology is.”
His thoughts were sincere and he will never remember me most assuredly, but one could hope, one can be optimistic that I would stick out among the 1000 people who have probably already handed him food and conversation, in hopes that he would radically change his “ways” after a short brief impersonal conversation to a complete stranger.
But we all who do outreach hope that at length we will be the Buddha, or Krisna, or as a Christian the Jesus for someone. That we will be their savior.
I admit that I have selfish intentions for outreach. I get satisfaction out of the feeling that I helped someone. I know that I’m just a vessel but I do find catharsis in this work. I guess what I mean is I’m hoping to absolve my own sins. That in a ascetic way I’m being forgiven by taking on the sins of others. I know it’s kind of sick, but let’s be real. Many of us feel this same way. We love the work we do and and it nearly kills us every time but in that near death experience we find absolution and relief from our stories at our “clients”, “friends” expense. We are no saints.
Outreach hurts me in many ways, not physically but psychologically and emotionally. Simultaneously outreach charges my spirit and gives me a rechargeable battery. I honestly believe if not for doing outreach, I would no longer believe in G-d.
It’s painful and it’s a painful experience. I burn out almost every two weeks. Outreach is not easy work, I love it though. I love the people I have met from the shortest experience to the ones I’m still working with 10 years later. But, still it kills me that I can’t just end their suffering, that I can’t take their desire for drugs and alcohol away. That I can drink and others can’t, they simply can’t they will die. That’s heavy knowledge. Those are heavy chains to carry. Those experiences leave me wanting for a living theology. I identify with their struggle, I empathize with their struggle and I believe in a God that is in the midst of that struggle, I believe in a Harm Reduction theology of patience and compassion.
But, that doesn’t help me to know what my theology is. That doesn’t help me to have a living theology. Haha, I don’t think anything will.

Feminists, Don’t Have A Cow by PUNCH

Like apples to oranges, both fruitful. Two eyes, two ears, two ovaries too. That’s where we draw the line, and it’s the differences that give us an excuse. No words to resist. Can’t write without a thumb. How can she say she doesn’t want this done? And every thirteen months, until she’s no good, given what will only be taken away to the same fate, or a veal crate. All for the precious by product. If you wouldn’t want your mother, sister, friend, as a milk and baby factory, don’t let it happen in your name to a creature with two eyes, two ears, two ovaries.