The Lord’s Back Was Black

The poem is Jesus speaking to a slave master while he beats his slave. It explores the paradoxical reality of Christian slave owners in the 19th century. It speaks from the perspective of Jesus who identifies with the oppressed, persecuted, and marginalized. This assumption is drawn from the passage when Jesus spoke to Paul saying…

Welcoming Difference

On April 4th, I joined a small group of Messiah students, and alumni in attending the Sixth Annual Freedom Seder at Beth El Temple in Harrisburg. The topic of this year’s event was immigration, and the refugee crisis, focusing on how the three major monotheistic world religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, are called to…

Blind Spots in the Pursuit of Social Justice: A Chinese Christian Perspective

My life in China always brings a contrasting perspective to me when I try to understand the social issue(s) I face in the U.S. So does social justice. After becoming disillusioned by the Chinese government’s response in ensuring social justice in 1989, most Chinese tried to pursue social justice for themselves as individuals. In reality,…

Sweat and Sanctification

Mitakuye Oyasin – all my relations. In this land of free speech, there are millions of voices. As the lyrics of our national anthem float through the air of athletic stadiums across the country, some athletes make their voice heard as they silently take a knee. When the game is over, the Internet, television, and…

Color and Canvas: Finding Unexpected Voices in Public Art

This spring I had the chance to take a road trip to Portland, ME, and spend a day moseying around the city.  Wandering up and down Congress Street, a modern building with large glass panels hanging over the front doors caught my eye. Frosted text covered the windows: “مكتبة.”  “Bibliothèque.”  “Library.” Intrigued, my friend and…

Resistance

Yearning, dissenting, striving A freedom song among the cotton stocks A harbor steeped in revolution Patchwork hope along the tracks of a perilous ride Remembering, lamenting, achieving From Yorktown’s final drumbeats To barefoot children’s first steps Arms of freedom reaching out and drying paint on picket signs Endurance, resilience, memory Flowing verse from the lips…

A Response to Kelly Brown Douglas

The Following is the Transcript of a Speech Delivered at the 2017 Humanities Symposium by Denise Brown. As I opened [Kelly Brown Douglas’ book, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God] and began reading, I found myself walking down the sidewalk with Trayvon Martin. The hurt that I had given to God rushed…

Solidarity Is(n’t) Dead

Solidarity Is(n’t) Dead They Say that Solidarity is Dead And I wouldn’t disagree It’s always been “us against them” That’s blatantly clear to see – “What about us” we chorus “Stop killing us” we cry “Black Lives Matter” we scream “All Lives Matter” they reply We exalt our concerns, but they’re met with denial Watching…

Those “Unspeakable Hats”

My family’s Facebook Messenger chat has been pretty active lately.  We used to only use it to send each other New England Patriots memes, but more recently, our discussions have centered on articles about politics and protest.  We debate the new president’s drastic executive orders—my sister and I disapproving, my parents more willing to reserve…

Marching With Immigrants

Why did you march? You’re not even American. The question, purely inquisitive, came from a loved one when the Harrisburg Immigrant Solidarity March – one of several that have been taking place across US and in other countries – came up in conversation. It’s true: I am not American. I am what US governmental offices would…

Four Reflections on the 2016 Election

Ryan Gephart: It’s hard to put into words all of the emotions I have felt over the last week. I have lost a lot of sleep over all the hateful rhetoric I have seen thrown around, and often justified in Donald Trump’s name. “If our president can say these things, then so can we,” the…

Poetry in Motion

With the velocity at which those pens flew and the concentration etched into those scholar’s faces, a casual passerby may have mistaken the room to be one filled with Ivy League undergrads. The only tell left awry was the fact that they would not find collegiate students, but middle school kids from a local school,…