Wednesday, November 23, 2016

thanks-taking/Mni Wiconi v the black snake

to the Water Protectors,
 in the Wombs of Olokun,
genocidal cries
rise against the chains on their remains
Tatanka-Iyotanka rides
  his buffalo rumble in the distance
waiting for their day of vengeance
60 million
they killed 60 million buffalo
just 40 million less than MAAFA
black blood
in the bottom of the sea
mni wiconi
speak Water Protectors
against the snake’s water canon
  La Madre
cradles the suffering
but for those who cause suffering
she holds death in her hands
slow-flow-through-umbilical kind
  need I remind
if all are one
  then we pump out our own ancestors
 to burn under the sun
to get our lattes
a little faster
Water Protect-us
from our self-
  guzzling ways
Mni Wiconi
  never be thirsty

to the Fire Protectors
stomach churns of Pele
 don’t die of hypothermia
burned into the pavement
    of your mounds
in shopping malls
eyes of blue flame
when you call out the name
of the lost tribes
and they came
shrouded in animal skins
signing like Koko
let the truth in
puke the lies out
study their features
in the bucket before you
then scroll their deeds
so our prophecies can be freed

to the Nature Protectors
my Kali says
 the holy dark is moving too
and we were not ready
     may the athame/cuchilla be quick
an opening
Nana Buruku
to our true egg
a rebirth with streams in hand
mountain in mind
trees in hair
hurricanes in eyes
this ending will be a beginning
      morsels of our oppression
  ground to breath
most fouled in smog factories
most cancered epigenetically
filtered lead-filled springs
will burn from the faucet
all that destroys us
 is transmutated in our intentions
    and you are again
        the naked
        the sacred
    communing decolonized
with Divine

to the Mineral Protectors
Medusa’s might through blight and retribution
barbarians wanting trophies of the impossible
woman power
the stone people always win
      only we know at who's expense
 Griots tell tales
cellular memory
  post traumatic empire syndrome
severed roots
smothered branches
gmo’d histories
 to organic mysteries
to rites of passage destinies
     to Red Tent cities
matriarchal blood warriors
 5 gendered god-talkers
15 year old prophets
primordial grandmother ruler
to re-member again

And to the Earth Protectors
  Shekhinah fill your lungs
to walk the Guadalupana
from East Oakland
to the deserts of stolen Mexico
to embrace
two little girls
in a minute men dungeon
to silence their claims
on 7 generations of treaties
in blood bonds
the washed sack of Yemoja
the cradle her arms
where any warrior
would be proud to die and rise
rise and die
and sit
beneath Quan Yin
to learn of love
until the world ends

- Dark Prophet

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

To The Youth A Day After The Election: Another World Is Possible

Dear Youth,

On this day after the election, many are asking themselves how this could have happened. Regardless of who anyone close to you voted for, and regardless of how you yourself might vote, in a democratic country, the questions still remain: How could so few be allowed to vote? Why do so few who are eligible vote? How can we call ourselves a country when there seems to be so much hatred between those with differing ideologies? Do we care at all for people who are not like us? These questions can be maddening, but I beg you, don’t give up hope. I promise you that just the thought of you gives so many of us so much hope. Especially me. And also, please don’t fall into the temptation to hate those who may hate you. These times we are living in are reminding me, oddly enough, of the Empire Strikes Back. Luke, reacting to the violence of the world tries to combat it with more violence and ends up getting his hand cut off. It’s only after he goes and studies the intricacies of justice that he is able to confront Darth Vader and the Emperor in triumph. If I were to pick a Grandmaster Jedi of our world, it would be Dr. Howard Thurman, the “pastor” of Martin Luther King. Dr. Thurman wrote of hate, “The logic of the development of hatred is death to the spirit and disintegration of ethical and moral value.” While hatred is a natural emotion, acting from it and allowing it to take root will never accomplish the goals we want them to.

I call you StillSpeaking Youth to combat what I have seen older generations do to younger generations throughout my lifetime and into history. Each generation seems to think that their generation was the one that knew how best to fight. I’m afraid that the older I get the more I might start saying to younger folkx, “At least MY generation had the Occupy Movement.” or “At least my generation was involved in the Black Lives Matter Movement.” But the truth of the matter is that every generation gets their chance to shine and be a part of creating what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called, The Beloved Community.

We hear a lot about Dr. King’s Dream, but what we hear are the little specifics, white children and Black children holding hands and blah, blah, blah. We often miss the big picture. The big picture was that Dr. King believed, as I do, that there is a world possible right here that is far different than the world we live in today. In that world: there is no hatred over religious and political differences; everyone is loved and cherished for who they are, no matter the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, their gender expression; and people aren’t treated differently because of how much money they make or what job they work. That Dream is possible, but only when we all put our hands into making this Beloved Community come true.

I love each and every one of you so much, even when you get on my nerves I want to protect you from every harmful oppression. But the best way I know how to do that, is to try and help you be survivors in a world of hate. I always want to show you the survival tools I learned, and also the tools I’ve learned to help create a Beloved Community. Because I know, that just as I will someday be among the eldest generation of this world and that I hope to eventually be an ancestor that you call upon in your struggles, you will someday have to step up to the responsibilities of creating the Beloved Community in your own world just as me and my generation have. You don’t have to do it like us, in fact I really hope you don’t, we’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I want you to be those Love Warriors, I need you to be those Love Warriors, and I vow to be the Elder that you need. Just keep holding on and know this, the ancestors, including Dr. Thurman and Dr. King, are ALWAYS there when you call.

You know I love you,

Tai Amri (Baby Pastor and Jedi Master) Spann-Wilson

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Living Authentically: A Sermon by an LGBT Youth

by Tai Amri Spann-Wilson (aka Baby Pastor)

I hope you came to church today to be inspired by the messages and experiences of our StillSpeaking Youth Group from their trip to Florida for the National Youth Event that this church and denomination helped make possible. I want to say a few words about why what they do is so important.

When Alanna Naledi was born, Pastor Caela felt so excited to first meet her. I thought that she just wanted to see a cute baby, but as she held her in her arms, she looked into her eyes and said, "I know you are being born into a crazy world, so maybe you came into this world to help fix it." I believe that it is the hope for every young person in our midst from every adult that they will be agents of change. And young people, on behalf of all of us adults, I'm sorry. This is not the world we hoped for you. A world where presidential elections look more like reality television. A world where, for more fossil fuels, governments spend trillions of dollars and are willing to risk earthquakes and climate change. A world where states are willing to lose millions of dollars just to decide who gets to use what bathroom. A world where Black people still have to create mass movements to prove that their lives matter. I also don't believe that this is the world that G-d wants for us.

I know that in today's world it is hard to believe in G-d. How could there be a G-d when there is so much suffering, so much injustice, a world where there is teething? (Well at least that's what I stay up late at night wondering about.) And then I look out into the eyes of young people, and then those young people open their mouths and speak words I never imagined, and I say, "Oh, that's how." You see, I don't really believe in a dude up in the sky looking down on us. I don't believe G-d has any body, but ours, I don't believe G-d has any voice, but ours, I don't believe G-d has any hands, but ours. So when people say why does G-d allow evil, I say, because we do. When people say, when will G-d come and create a world of justice? I say, when we do. That is why, young people, when I look at you, I see G-d, in G-d's strongest, most creative, most energetic form. That is why, when you speak, I hear hope. Speak to us now, we need your hope.

Memories of a Lifetime
By Dean Kinderknecht

LGBT youth and their allies are confronted almost daily with messages of hate and misunderstanding. We are marked with a scarlet letter, called terrible names, given dirty looks, and preached at with messages of hatred. In sending us to the National Youth Conference, you as a congregation gave us a chance to feel normal.
One of the classes that I personally gained the most from was a course called “How Not to Use the Bible as a Weapon”. We were taught how through the power of interpretation the same passages that are used often to hurt the LGBT community can be deduced to take on completely different meanings & just how wrong it is to use the Bible as a way to hurt others. I felt so uplifted by the messages of love and acceptance. I felt proud of who I am, and empowered to go after what I have always wanted. Leaving our session that day I had the courage to change my life. As was said in today’s first reading:

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;

Although I have been living authentically to most everyone in my life for the past couple of years, I have long avoided coming out to my biological dad. I wasn’t sure when, or if, I would ever have the strength to do so. His love for me & my sister has always been complicated, at best; my father is conservative and not the easiest person to talk to. I have been plagued with nightmares of how he would take the news for so long, and it has never been a happy thought. My father has always been very vocal in his hatred of those who don’t share his belief system and for the LGBT community & I knew this was going to be a make-it-or-break-it discussion.
Sailing into this moment on my waves of borrowed courage I texted him. “Hi, it’s Emily. I have to tell you that I go by the name Dean, not because of some nickname, but because I identify as male and I am pansexual, which means if I was in a relationship I would like them for their personality not gender. And I was born this way and it cannot be changed. That’s all I wanted to say and I hope that you will accept me and love even though I know you disagree with me. Thank you and bye”.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;

Then, terrified of what his reaction might be I turned off my phone before he could respond, and took a deep breath. I was shaking from the anticipation but my Still Speaking friends came to my aid. I didn’t know how the day would end, but I felt much better knowing that they were there for me. I went on with my day as scheduled.
Finally, at break I checked my messages. He said he already knew and he loved me anyway. I didn’t know how to feel. I was relieved it was done; I wanted to believe his support was there, but it felt strangely empty. I called my mom and talked it out, wrapped myself in the energy of my friends and sighed. I knew that my life was changed & I was finally free.
This event was life changing in so many ways for so many kids. I know I was just one of many and I thank you all for this opportunity to do so.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;

He truly was and he still is.