April 30, 2015

Two years ago this week, seventeen people were arrested on the first “Moral Monday,” sparking a summer of protests in which tens of thousands came to register their objection to immoral policies backed by dark money and extremist legislators. More than 1,000 people were arrested in the largest civil disobedience campaign since the 1960s sit-in movement.   Yesterday, 20 moral witnesses returned to the NC Legislature with hundreds of supporters. They were arrested while reading aloud the Constitution that elected officials... Read more

March 27, 2015

A few weeks ago, I got to worship at First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama alongside John Lewis, one of the most courageous nonviolent freedom fighters of the 1960s. I thought about how we were standing in the place where nonviolence came to America in 1955. We talked to the grandson of the woman who played the organ at all those mass meetings that sustained the Bus Boycott through 1956. I studied the faces of the choir members, wondering what... Read more

March 16, 2015

Since meeting Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, in the late 50s, Bob Zellner has lived his life in the Southern Freedom Movement. May 6-10 this year, he will serve as elder and guide for School for Conversion’s 21st-Century Freedom Ride to Selma, Alabama. Bob has nearly 60 years of experience from which to speak about why antiracist organizing and freedom work is good news for white people.   By Bob Zellner   When I was COMING OF AGE... Read more

February 7, 2015

Now that it’s black history month, kids across American are learning about Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, Martin King and Rosa Parks. These heroes of the black-led freedom movement remind us that #BlackLivesMatter has been a bold assertion throughout US history. But it is as true now as it was during abolition. In so many ways, America could not have become the nation we are—and the one we are still becoming—without the gifts of strong black leaders… many of whom... Read more

January 31, 2015

I spent a few days this week away from Durham in another Southern town, visiting with young people who’ve relocated to under-resourced neighborhoods there. They told me what they’ve learned about themselves and their home communities, living on the other side of the tracks. I listened to them struggle with what they’ve seen and heard—and wonder aloud about what they still can’t see.   John Perkins taught us that relocation is about re-educating white folks as much as it is... Read more

January 25, 2015

Clarence Jordan, the Southern Baptist radical who started an inter-racial farming community in Southwest Georgia in 1942, used to tell a story about a time when he was invited to preach at a big, fancy church in the city. The pastor showed Jordan around his mid-20th century version of a mega church, celebrating the merits of an education wing, an office suite, and an expansive sanctuary. Standing outside, the pastor pointed to the top of the church’s steeple and said,... Read more

January 17, 2015

This weekend, 47 years after Martin King’s death, America will pause to remember his life and witness. At celebrations in churches, community centers and town squares across the country, many will wax eloquent, remembering Dr. King’s Dream.   Amidst the accolades, it’s also important to remember what people were saying about Dr. King 50 years ago.   Take, for example, the propaganda, funded by the Governor of Georgia and distributed widely by a national conservative newspaper, The Independent American, in 1965. “Martin... Read more

January 11, 2015

Some years ago, when George W. Bush was president and some folks from Christian Peacemaker Teams were being held hostage in Iraq, Leah and I spent this first weekend of Epiphany across the street from the White House, keeping vigil and to “shine the light” on the Iraq War. January nights in DC are long and cold. Of course, the lights never go off at the White House. But by early Sunday morning, I felt like for my whole body... Read more

December 26, 2014

 For Christmas in 1849, when nearly four million people were enslaved in America, abolitionists introduced a new carol. “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” celebrated the announcement of “peace on earth, good will to men” as more than a sentiment to warm people’s hearts. It was a proclamation that injustice could not last forever. In the midst of the darkest night, a light had shone and was shining still. They say “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” wasn’t very popular... Read more

September 11, 2014

Since we opened a third home here at Rutba House(s) this summer, I’ve found myself praying morning prayer in three different places each week. The same old songs ring a bit differently in each place, inviting me to see what God is up to from a different vantage point. I’ve been praying with my eyes open. Last Thursday morning, sitting on the red couch at the house on Onslow Street, I was thinking about Henry Lee McCollum, who’d gone home... Read more

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