My little niece taught me that learning to pronounce a new name not only shows how open we are to others and other cultures, but importantly underlines the verity that we are—despite our beliefs, cultures, traditions, and histories—never more important than we think we are.
James mama’s care for people reflected respect, love, humility, and utmost sincerity. He had no guile in him. He was straightforward, open-minded, warm-hearted, hospitable, honest, trust-worthy, and devoted.
Now, I am seated at the very place Jo lived. There are times I wonder what Jo would have done had he lived with us during this pandemic. Would he have stepped out and broken the rules, as he is known for, set by my cousin? Would he be playing his music aloud through the day? Would he step out to the gate to receive the packages being delivered? Would we have some interesting conversations on Christianity, sexuality, and just life in general? How and for what would he shout at me? How might he babysit Hope? What exaggerated stories would he narrate about himself and his friends during our cousins’ meet? How would he have responded to my mother’s illness? I, and others here, can only imagine.
The imagination of an imminent liberation by way of scriptwriting, music, poetry, dance, and other forms of art is not an act of naïve hopefulness but a deliberate stance against notions of fatalism and impossibilism that only further the aspirations of caste elites. To imagine “what can be” from the midst of oppression and absurdity is a sign of the creative power of Dalit agency. Dalit imagination is an affirmation of Dalit humanity and agency even as it transcends the limits set by caste brutalization.
If shows like Indian Matchmaking want to showcase narratives of dominant-caste men, may they be narratives of discomfort, repentance, and accountability, and not one of pride and honor because we know all too well that endogamy, seen in Indian Matchmaking, is about preserving caste honor, and honor-based killings, witnessed in Sairat, is about reclaiming caste honor.
Bertram Johnson, the Interfaith Minister at Union Theological Seminary, rightly observed during our online worship last Sunday that there is a “reward to doubt.” That reward, as witnessed through a moment in Thomas’ life, was an invitation to a place of vulnerability, intimacy, and grace. If faith allows us to see the renewing that the resurrection promises, doubt allows us to touch and experience the wounds that the renewing emerges from. While the process might be painful and agonizing, the reward is precious and holy. May we not stifle doubt or be threatened by it, for doubt might just be a locus for a faith deeply rooted in the flesh wounds of Jesus.
Averageness is not a weakness; it does not point to the lack of something. It is not mediocrity. If anything, I see averageness as a resistance to the capitalist notion of greatness, the need to be “the best.” I am not and I will not be. I don’t desire to be the market’s best. By saying this, I don’t mean to say that I or anyone should stop pursuing knowledge and remain stagnant. No! We ought to be the best WE can be—we set the standard for ourselves, not the market.
Music, just like the world made up of interconnected organisms, is deeply relational: it mysteriously connects us with people—young and old, earthbound and departed, intimate and distanced, gained and lost—leaving us wanting more of a presence that cannot be grasped nor controlled.
Ever since Jesus took his place on it, the cross has gone on to function as the cultic symbol of Christianity. It is, as Black Liberation Theologian…… Read more “The Cross of Discipleship”
One could feel entitled to something because of one’s gender, skin pigmentation, economic status, occupation, sexual orientation and so on. Entitlement is sign of privilege and at worse pride. It functions as a mechanism of exercising control. The more wealth, (access to) power, privilege one has the more likely one feels entitled to something. It creates a feeling of superiority over the other, potentially leading to narcissism.
Thought you’d somehow GET LUCKY To undo the WASTED YEARS I guess they were just HIGH HOPES Cause today we’re POLES APART The hour you left this ORDINARY…… Read more “SHINE ON, YOU CRAZY DIAMOND”
When we tear we are express the language of love; when we tear we show the remaining inhabitants of our little world that there is no shame in becoming vulnerable for our loved ones; when we tear we heal each other and ourselves; and when we tear we experience a little moment of grace. Tears are sacred; stifling them is a sacrilege. Let them speak for in that little volume they speak volumes.
Remember Jesus can come in the form of a priest, a messenger, a vulnerable stranger, an orphan, a homeless, an immigrant (from ‘shithole’ countries), and an asylum-seeking refugee. Would we be able to recognize the divine in them? Or perhaps Jesus – the man who had no place to lay his head – challenges us to receive what the stranger, the homeless, and the refugee might want to offer us. Would we?
I just had to ask myself if people today have inadvertently mastered the art of masquerading authenticity? We are so stuck up with our individualism and protecting our private spaces that we have forgotten what it is to really know the other person. Even our knowing has become superficial. We seem to have forgotten to ask the right questions to people. Even if we do our questions lack genuinety.
To arrive at a winner by any method, no matter how ridiculous that method may seem, had unfortunately taken precedence. The International Cricket Council, in ensuring a winner is found by any means possible, suggests that there can only be ONE at the top, and that sharing has no place in a competitive world. This in many ways distorts one’s understanding of competition, competitiveness, and sportsmanship.
“Joe”, “Prem”, “Prem Anna”, “Chief”, “Bugga” – the man was known by many names within the family. I shall, however, refer to him as “Jona” – I’d…… Read more “A Tribute to my Brother”
Prayers go wrong when it is ritualistic, individualistic and rhetorical. It is only when prayers are turned into deeds – acts of justice and kindness – our prayers will be biblical, ethical, relational and importantly transformational.
Having been pushed into the dark, I was hoping to see the light again And as I sat with my head against the wall A ray of…… Read more “You are the Light”
A few years one of my friends showed me a brochure that made mention of an End-Time Project. I then put up a post on Facebook critiquing…… Read more “Pray “against” this End-Time Project”
The first thing that came to my mind when I thought of music that echoed the themes of protest and resistance was Rastafarian music. The spirit(uality) of…… Read more ““Get Up, Stand Up!” – Song of Protest, Pentecost, and Empire”
This motherly Being, the El-Shaddai – the Breasted One, feeds us, cares for us, touches us, empathizes with us, provides for and protects us and keeps drawing us back to herself. This is the God I know for this is the mother I have known. She shows me what God must be like.
What depraved reasoning caused these devilish men to make a political statement by raping a child? What morbid fascination caused these bestial men to clout the head of a little child?
Most of us, if not all, often understand the Lenten season as a season of purposeful “disengagement” – disengagement from sin that pollutes our bodies, minds, and hearts. We commend and applaud the effort of those who voluntarily, yet temporarily, forfeit certain ‘privileges,’ forgetting that the very act of forfeiting can be privileged in itself. There is, in more ways than one, a conscious effort to appraise one’s spirituality or religiosity and strive towards ordering that facet of life. In pursuing that end, we tend to make the mistake of overlooking, belittling, or retreating from the realities around us, thereby, making lent a season of altering lifestyles and ameliorating piety rather than questioning (our privileges in the light of) the injustices around us.
A woman doesn’t need to get pregnant so that her parents and in-laws can become grandparents. She doesn’t need to get pregnant so that her siblings and the siblings of her spouse can become uncles and aunts. She doesn’t need to become pregnant so that her husband can become a father. And certainly, she doesn’t need to become pregnant to shut the mouths of a few pain-in-the-wrong-place-relatives-and-friends. She and her spouse aren’t obligated to make babies to satisfy others. Remember we, as outsiders, are only called to “share” in their happiness, not “own” it.
Protests need not be based on religious dogmas; they only need to be based on life and death struggles of people. It isn’t in merely staging up one but in being able to engage, resist and work for change that truly captures the spirit(uality) of protests. Failure to engage in this spiritual practice would make the faith community irrelevant, cynic and unfaithful to its calling.
Before I acquire things for myself, let me be mindful of those who have none Before I satisfy my needs, let me be mindful of the needy…… Read more “Let Me Be Mindful”
The season is a season of expectations, hopes, and aspirations and people on the streets, people in chains, and people in closets do have them. Rather than merely (and often frivolously) celebrating a long-gone ‘event’, let those around us have the opportunity to celebrate the birth of Christ as we give birth to him through acts of love and kindness, through our acts of solidarity and through our acts of resistance to oppression of every kind.
What makes such scandalous relationships alive, nourishing and evocative, though being abhorred and precluded, is not just its sporadic triumphant out-turn but its repeated tendentious happenings. There are people who have engaged and are engaging in such tendentious acts.
Inter-cultural and inter-caste relationships are socially explosive love affairs. In them lie the potential to wreck external standards of morality, in them lie the potential to transform and reform love and desire, in them lie the potential to subvert hierarchical arrangements, in them lie the potential to cause social friction, and in them lie the potential to effuse healing and solidarity.
We find ourselves living amongst people who believe that their religious call is to determine who you are and who you ought to be, what your beliefs…… Read more “Me, A Pseudo Christian? You Bet!”
Today’s Church is far from being what it was meant to be. Its spirituality has got nothing to do with those who suffer and with those whose…… Read more “Where is the Repentant Church?”
The narrative of David and Bathsheba has for long captured the imagination of all peoples. Despite the sequence of events in this narrative, most of us still consider David as “the man after God’s own heart.” However, it was this man that brought disaster upon a home and sowed the seed of hatred and violence that ended up permeating his very home. We have conveniently embraced the ‘mighty’ and ‘powerful’ David, and perhaps even uncritically, the ‘repentant’ David. The challenge before us is to do away with the rhetoric of the ‘manly,’ ‘victorious’ and ‘mighty’ David. We must stop defending David, the libertine.
Colonization of the mind takes place when children in their schools are deliberately fed with information about Gandhi and not about Ambedkar. To teach Gandhi and not Ambedkar is to teach a communal and casteist history of India. Where is Ambedkar during our Independence Day celebrations?
If Vikram and Vedha are seen as symbolic representations of the opposite poles of morality at the beginning of the movie, at the end of it, it isn’t hard to see that there is a Vedha in Vikram and a Vikram in Vedha. The idea behind the poster and the naming of the movie as Vikram Vedha (as opposed to Vikram and Vedha) becomes rather clear and cogent.
Love can never be confined to (hu)man-made boundaries. Like the Spirit it blows wherever it so pleases. No one can control it, no one can argue with it, and no one can question it. We must all just let it work its magic within us. We must open and expose ourselves to it. Love, like the waters, is gentle and yet wild. We can’t change its course but we can let it change ours.
This song is not new to us. We’ve all heard it even if we’ve not sung it. Ever since I first heard this song back in 2000…… Read more “Mary Did You Know (New Lyrics)”
Can there be faith without doubt? I doubt the existence (and continuance) of such a faith. Doubt is not the opposite of faith, certainty is. Faith’s best companion and critique is doubt. And that is why doubt is an important clog in our faith journey.
Tears is a language of its own and none must prevent it from speaking. Who are we to silence it even in the name of God? God created tears; let them speak for in that little volume they speak volumes.
The women out there in the field are confronting the phenomena of masculinization where cricket and other sports has been masculinized, where press meetings and conferences has been masculinized, where public spaces and social forums has been masculinized, and where even our consciences has been masculinized.
Movies are not made for mere entertainment. They are political. They are ethical. We need to be sharp, watch carefully, dig deep and go beyond what merely meets the eye to make sense of what we watch. And that is why Muthu is a masterpiece. It is one of a kind and will always remain so.