The video above is an inspirational TedX talk given by Ron Finley, an artist and designer who aspires to ameliorate the health disparities in South Central Los Angeles. The obesity rate in his neighborhood is much higher than in the incredibly affluent Beverly Hills, which is within walking distance. The difference? – his neighborhood is littered with fast food and convenience stores while those who live in the gated Beverly Hills have access to the fresh, typically more expensive healthier vegetables and fruits. His resolve to undo this injustice and inequality? – plant a garden! I won’t simply summarize his video for you, but I believe this presents a wonderful opportunity to outline the subversive imagination of God’s Kingdom that Christians really ought to have! All throughout the gospels, we get this imagery that compares Christ to/ calls him a “Lord” or “King”. But…he’s not very kingly? He’s lowly, meek and mild…yet, he’s King! He has an army of followers who do not promote empire through military might or brain washing but neighborly love and discipleship through love, peace, and forgiveness. What kind of King/Kingdom is this!? It’s one unlike anything we’ve seen before! Instead of God’s Scepter being one of gold and adorned with the most precious gems, it’s a scepter of righteousness! It’s part of what makes calling Christ , “King” feel so good- because He’s not very kingly( by the world’s standards)at all. It’s like by calling Him King, we’re almost peaceably mocking and redifining what a true King/Kingdom ought to be like. In the video, Finley says that he is trading in the spraying can for the garden hoe – his gardening IS his graffiti! What kind of graffiti is this? It’s unlike anything we’ve seen before! In a land troubled with gang violence and constant police presence/aggression, Finley has resolved not to engage in guerilla warfare but guerilla gardening! No longer does a gangster meet in the streets with guns but in the garden with tools- he’s radically redefining what a gangster is!
I’m not sure what Ron Finley believes but regardless I applaud him and honor his subversive imagination that is totally in-line with what Christ has in mind! In a land of drive-thrus and drive-bys ( where the drive-thrus are actually killing more people), what Finley is doing kind of reminds me of the book of Ezekial with the Valley of the Dry Bones:
Ezekial 37 (NIV)
9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
Imagine new ways to be subversive- undo the ills of this world!
Fox News Channel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last year, MSNBC had a rating boost, with the ouster of Keith Olbermann, I thought it would have been all over for the news organization. Instead, they actually thrived, even with the addition of a show with Reverend Al Sharpton at the helm! MSNBC claims that its because of their commitment to diversity, across the board, but I would like to add, they have a new appealing image to scholars and intellectuals of color, as well as white scholars. They’re conversations are placed in a way that include, oh, the facts on most issues and their commentary is informed. MSNBC has embraced a geekier image. Enter: Nerdland.
I am not really saying this as a fan of MSDNC, but I have taken notice. CNN just seemed determine to break news stories while sticking to the same formula of social liberalism and economic conservatism. Fox News was far too busy to win the election for Mitt Romney, that they had to abandon the African Americans who watch FNC (including me). I tried to be balanced and watch CNN and Fox News, but I couldn’t take it any more. I was tired of being demagogued at. So, I just got most of my news from online, Twitter, and blogs.
I have caught myself watching Nerdland on occasions, but I was just turned off by Melissa Harris Perry’s defense of Obama using drones and killing human beings. I’ll try to watch it from time to time, but only when DC Nation isn’t on.
MSNBC’s Phil Griffin On 60% Black Audience Gain in 2012: People Want To Know that we reflect their world via Mediaite
A few passing comments have suggested that I have been in “A MOOD” lately via facebook, twitter, and this blog. That may be a very very small part of it, with my uncertain job situation and my own inner turmoil over what to do about PhD studies. God is working with me on that.
But this is hardly the entire story.
What I do not like is readers twisting my words to make my position to be a straw-person. I think my tone has become more DIRECT and focused, as I may have found the ONE thing I want to do, which is to dismantle the Prison-Industrial Complex. The target is concrete, it has a face. I no longer have to talk in the abstract about white liberal racism or conservative theological hegemony. I see it in the faces of the students I substitute teach for. I witness what the P-I c stands for as I walk through elementary school doors and notice metal detectors. My posts have not been polemical, I have tried to avoid personal attacks, I am not calling anyone names. I am just trying to tell it like it is, in a consistent fashion. I have been lenient with the left and moderates this month but their days ‘a-comin, trust me. I am not anti-anything; I am first and foremost, pro- Jesus the Messiah, the Liberator and Reconciler of all of creation. I am pro-free will theism, I plan to start ending my silence about my continuationism and pneumatology [it is important], I believe more in participation and being over laws and regulations (even though the two do go together), and I affirm individual uniqueness (THE IMAGO DEI) of all human beings.
I think because I have an “enemy” I see that is worth defeating, that my turn towards a more clear objective in my blogging and writing makes it seem more “serious” or “harsh.” It’s not the case. I’ll still blog on science fiction and I’ll still do memes with pop culture references Jeremy won’t understand. Poor Jeremy.
I just don’t understand how I am supposed to preach the Gospel, God’s Victory Speech, to people when they are on death row or in prison for life because of 3 strikes and you’re out laws.