BEAN ZINE by the Beansprout Collective VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 1 | SUMMER 2010
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn,and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard...If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” - Isaiah 58:5-10, The Bible
Jesus Came to Me, Drunk and Bleeding by Naomi Wilson
Jesus came to me, drunk and bleeding. That phrase originally came to me from an encounter I had with a young woman I saw frequently at one of the sites I worked at, but would apply to many of the men and women I’ve had the privilege of meeting. Yes, the privilege. Perhaps not many would consider meeting “crack whores”, “dealers”, “addicts”, “goofs”, “drunks” and “irresponsible leeches” to be a privilege. But when Jesus is at your doorstep, it becomes increasingly more difficult not to wash her feet. In February, I met God, drunk and bleeding. She came to the church where I was working, not looking for a bed, just for a washroom to use. She was bleeding from two deep wounds, either from a bar fight or self-harm. In incredible pain numbed by mouthwash. Every now and then, the mouthwash would wear off and she would wince from pain. The rest of the time she’d plead for us not to call the paramedics. My co-worker did, while I tried to soothe her. I kept on wincing at her cuts and blood everywhere, and she said to me twice, “I know you’re a survivor of self-harm. too”. She had only met me once before. There’s no way she could have seen my faded, 7- year old cut marks on my arm. I figure it was God talking to me, stirring up compassion in me. I can’t come to any other explanation than coincidence and drunken rambling. After paramedics took her to the hospital, I scrubbed blood off the washroom floor. When I threw out the paper towel, I saw an empty bottle that had been filled with mouthwash. There was just a little bit left. I started to cry. This isn’t right. In fact, this is fucked. She couldn’t be older than 30.
Jesus’ heart was totally crushed by what was happening to her. That is truth. I felt that so distinctly. I know God’s pain (a little). He knew mine (completely). Every week after that incident, she either called me or visited at the church. She never came around looking to stay overnight. It was good to know she was okay. One time, she visited and I got her to come on a walk with me to get a tea. I told her I was so glad she came to us when she was drunk and bleeding. She, clearly sober this time, said to me again, “Yeah, you know, I know you’re a self-harm survivor. Start taking care of yourself.” She wasn’t the perfect Jesus example [no human being is]. All analogies break down. She asked me on a date and started touching me inappropriately. She started making a volunteer uncomfortable and I had to ask her to leave. But she was there. She came to me drunk and bleeding. Having the privilege to work with homeless folks has been beautiful. It’s become quite spiritual for me. I believe that all people are full of bad thoughts, words and deeds, and that all are in need of grace, forgiveness and a second chance. The folks I have worked with are those who have visibly messed up. Sometimes the most visibly (in a physical way, at least) in our society. Some mess up from personal choices, some from structural barriers, many do from both. And so, many homeless people are the embodiment of what humans (myself included) desparately need: grace, love, unmerited mercy, open arms of love (not closed ones of judgement) and a second chance with no questions asked. And those things I’ve described... that’s what Jesus has come to bring. Criminals, drug dealers and
prostitutes: while your sins are often most visible, the grace of God shines most visibly through you. Your open brokeness humbles me and lets me see that I, too, the one with the great facade, needs the grace of God.
Naomi Wilson is a coffee-obsessed, peopleloving, pedal-powered Torontonian. She is a graduate of the Ryerson Social Work program and worked at the Out of the Cold Program this past winter.
A Picture of Two Arms When I can’t sleep by Timmy Blank
the unjustness! that we might die to find we’ve yet to live. I said to the man: ‘the never-lived can’t die!” he turned the other way and explained quietly: “when you fell in that pit, that seemingly endless pit, you called for help. two arms extended from the blackness of emptiness. One, made from gold and silver, the other was worn, bloody, and holed. In a panic and the haste of the moment you reached for that which looked strong. You clung to the one of gold.
It made a small floor for you to rest on. You loved it and held it for some time but after a few broken promises made by the hand you looked around and noticed that you were falling and had never stopped.” Timmy Blank is an inclusion enthusiast and plays guitar in The Logician. He just finished his first year at Tyndale University and lives with his parents in Mississauga.
Christian Transitions in history by Jared Both
The early Christians were pacifists (Cadoux). It was only in the second century did Christians become or remain soldiers. John Cadoux’s explanation for the Christian transition into militarism is of a slippery slope in moral ethics because of economic and political pressure. A major sociological shift had occurred after the second century to even allow Christian soldiers in the Roman military. Rome needed armies, so for the first time in Roman history, individuals who enrolled in the legions were granted citizenship. The Roman Empire had a unique characteristic of bestowing citizenship upon trusted groups of people who shared its ideology rather then its culture. Within Rome, citizens did not pay land taxes until the third century and could move upwards socially and politically. Being a citizens meant the opportunity to be a professional solider and gain power and wealth with the inevitable victories of the Roman army. The pull factor was combined with pushing pressure from Roman society to defend the empire. At first, this militarization was opposed by important early church writers like Tertullian and Origen and by general practice but it was not codified into official Church doctrine by the bishop in Rome. A young Numidian Christian, Maximilianus did not accept conscription in 295 CE and said “I cannot serve as a solider, I cannot do evil; I am Christian”. Despite witnesses like Maximilianus the door remained open for Constantine’s transformation in the fourth century. In the Severan period, Christians had gained their first adherents in the Roman upper classes and when the second Great Persecution came in 253-260 CE, their property was being seized (Boat-
wright). Constantine must have seen the advantage from the support of these new Christian military and cultural elites who perhaps feared persecution. This alliance was essential to Constantine’s rise to power in a pagan society. The use of violence by Constantine and so called Christian sovereigns came with the establishment of Christendom which is a hegemony of history, theology and empire. For instance, at the time of the Reformation the Catholic Church claimed the historical succession of apostles as its authority to be the body of Christ and also a right to depose of rulers. It was for Christendom that Luther was more than willing to use violence to reform the entire Catholic Church. Christendom is why Catholics and the Protestants went to war with each other and made martyrs of the Anabaptists. Because each claimed authority over Christendom’s temporal and spiritual unity, the Reformation and counter-Reformation was fought for the entirety of Western history and its salvation. Today, history is understood in a much different way then the medieval mind could conceive. We are conscious of the layers of historical paradigms that each imagine and structure reality differently. During the medieval age history was thought to be sovereign to God and it was taught by the Church. Modern historical accounts, by contrast, make heroes out of individuals who embody power and are thought of as the prime shapers of history. In postmodernity, historian’s authority has been undermined and claims of “factual” history are questioned on the basis of the all important lens provided by the historian’s social and cultural identity. There are alternative
civilizations to that of the dominant West and each are nuanced with their own ways of understanding that may defy a medieval to post-modern historical progression. We are at a new point in history: the end of Christendom and a post-colonial critique of Western civilization. Post-colonial thought is an attempt see Western civilization from the perspective of the history’s subjugated groups and also to undermine its authority to define what is “progress”. The values and epistemology expressed in modernity and post-modernity are not universally shared and history has been re-examined for other truths. From this post-colonial and postChristendom perspective, analogies can be created between Christendom and the Roman empire, as well as between the Roman empire and global consumer capitalism fuelled by American imperialism. The analogy is not only being made by the empire’s critics, but Western empires have also resurrected the symbolism of Rome many times since its sacking. It is a strategy to transcend the inevitable rise and fall of centres of power. For example, the Byzantine Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, Napoleon’s French Republic, the Italian Fascists all used this strategy to costume themselves with Rome’s legacy (Benjamin). Currently it is the American Republic which prominently uses Roman imagery to be the new Rome, in its House of Representatives and within its army. What was previously unassumed rightness and progress of Christian history has now been criticized by Marxist historical materialists for its primary economic and social relation motivators. Colonialism was supposedly enacted for
the ‘good’ of Christian missionary purposes and yet, it was the colonial powers that got rich and the colonized who were enslaved. Our initial question then becomes this: what happens when a persecuted minority like Christianity becomes acculturated materially and spiritually into the victorious heritage of the rulers? A Marxist would argue that history is re-constructed as the religious minority gain power to reflect the structures that enabled that power. Colonialism then turns i n t o
globalization and liberation, and Christianity follows the heels of America’s military missions in Iraq and Afghanistan to save the world from Islam. For the earlyAnabaptist the question of history was beyond the limited worldview of Christendom. Instead the apocalyptic perspectives of Anabaptist preachers, like Hans Hut, rejected the corrupt Christendom because they regarded it as a fulfilment of end times prophecy found in the vernacular Bible. The word regenerated the believer into Christ and they would suffer like him to be assured of the name in the book of life. Even though no historical imagination existed for the early Anabaptist’s, their messianic beliefs in Jesus’ second coming
interrupted Christendom’s sovereignty over history and simultaneously prepared them for persecution as well as for deliverance. Bibliography The Early Christian Attitude to War by John Cadoux. Pg 251. A Brief History of the Romans. Boatwright, Gargola, and Talbert pg 264-270. On the Concept of History. Walter Benjamin XIV. Jared Both is currently enrolled in the Masters of Theological Studies program at Conrad Grebel, Waterloo. He plays in the band Barn Owl, and loves volunteering at the Working Centre.
g8/g20 prayer & vigil On June 27, 2010 the Student Christian Movement and friends gathered on the streets of Toronto for a nonviolent prayerful action, to remember the victims of social and economic oppression in the G20 countries, and of IMF/World Bank economic policies worldwide, and to express the hope that the world leaders gathered in Toronto will act in the interests of all people, rather than just the economic elite.
Prayers were read while cops and the public watched on | By Michelle Drew
Ian & Melissa praying in front of cop line at the G20 | By Michelle Drew
‘The Future is a Dawn’ | Metaphor of Last Supper with Dumpstered Food By Michelle Drew & Jared Both
CHRISTIANITY & ANARCHISM [exerpt] by Jacques Ellul
That anarchism and Christianity are the most irreconcilable enemies is so established that is seems strange to try and reconcile them. Anarchism war cry is “neither God nor master.” Anarchist thinkers have made anti-Christianity, anti-religion, and anti-theism their fundamental points of doctrine... On the other hand it is selfevident that Christianity not only respects authorities but also considers authorities to be necessary. It is obvious that this arrangement
is impossible between anarchists and Christians. When anarchists make the destruction of religion virtually the centrepiece of the revolution and the other cannot conceive of a society without pres established order strictly maintained.. well what can be done? What strikes me in this anarchist affirmation against God, religion and Church is its circumstantial and dated character. It seems to me that their reproaches and attacks are tied to precise events in the history of
Christianity. At the center of Christian theology is the confession of God. Since the thirteen century many Christian theologians have insisted on the attributes of God’s power. God is above all and exclusively, the All-Powerful, the King, the Absolute Autocrat, the radical Judge, the terrible One. When anarchism declares, “neither God nor master,” this God is their target. He is in the effect the one who precludes human freedom: we are buy toys in God’s hands; we have no possibility to be; we are damned a prior. One can understand that a doctrine which affirms humanity’s dignity cannot accept that. In the final analysis it is the Creator who not only is at the beginning but who regulates everything, who distributes both the good and the bad, misfortunes and blessings. It is very strange that the Biblical God, the God of Jesus Christ, could have been so deformed. Jesus, who claims kingship with Yahweh chose the life of nonpower radically so. The God of Jesus chose to be revealed to the world by an incarnation in the infant in Bethlehem’s stables. So the definition of the biblical God’s incarnation in our time and space, our history, is love. From the Exodus, the action this biblical God is liberation: God is above all and foremost our liberator. If God condemns sin and the powers of evil, it is because they are alien to us. In the Old Testament, where the power of God is often stark, this power is never, never mentioned alone: every proclamation of power is associated with and often encompassed by a proclamation of love and pardon, an exhortation to reconciliation, and an affirmation that this power of God works in our [for those that follow] favour, never against us. It is as false to present the biblical God as the All-Powerful One as it is to pain God as an old bearded gentleman sitting on clouds. Yet when I say this I refuse to go through the same shenanigans of the death-of-God theologians, who annul ninety-nine percent
of the biblical text which, cultural or not, does not cease speaking primarily of God. It is God’s life, not our experience, which is the center of the Biblical message. In other words, the anarchists— justly fighting against the Christian totalitarianism and authoritarianism of the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries—had a totally false view of the fundamental reality of Christianity and the God of Jesus Christ. The absence of God, atheism, is in no way an essential condition of anarchism. The presence of the God of Jesus Christ is the essential condition for the deliverance of humanity. Negating and banishing the God of Jesus Christ is the failure of all of our so-called liberating revolutions, which each time ends with greater enslavement. When left to ourselves and not given a manifestation of freedom, an experience of freedom, and a point of departure for freedom which radically transcends us, we inevitably produce our own slavery. Freedom conquered by humanity becoming absolute is the ineluctable establishment of dictatorship. Only when we are related— that is, relative, not claiming equality to the Transcendent, are we truly human. Only then are we bestowed freedom which relatives all our pretentions and therefore our efforts to dominate each other. But being relative, that is, human, cannot occur unless we meet the Eternal not on our own terms but on the terms of the Eternal. We can never, in other words, make ourselves “relative” to the Transcendent so long as we insist on the absolute proclamation of Our Kingdom. We receive our humanity from the Transcendent, freeing love of the God of Jesus Christ. Jacques Ellul (1912–1994) was a French philosopher, law professor, sociologist, lay theologian, and Christian anarchist. This was an exerpt from his book ‘Christianity & Anarchy.’
on poverty & hope [journal exerpt] by Bethany Liesemer
I was feeling very woozy from the drugs after I left the hospital today, so I went home instead of going to the pharmacy to fill my prescriptions. My stomach started twisting terribly in pain from the perkosets on the bus and I started sweating and moaning and almost fell out of my seat. My roommate had given me $20 when she dropped me off at the hospital in case I needed to take a taxi home. When I left the house I brought the last bus tokens I had because I wasn’t sure how much a prescription would cost and I only had $19 in my bank account and the $20 from my roommate. I came home, had a sleep, and woke up around 6:30pm with really bad pain again in my ear and body, so I went to drugstore and asked the pharmacist how much the antibiotic for my ear infection would cost, along with the perkaset. He said around $50. I told him I didn’t have enough, and that I’m unemployed. He tried to figure out a way to make it cheaper by giving me less perkaset, but without the pain killer the pain in my ear, neck and jaw is unbearable. When he filled my order, people kept coming to ask him for things and were being rude and impatient, meanwhile, I had to bare my soul and sacrifice my dignity expressing how poor I was while everyone listened. Everyone was standing behind me and around the counter while I found out I didn’t have enough money to cover the final cost, cause I was sure I had at least $8 in my bank account. I was short $4, and the pharmacist tried to get the supervisor to let him just give me the $4 off, and she kept saying no. Then the man behind me said he would pay it. I started crying and everybody started staring at me. I felt like even though this man who didn’t know me was kind
enough to pay $4 just so I could feel some pain relief, I felt so unbelievably helpless. I left the store trying to contain my tears, and walked out, found a corner and just started weeping. My heart broke in that instant because I finally felt and understood what it really feels like when you don’t have access to medicine. I thought of every homeless person I’ve met, I thought of all the people I met in Africa, the ones who died so helplessly from malaria because they didn’t have $5 for life saving drugs. As I write this, I am still crying, not out of self-pity, but because it just hurts my heart that deeply that something so crucial for people to be healthy, is so inaccessible. Generosity is something to never take for granted. It may be hard on one’s pride to accept it, and even harder for those who aren’t used to giving to begin with, but it allows the human spirit to retain hope. Today I understood that money is fleeting, but a heart that responds out of mercy and compassion is simply irreplaceable. So I praise God today, because even though my spirits have been low, my health has been weak, and my earnings are few, the poor shall inherit the earth, the poor shall see God, and the poor are truly blessed. Remember these things the next time you see someone in need. Our days are numbered, they are few, and they should be spent lived out in a spirit of humility, righteousness and honour for the word of God. Bethany Liesemer is a graduate from the Community Worker program at George Brown and got a job with Public Outreach since writing this. She makes jewelery and hopes to go [back ] to Africa someday soon.
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” -1 Timothy 6:17-19, The Bible “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours in the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” - Luke 6:20-21, THE Bible
By Jon Marck
My Pioneering Heart My pioneering heart took root in foreign soil, however it seems diplomacy has failed. I have learned you cannot convince people the need for revolution. At some point we either capture a vision for a new world, new relations, a paradigmatic techtonic shift or we remain adrift in Lake Comfort. I find this interesting only because we have to make interpretive choices of what that new future would look like, and we estimate whether this new reality exceeds the potential of the present. Politics, Love, Labour, everything calls us to place a grid of expectation over the cosmic crystal ball, shake things up and speculate whether or not these new clothes fit. It is interesting when civic unrest is analogous to the affective unrest of a torn unsettled spirit. However unknown the outcome of the revolution is, it is critical for the heart to remain a pioneering one. Sometimes the revolution succeeds, we give our all and fruit is born. Other times we leave the porch light on only to find thieves rummaging through our garbage. As I get older, the hardest thing to do is to keep the spirit of revolution alive, a stubborn posture of openess and hope that is based on love and principle, not results. If my revolution fails, I will start another.
Chris Clarke at G20 | By Michelle Drew
by Bruce Worthington
Change does not happen accidentally, love takes intention, flint and a bad memory. The pioneer has a forest to wander, an axe in one hand, and a bag full of seeds to plant across anotherâ€™s wasteland. Bruce Worthington is a full-time country musician and beach bum, who happens to also be starting a PhD program at MacMaster Divinity in the fall.
We are the Beansprout Collective & we love you!
The Beansprout Collective is a group of unfettered idealists, activists and artists engaging at the intersection of faith and social justice. With members scattered around southern Ontario, we are an umbrella for various events, concerts and media that our members organize. So far most of our work has been organizing fundraisers, concerts, street theatre, and the â€˜Up from The Gutterâ€™ festival. Membership is open! This is our first zine!
The Beansprout Collective is a group of unfettered idealists, activists and artists engaging at the intersection of faith and social justice...