#1 December 2009
THE RESTORATION PROJECT Inside: Waiting, resisting, listening for the Spirit, playing, and making some cookies. Smells like Advent.
The Restoration Project is an ecumenical, intentional community started by social justice activists and ministers in March 2009. Welcome to our ﬁrst newsletter. All content is written by members of the community. As of December 2009 our resident members are Presbyterian, Quaker, Catholic, United Church of Christ, and Episcopalian. In addition to the rich faith traditions we each come from we draw inspiration from the long history of Catholic Worker houses as well as the recent New Monasticism movement. Our mission states: “Nourished and empowered by the Spirit, The Restoration Project seeks to live in right relationship with one another, the community, and the earth through hospitality, simple and sustainable living, playful spirituality, and peaceful prophetic action.”
The Restoration Project community members at Casa Mariposa from top left and clockwise: Kate, Carol, Annie, Noel, Patricia, Maryada, Ben, Gretchen, & Lily.
Come visit or drop us a line: The Restoration Project community @ Casa Mariposa: 340 S. 3rd Ave., Tucson, AZ 85701 House phone: 520-269-6597 email: firstname.lastname@example.org blog: www.restorationproject340.wordpress.com Be a fan on FaceBook, search: “The Restoration Project, Tucson”
Now Discerning with Potential Members If you or someone you know are interested in joining in the mission and work of The Restoration Project community as a resident or non-resident member, please contact us to learn more about the committments involved and to enter into a discernment process together. Big Thanks! Wish List Your prayers and partnership to join God in the work of restoration • one copy of The Inclusive Bible: The First Egaltarian Translation—created by Priests for Equality • a few copies of Rise Up Singing song book • a singing bowl • help designing and building a wheelchair ramp • computer projector • storage shed. Money will also gladly be accepted to help support our mission. Your donations will help us offer hospitality, buy seeds for the garden, and help cover costs for special events such as the spring weekend festival of life, liberation, and creativity. All resident members of the community work either full or part time to cover their costs for rent, bills, and food. We are not a non-proﬁt and do not have a business account. Checks can be written directly to one of our treasurers, Patricia Morrison or Kate Bradsen. We thank you for your friendship and support in all forms and ways! Blessings to you in 2010.
We are grateful to so many people who have shown great kindness to our community since we moved into Casa Mariposa in March. The following people (and others not listed by name) have supported the work and mission of the Restoration Project through things like painting, sharing food from their gardens and kitchens, writing checks, sharing seedlings, singing at the wine fundraiser, helping rip up asphalt in the backyard, doing dishes, donating door prizes, leading discussion at a ﬁlm, buying toilet paper and chairs, loaning us chairs and a projector and screen, rehousing a mouse, offering gardening expertise, encouraging us, praying for us, and gifting us with books. Thank you all so much! Nancy Dill, Catherine Mullaugh, Anna Griessel, Carlos Valentin, Jim Perry, Shirley Dunn Perry, Pat Morirson, Linda and Bob Hutson, Kevin Riley, Jim and Sarah, Tommy and Just Coffee, Tiffany and Jacob McFarland, John Heid of Rose of the Desert, Gusti Newquist, Dwight and PeaceSupplies.com, Fred Bevins, Southside Presbyterian church, Vic Vallet, Lanora Brorsen, Rosamond Finley, The Swara Sonora Trio, Canelo Hills Vineyard and Winery, George Mairs, Sam Morales, Richard Steen, Jefferson Bailey, Bob and Wanda, Lauren McCallister, Katie McCallister, John Maher, Kim Fox, Br. David, Fr. Jerry, Fr. Bob, Jack and Felice Cohen-Joppa, Karla Pelz, Sonya Steckler, Kathryn Mueller, Walt Staton, Matthew Bertrand, Linda Cato, Sarah Larson, Jesse Larson, Mike Sargent, Rachel Pacheo, Benjamin Pope, Charlotte from Casa Maria and others that we apologize for not listing personally. So many have contributed energy to supporting and nurturing this community. Thank you all.
Page 2, the newsletter of The Restoration Project Community, Tucson, Arizona • December 2009
What I’ve learned from butterﬂies By Kate Bradsen
I’m not sure when Lily ﬁrst became obsessed with metamorphosis, which she pronounced with an extra ‘n’—metamorphonis. There was watching countless You Tube videos of caterpillars becoming butterﬂies, reading books about butterﬂy transformation, a 3-D puzzle that captured the process, and even one special evening when we all took turns acting out metamorphosis by crawling like a caterpillar under a blanket and then springing forth as butterﬂies. In this season of Advent, it is the moment under the blanket that fascinates me. Lily never did want to wait there very long. It’s the springing forth that is the most fun, but that’s because we know how the story ends. What
about the caterpillar? What does it know? I have never been good at waiting. I like to have a plan which I am constantly accomplishing. The formation of the Restoration Project, and the new life being born here over and over again, was not my plan, however, and it was certainly not my accomplishment. Sure, I carried the dream of living in community in my heart for a long time, and I did share it with people, but mostly I just waited for the day of transformation. We call ourselves the Restoration Project in part because we believe that all of creation is in a constant process of transformation. We believe that Life is returning to a place of right relationship and
although we want to be a part of that restoration, at some level that process is also beyond our control, beyond our time frame, and even sometimes beyond our understanding. We never know what will happen when we open our doors or hearts to a stranger or guest. We never know what will come from the ground when we throw down new seeds (particularly ones that were packaged four years ago). We cannot know what Casa Mariposa might be or become in the years down the road. But we believe in the springing forth. We believe that beneath the most ordinary of caterpillars may be a beautiful butterﬂy. And thus, even when it is dark outside, we work and wait for a moment of metamorphosis.
Issue #1 • page 3
A bit about the beginnings By Carol Bradsen When it came time to articulate what we thought we were doing and trying to live into, we wrote a statement. Even though we had been talking about community and gathering to create community each week for several months, we wanted to make sure we were all on the same page before we had to start ﬁguring out how to keep the kitchen clean and where we would build the compost bin. Our statement begins with “Nourished and empowered by the Spirit...” We began with this, because that is how we began. From the beginning we have sensed the Spirit in our midst— drawing us together, bringing
Nourished and empowered by the Spirit, the Restoration Project seeks to... encouragement, laughter, and singing into our gatherings, and giving us a vision that has taken a physical form. This creating of the Restoration Project community
has always felt a little beyond us and has danced its way into being with a calm, light, strength that is steadier than any of ours alone. It is bigger than us. And not about us as individuals. We are ﬂowing with the stream. We are keenly aware that it is the Spirit that brought us together and sustains us. We ﬁrst ﬂowed into one another’s lives in May of 2008. Five of us all went separately to a large gathering at the Sitting Tree community in Tucson to talk about the formation of an ecumenical order for peace with the folks of that community¹. As we talked and listened to one another, without being asked, we seemed to all be answering the Parker Palmer question, “Is the life I am living the same as the life that wants to live in me?” We said things like, “I don’t want another meeting, I want a new way of living.” And, “I want to pray and meditate everyday and do that with other people who want the same thing.” And, “I think I’m outgrowing everything I’ve learned so far through traditional church and I want some people to talk about that with and live into what
ever is next.” The ﬁve of us decided to meet for supper the following week and keep talking and listening. We ended the evening by singing together. We had so much fun, we said, “Let’s do this again next week.” And we did. After about a month, two more folks heard from friends of friends that a group was meeting to talk about faith-based community. They came and decided to be part of what the Spirit was stirring among us. However, the weekend before the house where we now live appeared, we were feeing like giving up. We had looked at some houses to rent or buy and it seemed pretty impossible. Most of us were paying very little rent and had more collective debt than savings. It looked like several of us would be leaving town for other jobs or grad school sometime soon. We seemed to be falling apart. Nothing seemed to be growing from the seeds planted through nine months of meeting and going on a visioning retreat together. Discouraged and beginning to let the whole idea go, a few days later I went to my volunteer
¹ Kitty and Rick Uﬀord-Chase and Brandon Wert hosted this meeting. The Uﬀord-Chase’s are now co-directors of Stony-Point center in NY, where they are helping shape the Luke 6 Project. See: /www.pcusa.org/pcnews/2009/09935.htm, for more about this interfaith community.
Page 4, the newsletter of The Restoration Project Community, Tucson, Arizona • December 2009
Using Open Space & Post-it-Notes to Stay Open One way we have experimented time. 3) Whatever happens is the only with a group process that keeps thing that could have. 4) When it’s over it’s over. us open to Spirit is through Open Space. We’ve used this process We write on post-it-notes the topics we want to discuss and are personally at retreats and house meetings. Open Space has a four-fold way willing to lead a group in discussing. and four princliples. The FourThen we set a loose schedule and decide what topic we’ll discuss ﬁrst. In Fold Way includes: 1) Show up and be present. 2) Tell your truth addition to the Ways and Principles we also encourage the “Law of Two Feet,” without judgement or blame. 3) A drawing of the community from which states, “If at any time you are Pay attention to what has heart the visioning retreat in fall 2008. and meaning. 4) Be open to the not learning nor contributing, use your two feet and go to a more productive outcomes, but not attached to place.” For more on using this process with groups, see them. The Four Principles are: 1) Whoever comes http://www.openspaceworld.org is the right people. 2) Whenever it starts is the right
gig in the kitchen of St. Andrew’s Episcopal church. Jeﬀerson Bailey, the chef and deacon at the church, told me he’d had an “epiphany” the night before. “I sat up in bed and said, ‘the community should live in my house!’” he told me. He started to explain how his previous tenants had to move out suddenly. He said he had often thought that the 7 bedroom, 4 bathroom historic boarding house would make a great monastery. Three days later the seven of us decided to pool all our resources and sign a lease. It was a risk, but the dreams and visions we had drawn and written down on our retreat were oddly similar to the house we were now standing in. We were awestruck, actually. Around us were room for gardens and chickens, space for oﬀering hospitality, a wonderful kitchen to prepare warm meals for many friends, nooks and crannies for building altars and sacred space. It was a beautiful and peaceful
place for activists and ministers to recharge along with all those who might come to us who needed to rest a while. Those of us who had been on the fence about living in community suddenly were saying, “It’s so obvious the Spirit has been in this and has brought us to this point. We just have to move in and see what happens next.” We continue to be nourished and empowered by the Spirit: by the Spirit of community that is stiring in Tucson, through singing, silence, and praying together, through listening to one another and paying attention to what is giving us life, through the palpable sense of abundant life that marinates our daily life together. The thing about the Spirit is that she is always shaking things up, moving us to the edge just when we get comfortable. As we say good bye this month to several members who are moving to new adventures and welcome and look for new
resident members we trust that the Spirit that has led us this far won’t abandon us now. So we will continue to sing, take a Sabbath, pray, and stay loose and curious as we wait to see where the stream carries us.
Questions for reﬂection: Howard Thurman, a pastor and civil rights leader, once said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” What makes you come alive? How can you bring more of that into your life? What sorts of fears or reservations do you have about taking a risk to follow Spirit in your life? What’s the most terrible thing that could happen if you took the next step, despite the fear? What’s the best that might happen?
Issue #1 • page 5
...live in right relationship with one another, the community, and the earth...
Dreams of solidarity in the midst of exclusion By Noel Andersen
’ve been working as an interfaith organizer on health care reform in Omaha, Nebraska where one of the key conservative Democrat Senate votes still resides. Caring for one’s neighbor is a central principle in all faith traditions. We have taken a stand for aﬀordable and accessible health care for all, a drastic shift from the sky rocketing costs, exclusionary pre-existing conditions and lack of coverage for more than 46 million people. In Omaha, we organized an interfaith vigil where more than 150 people from Ecumenical, Jewish and Muslim traditions gathered in support of the issue. Although we sent out a press
release, no media showed. Instead, the voice that was heard loudest in the media was the yelling of, “Me, mine, I. Don’t touch my health care.” The anti-immigrant sentiment heated up in the health care reform as Pres. Obama promised coverage will not cover “Illegal” immigrants. Although we are hoping that Sen. Menendez (NJ) amendment goes through to lift the ban on a ﬁve year wait for lawful immigrants to receive Medicaid services, it is all too clear that for many the illusion of protecting resources is based on artiﬁcial lines of race, language and nationality. Even after leading economists provide hard data that it is in everyone’s beneﬁt if
all immigrants pay into the new health care system, still they are not included in the plan. In Arizona, the exclusions go even farther as HB 2008 was signed into law a mandate for all Department of Economic Security employees to petition the documentation status from parents of U.S. born children are on Arizona Medicaid (AHCCCS) and reporting them to ICE if they are undocumented. Unfortunately, we have grown up in a culture of extreme capitalism that promotes the individualization and privatization of everything, even goods or services known as basic human rights such as health care,
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education, freedom of movement and food security. This revived culture war of socialist vs. capitalist has been recharged in the Obama era and has been the central stopping point to achieving reform that will create a signiﬁcant change to the current broken systems that are based on unregulated constant increased proﬁt margins for insurance and pharmaceutical companies. This world of exclusion and lines drawn in the sand is not the world I want to live in. Instead I envision and work towards cooperative and community-based living where all are welcome at the table. Newly moving into the Restoration Project has pushed me to think about my community in a more holistic and sustainable way. I must constantly remind myself how everything I do or say aﬀects someone next to me, that the energy I bring or don’t bring makes a diﬀerence. If we want reforms in our government policy, we must continue to change the mainstream cultural tendency to focus only on the individual, proﬁt margins and status quo. As people of faith and conscious we all must heed the call to come together as a closer knit community, interconnected and linked as we work towards a shared vision of a new world where a solidarity economy and social justice values are central. To achieve that shared vision we must educate, mobilize, organize and take direct action to make the change we want to see into reality!
Issue #1 • page 7
Loving & welcoming the stranger By Annie Swanson
A few weekends ago, Rev. Alison Harrington of Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, spoke to a group of people gathered in front of the federal courthouse before the sentencing of humanitarian Walt Staton. She described the policies that have led to the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border as “the very deﬁnition of sin.” The border wall, she said, “separates us from our neighbor, making the commandment to love our neighbors impossible. And these walls separate us from our creator who created each and every one of us equal and in the image of God.” It is all too easy, in our world, to participate in the creation and perpetuation of borders that separate us from our brothers and
sisters, that don’t require us to push beyond what is comfortable, or to take the risks that are inherent in the struggle to build a more just world. Oﬀering hospitality is one way of struggling to break down these walls of sin that run through each of our lives. A commitment to hospitality, to providing a safe and welcoming place for those in need of respite, is a way of saying no to the walls of sin and yes to the construction of bridges of solidarity. Hospitality for the stranger is an ancient practice, and it is found throughout diﬀerent cultures and faith traditions. The command to welcome the stranger is the most often cited throughout the texts of the Hebrew Bible. We read, for example, in Leviticus that “the strangers who sojourn with you shall be to you as the natives among you, and you shall love them as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:33-34). Jesus reminds us in the New Testament that “what you do to the least of my broth-
ers (and sisters), you do to me” (Matthew 25:40). In the Qur’an, we are told that we must “do good to...those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer that you meet” (4:36). And the Hindu Taitiriya Upanishad says that “the guest is a representative of God” (1.11.2). Despite being an ancient tradition with a rich history, today hospitality is in many ways radical and countercultural. In a world of walls and borders, it is a risk to open up ones home and ones heart to the stranger. I have had many personal experiences with oﬀering hospitality, after living for a year at the Houston Catholic Worker, an albergue, or shelter, for recentlyarrived immigrants in Houston, as well as here at Casa Mariposa, where our mission includes a collective commitment to hospitality as a means to living in “right relationship with one another, the community, and the earth.” These experiences have often meant stretching the boundaries of what
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I am comfortable with. They have meant an opening up to the profound suﬀering of others in a way that is, at times, exhausting and heart-breaking. And they have meant, for me, a way to actively work to tear down the “walls of sin” that I also bear responsibility for constructing and living with. While hospitality and “welcoming the stranger” is a part of our commitment at Casa Mariposa, being a part of this community has allowed me to experience hospitality as both the host and the guest. I am deeply grateful for the experience of coming out of a summer in the desert (as a volunteer with No More Deaths, an organization that provides humanitarian aid on the U.S.-Mexico border) and feeling peace, support, and strength from the members of this community. As I continue to work in the desert,
and as I return time and again, I have felt this support over and over again, as I arrive holding my brothers and sisters who are still making the journey in my mind and heavy heart. As people of faith and conscience, we are all called to struggle together against borders and towards the world we want to live in. In speaking about hope in the midst of suﬀering, Peruvian liberation theologian Gustavo Gutierrez says that “theology must remain committed to hope by having the capacity, freedom, and commitment to pay attention to the smallest of things... True theology must interpret the reasons for hope in whatever way possible.” While welcoming the stranger in a society that is constructed on exclusion may seem a small start, in hospitality there is hope for a movement
away from sin and towards solidarity, and even though it can seem to be “the smallest of things,” it is part of a mighty force of love and compassion and hope for another world that is possible.
Questions for Reﬂection What could an open door or open heart look like in your life? Take a moment to reﬂect on the “walls of sin” or boundaries that keep you separated from a neighbor in need.
On the 2010 horizon at Casa Mariposa Stay tuned to www.restorationproject340.wordpress.com for details about upcoming 2010 happenings at the Casa. Look for: • a special non-violence Saturday workshop during Lent,
Photo by Maryada Vallet
• and a festival on the weekend of April 16 (two weeks after Easter), where we will celebrate life, liberation, and creativity through workshops, play, speakers, skill-sharing sessions, music, and more. We will also continue our Wednesday-evening open meals after a holiday break. We’ll start back up on Wednesday, January 13, at 6:30 pm, followed by silent Quaker-style worship. All who want to enjoy a warm, yummy community meal are welcome to just show up. You don’t need to bring anything. Peace, y’all! And Happy New Year!
Issue #1 • page 9
Tell Me A Story By Patricia Morrison
Lately at our house, Lily has discovered the wonders of stories, not the kinds recorded in books, but the kinds spun from the creative minds of the eight adults she lives with every day. She will ask for a story about anything, a picture in a magazine, a stuﬀed
animal, an object she doesn’t recognize or know how to name, and then our work begins. My favorite storyteller is Carol. When she begins to tell Lily a story, slowly, everyone else in the house migrates toward them and listens along, in doorways, while
tapping away at computers or wiping down the dining room table. Her stories are wild, creative and often funny. The growth of storytelling in my daily life reminds me of the power of stories, true and imaginary, in inspiring us to action in the very real world.
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For generations, we in the so-called Western world have told ourselves some pretty powerful stories, one of which is that progress means the perpetual spread of corporate industrialization, perpetual population growth and the belief that the natural resources we extract to live in this way are endless. This story has fueled the whole development of the United States as we know it, so its not surprising that we are having trouble changing gears, shifting our worldview and turning the story around, but that is exactly what we need to do. As is usually the case, we can most easily adjust our story as it relates to people we know personally. At our house, we’ve started to change the story around our food and water with chickens, gardens and greywater as well as participating in a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm. We’re also starting to change our story around transportation by living downtown, walking, biking and taking public transit. These are baby steps towards participating in the creation of a new ending, the new ending to this story that we all need, a new ending that is really a new beginning. Many cities, towns and villages around the world are working together to write new beginnings, new stories for their communities as a way to help states, countries and regions to see it is possible.
Many of these places are a part of the Transition Towns movement. Transition Towns aren’t waiting for international agreements, national, state or local government action. They are transforming the stories of disastrous climate change and peak oil into stories of local resilience and living abundantly while supporting the abundance of the earth. Berea, Kentucky, one of the fastest growing cities in the state, has made a commitment called 50 by 25. By 2025, they plan to use 50% less energy, derive 50% of their energy from local sources, get 50% of their food from local farms and processors and get 50% of their gross domestic product from locally owned, independent businesses. These eﬀorts take many forms based on local organizations, “including a local currency project in Whidbey Island, Washington; a car share program in Louisville, Colorado; a festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan to learn new skills like gardening, canning, and making herbal remedies; and local energy initiatives in West Marin, California” (49, “Neighborhood Revolutions” by Tara Lohan, Yes! Magazine, Winter 2010). Sustainable Tucson is our local Transition Towns organization. One of their new initiatives is a Green Retroﬁt Cooperative, a group of volunteers who give time to help weatherize, repair and install energy-saving updates
...simple and sustainable living,... to homes and other buildings in town. Participants give a certain number of hours of labor to “earn” a day of labor for their project. Tres English, who has made this kind of work his vocation for many years, heads up the project and provides some of the leadership for each project so jobs get done correctly. Another similar initiative in town is oﬀered by the Watershed Management Group, which organizes the Water Harvesting Cooperative to help folks install water harvesting systems to reduce groundwater use and recharge our aquifers while growing gardens. These cooperative eﬀorts make reducing energy use and saving water accessible to even lower income families. We at the Restoration Project are excited to participate in both of these cooperatives starting this spring to help continue to live into the story of our mission statement “to live in right relationship with one another, the community and the earth.” Resources for More: tucsoncsa.org yesmagazine.org Transition Towns: transitionus.org greenretroﬁtcoop.org sustainabletucson.org watershedmg.net
Issue #1 • page 11
Worshiping with pigs, chickens, & a toddler By Ben & Gretchen Larson-Wolbrink
Here at Casa Mariposa we all love life. We are grateful for life. We are grateful to be together. And there’s a lot of joy and play. We want to be fully alive people. And we are more willing to let go of our hang-ups to be fully alive. Being silly and playful is important to that process for us. Playful spirituality also seeps into the everydayness of our lives at Casa Mariposa. We do the old basics in a refreshing way. We dive right into the daily tasks knowing that they are blessed moments where we can ﬁnd the holy. We eat well, and most often share meals together, which is down right Eucharistic. We sing before many meals and when we gather for Sabbath time. This helps us mark the regular routines of eating and working and resting as sacred. We’ve found that all kinds of moments can become moments to celebrate and be grateful. This summer we all went out to the garden to cheer and say thanks as we cut some of the ﬁrst squash that we’d grown together. Sometimes,
if someone sees a beautiful sunset happening he or she will shout “Sunset!” in the hall and everyone comes running to the back steps where we stand and watch it together in silence. That’s most certainly prayer, with a spontaneous twist. Being playful also puts us in a space that makes it easier to take risks. No matter if that means being vulnerable as we check in about our weeks or as we take risks to resist oppressive systems such as our nation’s current border policy. But what else are we supposed to do as Christians, really? Here in North America it is easy to not take risks for the Kingdom of God. But then there’s Jesus, out there on that water time and time again, hollering for us to go on and get out of the boat. Being playful helps us to not take ourselves so seriously and not be so afraid of failing. It’s been really wonderful to watch Lily, our two-year-old daughter, be free to be who she is in this playful environment. Everyone has met her with such
graciousness and patience. And she’s certainly been an important part of creating a community ethos of playfulness. She’s been a spiritual leader among us, teaching us how to live more fully into letting ourselves be childlike. And it is a wonder to watch her get to bring her spiritual gifts to the community just like everyone else. In letting Lily teach us and share her gifts, we’ve had to make some changes from time to time. Many of us like to sit in silence as part of our worship. Lily, not so much. When we ﬁrst started doing morning prayer together, we incorporated silence. Sometimes Lily actually joined in for longer than you might expect a two-year-old to do. Most the time, though, she was chasing the cat, dancing around, and shouting for some breakfast. It was hard to let go of the way of worship that we liked, but we also didn’t like tamping down Lily’s spirit with lot’s of “shhhhhhhhhing.” That’s not what we wanted her to learn about worship. So in the last couple of months, we’ve
Page 12, the newsletter of The Restoration Project Community, Tucson, Arizona • December 2009
tried many diﬀerent approaches to morning prayer, some very playful. Once we did simple yoga with a pink plastic pig as we prayed. Lily liked that. During prayers around Halloween we had a basket of tiny pumpkins and we let the pumpkins represent our prayers as we placed them near a candle in the center of our circle. One pumpkin represented “Daddy,” as Lily put in her prayer. And it takes a certain amount of playfulness just to croak out songs together ﬁrst thing in the morning. We picked out some songs with Lily in mind that we also would enjoy such as, “All God’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir.” We’ve also learned to take the spirituality of a toddler much more seriously. There have been times when Lily has held silence with us around the table before a meal with eyes closed, very still, clearly present and in the moment. Another time Lily and Carol were
playing guitar and drums together just for fun on the back porch. The chickens were bawking loud enough to hear from there and so they started singing along with the chickens. This was before Lily was two and knew very many words. But she could sing along with chanting nonsense sounds like, “Bawk!” Carol recounted to us later that it was very much like meditation as they caught the ﬂow of the music and let the chanting with the chickens sweep them beyond themselves. This led us all to start singing hymns to “bawking” for a few days so that Lily could join us. It was around Easter and quite a joy to sing, “Jesus Christ is Risen Today,” with Lily using only the word, “bawk.” We will carry with us from our
time in community here many good things, one certainly being the invitation that Lily oﬀers the church, to take the depth of spirit in children seriously and to be willing to sing along with all God’s critters.
Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe: Ingredients • 1 cup butter, softened • 1 cup unreﬁned sugar or honey* • 1 cup packed brown sugar • 2 eggs • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract • 3 cups ﬂour (half mesquite & half unbleached white) • 1.5 teaspoon baking soda • 2 teaspoons hot water • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips* • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 2. Cream together the butter and both sugars until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in ﬂour, chocolate chips, and nuts. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans. 3. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven (or 15 minutes in a sun oven), or until edges are nicely browned.
* Casa Mariposa encourages the use of Fair Trade Certiﬁed sugar and chocolate.
By Maryada Vallet On June 3rd Walt Emrys Staton was convicted by a coerced federal jury of “knowingly littering,” an act of placing gallons of water on the migrant trail of Southern Arizona. U.S. Magistrate Jennifer Guerin sentenced him to a ban from the Buenas Aires National Wildlife Refuge, one year of probation, and 300 hours of picking up trash on public lands. A week later, Walt said goodbye to Casa Mariposa and his beloved desert town to begin seminary at Claremont School of Theology. He continued to grapple
...and peaceful, prophetic action....
Man of Conviction with this sentence; it surely wasn’t over. His heart was conﬂicted with conviction. Walt wrestled with the issues of justice and life that starkly contrast with the militarized borderlands. He grappled with his responsibility as a person of faith and conscience to stand up for human rights, even when it meant being called deﬁant by the powers that be. The Hebrew text from his studies came alive with the prophetic voices calling people of God away from the illusions of greed and empire. There appeared to be an ancient tradition of people of faith deﬁantly seeking a higher, holy ground. On December 4th, Walt stood before the judge to challenge the sentence. The prosecution responded that he was “insincere.” The fact is that Walt was found guilty, which would be cause for
some to resign to that authority. But is that authority legitimate? The same state power that uses death and suﬀering of innocent people as an enforcement policy has named Walt a criminal. The hypocrisy is almost humorous, except for the havoc it causes for so many people trying to work and support their families. Walt chose to voice his compliance with another conviction. The English words “convince” and “convict” both derive from the Latin verb, convincere,¹ “to utterly win or conquer,” in the context of persuasion and winning an argument. From that we have the word convince, and accordingly, we get convict from the same derivative by “persuading someone of the error of their ways.” Our ¹Thanks to David Hill, for contributing his linguist expertise regarding “convincere.”
Page 14, the newsletter of The Restoration Project Community, Tucson, Arizona • December 2009
Photos by Steve Johnston
so-called justice system is based on convincing members of society of their guilt and then enforcing obedience through punishment. Unfortunately, it is not a system that often values the other contemporary meaning of conviction, which is “a moral belief” coming from one’s conscience. This became very clear at the re-sentencing hearing. Judge Guerin very explicitly said that she does not ﬁnd the moral argument in Walt’s statement to be “persuasive.” To what extent, then, will the U.S. government attempt to convince a person of conscience of his or her criminality? The answer may be frightening. Conscience, or conviction, or just plain ole compassion is an active state of being. It keeps people like Walt up at night wrestling with the violent and distracting spirit of deterrence that authority uses to intimidate those who do not comply with the
status quo of piling corpse upon corpse. What are we waiting for? Now speaking as the partner of Walt, I stand with him and these convictions. I am proud to be part of a movement to be a humanitarian presence in the midst of a crisis, to be in solidarity with those who migrate, and to be a witness for life and justice on the border. However, it is not easy to wait anxiously between court hearings with little control over the outcome for your loved one, and honestly, it is emotionally overwhelming at times. I’ve had to rekindle and stoke a deeper ﬂame of faith as my sustaining source during this unknown time. Walt and I agree that no matter the stress of how this drags on, we cannot let our source of passion and joy burn out, for it is what we oﬀer the struggle that no authority and no law can
take away. At this time of year, I am reminded that Jesus was a man of conviction, of both meanings of the word, whose life continues to inspire and transform. I am reminded that kings and judges may never be convinced of a higher path, but their thrones and judgments will not last forever. At a time when I could care less about ornaments and candy canes, life presents a more raw and vulnerable reality to consider. This reality is a desire to make every moment sincere, to be grateful for time shared in community, to remember the many immigrant families who are separated for years, and to take the time to ﬁnd a deeper source of wisdom and love from the silence and spirit of waiting. ____________________________
For more information about No More Deaths see: www.nomoredeaths.org
This page: Patricia Morrison and Noel Andersen of the Restoration Project lead the song, “We are not going away,” after Walt’s resentencing hearing Dec. 4. Previous page: Walt Staton addresses the crowd in front of the federal courthouse.
Issue #1 • page 15
The Restoration Project @ Casa Mariposa 340 S. 3rd Ave Tucson, AZ 85701
For Tucson’s All Soul’s Procession we created and carried this butterﬂy through the streets of downtown. It contains the names and honors the 206 people who died crossing in the desert near Tucson this past year. The gold ribbons say, “Love is Stronger,” in Spanish and in English. Many could not be identiﬁed and so we wrote Desconocido/a to mark their life, knowing that they are known to God.
Newsletter of the ecumenical, social-justice based religious community in Tucson, Arizona called the Restoration Project