From the desk of Chris Barbera of Jesus the Liberator Seminary

May 18, 2021

Did the Bodhidharma establish the Shaolin Monastery amidst the Song Mountains?  The legendary monks there synthesized and integrated spiritual and physical disciplines (just as many Christian monks did) so that mind overcame matter.  The body incarcerated transcends matter and incarnates spiritual liberation from capitalistic, materialistic, and militaristic systems of oppression.  Bruce Lee and the Wu-Tang Clan were inspired by the Shaolin monks.  With good intention, the strategic. militaristic, and patriarchal mind can sublimate into the beauty of movement and music.   Perhaps a centurion American prison guard or Wall Street Silicon Valley “bro” can take note.  

Prison Theology honors the Shaolin monks and the liberation of the mind/body from the incarcerated body.

May 11, 2021

This past Sunday, in early May, was Mother’s Day.  Some have called it “mothering day.”  This expresses the qualities ideally or typically associated with mothers.  Within the binary, it is yin energy.  Within the economic systems, it is the labor of nurses, teachers, day care workers and counselors (but not mothers).  It requires empathy, asking questions and seeing interconnectivity.  Whether binary interpretations of mothers and fathers make sense is a discussion for another day.  

Within the binary, Prison Theology uses Relational Theology to “mother” inmates.  We extend empathy, listen, and encourage dialogue and the personal expression of identity and theology.  A theology of “big daddy” eternal, fixed principles and idealized Platonic forms may not always apply.  A strong “papa yang” energy is utilized to advocate for social justice, reform, defunding prisons, and abolition. 

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