Never Belonging: Random Reflections on My Last Visit to Cuba

Matanzas 17Returning to the land which witnessed my birth is always a gut-wrenching experience. Separation from my island has now been five times longer than Odysseus’ was from his. But unlike Odysseus, who was returning to a place he was familiar with, I am attempting to piece together some type of rootedness upon the shifting sands of my parents’ false memories (sí, porque los bichos no picaban, y los mangos eran más dulce; yes, because the bugs were not biting, and mangoes were sweeter).

Every Cuban over a certain age lives with a particular trauma caused by the hardships of being a refugee. Homesickness for a place that was never home, mixed with nostalgia, romanticization and an unnaturally-taught hatred towards various actors blamed for our Babylonian captivity contributes to the trauma of not having a place, of not ever being able to visit one’s grandmother’s garden to eat mangos from its trees, nor enjoy the gentle sea breezes.

TO READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE – PLEASE CLICK HERE

On Becoming a Muslim to be a Faithful Follower of Jesus

holy-book-islamAs a committed liberationist-leaning Christian, I may have no choice but to say the Shahada and convert to Islam if I wish to be faithful to my beliefs. One of the bedrock principles of any liberative faith tradition is “solidarity with the oppressed.” I discover my own salvation when I cast my lot with the poor and wretched of the world. The persecution Trump is unleashing on our Muslim brothers and sisters requires faithful Christians (and faithful Jews, and faithful Hindus, and faithful Buddhists, and faithful Humanists) to take a stand against persecution of anyone due to their faith, or lack thereof.

After prayer and discernment, I have decided if this administration attempts to update and reintroduce a screening and tracking system of Muslims, I will join former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and several prominent Jews in placing my name on the Muslim registry. I stand ready to register as Muslim in #solidarity.

TO READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE – PLEASE CLICK HERE

Toward a Liberative Pedagogy

Since the start of the twentieth century, Christian religion scholars from the dominant meculture – specifically ethicists – shifted their focus on how to live the Christian life via praxis toward the nature of ethics, wrestling more with abstract questions concerned with what is the common good and/or which virtues to cultivate. An attempt is made to understand the world, but lacking the ability to differentiate within disenfranchised communities between a “blink and a wink,” à la Geertz, their final analysis lacks gravitas. Teaching religion has become a process which [de]liberates not liberates. While abstract deliberations at times might prove sympathetic to the plight of the oppressed, the first casualty of abstract thought is rigorous academic discussions concerned with how to construct a more just social structure based on faith claims.

TO READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE – PLEASE CLICK HERE

The New Babana Republic

The 20th century has been defined by the rise of the U.S. Empire. President Theodore Roosevelt intrunited-fruit-cooduced “gun boat diplomacy” and “speaking softly but carrying a big stick,” policies which laid the foundation for the development of today’s multinational corporations. Roosevelt’s foreign policy described how the full force of the U.S. military, specifically the marines, were at the disposal of U.S. corporations, specifically the United Fruit Company, to protect business interests.

TO READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE – PLEASE CLICK HERE