A strange necessity

The choir sings, “Take me to the King, I don’t have much to bring. My heart is torn in pieces, It’s my offering.”

i am in a dark room, i don’t know how i got here, i panic. i quietly feel around- to find a door, a window- to discover the extent of my incarceration, i uncover no new information. i hear the familiar voice of a stranger. She informs, “You won’t find your way out like that.”

“Well than how?” i bark, relieved to have an object at which i will direct my frustration. I do not wonder how she got here.

“Go deeper.” She speaks without irony.

i flail around wildly trying to grab hold of her, i can’t figure out where she is, her voice is distant but i can taste her breathe, feel her heartbeat. i am penetrated by of her gaze, i wonder if she can see in the dark, the thought frightens me.

Again i ask, “how?”

“Let go,” She says simply.

The choir sings, “Truth is I’m tired, options are few. I’m trying to pray but where are you? I’m all churched out, hurt and abused. I can’t fake what’s left to do.”

I am in a large chamber, the assembly has been waiting for me, They immediately begin.

“Boy, where have you been?”

“i don’t know,” i respond.

“You say that so proudly. There is no virtue in being lost.”

They are unappeased by my apology and continue

“Well tell us boy, when have you been.”

i’m not quite sure how they want me to answer, i stare down meekly at bare feet on cold red clay.

“There is no virtue in false humility. You know the time has well passed.” They wait for my silent assent.

“Well, with whom have you been,” They persist.

“With my people.” i say anxiously hoping for their approval.

“Really, and who are your people?”

i draw a blank.

“Yes, it is exactly as We feared. Well, can you at least tell Us what you have been doing, boy?”

Without hesitation, i speak, “I have been seeking Justice, trying to create a better world”

“Have you?” one says skeptically “tell Us, how you have you sought Justice.”

“I’ve organized protests and marches, circulated petitions, created platforms for discussion. I’ve worked in social service agencies, given to the needy and aided the destitute.”

“And what did you accomplish? Did your yelling into the air, walking in circles, scribbles on paper alter anything besides your own ego? Have you deconstructed the structure that traps the disinherited? Have you liberated even one child from poverty.”

“No” i respond dejectedly.

“Well then tell Us what have you been doing, boy?”

i think for a while and then utter, “I’ve been seeking Truth.”

“Oh so you are a philosopher than?”

“I would say so. I wrestle with all the questions large and small. I’ve read all the great thinkers I can tell you what they say, why they say it, I can point out to you the holes in their arguments.” I am proud of my answer.

“If you are such a seeker of Truth, why do you lie so much? You lie to yourself, you lie to those around you, you even try to lie in the presence of the one. Yes, you may be a philosopher but you are no seeker of Truth, your infatuation with clever phrases and empty concepts deceives you.”

i yield in the presence of this truth.

“Now tell us boy what have you really been doing?”

“I have been seeking to Love.” i now speak out of desperation.

“Okay, and how have you been seeking love?”

“I guess that depends on the type of love we are talking about, there are of course different types, should I expound on each?”

“If you must.” They sigh.

“Well there is that more fleshy and sensual love Eros. I have experienced that a time or two, not so much recently though, or maybe- It doesn’t matter. I do what I can to fulfill and exceed my partners’ needs. I kiss them softly, hold them gently, I love them intensely. I’m probably done with this kind of love, it always turns out to be so hollow. And then there is Philo that feeling of connection and intimacy that is almost familial. I am a good friend, a good son, an awesome brother. I am there for people when they need me, I invite them to love themselves. And then there is agape.”

i continue mansplaining, “Agape is that connection to the universal through our human community. It seems of a higher order, I’m pretty sure it’s what Jesus was talking about. I smile at random people on the streets, I ask strangers their stories, I will bum anyone a cigarette who asks. So yes, these are the ways I have been seeking to love.”   

“Oh confused boy, what you perceive as knowledge once again deceives you. How could you be seeking to love when you don’t understand that it is all all of the same substance. To understand love is to know the Source. You have merely been fornicating with shadows.”

In hearing this i can no longer stand. i lie face down on the ground. i whisper, “i do not have the words to convince you i am worthy.”

They encircle Me, The One speaks, “Child, this was never a test. You are not here to prove that You are worthy. Such a concept holds no place here.”

“So why am i here?”

“You are are Here to be freed, to be forgiven, to be ‘totally understood, completely dealt with, thoroughly experienced and utterly healed’. You are here to be seen." 

My heart breaks open.

We tarry Here                                                                                                              in the Silence                                                                                                           for a while...

Finally, I sit up knees pressed against chest. I have a question, “So what ought I be doing?”

“Preparing” They say

“For what,” I ask

“You know”, They respond

I do know. I find it oddly comforting that they choose not to say it out loud.

“And how must I prepare?”

“We who believe in freedom cannot,” one begins to sing.

“Tarry here with me for a while,” another says gently.

“Uplift!” A deeper voice proclaims.

“Renounce your attachments,” one voice says almost playfully.

“Study, study the brickwork,” chimes in another.

They no longer speak with one voice. They are turned toward each other their differences are now apparent. I take this opportunity to crawl out of the circle between two legs, She sees me but let’s me go, anyway.

The choir sings “Truth is it’s time to stop playing these games We need a word for the people’s pain, so lord speak right now let it pour like rain, we’re desperate we’re chasing after you.”

I am again in a room. I don’t know if it is the same one. It is not as dark but I still cannot make out its dimensions. This time I can feel water, it rises up to my ankles. Her voice whispers, "

Justice is the liberation of the body from fantasy.

The water is up to my waist now, I know that it contains no lead. She speaks again,

Truth is the liberation of the mind from fantasy 

The water is up to my shoulders now. I cannot swim. I am not concerned. She just keeps right on,

"Love is the liberation of the soul from fantasy"

I am submerged.

The movement of bodies tells my mind that the time for prayer is over. We move to the table for community dinner. My body hopes this one involves meat. It does not. We join hands to bless the table.

The choir sings: Truth is I’m weak no strength to fight no tears to cry even if I tried But still my soul refuses to die. One touch will change my life. Take me to the king.

BY: Demarius J. Walker
 

 

Coming Alive

BY: K.J. Lewis

I have a bit of a confession to make. My most pious parts of the day happen in the bathroom. Not when I’m on the toilet, necessarily, though the quotes my housemates have posted on the bathroom door do lend themselves to reflection. After washing my hands, I’ve taken to flicking water at the nearest housemate and shouting, “remember your baptism,” a quirk I’ve chosen to think they find charming rather than obnoxious. I first encountered espurgement (the technical term for getting water thrown at you in the name of Jesus) in January at my mentor J’s church, where I’d been skulking for a couple of weeks. I’d zoned out during the sermon, and I grew up boring Presbyterian, so when I saw J wind up a good pitch to splash that water on the stoic old people, her face scrunched and eyes shining, I laughed far louder than decency allows. She managed to look like a five-year-old who’s getting away with something wild and a priest of the Lord of Hosts at the same time. And then she splashed me, and I was in on the joke, and I considered, very briefly, that perhaps God might not always wreck joy.

This scene has stuck with me for months, so much so that the bathroom tap has become my impromptu baptismal font. I like the playfulness of the act—it instigates water fights, which is a plus—but it also poses a question that at times feels strangely urgent. What does it mean to remember my baptism? Or rather, what does my baptism mean? I know I was an infant when it happened, with a white dress and an ear infection and two cranky, balled-up fists. I know it was an inside job, that my father held me while my mother poured the water. But I don’t remember the moment that I was allegedly received into the kingdom of God. I didn’t sign up for or consent to it. Twenty-four years later I can’t seem to get off the mailing list, but recently the subscription has started to change.

I am used to the Micah 6:8 God. The What Does the Lord Require Of Me God.  That’s the God of my growing up, constructed through endless hours of Sunday School, Bible School, church camp, communicants’ class, home. I was told that God loved everyone, and that that everyone included me, but I could read between the lines. God loved me because I was part of the inventory, not because he actually cared. Nothing about me, not my sin or my hope or even my various weirdnesses, was ever going to warrant God’s attention. I wasn’t the exciting, prodigal son kind of bad, and my attempts at goodness were annoying at best. Though I didn’t blame God for the position I was in (I ate the Tootsie Rolls at Halloween too, after all. I understood), I knew there was a sweat equity involved for me to be worth it.

The list of things I did to make God love me is long and pointless to recount. The emotions tied to them are not ones I choose to share. But I came to The Road demanding proof that there was a reason beyond obligation to live, and the kindness I’ve been shown has been, as the Episcopalians say, more than I could ask or imagine. I have wrestled with Demarius and thrown ninja stars at Steve and grabbed at Ryan’s elbows. I’ve sung pop songs with Taylor and walked miles in the rain with Mindy. And when I was ready to either leave this apartment or burn it down, my coworker friends took me to dinner, made art with me, got me drunk, let me talk.

In September, we read a book called Life of the Beloved. Its premise was fairly simple: that every single one of us is beloved by God. I read it in a couple of days and thought the author was full of the same shit I’d heard my entire life. I haven’t looked at it since, and probably never will. But Laura has been with me all year and still says that God loves me. My mentor J has heard the worst of it and says God is resurrecting me as we speak. It has taken me a while to arrive at this position, but they are probably not full of shit.

In my earlier blog post, I ended by saying that maybe books would be what saved me. It’s not been as tidy as that, for sure. I heard someone say that in the Episcopal Church, salvation’s more of a “have been being saved” situation, which sounds about right. This year I’ve experienced a kind of love that’s hard to talk about, and I have feared it and I have rejected it, and I fear and reject it still. But some people have been gentle, and even more have been kind. I’m beginning to think I might come alive.

Beautiful Places

By Lauren K. Bush 

“Many of us worship in beautiful churches such as this. And it is right to do so, we should worship God in beautiful places.” He preaches from the ornate, adorned wooden pulpit, opposite a carved eagle lectern, in front of more ornate stained wood panels surrounding the decorative stone altar behind the central-facing choir stalls full of red and white-robed singers, under the pipes of the impressive organ, medieval hanging lights, beautifully exposed wood trusses, and stained glass windows so renowned that they have their own tour. He preaches to a sanctuary full of musicians, organists attaining to a certain pedigree, who no doubt often play in churches such as this.

I sit in the choir, at the end of the row tonight because I have no voice, but want to be present as my time with the choir nears its close. (And let’s be honest, I love an opportunity to enjoy Evensong…even if I can’t song.) I hear the words, “We should worship God in beautiful places,” and my first instinct is to bristle and want to be judgmental, assuming that the issued imperative suggests ‘fancy’ churches with impressive organs, renowned stained glass, and resources to pay choir staff members. Instead, I close my eyes and am transported to Woodruff Park on a Sunday afternoon for Eucharist with Church of the Common Ground.

As I hear the waterfall behind me, I turn my face upward and can feel the sunlight dancing on my closed eyelids as it shines down through the spring leaves on the trees. I sense people around me and open my eyes to see beloved faces milling about, getting coffee, joking and laughing with each other, getting caught up on the latest gossip. Mary, Liz and Eddie coordinate parts of the service, a member from our visiting church brings up a box of lunches. The streetcar bell dings, and sounds of lazy Sunday afternoon traffic buzz like occasional bees in the air around us.

Yes, it is good to worship God in beautiful places. It is right to do so. My prayer is that all who seek God may know that God is found in all places. Sometimes the beauty of place is in architecture, sometimes it is in people, sometimes it is in nature. The beauty of where we choose to worship is arbitrary except as how it is found in the eyes of the Beloved – our eyes. Are they open? Are we seeking? Are we looking with awe and wonder at all that is around us?

I challenge you to see where you find beauty today, and think about how you decide that it is beautiful. I challenge you – no, I dare you to look into the faces of each person you pass for at least one full day and see God in each one. I implore you then to be still and know God as you remember the souls you’ve encountered through your waking hours.

It is right to worship God in beautiful places. It is right to worship God anywhere and everywhere, giving thanks for the Glory and Wonder of all aspects of Creation and the Life we’ve been blessed to receive.

 

Forgetting

BY: Steve Cowley

During an interview yesterday I ran into a strange circumstance.  The person I was talking with asked me a question I've heard before in such settings: "Tell me about a conflict you've experienced in community and how you resolved it."  Fair enough, I've been handed this one before.  I thought I would be ready for it so I opened my mouth.  Turns out I wasn't ready.

     I could certainly think of the people that I've had conflicts with this year.  I knew the places where they happened and the places where we resolved them together.  Yet I could not for the life of me remember what it was we had been fighting about or who had said what or why it had been such a big deal.  And I get that from an interview perspective: sometimes you're nervous and your memory stumbles a bit.  I scrabbled together the memories of other, smaller moments and we spoke about those instead.  So what really gave me pause was how, long after I finished the interview, my time all my own, I still could not bring to mind the details of those moments.  It was not as if those conflicts had been erased from my mind, since I at least know that they happened, but no specifics were forthcoming and they remain at large even now.  All I am left with is the notably brighter swell of the heart that accompanies me anytime I walk into a room with those I have struggled and healed with.

     Is this some strange aspect of the Holy Spirit at work?   It feels as though, if those conflicts were wounds, they have been healed even beyond wholeness, beyond the lasting marks of bruising and stitches to true new flesh.  Skin stronger than before it was rent.  Hearts fuller than before they were cracked and leaking.  Bones tougher than before they were fractured.  Peace has somehow stolen in and washed away the blood, as we asked, but also remained behind with us, strengthening us in new and deeper ways.  

     So often I see people shy away from the pain of reconciliation, delaying it with excuses or denying their need for it.  And their wounds pull together in time, of course, but the scar remains: a painful memory of a relationship that was never properly splint and reset.  I bear some scars like that.  Perhaps one day I will find the reconciliation that could allow those wounds to heal from their roots.  I hope.  

     In the meantime, I was given a new look today at just how powerful forgiveness can be, not just as an emotional exercise so we can get on with the business of community living but as a very real spiritual discipline, bringing actual life into relational pain and death, even sifting the suffering from my very memories and heart.  Though I suppose I should be less surprised: when you invite the Living God into a situation, who can guess the resurrection that might take place?

On Consciousness

By: Taylor Lampe 

In our Faith-Based Community Organizing Workshop with Lisa Sharon Harper of Sojourners, we were introduced to public narrative, the telling of our personal story as it relates to a greater issue. Lisa encouraged us to create an arc to our story and to emphasize the climax - our point of no return. When were our eyes opened? When could we not un-see the truths of our world? When was our inactivity and complacency too much to bear?

I struggled with this exercise. Anyone who is currently operating in my realm of existence knows that everything is a tornado for me right now. It is as if I took a neatly organized deck of cards (how I was taught to view myself and the world) and threw it out the window and into the wind. I am chasing these cards around, frantically trying to make sense of it all and figure out how to be in this world. But even in the chaos, somehow I know that I can never go back to the nice, neat stack.

So when Lisa proposed this exercise, creating a linear public narrative felt almost impossible to me. I don’t have one story. I don’t even have one issue. I just have this burning awareness that things are not right, that I am not ok with it, and that I cannot return to how it was before. Academics and activists might call this ‘consciousness’. The dictionary definition of consciousness is “the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings”. I like that language. Consciousness, in the social context, is being aware of the structures that shape our world and being woken up to the racism, homophobia, sexism and other systemic oppressions incarnate in them.

As I prepared my public narrative to share with Demarius, it slowly became clear to me that my present narrative is the raising of consciousness. I do not have a linear story that leads to one issue, but I do have a story-in-progress of waking up to the world around me.

Most of college years, and certainly my time before college, were spent somewhat asleep, or ‘unconscious’ if we’re continuing with this language. And I have come to believe that my vision was clouded by The Dream. The Dream, Ta-Nehisis Coates writes in his book, Between the World and Me, is “perfect houses with nice lawns. It is Memorial Day cookouts, block associations, and driveways. The Dream is treehouses and the Cub Scouts. The Dream smells like peppermint but tastes like strawberry shortcake.” The Dream, in short, was more or less my white, suburban upbringing. For me, The Dream was comfort and buying into a narrative that intended to lull me into complacency. The Dream created the opposite of consciousness - a cloud, a blindness, a sleep.

But now, as I brush shoulders with radicals, queers, poets, activists, liberals, intellectuals, philosophers, community organizers, idealists, storytellers, healers, priests, feminists… As I have experiences, discuss them with great minds and hearts, and find language for the world around me… My eyes are constantly being opened and I am emboldened in my quest to reject the dominant narrative and continuously push towards new realities.

I have reached my point of no return, perhaps the first of many. My consciousness is raised and there is no turning back. What this means for the future, I can only guess. But stay tuned, because this public narrative has only just begun.

Be here now

By: Mindy Velasquez 

The journey began with me hesitating to make a decision to join or not to join. But ultimately I remembered that taking the first step in any journey is hard but should be made. The decision was made, I would join in the walk. The decision on this day brought three of my roommates and I to go to Eucharist on a Sunday afternoon to Church of the Common Ground. We didn’t figure out on time when the bus would arrive, therefore, we ended up walking toward our destination. It was a simple decision heading towards our destination, enjoying good conversation and banter on the way, and then a light drizzle of rain. This light drizzle however then turned to rain and most of us were not fully prepared for rain. But we had gone so far that we kept walking even slightly annoyed. Ultimately this rain turned into a downpour. A downpour. We got caught walking in a downpour of rain near Capital and Memorial headed to Woodruff Park where Eucharist was to take place. We were getting drenched but we all made the decision to move forward and keep walking down the road. We accepted this is where we found ourselves, in a downpour and just to be here in the now. This simple journey to Eucharist was not what we expected and this has been similar in walking on a new journey in my life; such that making decisions have come in different forms from small to big and from individual to community intricacies. On this journey the unexpected comes and deciding how to respond and who you share it with is what makes the journey more adventurous.

Church

By: Lauren K. Bush

Church is chaotic. Church is messy. Church stumbles in during the middle of the sermon with eyeliner scrawled all over its face, pants falling down, loudly looking for a cup of coffee - with cream and sugar, please. Church sulks the outside of the prayer circle, heckling the group, hissing and tossing insults. Church wanders around, panting, accepting pets from those gathered and gets in trouble for eating chicken bones off the ground. Church sings off-key, forgets to make an announcement, gets into arguments, has opinions, forgets to turn off its cell phone, is full of differences, and has its conflicts.

Church is love. Church is hope. Church is endless hugs and smiling faces. Church shows up consistently when few others do. Church calls to ask, “How ya doing?” Church stops and sits down for a few minutes while others pass, oblivious. Church gives a shit. Church makes sandwiches for Church to hand out. Church gratefully accepts sandwiches and eats them. Church feeds the birds. Church prays, sings in glorious harmony, waves hello, is excited to see you, helps unload and set up for service, anoints, teaches, and heals.

Church is the body of Christ in all of its beautiful parts and forms, in all of the ways it moves and is still, in all of the ways that we are humans being.

Blessed to serve with Church of the Common Ground this year, I have the opportunity to see church outside of the walls I’ve known. Not that I’ve never been a fancy or high church girl. My home church of St. Thomas is a ‘working church,’ mostly blue collar, small, simple, and what for a long time I’ve called the happiest place on Earth. It was at St. Thomas that I got to learn the unconditional love of Church, and to see Church working not in spite of, but because of all its various imperfections. They loved me for all of who I was, and loved me into who I am. I watched. I learned. I imitate.

The most beautiful and profound thing I get to witness as a part of the Church is how Love changes people – both those receiving Love and those giving Love. Love transforms.

Sure, Love can do this outside of Church, even outside of Church outside. If I were plugged into a different faith tradition or belief system, I’d likely see it there as well. These dynamics are not isolated to Church. But it is in Church where I’ve found myself, my purpose, and my calling. It is in Church where I overwhelmingly experience God’s Love expressed through other humans being in all their forms and functions. And from there I can look outward and see it playing out in the world all around me.

Church is Chaotic; Church is Messy. Church is Love, Church is Hope. Church Is. Thank God for that.

 

Person of the Book

BY: KJ Lewis

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When I was eleven, my parents handed me an abomination entitled, The “What’s Happening to My Body?” Book for Girls. They informed me that it was to live in my room until further notice—on the bookshelf, no less, not buried under a clothing heap or shoved under the bed. There was no obligation for me to actually read it, they said. Just to keep it in sight. And so it sat, eyeing me from across the room for over a week until I couldn’t take it anymore. I snatched it from the shelf and hurled it into the wall, where it made a satisfying whap before thudding to the ground. Then I picked it up, closed the door, and turned to chapter one.

I tell you this because Laura regularly hands out abominations.

So far, we have received The Life of the Beloved, Finding Our Way Home, Toxic Charity, Daily Prayers for All Seasons, The New Oxford Annotated Bible, and All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses For Our Time. I try hard to look bored when Laura passes around the stack; I don’t want my fellow Fellows thinking I’m some sort of Jesus freak. Whatever composure I manage to pull off, though, masks an ambivalence that would be hilarious if it weren’t mine. The Road can at times feel like a spiritual version of The Talk. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious, but I’ll be damned if I ever make it look that way.

As you may have guessed, I have a complicated relationship with Christianity. My mother banned my teenaged self from her Sunday school class out of the justified concern that I’d de-convert her congregants. I recently suggested that we pray to Baal on occasion, just to add some variety. I giggle at communion, or else skip it altogether.

Still, if I had wanted intentional living sans religion, there were plenty of opportunities to find it. Atlanta boasts a number of radical enclaves where I could have made my home; friends live in places with names like The Homostead, The Teardown, and Honeycomb Haven. At any one of those houses, I could have shared organizing tips over vegan meals and hosted bell hooks book clubs that bled into dance parties as the night progressed. My community is too wise about patriarchy to fall for sky gods and sacred torture, but somehow I can’t manage to give up prayer for Lent. I suppose that’s why I ended up at The Road. I may not be convinced about the Father and the Son, but I do believe in Grace.

Grace is not big on I love yous. Instead, she says things like, I dare you and try me and wanna bet? and very, very rarely, Baby, come here. She’s baffling, with a wicked sense of humor and no sense of propriety. Above all, Grace is persistent: since I’ve taken to ignoring her, she now comes to me in books.

Books are lovely and dangerous for many of the same reasons. The words on the page will stay straight in their rows, regardless of who reads them, and when, and why. They don’t squirm or apologize for what they say. You can draw monsters in their margins. You can crack their spines. You can love them. You can need them. You can rip them up or you can tell them the truth. No matter what, the text won’t flinch.

Books never change. And they don’t tease you when you do.

We do a lot of talking on The Road. We’re ten strong-minded and strange individuals who are crammed into each other’s lives, and rarely do we not have something to say about it. But sometimes you don’t feel like defending your position in a debate; sometimes you don’t even have a position worth defending, so much as a buzzing in your stomach that you can’t pray away. That’s the point at which I crawl onto my bed and start reading, sometimes several times a day.

I used to be surprised when I met yet another preacher who’d been an English major in college. Given how textual this religion is, though, it just makes sense. Christians are literally called People of the Book. The Bible is a library filled with stories about people telling stories, and every Sunday, preachers stand up and tell stories about those stories’ stories’ meanings. Christianity’s preoccupation with metaphor and interpretation has at times felt vexing. It can seem anticlimactic that the one time Grace allegedly tried out human life, she spent it as a traveling storyteller. But right now, stories are the only way I can halfway tolerate the thought of something holy.

Like it or not, I think I’ll always be a Person of the Book. And who knows? Maybe stories will be what saves me after all.

In a single drop

By: Carmelle Nitereka

You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop. -Rumi (Sufi Mystic)

It’s been almost twelve months since my whole family has been together. This was put in further perspective now that my little brother is taller than me!! I did not go back to Washington, instead my family came down to celebrate with me. The familiarity of home brought a sense of comfort I didn’t realize I was missing. It was their first time in Atlanta and my first time hosting a holiday.

On that slow starting morning, Quanshay (former Fellow) and I ate  fried plantains and watched a movie. Slipping into our own familiar routine, it seemed as if not too much had changed since she left Atlanta.  My family came by the apartment in time for the finishing touches on the meal. My dad,was walking behind everyone else, sporting his favorite hat. My mom, sinking into the living room couch. My sister in the kitchen, brother hovering over the meal, and friend pouring the wine. We exchanged our respective Thanksgiving greetings.

The sun was setting, and dinner was ready. As we gathered by the table for prayer, I laughed at my brother who had almost finished his meal. I was grateful for the beautiful mix of personalities  in my life. I realized I missed my brothers annoying habits. And sister, who refused to enjoy the day without honoring the silenced indigenous people or recognizing that our celebration was at their expense.   

In the seemingly ordinary, I’ve been transformed by many simple moments. That Thursday was one of those days. We skipped on turkey...didn’t need the undue stress for a tradition that’s not our own. I forgave my dad. A man who was never taught to be a father,yet is an example of wisdom and love as best as he knows how.  I felt reassured by my mother’s soulful ease. I invited my family to experience my change and they took the time to try to understand the freer expression of myself. We shared our past, present, and future and I felt the rebirthing of traditional consciousness, the reincarnated dreams of my ancestors.

This Thanksgiving was a reminder that the most American of traditions cannot change our roots. I am the first born daughter of two parents whose bare feet have danced in the heart of Africa. My father’s irreversibly calloused feet imprint these memories. My family and the traditions we carry  are my entire ocean in a single drop.

Out on the porch

BY: Steve Cowley

L’Arche Atlanta has a beautiful porch. In the sweet weather of fall it is a joy to sit out there and eat or talk or breathe. Laughter sits in the comfortable chairs and beckons. Peace meanders through the light breezes and lightens your lungs. The wood of this place was hewn from the Tree of Life.

One lingering afternoon we get a knock at the door; Jesus has rolled up in a wheelchair, and why don’t we come join him out on the porch? Today he is smiling so brightly that we all find ourselves sitting out there with him, tasks laid down. I watch as this crinkled woman with shriveled legs uses shriveled hands to trace words out on her letterboard, drawing a conversation that slowly fills out and smooths my heart with its simplicity and disarming genuineness. She needs no verbal language to delight us when she has that wide-open smile. She asks about one of the people that used to live here, and we share a bit about where they’ve gone. Do you have a message for her? Her answer skirts so many eddies of human conversation, with a prompt I love her.

L’Arche Atlanta has a beautiful porch. In the sweet weather of fall it is a joy to sit out there and eat or talk or breathe. Laughter sits in the comfortable chairs and beckons. Peace meanders through the light breezes and lightens your lungs. The wood of this place was hewn from the Tree of Life.
One lingering afternoon we get a knock at the door; Jesus has rolled up in a wheelchair, and why don’t we come join him out on the porch? Today he is smiling so brightly that we all find ourselves sitting out there with him, tasks laid down. I watch as this crinkled woman with shriveled legs uses shriveled hands to trace words out on her letterboard, drawing a conversation that slowly fills out and smooths my heart with its simplicity and disarming genuineness. She needs no verbal language to delight us when she has that wide-open smile. She asks about one of the people that used to live here, and we share a bit about where they’ve gone. Do you have a message for her? Her answer skirts so many eddies of human conversation, with a prompt I love her. We call for some music after a while, and sing. Throughout she looks like a deaf person gifted with one song at the end of a long, dusty life. Afterwards we share a verdant silence of vines climbing and curling under the easy leaves of this place. Do you have a question for us? Yes, say her fingers, tracing out a few more words: Do you love me? A short while later Jesus bids us a farewell for now, slipping off up the beach. I’m still sitting on the shore, sand in my toes, his words keeping my silences company as I stare across the water. Stephen, son of Peter, do you truly love me? Follow Me!We call for some music after a while, and sing. Throughout she looks like a deaf person gifted with one song at the end of a long, dusty life. Afterwards we share a verdant silence of vines climbing and curling under the easy leaves of this place. Do you have a question for us? Yes, say her fingers, tracing out a few more words: Do you love me?

A short while later Jesus bids us a farewell for now, slipping off up the beach. I’m still sitting on the shore, sand in my toes, his words keeping my silences company as I stare across the water. 

Stephen, son of Peter, do you truly love me?

Follow Me!

A New Day, Everyday

By: Mindy Velasquez

In the first weeks at my worksite I was given a list of names to look at files and case notes to read to get an idea of what to expect. I would also hear the stories of my coworkers and as I am settling in and getting more involved in my work there is more than names, files and case notes. 

During Tuesday evening of the third week in November, a speed interviewing session was scheduled for a group of refugees in which volunteers would help the refugees practice their interviewing skills. It was 6:30 pm and it had been a long day, everyone was settled in and ready to start the speed interviewing session. Our first round was completed and the second round is about to start. We guide the clients from one volunteer to the next but this second round started a chain reaction. One refugee was placed out of order with a volunteer and this one move created a chaos throughout the evening that it threw off the placements in every subsequent round. But somehow in us trying to create sense and order in managing the situation the refugees were enjoying the experience even when some did notice what was going on. Even when they seemed nervous because they are not familiar with the American job experience this session was fun to them. At the end of the day when we were all gathered in the hallway near the exit getting ready to take them home, we saw that the refugees responded with excitement to our supervisor.

The following day, Wednesday morning, I arrived at the office checking my work email to get my day started. The first email I noticed is my coworker is out sick. At the same time my other coworker was not going to be at the office all week. So after the speed interviewing session last night I was the only person in the Employment Team at the office. This day was also going to be new since my coworker was going to take two clients to the Marshalls Distribution Center. Neither I nor my coworker were familiar with this new worksite or its job application process and I only had 20 minutes to get ready to embark on this journey. The two clients arrived, a young brother and sister who we have been working with for a while. We arrived to the warehouse and found our way to the front desk where we found the applications to fill out. We needed to go outside to fill them out and we sat down in a bench. The brother and sister filled out their applications asking me a few questions here and there. At one moment as I was assisting the brother I asked him to make a correction. The brother and sister started talking to each other in their native language and I noticed from their interaction the sister was either making fun of him or just pointing out his mistake in an amusing way. Even when I could not understand their conversation the interaction they were having in that moment felt very universal as a brother and sister. Even when at the end he playfully patted her on the head with his application.

Thursday was also going to be a day full of tasks to accomplish but plans are only plans. On this day I was to take three clients to Mountville Mills in LaGrange, Georgia which is about an hour and twenty minutes away from the office. Of the three clients only one arrived and at the same time a coworker had taken the car I was supposed to drive half an hour before I am supposed to leave. Eventually the client and I were off on the road to orientation. About three miles away from our exit I heard a noise and we look at each other. I decided to pull over slowly as this sound is familiar to me and when I safely get down I noticed we have a flat tire. With every step we took to fix the flat tire something would arise to overcome this challenge. First the car insurance does not travel far out to provide assistance, then the car unknowingly had no spare tire, and when a fellow coworker came to help both spares were not a good fit. All through this time my client and I had to wait and be patient during these challenges. Throughout waiting we managed to take a nap waiting for my coworker to arrive, the client listened to music in his native language and would sing along, eventually he made a phone call and seemed to have a good conversation since he was laughing and even asked me if we could go to the next village to get help. At the end when we got a new tire and got on the road, we decided to stop and get some food. I asked the client if he would like a burger, but he said he never had one before; we ended the day with a new experience. 

Every day is a new day at Catholic Charities. Moments like these that were lived in this week of November are only a glimpse of what I have experienced. From seeing the excitement of people learning a new skill amidst the chaos during an educational session; to the relationships that are being lived while trying to settle in to daily life; or the small moments of listening to music, laughing, or experiencing a new meal during a challenging situation do not always make it in the case notes or files. These memorable stories and moments happen all the time in our daily lives. Each refugee that walks in our doors come from different backgrounds and the interactions and situations that arise with each is different and unique and this adds something more than what you can find in a simple file or case note.

 

Sports and Community

By: Ryan Bigg

To the shock of no one that knows a little about me, I’m going to start by talking about sports. Sports are one of my favorite things to discuss. It’s an easy way to small talk with a stranger and a good way to make a new friend. It is also a fast way for me to get either overly excited or extremely angry. It is one of the things I care the most about and I often get asked why that is.  Questions like “Why do you care so much about sports?” or “Don’t you realize it’s just a game?” These questions are important because it makes me remember that there are more important things to care about, but it also makes me think about why sports matter to me.

When I was younger, playing sports was the way I connected with people. It was how I expressed myself, how I realized my self-worth, and how I gained confidence I didn’t have before. Playing sports is also how I discovered the concept of community and the important role community plays in one’s life. I can name the entire roster of my first organized team when I was six. I can also tell you what each of the 80 people on the last team that I was on is currently doing. This is because I was invested and cared deeply about the community that sports created for me. The team was the only thing I really cared about in high school. My identity in high school was based off of the sports community. When that part of my life ended, my care for sports transitioned more to watching sports and being a fan because I felt like sports was the only way I was going to find the sense of community I was looking for and still longed for. A large portion of my life revolves around watching sports, talking about sports, or playing sports for recreation/bonding. This is because I had been searching for ways to bond and commune with people in ways that I knew worked and that I was comfortable with.

So when we started talking about community in this context here at the Road, I was skeptical at first. I was excited to see how it was going to look, but in the back of my mind I thought that it was just going to reinforce the idea for me that sports was the answer. Instead, the opposite is occurred. I am realizing how intentional community, where there is a root in love and compassion for others, is much richer than anything that sports can create. The capacity and adaptability of a community rooted in these things creates the ability to go into the world and help people with a solid foundation to stand on. I think I came to this realization of our community growing with love and compassion when we were on the retreat this past weekend. I probably subconsciously knew about this before, but it hit me when we threw one of the other fellows a surprise birthday gathering the first night of the retreat that we had this past weekend. The evening meeting that night was much quieter than usual and there was not much socializing after because of our exhaustion from the day’s travels and events; everyone and something that was specifically brought up recognized this.  Even though this was the case, the group stayed up past 1 a.m.  to wish the fellow a Happy Birthday. This event lasted an hour longer than it was supposed to because of a hiccup in the plan, which further proved the growth that was happening for us as a community. When I saw the plan finally come together at the end, I came to the realization that this is what intentional community looks like and it was an example of what I was looking for. It proved to me that I don’t need sports to fulfill my wanting for community. It also proved that it can be found in unexpected places and ways. This experience is already such a blessing because of this one moment, but that barely begins to unpack the potential meaning that this experience has for me and for our group as a whole, that is something I am looking forward to. 

Our Kitchen Table

By Taylor Lampe

On the first day of our program, I found myself sitting around a kitchen table with a group of strangers. We made polite conversation and pretended like it wasn’t awkward and I ate a whole bowl of grapes.  

Fast forward two months, and that same group of no-longer-strangers is having dinner around that same table. A good portion of the meal is spent passionately debating whether or not a roommate’s words about women are sexist. We also assign cooking duties, pray together, talk about work, and attempt to understand our insurance policy. This time, I eat a whole bowl of chili. Welcome to intentional living.

The kitchen table that appears in both memories was discovered last summer on the side of the road. Rev. Bryant decided to rescue it and her husband sanded and stained it back to life. It was restored and has become an important part of our community (mostly because of its central location and generous size). When we have conversations, we like to say that “everything is on the table”. For meals, prayers, and house meetings, we often “gather around the table” to be in community together.

Already, when I look at our kitchen table, I am filled with emotions and memories (what can I say… I’m a sap). I remember when our Canadian roommate referred to gutters as “eves troughs”, the first time someone cried in front of the community (me), when we needed shots of whiskey, delicious jambalaya and corn bread for dinner, and that one time when we had to say goodbye. I remember prayers, hugs, birthdays, silences, chores, laughter, apologies, debates, and meals.  

To some people, places are just places. But for me, places have always been powerful links to memories. They are vessels for happenings, both mundane and substantial. They are guardians and safe-keepers of times perhaps long forgotten and never to be again. This table, this place, is important.

One of Jesus’s most profound practices was his gathering of people around a table. When he invited the outcasts of society to dine with him, he made a statement about our inherent individual worth and our shared humanity.

Our community time around the table is also profound, in its own way. We set aside two hours, three nights a week, to be together for meals. We have committed ourselves in time and spirit to something larger, to a collective good, even when it’s hard and challenging. When we gather together, we are people of many differences. But around this table, we acknowledge our shared humanity and learn from each other in deep and meaningful ways.

When I look around the table at my friends, housemates and community members, I sense the restoration on their faces. I sense the work-in-progress towards some sort of greater good. This community is doing sometime in our lives, our relationships, our daily work, and I believe, the world. And what better place to gather for restoration than around a table that has itself been restored.

Oh the places you will go!

By Demarius J. Walker

In honor of my Baptist roots let’s call this a testimony. Yes, testimony, that sounds right. This stream of conscious rambling blogpost is my testimony. A testimony about the grace of God? No, that seems too grand an idea for my current capacity. Maybe this is a testimony about the aliveness of life that Howard Thurman calls us into awareness of? No, my goal here is not that lofty. I’m thinking, I guess, of words written by John O’ Donoghue, “If you live the life you love, you will receive shelter and blessings.” I do think I can testify regarding the truth of that statement.

It was at the Chevron beside the highway on the corner of Pryor Rd. and University Ave.  that I came to myself. Can a gas station be Holy? Last week was the second time our little community headed out on the road for a retreat. Last week was the second time we stopped before our trip to get gas at the Chevron or the corner. I recall our first visitation. The Road Fellows had just received our worksite assignments for the year, most of us got our first choices, I did not. I remember being somewhat disappointed. I scampered behind the building to quickly smoke a cigarette before anyone noticed my absence. I recall staring off into the distance at the Nubian Beauty Supply Store childishly grumbling about some game plan I thought I had constructed. And then I recall some chuckling; it took me a second to recognize it as my own. At once, I had come into an awareness of the pettiness of my concerns. At once I had become aware of the magnitude of the Divine. The myriad possibilities opened before me and I resolved to fully embrace the experience that was to come. I jumped in the white van driven by Daniel and we headed to Alabama.

On our second visit things were different. We had been at our worksites for over a month, I was having a fulfilling time at my own. I was no longer a smoker (thank God), Daniel was gone, and this time we were headed to North Carolina.  As we pulled in I returned to that moment when the possibilities had opened up before me and a rapid succession of images began to project on the screen of my awareness. I became acutely aware of all the rooms I had been in during the last two months: recreation centers, monasteries, governmental buildings, the emergency room at Grady, conferences at UGA and Tech, town hall meetings in churches. These and many more places raced through my mind and that chuckle was now accompanied by the simple phrase, “Oh the places you will go!”

To fully appreciate this statement in relation to Donoghue context is helpful. In, short, I am the disinherited. What I mean by this is that I have been born into a family lineage that has experienced a consistent series of gross historical injustice. These injustices include violence done to our minds, bodies, and spirits as well the systematic destruction and withholding of all forms of capital that would aid in our actualization. This is all to say, I am a person that this society does not and has not wanted to live. I live in a place that has been designed to prevent me from fully experiencing life. Yet, as I stood on the top of a mountain in a North Carolina retreat center surveying the beauty of God’s Creation, I could not help but recall Kanye West’s line "We wasn't 'pose to make it pass 25 jokes on you, we still alive. So throw yo' hands up in the sky cuz we don't care what people say."

My point is that the system of oppression that snuffs out life somehow misses me on a routine basis. The question is why? A full answer, or at least an attempt, is perhaps beyond my grasp at the moment and certainly beyond the strictures of this testimony. So I will simply say this, I am a young man earnestly seeking God through experiments with Truth and Love and Community and along my journey I have been well feed. Remaining open to the spirit I have had shelter and many blessings. That has to to count for something, right?

Digging within the Soil

By Carmelle Nitereka

#diggingwithinthesoil

We are all taught to think immediately -it a strategic tool- so we learn to live believing our achievements, our freedom, is our own. Consequently, we believe that our demise and bondage is ultimately ours alone to fight (and when we don't find a way out, we become a faulted people). This reality reflects within our institutions, architecture, policies, interest, as well as daily person to person interactions coded with assumptions. Our immediate way of processing life has led to a domino effect of quick-fix patches. Cool, so now some of us are getting on board and questioning the bigger hole dug up by these ineffective solutions, but we still fail to ask the simple questions of the life before us. Who do we make provisions for? What foundations have been laid here?

Look at nature. A dendrologist, who studies trees, does not simply make absolute conclusions based on the fallen branches. They get on their knees and dig within the soil that surrounds it. They search for answers at the roots. They explore beneath the surface. As a dendrologist, it would be obvious that rich soil nurtures roots and allows for the tree to thrive. Equally uncontested, a tree nurtured under beds of concrete would be suffocated from its ability to thrive. Drawing from experience, our need for immediate knowledge has most of us looking to the fallen branches for our answers.  

Not to go on a tangent, but the weather’s been wonderful and it seems like all bike lovers are back. Especially in Atlanta, where you can walk ten minutes and be surrounded by a different neighborhood with a starkly different feel, it’s been noticeable that bike lovers seem to live in distinct areas (i.e. Grant Park). To generalize,  neighborhoods and areas that reflect more suburban lifestyles tend to have greater use for bicycles for leisure and active transport. It’s not uncommon to see a few families bicycling around their neighborhoods, but how often have you seen a family in 'urban' areas entertain the same form of leisure? The assumption may be that it’s simply a difference surrounding culture, but sometimes cultures are influenced by the provisions and architecture available. What bike provisions are available in suburban areas? Do these mirror the provisions available in ‘urban’ areas? Where can we find architecture (i.e. bicycle lanes, racks) to support active transport? Who has access to best practices and safety information? Where are the accessible park trails located? Where are the bike coops located, who has access to that information? Essentially, where have the foundations been laid to support a bicycle culture? In exploring these questions, it becomes difficult to remain with surface level assumptions. I use this as an example to preface the many daily assumptions or realities we accept without question. It is easy to walk into a space and see things as they are. It is even easier to claim our observations as culture, because we seek answers, but authentic answers require deeper questions. 

So I’m still sporadically discovering what it means to ask the questions to what shaped the life around me. It all circles back to our interconnected life.Tell me your freedom is yours when you can justify that you single-handedly nurtured your own soil.

Support for my Movement

By Dominique Hollis

What moves you?

So often this question is followed by an invitation to exercise for a generation seemingly more committed to technological devices than traversing the deep ominous wonder of the world. Honestly, when all you want to do is drag your feet, how do you get the courage to move on to propel into the future with the might and determination of an assured leader? While pounding my feet on the path formed by the pilgrims of 50 year ago, each step was laid relentlessly by my resolve to push forward and also to remember and reflect. I had a deep curiosity about the movement of the commemorative march from Selma to Montgomery. It struck me at the initial 5 miles, that we were moving fast and with an immensely carefree step. I found this particularly moving because we all came under the load of our own "Selmas", the movements we give our mind and body to.  The marchers, with our collective intuition of the known aches and pains of walking in unsupportive footwear, were of course outfitted for the walk. Which got me thinking, what supported the original pilgrims? Without the convenience of specialized footwear, how did they move forward? And more importantly, what was their forethought about what loomed ahead?

These were significant inquiries because my feet felt heavy in the march towards my Selma, heavy with resignation. Before the march I had withdrawn from my walk, honestly withdrawn from myself. I found ground with the question, "What about the kids?" and my prompt answer, "I'm for the kids." The context of the question, asked by our Dear Ranger Opal, "What is your Selma?" During the walk we shared our stories detailing our particular Selmas, making them evident so we wouldn't step on the Selma's of our fellow pilgrims. What about stepping on your own Selma? I think  I've been step dancing on my Selma, putting on a show while covering the proponent features of my movement with a clever beat. Covering up the movements of my heart by a mind heavy with resignation.

If I let my heart carry me, the effort to move forward would consciously shift to a need to move forward. I would be moved by a yearning for change, a fight which was never relinquished in my heart. My heart connected with the heart of Sharon, a resident of St. Jude. She affirmed that the fight wasn't over. We shared in grief and tears and as I cried my tears expressed my frustration with myself: my weaknesses, my inability to change a fraction of the world. These tears would be the fuel for my movement.

Just like the original pilgrims of the march, I march knowing what looms ahead can build me up just as easily break me down. I will not be moved by fear or anger, but grace and strength. The energies that fuel my Selma are just as important as the cause.

Whole Trust

By Maris Kramer

I was baptized this February, the sole candidate in front of a cathedral full of bodies on the first Sunday of Lent. Much of the experience is a holy blur, but one thing sticks out. In the examination part of the baptismal service, when the bishop asked, “Do you put your whole trust” in Jesus? Complete with skeptical eyebrow raise. Well, I’m not about to be a runaway bride. I say, “I do,” and I’m trying to be honest. And then he signs my Book of Common Prayer, “God is trustworthy.” I’ve been found out.

So I have some trust issues. If someone else makes a mistake, then I could become resentful. So I should just do everything myself! If I make a mistake, I can just sit back and resent good ol' Maris. It’s a really healthy approach to life. And how about romantic relationships? I seem to have discovered that if I don’t remind him to check in for his flight, respond to that email, and set two alarms for the morning, THE WORLD WILL COME CRASHING DOWN. I am, as they say, the worst. Perhaps the best example of the grace and trustworthiness of God is that I have any healthy relationships at all.

Trust is another thing entirely when it relates not to an action but to a belief, a value. It is one thing to entrust someone to review and correct some files before the end of the week. Because as much as I thrive on deadlines and spreadsheets and color-coding, life goes on if others do not. But when I hear my friend say, “He deserves the death penalty for what he did,” how can I possibly trust?

Then, on last month’s pilgrimage through the Holy Land of the Civil Rights Movement, my walking partner said, “I have found it is important to trust first.” If there is anything you have to figure out, figure it out later. The sentence rang like a bell in my heart, clanging against the iron walls that prefer to sound out, “Keep your defenses up.” Trust the person first, without conditions, before data and rhetoric. Where might such openness and candor lead our society? It could usher in a political climate not marked by ignorance or malice and but by a shared understanding that we all want our nation to be better, and that we deeply need one another in order to make that a reality. It could lead us to hearing voices of the poor and broadcasting them with a loudspeaker rather than drowning them out beneath the clamor of budget cuts or, in the case of Georgia Medicaid, refusing funding in the first place.

Where might I be drawn if I trusted my friend’s feeling that “He deserves the death penalty” rather than trying to fix it? Would I come to know fear a little better, and hurt, and grief? Perhaps I could even be led to ask for help from my friends. I could be led to follow God wherever God wants me to go. Wherever. What an incredible thought.

Montgomery, Alabama. Photo by Maris Kramer.


A Certain Trembling

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By Caroline Noland

They were attacked. Right here. Their blood stained this piece of earth.

I was walking when I heard the news. Walking on the hot crumbling asphalt of Alabama, near a town called Selma. 

A pit bull had attacked several animals at the farm that my church nurtures, loves, and shares space with. A sheep who had given birth to twins only weeks earlier, a sheep pregnant with what would have been Easter twins, and our sweet emu were all killed in the slaughter. 

People I sing hymns alongside on Sundays held the heads of bleeding creatures while they passed, tried to rescue their little ones, and sobbed when these efforts failed. 

When I heard, I was walking on crumbling asphalt where 50 years ago another mother was slaughtered. Viola Liuzzo was driving a man back to Selma after having marched 54 miles from that town to Montgomery demanding voting rights for all, no matter their race. She was white and her passenger was black. When she rode past the KKK, they shot at the car and killed her. Her passenger dipped his fingers in her warm body and used her blood to fake his death. She saved him on the road that day. Her five children and husband would later learn this news in their Detroit home. 

When the blood of another, be it animal or human, touches us- when we touch it- there is a certain trembling. Our own death feels that much nearer. Our inevitable mortality is smeared across our palms, covers our fingerprints. As I marched with 300 others those same 54 miles from Selma to Montgomery, I thought of the lives of those no longer with us. The lives of all the civil rights activists, whose blood had been spilled and whose lives were stolen. I thought of how shallowly I love and treat others. How I fail to recognize that the blood beating throughout their being makes them holy. 

When I returned to the farm and saw the orphan lambs and heard the stories of my friends, was reminded that my own life is also holy- but also short. May each of our hearts beat fearlessly until the day it beats no more. May we see it our duty to delight in each other. May we see our mortality as a propeller towards meaningful living. 

Caroline is a member of Berea Mennonite Church.

The Road Hits the Road: A Special Edition Post

On Friday, The Road embarks on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure: a pilgrimage recreating the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March, organized by the National Park Service (NPS) in the form of a “walking classroom.” We’ll march 54 miles, hear from NPS Park Rangers about historic markers, share simple meals and prayer, and come away with full hearts.

Last night, the fellows and Laura (Rev. Laura Bryant, priest and program director and compatriot and planner and dreamer) met to ask ourselves some important questions: What is pilgrimage? Why are we marching? We stormed our brains and came up with some ideas:

  • A pilgrimage is a journey of healing and restoration in which we walk in the footsteps of martyrs. We will tread holy ground.
  • Pilgrimage is a bodily experience. The marchers put their lives on the line on the Edmund Pettus Bridge that Bloody Sunday. Perhaps our bodies need to be involved in the call for justice. Moreover, as walkers, we are a body of many members, united.
  • March is a form of speech. It is a responsive political act. “We’re here because there’s so much yet to do. Let’s talk. Let’s listen.”
  • Five days of marching in the footsteps of freedom/peace fighters. Five days of walking prayer.

How might we look back and say we’ve had a successful journey? It’s hard to say, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hope that we will:

  • Leave equipped with more knowledge about the Selma to Montgomery March and its people, such as Lynda Lowery.
  • Be inspired to action.
  • Connect in a meaningful way with folks from around the country, rallied together in common purpose.
  • Carry their stories with us on our own journeys.

The Road will share its story with you, dear reader. Follow us on Instagram (@theroadatlanta) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/theroadatlanta) to get visual and verbal snapshots throughout the adventure. But don’t worry. We’ll be back on the blog soon enough.

Last thing. How do you view pilgrimage? Do you have any advice before The Road embarks? Comment below.

Peace and love,

The Road Fellows