Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

May Day

This is May Day, the international workers’ celebration of Labor (Labour) and its importance.  In the U.S., not much is made of May Day because the government in the ’30s feared that Labor was “going Communist” and instituted the fake holiday of “Labor Day” in September. The effect was to cut off the struggles of U.S. Labor from global struggles for economic justice and to weaken Labor in America and make it more vulnerable to the capitalist exploiters.

So, I sing a chorus of “Internationale” and I go to a rally this evening for workers trying to unionize.  Solidarity in the struggle, folks.


May 1, 2007 Posted by | economic justice, labor | 6 Comments

The Queen is Coming!

Those of you outside of Louisville, Kentucky USA may not realize the significance of the first Saturday in May.  It’s a little 2 minute horse race the world knows as The Kentucky Derby.  Our town goes slightly nuts this week.  Hotels are booked not only throughout the city, but for 2-3 neighboring states.  All this week there will be events and celebrations leading up to the Derby itself, including the Oaks on Friday (in which 3 year old fillies race).  Mint Juleps will be sold out the ear. People in “millionaire’s row” will wear bizarre hats.  Meanwhile, in the “infield,” will be one long keg party. Much gambling will ensue. More revenue will flow into local coffers in this one weekend than the rest of the year combined.  People rent out parking in their yards! 

It’s all a little overwhelming to me. All these years that Louisville has been my adopted home, and I still haven’t gotten used to it. I don’t gamble and don’t like crowds and “the sport of kings” has never thrilled me.  But the pageantry is fun, I guess.

And this year, we will be visited not just by horse-raising royalty, or Hollywood royalty, but by actual royalty. Yes, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, of the U.K. and the Commonwealth, is coming to the Derby! Louisville is “all-aflitter.”  People have been writing letters to the editor of the local paper on proper forms of address (Yeah, like her security will let us within hailing distance!) and I understand that she has been persuaded not to refer to these United States as “the colonies,” which we will properly appreciate.  And I thought folks were freaked out last year when Bono came to Derby.

God save the Queen. 🙂

May 1, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Robert Webber (1933-2007)

The man who made concern about worship and liturgy respectable among evangelicals and helped spark a worship renewal movement has died of pancreatic cancer.  One can find tributes here, here, here, here, and here. Though my Free Church orientation kept me from being one of the “evangelicals on the Canturbury trail” that Robert Webber led, I deeply appreciated his work in worship renewal.  The renewal of the preached Word that came with the Reformation need not have been accompanied, as it was, by services in which the sermon was expected to carry all of worship.  Today, many sectors of evangelical Protestantism have new emphases on the balance between Word and Table and have retrieved much of the ancient church pattern of worship.  Much of that is the legacy of Bob Webber, and what a legacy that is.  Rest in peace, good and faithful servant.

May 1, 2007 Posted by | Obituaries | Comments Off on Robert Webber (1933-2007)