Sunday
Jul142013

not guilty

You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also..."  + Matthew 5: 38-39 

Six jurors reached a decision last night: George Zimmerman is “not guilty” of murder, and yet he shot a seventeen year old, unarmed teenager coming home from the store.

I don’t care that he had gold teeth, took photos of himself flipping off the camera, smoked pot, or was suspended from school (I’ve done two out of those four things myself).  

But, here’s what I do care about: it took forty-four days for the police to arrest Zimmerman and sixteen months for the case to come to trial.  What’s more, Zimmerman somehow became the victim and, as if that’s not enough, the judicial system made it crystal clear that racial profiling is alive and well not only in life and but also in life after death.

What hurts my heart the most is that our country’s history of violence against people of color, especially black men, keeps repeating itself over and over and over again.  The lynchings of the “past” have not ceased, the anxiety and fear that was aroused during Reconstruction are still metastasizing and spreading, and our legal and governmental systems seem to be fueling the deadly fire.

Desmond Tutu, South African social rights activist, Anglican priest, and lion of justice, once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.  If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

To this end, SALT is planning to shoot a short film (to be released in 2014) in partnership with WFYI and Christian Theological Seminary to mark the 75th anniversary of Billie Holiday's first recording of "Strange Fruit," which was written by Abel Meeropol after seeing a photograph of the 1930 lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion, Indiana.  We will dedicate this film to Trayvon Martin and to victims of violence everywhere.

Praying for both the elephants and the mice,

The SALT Team

Friday
Apr262013

Proverbs

On Thursday, March 21st, under the cover of night, twelve armed men broke into Bishop Patrick and Rev. Francoise Villier's home; tied them up, hands and feet; took away their computers and cell phones; and kidnapped their youngest son, Demetress.  His body was later found by police in a remote area of town (Patrick and Francoise are the leaders of the National Spiritual Council of Churches of Haiti.  CONASPEH, in partnership with Global Ministries, is a national council of churches comprised of more than 8,000 small, mostly rural congregations who live, work, and breath God’s gospel of liberation and Jesus' preferential treatment for the poor).

“Death comes,” said Bishop Villier, “but our God still reigns: life will not cease and love will never sleep.  My son I thought to be lost, will be found.  For, we know that with Christ, death is only a transition from one life to another. Demetress still lives: I see him almost every night, playing football, smiling and happy!”

Patrick and Francoise went on to thank God’s church around the world for their support: “This is to thank all those who have sent their messages of solidarity, their love, their sadness, their pain, their faith and prayers – all are important in this thorny and shadowy moment.  Because of all your prayers, we know that we are not abandoned and we are once again full of strength and courage by seeing your unwavering faith.  We are proud of you, brothers and sisters from across the faith, we are also proud to be in this wonderful family without borders.”

Over here at SALT, we are praying without ceasing for the Villier family and we ask that you hold them in your prayers as well.  We would like to dedicate our latest short film entitled, “Proverbs,” to Demetress Villier and donate 100% of it’s sales to CONASPEH (the organization that taught our very own Liz Myer how to be a Christian!).  

"Proverbs" is available over at the SALT Store.  It is ready and waiting to be shown in worship or on retreat, so that we all might remember, in prayer and in action, our brothers and sister in Haiti and around the world!

With love and solidarity,

The SALT Team  

Tuesday
Apr162013

"I Have A Dream"

I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.  + Letter from Birmingham Jail 

Fifty years ago, on April 12, 1963one of the most important letters in American history was penned by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from a jail cell in Birmingham.

As our nation remembers this letter and prepares to observe the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, SALT has teamed up with Christian Theological Seminary and WFYI to create a provocative new short film to help inspire communities across the country to ask the question: how far have we come on the journey to social justice and what must be done to achieve the dream King so eloquently articulated in 1963?

To be sure: Dr. King’s vision and passion captured a generation’s imagination but we cannot do justice to his memory unless we recommit ourselves anew to that world he envisioned.  It is our hope that this August, every congregation in the country (we like to dream big!) will watch this short film, remember this preacher from the south who changed the world, and be challenged anew to see that  “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

As always, let us know what you think!  And, know this: Christian Theological Seminary has made this film available for communities across the country to download for free (and SALT has made it availabe in the SALT Store for $0.50).

Monday
Apr082013

pentecost offering and SALT

We've been busy as bees over at SALT making lots of media for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)!  The video above is a spot we created for Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation to support the recruitment, assessment, training and coaching of new church pastors, spouses and core team members (as you may know, Matt and Liz started a new church in Boston, MA (back in the day!) which makes this project especially sweet!).

When Dick Hamm, former general minister and president of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), introduced the 2020 Vision in 2001, he challenged the Christian Church to look like the face of America. He also set forth a challenge to start 1,000 new Disciples congregations by 2020.

Today, Disciples have started 800 new communities of faith and counting! More than 50,000 people have been introduce to the good news of the gospel, and 18 languages are spoken in their churches.

On May 12 and May 19, 2013, Disciples churches will collect the Pentecost Offering to fund the new church movement and they need your support (even though SALT's not a congregation, we'll all be opening our billfolds next month and pitching in for this important work!).

Anyway, let us know what you think about the short film above - we'd love to hear from you...

Monday
Jan282013

tattooed

The prophet Isaiah commands the heavens and the earth to sing for joy, to break forth into song.  But what if we don't want to sing?  What if we can't sing?  Built on Isaiah 49:13-16, this short, meditative, worship film explores both the challenges and the comforts of faith leaving the viewer with this promise: you are mine!

As always, let us know what you think!  And, please know this: Tattooed is available for download at the SALT Store.