In 2008, Willamette University purchased 305 acres of forest and farmland in the Eola Hills of Oregon. Zena Forest and Farm, as it is known, became the subject of an interdisciplinary course taught at Willamette University, in which students collaboratively wrote a comprehensive history of Zena, focusing on relationships between people and the land. The result is this book: both a story of a remarkable place and an example of place-based, student-driven pedagogy.read more
In the afternoon we went to Tucson’s US Federal Court to witness Operation Streamline. About 70 migrant in chains, wearing the same sweaty clothes in which they were caught crossing, sat in the upper level of the courtroom, waiting to be tried for the crime of illegal entry into the United States. This proceeding happens in several border cities as a way to criminalize them in an attempt to deter them from entering the US immediately after being deported. “Culpable… culpable… culpable…” they said, pleading guilty, and then walking out in chains to be jailed and then deported. Students from around the country, also doing spring break border justice programs, were in the courtroom with us – many of them in tears as they witnessed the silent parade of misery before them.read more
“Bessler makes an innovative argument about the question of the historical Jesus and he makes it well. He challenges my own skepticism about the historical Jesus, awaking me from my skeptical slumbers.” — Clark Williamson, Christian Theological Seminary emeritusread more
I don’t want your pity, just help change my world, change my world.read more
Dream, dream and never give up,
Hope, hope of a world to be,
Work, work for justice and dreams,
Put others first and set people free.
How can the time of peace come to Earth?
When will all bombs be banned?
How can true justice blossom in mirth?
When will the violence end?
All those who choose the Way
Of noble living
Must seek to grow each day
In joyful giving,
There are times when truth is this and partly that,
When love can bind extremes to be as one,
But at other times our heart says “you must choose the way
Of life or death, for you and Earth today.”
We all have stories we can share
Of times of failure and success,
Of highs and lows, of gold and dross,
Of frugal lives and love’s excess.
Abraham had stirring dreams
That called for emigration.
Steadfast faith sustained his search
Despite its worst privation.
King David was a man of fire
Who sang and danced for God.
The raptures of his heart’s desire
Were sacred gifts from God.
Jesus Christ is alive and lives in me
As I touch the Christ within,
As I open my life
To the power of God’s love
I obey the Risen Christ.
The energy of God,
Like yeast within the dough,
Can take a sterile life
And give it strength to grow.
Which code can assist us
Uncover the fullness
Of living and loving
Which our spirits need?
Great Life-Force, God of all nurture;
Honor and praise to you.
Your peace and justice fill the Earth;
Honor and praise to you.