The Common Good

Blog Posts By Jarrod McKenna

Posted by Father Chris Bedding, Peter Barney, Jarrod McKenna 14 weeks 2 days ago
On Monday a nun was arrested here in Australia. That’s right, a nun. She was one of a crowd of Christian leaders who engaged in nonviolent sit-ins at the electorate offices of Bill Shorten and Tony Abbott. This is the latest #LoveMakesAWay action protesting indefinite imprisonment of children in our immigration detention centers. When nuns are cranky at this bipartisan brutality, its fair to say something is gravely wrong.It was a candid moment with the BBC. Malcolm Turnbull let slip what a lot of decent Australians are thinking, not just placard-waving radicals with witty twitter handles, but families with mortgages who ferry their kids to weekend sport. ‘I don't think any of us are entirely comfortable with any policies relating to border protection’ he said. Malcolm is a team player, so he’s never going to come right out and say it. But nuns will. Desperate people are coming to us seeking safety from persecution, and the way we treat them is wrong.
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 17 weeks 2 days ago
Oh, Sarah Palin.So you’ve most likely heard Sarah Palin used baptism as a metaphor for waterboarding terrorists. (I mean I heard and I’m in Australia!) I found out when fellow neo-Anabaptist Tyler Tully sent me his reflections. Many are blogging thoughtful responses. But more and more this is my conviction: the best critique of the bad is the practice of the beautiful. So I want to testify to the beauty of the baptisms I was a part of on Sunday.I do so knowing that the despondence and darkness I feel when baptism is equated with the diabolical is driven out in the joy of the mystery of what happen when we say yes to the Holy Spirit by wading in the water. Our new sister Natha, brother Ky, and I met separately in the End Poverty movement. Both of them, in quiet different ways, found themselves being found by God while looking for a better world. And in Jesus they found the world they were looking for has started! Without a dry eye in the community that surrounded them on Sunday, they shared their wanderings in the wilderness before following Jesus through the waters.
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 20 weeks 1 day ago
Here’s a crash course to understand what’s happening in Australia with refugees and the politics of Jesus.Imagine for a moment that in the lead up to the next U.S. elections, a political party changed immigration policies and took the relatively small number of people seeking safety on boats from, let’s say Cuba, and locked these persecuted people up on Guantanamo like criminals — elderly, men, women, and over 1,000 children. You would expect outcry from people across the political spectrum. Indeed there was. Only the fear campaign was so effective, the blame game so seductive and the election win so decisive, that the majority of politicians on all sides sacrificed their principles on the altar of popularity. Not to mention these desperate people — tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free — … these now homeless who were literally tempest-tossed on boats sacrificed on this bloody idol of false security. Of course behind closed doors, elected officials will confess to you, as a Christian, that they personally find it abhorrent but for the sake of the party and all the good they could do when they get into power they rationalize with the logic of Caiaphas and get the same results: the sacrifice of the innocent.Sound too far-fetched? This is the recent history of Australia. Thanks, Paul Dyson, for the Cuba analogy.
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 1 year 31 weeks ago
If the latest Billboard album chart is anything to go by, the answer to Victor Hugo’s question “Do you hear the people sing”? is a resounding “Yes!” as the soundtrack to the latest film adaption of his novel has hit number one. More ambiguous however, is the answer to the question: do we understand what they are singing? Many know of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Fewer know of Dr. King’s letter from a Selma jail where he wrote, “If we are to achieve a real equality, the U.S. will have to adopt a modified form of socialism.” This week will see President Obama sworn into office by laying his hand upon the Bible of America’s greatest preacher and prophet, M.L. King. If the appropriateness of King’s radical legacy being invoked by Obama goes beyond being skin deep, might we also ask the question: do we hear and understand the song Martin King sung?As many blogs will brim with praise for Martin Luther King, Jr., with little mention of his politics, so too are they awash with praise for the latest Les Misérables film without mention of its vision for society. They praise Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway’s ability to blubber while beautifully belting out ballads. They have shown the Christian virtue of mercy to Russel Crowe’s singing (at least more mercy than the infamous critique of his musical ability by Australian punk band Frenzal Rhomb). All this before moving on to talk of Les Misérables’ less-than-subtle Christian themes.As CNN reported, since the micro-targeted marketing success of movies like The Passion of the Christ, film studios have been courting Christians to exchange their pews for popcorn and Gospel songs for cinema going. Again, this time with Les Misérables, the faithful have responded to the box office like it was an altar call offered with Dr. King’s eloquence.
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 2 years 2 weeks ago
In the Australian city where I live, there is a housing crisis.Only 2 percent of rental properties are vacant. The mining boom has seen a huge increase in the number of renters and this additional competition has left parties outbidding each other to lease the few rental properties on the market.In this environment, immigrants, generally, and refugees in particular, struggle to access affordable accommodation, let alone accommodation close to employment opportunities or community services.In the community I helped found and where I have spent the last eight years — going through the highs and lows of radical hospitality, direct action, gardening, praying, and cups of tea — we feel called to leave.
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 2 years 32 weeks ago
The legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the reality of climate change are both victims of western culture’s remarkable capacity to accommodate and neutralize that which is most critical of it.Early in the civil rights movement, Bayard Rustin said to King, “I have a feeling that the Lord had laid his hand upon you. And that is a dangerous, dangerous thing.” Similarly, the FBI once described Martin King as the “most dangerous man in America” – and yet, as Martin Luther King Jr day rolls around again in the United States, we are often presented with a figure that seems more like a cheerleader for the status quo rather than a prophetic challenge to it. Somehow, it seems we have made this dangerous figure very safe.For instance, in a speech at the Pentagon commemorating King’s legacy, the Defense Department’s general counsel Jeh C. Johnson remarked, “I believe that if Dr King were alive today, he would recognize that we live in a complicated world, and that our nation’s military should not and cannot lay down its arms and leave the American people vulnerable to terrorist attack.”But to claim that Dr King would be pro-war today is as likely as him being pro-segregation. After all, this is the Dr King who said, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defence than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” And this is the same Dr King who said in his speech on 4 April 1967 (a speech that turned three quarters of American public opinion against him), “To me the relationship of the ministry [of Jesus Christ] to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I’m speaking against the war.” And this is the same Dr King who said, the night before he was murdered on 4 April 1968, “It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence.”
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 3 years 20 weeks ago
"I had no idea Martin Luther King was a radical!" These shocked words were spoken to me this weekend after an activist training I'd been running in Sydney. I had the privilege to be part of the Make Poverty History "action lab" -- a "teach-in" for 15 young anti-poverty activists chosen from each state of Australia.
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 3 years 35 weeks ago
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 3 years 43 weeks ago
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Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 6 weeks ago
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 16 weeks ago
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 18 weeks ago
This video clip by The Work of The People is going to upset a lot of people.
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 19 weeks ago
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 21 weeks ago
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Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 32 weeks ago
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 32 weeks ago
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Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 36 weeks ago
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 36 weeks ago
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 36 weeks ago
Many would have read reports of Rowan Williams wonderful sermon in Copenhagen. Below are some of my favorite quotes. What some may have missed is this fantastic talk he gave. ...
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 37 weeks ago
This is analogous to the indulgences that the Catholic Church sold in the middle ages. The bishops collected lots of money and the sinners got redemption. Both parties liked that arrangement despite its absurdity. That is exactly what's happening...
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 37 weeks ago
Ok, so if Amos was to show up today and deliver his poetic-prophetix in the body of a skinny, pale spectacled, over educated English environmental analyst, he might look something like the amazing Danny Chivers. ...
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 37 weeks ago
This clip is one of my favorites. This is from an awesome mob called "smartMeme" a collective that share much in common with "The Change Agency" who I do some facilitating for in Australia. If I was living in the States this is definitely a group I would be working with and learning from. ...
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 38 weeks ago
This clip comes from a fantastic collective who are putting into practice Gandhi's words "under certain circumstances, fasting is [a] weapon God has given us for use in times of utter helplessness." ...
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 38 weeks ago
Unlike the other clips we've been showing in this "countdown to COP15" this one EPYC hasn't shown in workshops but is often mentioned by students. It comes from a science teacher named Greg Craven ...
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 38 weeks ago
This video features three heroes of mine and courageous Christian leaders, Desmond Tutu, Wangari Maathai and Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, talking about the importance of climate justice for the poorest of the poor right across the continent of Africa.
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 38 weeks ago
This clip gave an Aussie kid like me who grew up on Midnight Oil goose bumps (embarrassingly I cried despite the cringe factor) and was very popular with students in our workshops because of the big name stars. ...
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 38 weeks ago
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 41 weeks ago
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 4 years 41 weeks ago
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 5 years 15 weeks ago
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 5 years 17 weeks ago
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 6 years 3 days ago
It was only last month that Sydney newspaper The Herald Sun's Faithworks blog carried a post with this paragraph: There is an amazing moment on the latest Hillsong DVD, This Is Our [...]
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 6 years 3 weeks ago
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 6 years 15 weeks ago
If you thought socially conscious music in the mainstream was a thing of the past, turn your ears to what Australia is listening to. A song about justice and reconciliation in Australia was the highest new entry in the charts two weeks ago - starting out at #2 on the Australian charts and #2 after Madonna on the digital track charts - and remains in the top 50. As The New York Times reported:
Posted by Jarrod McKenna 6 years 27 weeks ago
Black and white, we waited like I had waited in the mosh pit for Rage Against the Machine two weeks earlier. Yet the main feature on this day, a day that so many had been waiting for, working for, praying for, was just one word: "Sorry." Matty is one of the many awesome kids in our neighbourhood who don't mind that we are white and often hang out at our houses. As one kid put it, "it's not [...]