Sunday, March 1, 2015

No Work Day in March


We will NOT be having work day in March.  Hope to see you all at our next work day on April 11th!
Allison, Jodi, Lonnie and Eric

Cherith Brook Catholic Worker
3308 E 12th St
Kansas City, MO 64127

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Roundtable This Friday

Please join us this Friday, February 20th, from 7-8:30 pm at the Cherith Brook cafe, for part two of a series of roundtable reflections on the challenges of Racism. 
Rev. Dr. Wallace Hartsfield will lead a conversation focused on myth-busting of common stereotypes about African-American culture and community. These stereotypes about black fathers, teens, and mothers often increase profiling and reinforce unjust systems of exclusion. 

Dr. Hartsfield is the pastor of Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church, and the Fred E. Young Chair of Hebrew Bible at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a leader in many of Kansas City's movements for non-violence, youth development, and racial and economic justice. Most recently, Dr. Hartsfield helped found KC Prayerful Response, a group of clergy that came together in response to the events of Ferguson, MO. 
Bring a friend, and come ready to listen and learn. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

No Work Day in January


We will NOT be having work day in January.  Hope to see you all at our February work day on February 14th!
Allison, Jodi, Lonnie and Eric

Cherith Brook Catholic Worker
3308 E 12th St
Kansas City, MO 64127

Thursday, December 11, 2014


We'd like to invite you to join us this Saturday. December 13, from 9 am to 1 pm for our monthly Work Day.   We will put you to work sorting clothes, cooking lunch, deep cleaning, doing maintenance, etc. Afterward, we will enjoy table fellowship together. Please RSVP as soon as possible so we can plan projects.  You can cal(816) 241-8047 or email at  We are located at 3308 E. 12th St. in KCMO.  

Just a reminder, we also have our roundtable this week on December 12 at 7  pm in the cafe featuring David May who is a Professor of New Testament at Central Baptist Theological Seminary.  He will be presenting an alternative Christmas narrative he is calling Politics in a Manger:  From Star to Straw.

Hope to see you all this weekend!
Allison, Jodi, Lonnie and Eric

Cherith Brook Catholic Worker
3308 E 12th St
Kansas City, MO 64127

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Cherith Brook Advent 2014

Our Advent 2014 paper is now online. Be sure to read it and let us know what you think.

Pregnant Time
By Eric Garbison
While in a dank Birmingham jail cell, Martin Luther King received a letter from a group of white, mainline clergy snug in their sanctuaries. “We recognize the natural impatience of people who feel that their hopes are slow in being realized” they wrote, “But we are convinced that these demonstrations are unwise and untimely.”
King was quick to reply (on toilet paper from his cell), “I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was ‘well-timed’ in the view of those who have not suffered unduly…For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ …this ‘Wait!’ has almost meant ‘Never.’  We must come and see…that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.’”
“Wait” is often the language and logic of injustice.  
The body of Michael Brown was left in the streets for 4 hours.  What were they waiting for?  And as of this writing, we are still waiting to see if St. Louis County Grand Jury or the Federal Government will indict the officer.  Will the case be tried?  If so, will it be moved out of the county to an impartial court room? Folks in Ferguson and the African American Community more broadly are tired of waiting for the end of racial profiling and fear of abuses by uniformed power.  
They’ve just built a new Taco Bell in our neighborhood, a fourth auto parts store, and a new McDonalds is almost completed.  Resources can be had for a Sprint Center, Kauffman Center, the Power and Light District, even for large centralized soup kitchen to feed hundreds of meals daily (and redirect the homeless away the downtown).  But Mike, Rick, Sandy and others, who all have regular incomes, are homeless, waiting for safe affordable housing; housing that is dignified is hard to get at $640 a month.  When will affordable housing be built? And not just in Kansas City neighborhoods but in neighborhoods but also in Liberty and Lee Summit, Olathe and Leawood.  
Greg Boertje-Obed is waiting in a Ft. Leavenworth prison cell.  He, Sr. Megan Rice and Mike Wallie made their way into the heart of the nuclear weapons at Oakridge TN, the “Fort Knox of uranium.”  As they waited there for the guards to come, they hammered on the walls of one of the greatest idols of our time.  “Repent! God’s kingdom is at hand!” was burned into the handle of their small sledge hammer.  These prophets are tired of waiting.  Would their symbolic action channel the end for which we wait?  (Their work was a confession of sin, of our own complicity in the illegal, immoral, yes, sinful us of nuclear weapons; and of our practical atheism—that we trust more in our technology than in the Creator of the Universe.) Unless his appeal is successful, Greg will be behind bars for four more years, waiting for justice.
One of the first Advent passages of this year comes from 2 Peter 3:8-13 The Lord isn’t slow to keep the Lord’s promise as some think of slowness…” It seems that, in the face of challenges and persecution, the first century Christians were getting impatient.  The promise was “new heaven AND a new earth where justice is at home.” And they were anxious for it to become a reality.  We too are weary as we wait for a new heaven AND new earth where nuclear weapons have been abolished, where safe affordable housing is available to the poor as well as the non-poor, where young black men will not only be safe and equal, but loved and welcomed for who they are and what they bring…a world where “justice is at home.”  
I wonder how the early Christians heard this.  Did it frustrate or disappoint them?  Or perhaps it sounded unjust? There is painful irony in reading these in a world where waiting is the polite speech of injustice.
We are not only frustrated by the Powers-That-Be, we are not only frustrated with our own collusion, we even get upset with God.  The psalmist knew this complaint, How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?” (13:1-2)
We have no choice but to be honest about this. (Doesn’t God prefer our honesty over piety?) We must wonder if Advent, the “season of waiting” is outmoded church language meant to keep us hanging on? Like the Market’s consumption of Christmas, is it meant to pacify us? Is it simply another form of dodging justice? Like the white clergy writing King, how often have we in the church masked our foot-dragging.  How often have we been custodians maintaining the status quo with a message of “Wait!”?   
Perhaps there is another angle to this?  Doug Harink suggests another way to understand what feels like God lingering needlessly: “The present time is never simply dead time or metered time, as a historicist would have it; it is time pregnant with the patience of God…We live not in a time of empty waiting.  We live in the fullness of time of God’s gracious patience—a time given to us in which to repent.  This is the time for the church…and the whole world… to wake up to the reality of the destruction that we bring upon ourselves, even seek out, through our sin and submission to the rebellious powers…”  
Christ’s birth reminds us that Christian waiting is not stagnant; it is pregnant. Time is pregnant with patience as Mary is pregnant with God’s Hope Incarnate.  Mary must see her pregnancy through the discomfort, the social shame, the poverty, the pain.  In all the limits of her youthfulness, low status and human body, Mary must wait.  She must wait through her social and personal reality, not bypass it.  Likewise, God will not beam Jesus down instantly from the heavens. Like Mary who trusts that God, “has pulled the powerful down from their thrones and lifted up the lowly,” (Luke 1:46-55) we too must trust that God’s favor rests on us. God will use our smallness for divine change.  Faith is not having all the facts or answers but trusting in spite of what on the surface looks hopeless.
If this is true, authentic waiting will not only contain the joy of the expectation, but also the heaviness of the child, the discomfort of a full pregnancy, the anxiety of responsibility, the fear of the unknown, the anger of deferred hope—we must never be comfortable in our waiting.
And there is another twist:  According to this early Christian, we deceive ourselves if we think it is largely we who are waiting! The Lord isn’t slow to keep his promise as some think of slowness,” we read, “but God is patient toward you, not wanting anyone to perish but all to change their hearts and lives.  Are we not testing God’s patience as well?  If God is exercising extreme patience toward us, mercy and not indifference or impotence is the reason for the delay. If we believe in human freedom and in the call to justice, we must affirm human agency for problems and solutions alike.
So, if God is waiting on us, the author follows up, “What sort of people ought we to be? We must live holy and godly lives, waiting for AND hastening the coming day of God.”  It is never waiting alone; it is always “waiting, and…”  For the author the time of “waiting” is simultaneously the time of “hastening” its arrival by “leading lives of holiness and godliness.”
This is why a life of nonviolence must be an life committed to prayer; and a life of prayer is shallow piety without active nonviolence, especially in a world of Racism, on the brink of mutual assured destruction and growing homelessness.  Waiting and hastening…they are one posture.  
Mark Bartholomew



Friday, August 15, 2014

Cherith Brook Ordinary Time 2014 Newspaper

Our Ordinary Time 2014 Newspaper is now online. Be sure to read it and let us know what you think.

Cherith Brook Ordinary Time 2014 Newspaper 

Have Salt In Yourselves

By  Theo Kayser

As we stood vigil outside of Whiteman Air Force Base on the final day of this years Trifecta Resista my mind kept returning to one thing, salt. “Nearly 70% of Afghan children face iodine deficiency. With iodine deficiency comes functional and developmental abnormalities. The solution is simple, iodized salt. And the cost? Only 5 cents per child per year. That’s compared to the 2.1 million it costs to keep one US soldier in Afghanistan for one year.” This was the message of the talk given the night before by long time peace activist Kathy Kelly. She could have just as easily compared the cost of iodized salt to the 16.9 million dollars it costs to build a new MQ-9 Reaper drone or the 2,500-3,500 dollars it costs per hour to fly one. Just to be clear, the money spent on one flight hour could cover the cost of a year’s supply of iodized salt for fifty to seventy thousand Afghan children. Later that morning Kelly was arrested with one other as she entered Whiteman in protest of US drone warfare controlled from that base.
    Salt. I thought about it more and more. Jesus told us to perform the works of mercy, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick etc. As Catholic Workers, we try to make those works the center of our every day lives. I guess there are some we take for granted, like giving salt to the saltless. Iodine isn’t something that people in wealthier nations think about very often but according to a UNICEF report on the lack of Iodine in Afghanistan, “Iodine deficiency is common in women, resulting in low birth weight, deafness, and cretinism in new-borns - lack of iodine is believed to contribute to a reduced IQ level of up to 15 points in some parts of Afghanistan.”
    That morning at Whiteman my musings on salt lead me beyond the plight of Afghan children. It reminded me of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the subsequent resulting treaties. They are most referred to by their acronyms, SALT 1 and SALT 2.  These 1970s era treaties were the first bilateral agreements between the United States and Soviet Union on the issue of nuclear arms control and the predecessors to the New START treaty in effect today. The terms of the New START treaty concern the reduction of nuclear capable launch facilities by half. This reduction in nuclear capabilities would seem to be a step in the direction of eliminating the threat of nuclear war but other actions taken by those in power would suggest that these weapons are here to stay.
    Just the day before, on the second stop of our Trifecta Resista we gathered outside the Banister Federal Complex, the home to the old Kansas City Plant. We were there to bear witness to the toxic mess being left by this factory that produced 85% of the non-nuclear materials for the United States nuclear bomb arsenal. The National Nuclear Security Administration has relocated the Kansas City Plant to a new location leaving behind contamination of chlorinated solvents, petroleum hydrocarbons, PCBs, and beryllium. The cost of the new plant is estimated at $673 million. For a country with a president who claims to desire a “world without nuclear weapons” that is a lot of money spent on the improvement of our nuclear weapons infrastructure, a lot of money that could buy a whole lot of salt.
    The other stop of our Trifecta was a visit to Ft. Levenworth, KS. It is there that Chelsea Manning and Greg Boertje-Obed are imprisoned. Anyone who has ever been in jail or prison will tell you that even salt is a treat when it comes to the food served there. These are two people who, as Jesus commanded, refused to lose their saltiness, even at great cost. Both have been imprisoned for revealing the lies we have been told about the way our military works.
    I knew that Jesus talked of being the “salt of the earth” and that he commanded us to “have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another” but didn’t realize until I looked it up that salt is mentioned 35 times in the Hebrew Scriptures and 6 more in the Christian. Salt was a symbol of the covenant with YHWH. It is a fitting parallel that our reliance on military prowess rather than on God is manifest in money spent on weapons rather than human needs such as iodized salt.
      Paul, writing to the Colossians from prison, mentions salt. He says, “pray for us, too, that God may open a door to us for the word, to speak of the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison, that I may make it clear, as I must speak… Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt.”
      When acts of war are orchestrated in your hometown but perpetrated half a world away the phrase “think globally and act locally” carries a whole new meaning. As the use of drones proliferates more and more bases are being converted to drone piloting centers. Thankfully, it seems that with every base that starts piloting drones there comes resistance. From Syracuse, NY and Las Vegas, NV to Des Moines, IA and Knob Noster, MO people are finding that they, like Paul, “must speak.” There are many that have even been arrested delivering copies of international law to and blocking the entrances of military bases as they attempt to (though they may not use the exact language) “make it clear” that the word of God (that is Love) does not permit the likes of drones. They are dedicated to non-violence but their message is certainly seasoned with salt.
    If we lose our saltiness, if we allow ourselves to just blend in with the mass of people and be complacent in war making we will, as the gospel says, only be “thrown out and trampled underfoot.” I pray for the sake of the children of Afghanistan and for the entire world that we may all learn to be salty.

Georgia Walker, Tamara  Severns & Kathy Kelly at  Whiteman AFB. Georgia & Kathy presented bread to the arresting officers

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

John Dear Public Lecture

April 3, 2014 at 6:00pm Simple Supper and John Dear & Panel of Local Activists
Challenging Us to Get Involved, Take Action, and Join Campaign Nonviolence KC!
Community Christian Church 4601 Main Street, KC MO  64112
Limited to 300 participants  RSVP to

John Dear is traveling the nation February through May 2014 promoting his new book The Nonviolent Life  and encouraging everyone to take part in Pace e Bene’s powerful new movement for nonviolent change—Campaign Nonviolence.
John’s new book The Nonviolent Life  focuses on three important aspects on the path toward becoming people of nonviolence: being nonviolent toward ourselves; being nonviolent to all others (including creation and creatures); and joining the global grassroots movement of nonviolence.  According to John, “most people pick one or two of these dimensions, but few do all three.  To become a fully rounded, three dimensional person of nonviolence we need to do all three simultaneously.”
In conjunction with his book tour, John will be promoting Pace e Bene’s Campaign Nonviolence which seeks to help everyone become three dimensional nonviolent practitioners.  Through a movement of education, action and networking, Campaign Nonviolence hopes to inspire others to continue the way of active nonviolence practiced by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. toward a world that works for all.
Co-Sponsored by:  Journey To New Life, Peace Works KC, MORE2: Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity, Holy Family Catholic Worker House, Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet-St Louis Province, American Friends Service Committee-KC, Loretto KC Peace & Justice Committee.