Updates from the Pacific School of Religion Delegation

Mar 27, 2014 | News


A few days ago we had a post (https://peacepresence.org/2014/03/24/pacific-school-of-religion-colombia-delegation/) with some updates on the Pacific School of Religion delegation. Here are some more from the last few days:

Day 4 (Barranquilla):

Never did I imagine that God would show me an answer to my prayer, while it is still going through the process of being worked out, before it is given to me/us. Today, I met a humble man of God who is writing his doctoral dissertation on the exact questions and belief I have known in my heart, for years, before ever stepping foot in California. Holding back tears, I thanked him for forming a social justice coalition and strong relationship with certain Latin American indigenous tribes for a great mission.
No, not to start a mission among them, but to fulfill a prophetic mission that I believe is necessary and key to our Radically Inclusive Love of Christ movement and fight for socio-economic justice. This man, who has been marked as a subversive enemy of the state, is asking important questions to a people who have received great wisdom from the God they walk with on a daily resistant life against trans-national corporations who want dominion over their natural resources and sacred land.

He is asking THEM for their insight, beliefs and views on “Faith, Resistance and Social Alternatives.” These biblically named “barbarians” are sharing their revelation, vision and perspective on matters only they know about, because they live and fight in the trenches against global empire, and are being used by God to help lead the church in our struggle for social/global transformation. Like Christ, I have believed for years that these indigenous people who have been a rejected entity must and would some day be brought to the table of decisions in order to “do greater things” than those who have come before us.

I thanked him. I thanked God for using PSR to make this experience possible. I got to see what God is doing for us theological change-makers (including the many alumni and most PSR students) in regards to answering our prayers. Thank you, Lord, for using vessels like this man to make sure that ALL people are brought to the table of decisions and guidance on discerning the times and the seasons of change.

We are now bracing ourselves for our visit with those in the front lines of struggle.

Day 5 (Barranquilla)


Yesterday was a heavier day for me. Really seeing the heart of the people serving the hurting of Columbia and seeing in their stories, voices, and faces the true struggle for dignity and freedom moved me. The most penetrating statement came with near tears as one of the leaders said when he needed Jesus as he sees, remembers the atrocities, and serves those that could have been him. “Jesus is my refuge”…shot straight to my core. I’d never felt such emotion so quickly and intensely. It was so powerful that in a way it shook me in the best of ways as I remembered all the ways that Jesus has been my refuge when I felt lonely and just wanted someone to see me in my struggle…

So this poem, is born out of a thought from yesterday on the kind of faith I want to have. A faith that could withstand and push me through a series of life circumstances that we are encountering here. The state of Arizona once endured a record 143 consecutive days without rain, and this is a prayer that I would have the faith that would allow the land of my heart to endure such a drought.

Faith Like Potatoes

I want to have faith like potatoes. That in drought and praying for rain type faith. That I’ve got some seeds, let’s get ready to plant them type faith. That go to work and till the ground as we wait for the rain we prayed for.

When it doesn’t rain for one hundred forty-three days, you see me still out working the fields on day one hundred forty-four. I want the faith that walks pews an prays over the empty seats like the rows tilled for harvest. The kind of faith that asks God to do the work on my heart that’s hard, hard surfaces more dry, cracked, and damaged than the driest desert land.

A faith that opens up my chest and hands God the shovel so He can cultivate the soil of my heart…the way He needs to. Pierce stone like dirt. Turn, flip, repeat. Dig, turn, flip, repeat. Dig, turn, flip, repeat. Dig, turn, flip –

Uproot the seeds of sin in my life that I like. The parts in me that I dug a hole for in the land of my heart as a safe hiding place. Parts that I don’t even remember putting there. Seeds that I definitely didn’t own, or put there, but somehow found their roots in my soul. Rejection, not good enough, “too good,” unworthy to be loved. Just dirty…

Unearth me Lord, turn my heart into good soil today. I want the faith to trust You as You dig, turn, flip, repeat until all that is unclean is gone. That faith that lets go of control knowing that that’s how I’m really holding onto You. Closing my eyes to walk in the light of truth. Trusting You enough to let You see the tears of my pain during those one hundred and forty-three days of work in a drought ridden field. I need the kind of faith that opens my ears. Open these gates just to hear You say on day one hundred and forty-four out on that same field on a sunny, cloudless day with no sign of rain,

“I’ve given you the rain that you needed. All of these days walking those rows, walking those aisles, walking those pews and praying. I was using those tears to water the crops you’ve been working…patiently waiting..and searching for.

Unlike any other crop, these potatoes need a little bit of salt. Your experience was needed to minister to them. Mira (Look) over here at the ones that are sprouting. Humility, Hope, Love, these kind of potatoes only come from a field that was worked without any rain and were watered by every tear that fell – even up to the one hundred forty-third day. This is why at times I only sent grief and pain. These were the tools I used, through your faith, to give you rain.”

By: Demitrius Burnett

Day 6 (Sincelejo and the Montes de Maria)

After our meeting with Mr. Esquivia I was inspired to read and share this text from Corinthians. I believe that it is necessary to approach the ministry of social justice from a perspective of love if we are to be agents of transformation. May the discipline of love guide or work and our will.


The Message (MSG)


13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Day 7 (Tamarindo)

God did not bulldoze Eden and replace it with a “Free Trade Zone”. God did not discover gold in order to mine God’s self. God never yelled,”Eureka!” God would never get rich off of God’s self at the expense of creation. God is expanse. God minds. God did not chop or uproot The Tree Of Life so that Eve would believe her farm would always be at-risk to be taken. God forced Eve to bloom. God does not evict, dispossess, displace or forcibly remove God’s people from God’s land. God places God’s self in your hands. You God’s landlord now.God has rights and can not be extracted. God is not an abstraction. God gets the land because God works the land. Dominion is God’s grace that you live off of. You don’t “have” dominion over nothin’.