“The hope which may sustain us in the aftermath of Auschwitz, Hiroshima, and Chernobyl is hope grounded in the harsh and harrowing knowledge that the only love able to triumph over those excrescences of wickedness and folly is the love that bows to their occurrence and makes itself their victim.”—Alan Lewis, “Between Cross & Resurrection: A Theology of Holy Saturday”
“'roasters have no interest in spreading the culture of origins because they want to defend their brands. They do no want consumers to identify coffee as Kenyan, but as Lavazza.' Given this situation, attempts by developing countries to add value to their coffees through higher-quality offerings and geographical appellations have limited prospects of success.”—Benoit Daviron and Stefano Ponte, The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade, and the Elusive Promise of Development
“Divided, set against each other, body and soul drive each other to extremes of misapprehension and folly. Nothing could be more absurd than to despise the body and yet yearn for its resurrection.”—Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace
“What value and respect do we give to our bodies? What uses do we have for them? What relation do we see, if any, between body and mind, or body and soul? … . These are religious questions, obviously, for our bodies are part of the Creation, and they involve us in all the issues of mystery. But the questions are also agricultural for no matter how urban our life, our bodies live by farming; we come from the earth and return to it, and so we live in agriculture as we live in flesh. While we live our bodies are moving particles of the earth, joined inextricably both to the soil and to the bodies of other living creatures. It is hardly surprising, then, that there should be some profound resemblances between our treatment of our bodies and our treatment of the earth.”—Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace
“White America embraced Thanksgiving because a majority of that population glories in the fruits, if not the unpleasant details, of genocide and slavery and feels, on the whole, good about their heritage: a cornucopia of privilege and national power. Children are taught to identify with the good fortune of the Pilgrims. It does not much matter that the Native American and African holocausts that flowed from the feast at Plymouth are hidden from the children’s version of the story – kids learn soon enough that Indians were made scarce and Africans became enslaved. But they will also never forget the core message of the holiday: that the Pilgrims were good people, who could not have purposely set such evil in motion. Just as the first Thanksgivings marked the consolidation of the English toehold in what became the United States, the core ideological content of the holiday serves to validate all that has since occurred on these shores – a national consecration of the unspeakable, a balm and benediction for the victors, a blessing of the fruits of murder and kidnapping, and an implicit obligation to continue the seamless historical project in the present day.”—The End of American Thanksgivings: A Cause for Universal Rejoicing (via azspot)
“…calls for a new species of theologians, for venturers upon the turbulent seas of a perilous "perhaps," equipped only with the thinnest of protection, like a sheep amid wolves, theologians of risk, whose subject matter is the irreducible danger of life.”—
John Caputo, “The Insistence of God: A Theology of Perhaps”
These days, it seems, I read everything through the lens of After Trade.
Friends, Steven and I have been working hard behind the scenes on our website for After Trade. We’re now far enough along that we’re able to share it with all of you. We will be updating this site regularly once we’re living in Tanzania, so if you want to keep up with us, be sure to bookmark the site. There are a few more minor adjustments that we will be working on, but in the meantime, check it out, share it with your friends, and let us know what you think!
“For I have turned aside from much that I knew, and have given up much that went before. What will not bring me, more certainly than before, to where I am is of no use to me. I have stepped out of the clearing into the woods. I have thrown away my lantern, and I can see the dark.”—Wendell Berry, “The Art of the Commonplace”
While a handful of you already know and have known for quite some time, many more of you have been asking as to what our next steps will be. Over the weekend we were able to confirm a lot of loose ends that we have been waiting on. We’re now ready to make public our plans and can hardly wait to do so: we’re moving to Moshi, Tanzania!
Some of you may recall that in pursuing my masters degree, I researched and wrote on the coffee industry, further developing plans that Steven and I had been working on over the past three years. Initially we thought this would lead us to open a coffee shop where we would roast and serve coffee, but also enable us to make source trips to the farms we partner with, where we would begin to implement our hope for doing business differently and finally see justice where previous attempts have not gone far enough. Our research took us deeper than we ever could have imagined and we soon realized that perhaps our plans to open a coffee shop did not go far enough either. We soon found ourselves too invested. We care too much now to not make a better attempt for seeing justice in the coffee industry. Coffee is one of the most traded commodities in the world, yet the 125 million farmers, laborers, and families who are dependent upon this industry for their own subsistence are hardly surviving. So rather than opening up a coffee shop, we’re moving to Tanzania where we will be doing quite the opposite: establishing relationships and getting our hands dirty doing the hard labor of cultivating the land that yields coffee alongside farmers and their families. The concept that we have developed to describe this work is consciously titled After Trade. After Trade is a new form of sourcing that moves beyond the trade of coffee and toward reconciliation between farmers, roasters, coffee, and the land, through practices of solidarity and sustainability. For more on After Trade, click here.
We are also excited to announce that we will be partnering with EITanzania, a humanitarian not-for-profit NGO located in Moshi,Tanzania. Through EIT, we will be creating and assisting with sustainable development projects among locals such as poultry farming, crop farming, small business creation, and working with local street tailors. In many ways, our work with EIT and After Trade will overlap as our heart in both is for sustainability; that is, bringing change that does not simply improve the quality of life for a single family or village, but improve the quality of life for the Tanzanian people for generations to come.
We deeply believe that our theology works itself out through praxis. The two go hand-in-hand. For us, After Trade and our work with EIT is part theology and part praxis. Which is to say, the work we will be doing isn’t so much humanitarian as it is spiritual.
Our anticipated departure is Spring 2014. We will be fundraising to cover the expenses of sustainable development projects, upfront moving costs, and our livelihood in Tanzania. We will be looking for places to speak and share our heart for the change we hope to be part of in Tanzania, so if anyone has connections let us know. We will be sharing at Ekklesia in Royston, GA on Sunday, Nov. 17th, if anyone is in the area and wants to join. That being said, we thank you in advance for your support and prayers on our behalf over the next several months!
“If Christian believed in the immortality of the soul and the wretchedness of human bodies, the tomb on Easter morning would not have been empty—because Jesus’ body would have remained and only his soul ascended.”—Norman Wirzba, Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation
“Jesus’ miracles are not, as modern deists suppose, an “interruption” of the laws governing a body’s life; rather, they are the body’s liberation into wholeness. From a Christian point of view, there can be no Socratic-like hatred of bodies. Rather than seeking an escape from our bodies, we must hope and invest in their healing, reconciliation and redemption.”—Norman Wirzba, Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation
“This dualistic way of thinking, however, all but inevitably leads to placing our hope in the immortality of the soul. This teaching says that when we die, our souls separate from our bodies… . Socratic thinking about bodies has been attractive to Christians for a long time. It is, however, a profoundly anti-Christian way of understanding the world. Why? Because it denies the goodness and beauty of the material world that God so deeply and forever loves. It denies the incarnation of God in the body of Jesus Christ. Thus it falls prey to one of the many gnostic heresies that have either disdained or denied or simply been suspicious of Christ’s fleshly life. It denies the Christian hope in the resurrection of the body. It denies John’s vision of a new heaven and a new earth in which God’s holy city descends to earth because “the home of God is among mortals” (Rev. 21:3).”—Norman Wirzba, Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation
“Today’s church suffers from a reconciliation deficit disorder. The cause of this disorder is an impoverished imagination. As Christians, we have a hard time imagining that God desires all creatures—human and nonhuman, living and nonliving—to be reconciled with each other and with God. For a variety of reasons, we have come to think that God cares primarily, perhaps only, about us.”—Norman Wirzba, Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation