Episode Transcription available here
Host: Ry O. Siggelkow
Producer: Adam Pfuhl
Podcast Engineer: Michael Moua
Music: Kavyesh Kaviraj
Ry Siggelkow [00:00:01] You're listening to the podcast of the Leadership Center for Social Justice at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. We seek to open a space for critical theological conversations about pressing social issues we face in our world today. Thanks for listening.
Ry Siggelkow [00:00:24] At the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic, the Cameroonian intellectual, Achille Mbembe, called for a commitment to the "universal right to breathe". "Before this virus", Mbembe said "humanity was already threatened with suffocation". The many wars on life we witness today all begin by taking away breath. It is perhaps the struggle for breath that best characterizes our present- heard in the last words of Eric Garner and George Floyd, and from millions across the globe whose lives were prematurely extinguished by the viral attack on the respiratory tract. "To come through this constriction," Mbembe went on to say, "would mean that we conceive of breathing beyond its purely biological aspect and instead as that which we hold in common that which by definition eludes all calculation, by which I mean the universal right to breathe". This is a theological claim. And the practice of critical reflection on the struggle for breath is a form of theological work. My name is Ry Siggelkow and I am your host and the director of the Leadership Center for Social Justice at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. In this introductory episode to our center's podcast, I want to share a bit about what content you can expect to hear from us, as well as some of the ideas that have gone into shaping its beginnings. The Leadership Center for Social Justice offers a nine month continuing education program for pastors, a program framed by the practical, theological work of sensing that is using our senses as a way of attending to the material realities of the present. And discerning that is making concrete judgments about where breath and life are emerging and where breath and life are under threat. Our program also supports pastors in the individual and collective work of committing and building contextual ministries for social justice in their communities. Our podcast seeks to open a space for critical theological conversations about pressing social issues we face in our world today. These conversations are intended for faith leaders and ministers in our program and in the community more broadly and for any and everyone committed to social justice. Toward this end, our episodes host leading scholars and agents of social change from across the globe who are analyzing and confronting racism, nationalism, militarism, economic exploitation and ecological degradation. We hope that our listeners will join us in the practical, theological work of sensing and discerning struggles for breath and struggles for life in our present. There are people all over the world bearing witness to alternative ways of living, to modes of life that are grounded in relationships of care, mutuality, compassion, sharing things in common, solidarity and welcome, mercy and justice. Wherever these gifts of the Spirit are lived, there is the God of life. We hope you enjoy the Leadership Center for Social Justice podcast. Thanks so much for listening.
Stella Pearce [00:04:43] Thank you for listening to the Leadership Center for Social Justice Podcast. To learn more about the center and its programs, visit unitedseminary.edu/lcsj or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at united_lcsj.