The Flood
Issue 3

Image by Joel Rosenburg

Issue 3

Letter from the Editors

2019-06-02

The earth has inscribed itself on every form of life, in a diversity of genes and cultures – expressions of survival – shaped over countless generations. Tragically, the record numbers of people being forcibly displaced from familiar lands means that both biological and cultural diversity are increasingly being lost...

Those Who Die Never Really Die

Silvia Federici in her Brooklyn apartment. Photo courtesy of the authors.

Those Who Die Never Really Die

A Conversation with Silvia Federici

By Nathan Albright \ Katrina Albright \ 2019-06-02

"Now I am here on this earth and I know of them who died in a dungeon, who died burnt alive, and I want to be their voice. I want to do whatever I can to tell their story..."

Away from Apartheid

Fr. Berrigan speaking in 1966 at the first Meal of Reconciliation at St. Mark’s on the Bowery in Manhattan. Photo by Jim Forest.

Away from Apartheid

A Previously Unreleased Letter from Fr. Daniel Berrigan

By Eric Martin \ 2019-06-02

Your Excellency:
I am addressing you in regard to Mr. John Harris, condemned to death last November for sabotage activities in which he had engaged in protest against government racial policies in your country...

Solidarity After The Coup

Women from the feminist organization The Center for Women’s Studies -- Honduras (pictured above) have been a significant force in the post-coup resistance. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Solidarity After The Coup

A Review of Dana Frank's The Long Honduran Night

By Joe Parziale \ 2019-06-02

Frank’s is ultimately a hopeful story, however, for the coup unleashed a broad nonviolent resistance that even the bullets and clubs of the security forces have been unable to contain...

Can Christianity Survive Its Cathedrals?

Jean Fouquet, from The Right Hand of God Protecting the Faithful Against the Demons, cropped. Image Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Can Christianity Survive Its Cathedrals?

Reflections on the Notre Dame Fire

By Colleen Shaddox \ 2019-06-02

“Maybe it’s a sign,” I thought, as Notre Dame burned.  I question whether the Roman Catholic Church, my church, should associate itself with such things while there are people without a safe place to call home...

No Trespassing

Catholic Workers occupying the Enbridge pipe yard storage facility, April 2018; Image courtesy of fournecessity.org

No Trespassing

A Profile of the Four Necessity Valve Turners

By Jeannine M. Pitas \ 2019-06-02

"If there is a building on fire with a child trapped inside, but outside the building there's a 'no trespassing' sign, anyone in their right mind would go in to save the child..."
Cultivating Memory

A friend of the author posts pictures of her garden to social media. The chili plants the gardener grows in the US remind her of her father living in a refugee camp. Image courtesy of the author.

Cultivating Memory

The Politics and Poetics of Gardening in Exile

By Terese V. Gagnon \ 2019-06-02

In the context of this large-scale dispossession and violent ruptures of home and community, I ask: how do Karen forced migrants hold on to aspects of identity and collective memory through engagements with food and plants?

From Violence to Violence

The author (right) performing a wedding with other clergy members in Tijuana. Photo courtesy of the author.

From Violence to Violence

Accompanying Asylum Seekers at the US Border

By Reverend Smash \ 2019-06-02

“I am afraid for my life and I want to seek asylum,” said one of the boys, the group-appointed leader...

home/land

Clare Island, Co. Mayo, Ireland. Photo courtesy of the author.

home/land

A Meditation on Nativity and Globalization

By Megan Townsend \ 2019-06-02

If we cannot look around us and see, or remember, how the land has always taken care of us, then what duty do we feel to protect it?

Vows of Passionate Witness

Sister Rhonda Miska (left) and Sister Alison McCrary (right) are part of a new generation of Catholic Sisters devoting their lives to social justice. Left photo courtesy of Jacky Romo, right photo courtesy of the author.

Vows of Passionate Witness

A Profile of Two Young Catholic Sisters

By Jeannine M. Pitas \ 2019-06-02

"But for me, the vows I've taken are much more about saying 'yes' to things than 'no.' Every 'yes' we say requires a 'no.' I am saying 'yes' to service to all, to loving everyone. It's a daily 'yes' that I say...”
Well Founded Fears

Children look at a memorial for the victims of atrocities carried out by the Guatemalan Army in and around the village of Rio Negro. Photo courtesy of Renata Avila, Flickr.

Well Founded Fears

The New York Times and the War on Central America

By Joe Parziale \ 2019-06-02

One rarely reads in the New York Times’ news columns or editorials about the United States’ singular role in making the Northern Triangle the most violent place on earth, notably in its sponsorship of highly lethal counterinsurgency efforts during the 1980s...

Paying for Inaction

Exxon's offshore oil platform “Troll,” the world's largest freestanding concrete structure (pictured above), was specially designed to withstand extreme weather. At the time of its construction, Exxon was funnelling millions of dollars into campaigns to deny global warming. Image courtesy of creative commons.

Paying for Inaction

A Brief History of Fossil Fuel PR and Global Warming

By Nathan Albright \ 2019-06-02

These pseudo-scientific industry front groups hired a "tiny group of dissenting scientists" who despite little to no legitimate connection to climate change research were invited to speak at congressional hearings and were subsequently quoted in nearly all mass media coverage of global warming for over a decade...

Issue 2

Image by Joel Rosenburg

Issue 2

Letter from the Editors

2018-10-13

"Capitalism was the counter-revolution that destroyed the possibilities that had emerged from the anti-feudal struggle—possibilities which, if realized, might have spared us the immense destruction of lives and the natural environment that has marked the advance of capitalist relations worldwide. This much must be stressed, for the belief that capitalism ‘evolved’ from feudalism and represents a higher form of social life has not yet been dispelled."

- Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch

David McReynolds: Religious Atheist

David and his cat Shaman in their Lower East Side apartment.

David McReynolds: Religious Atheist

Life Reflections from the Late Peace Activist

By Nathan Albright \ 2018-10-13

“Okay, who wants to start?” says the voice of David McReynolds to a pitch black room. Someone volunteers, fumbles in the dark, lights a candle and begins, “a person who knew me all my life died in January...”

Rise of the Serpent Cult

Illustration by David A. Hoskins

Rise of the Serpent Cult

And Other Dispatches from the Prison Industrial Complex

By David A. Hoskins \ Corey Matthews \ 2018-10-13

Signs and symbols have preoccupied my last ten years of my prison term.

Ecstasy In Evil

Image courtesy of Nuclearactive.org

Ecstasy In Evil

The Aftermath of the Tularosa Nuclear Test

By Eric Martin \ 2018-10-13

The bomb was an event, it seems, so powerful that one could only comprehend it theologically, and those dancing with joy also invoked God, though with a different lens. “It was like being witness to the Second Coming of Christ!” exclaimed one. “If the first man could have been present when God said ‘Let there be Light,’ he might have seen something very similar to what we have seen.”

On Religious Pluralism

Sister Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ

On Religious Pluralism

An Interview with Sister Elizabeth Johnson

By Megan Townsend \ 2018-10-13

All of these ideas existed about no salvation outside of the Church, and it was hierarchical, and patriarchal, and focused on empire. So Jesus of Nazareth crucified as King of the Jews, risen from the dead by the power of the spirit God, became the emperor of the world religions, in an oppressive way.

Stranger Subjects

Photo by Jonah Galeota-Sprung

Stranger Subjects

An Interview with Glenn Wallis

By Jonah Sprung \ Andrew Blevins \ 2018-10-13

He says that the Buddhist dukkha explains this human Real—that it points in the direction of the Real. What Laruelle would say is, it's the other way around. Lacan and Freud, for Laruelle, ultimately do this same thing. They start making excursions into this Real, explaining what it is, identifying it and so forth. But for Laruelle, the Real is foreclosed to systems of thought, and it's also unilateral. The Real of human existence—or in this case, the Real of pain—has created the Buddhist notion of dukkha.

Heavy Rains Came

Image by Joel Rosenburg

Heavy Rains Came

An Audio Collection of Flood Myths

By Tyler Hill \ 2018-10-13

In response to The Flood Issue 1, audio producer Tyler Hill assembles a collage of flood myths from around the world.

Extreme, Lonely Cities

Image courtesy of Verso Books

Extreme, Lonely Cities

A Dual Book Review

By Nathan Albright \ 2018-10-13

The same powerful forces of alienation that Laing articulates in The Lonely City are responsible for the ecological crisis we find ourselves in, but they’re not the only way and they never have been. Most importantly, the crisis that we now face is forcing us to see this more clearly.

Believing the Strangest Things

David Bowie performing in Milan in 1999. Photo by Fabio Diena/Shutterstock.com

Believing the Strangest Things

The Elusive Spirituality of David Bowie (Pt. 1 of 3)

By Joe Parziale \ 2018-10-13

I was young, fancy-free…Tibetan Buddhism appealed to me at that time, and I thought, ‘There’s salvation.’ And it didn’t really work. Then I went through Nietzsche, Satanism, Christianity – pottery. And then I ended up singing. It’s been a long road.”

Believing the Strangest Things

Bowie performing as the Thin White Duke in Toronto, February 1976. Photo by Jean-Luc Ourlin

Believing the Strangest Things

The Elusive Spirituality of David Bowie (Pt. 2 of 3)

By Joe Parziale \ 2018-10-13

But preserving his bodily fluids was the least of his intrigues, for the pop star was indeed lumbering towards death.

Issue 1

Image by Joel Rosenburg

Issue 1

Letter from The Editors

2017-10-13

“All religions, perhaps, began as crisis cults, the response of society to problems the contemporary culture failed to solve.”

-Weston LeBarre

When we started planning our first issue of The Flood, the barrage of natural disasters that marked the summer of 2017 had not yet begun. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, and Maria (among others) which devastated the Caribbean and Gulf Coast, record flooding across Southeast Asia that left a third of Bangladesh underwater, and some of the largest forest fires in US history on the West Coast were not yet on our minds. But from the beginning we’ve been...

Sacred Ground

Sacred Ground

A Photo Essay from Standing Rock

By Jake Ures \ 2017-10-13

Ha’ Olam Haba

Photo by Gili Getz

Ha’ Olam Haba

A Spiritual Journey to Jewish Resistance

By Jacob Friedman \ 2017-10-13

Like many American Jews, the only time I’ve been to Israel was on Birthright, a ten-day program meant to build a connection between the State of Israel and Jews in the diaspora. The program is free for participants, who are all Jewish and aged 18-26, and is sponsored by the Israeli government, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, and others.

Still, it is difficult to overstate the role that the State of Israel plays in American Jewish communal life. My childhood synagogue in Omaha, Nebraska celebrated Israeli Independence Day as if it were our own. We moved to Yardley, Pennsylvania a week...

Whiteness, Myth, and Masculinity

Photo credit: Anthony Crider https://www.flickr.com/photos/acrider/35780272714/

Whiteness, Myth, and Masculinity

Spiritual Fragments from Charlottesville

By Eric Martin \ 2017-10-13

The voice of Malcolm X sounded from above, unmistakable in its anger. Thrown off balance, I looked up and saw two speakers atop a three-story building overlooking the chaos. The silhouette between them gazed down on me in my priestly stole and flashed me the peace sign as I walked by. I waved back as the voice became James Baldwin’s, and I wondered how many of the white supremacists on the streets recognized the sound of black resistance invisibly subverting their nationalism in real time. Their battle gear turned for a moment into what it was: makeshift wooden boards and...

Magis

Photo by Reyna Wang

Magis

A Challenge To Jesuit Universities

By Megan Townsend \ 2017-10-13

Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous. When I hear this opening line to St. Ignatius’s prayer, said in unison with my community of students at Fordham University, I question what it means for us to be generous. Prayer and scripture require interpretation based on the times and the ever-changing situation. What does it mean, coming from a Church of the powerful, to ask for mercy? What does it mean for us to learn the gift of generosity? To give and not to count the cost. It seems to be harder for the wealthy to give without counting the cost....

A Thorn in Cardinal Dolan’s Side

Photo by Janice Sevre-Duszynska

A Thorn in Cardinal Dolan’s Side

A Call for Sanctuary in Catholic Churches

By Joe Parziale \ 2017-10-13

On a sweltering, soggy day in mid-August, Felix Cepeda sat at the end of his chair outside Holyrood Episcopal Church in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, donning a black t-shirt with an imprint of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X shaking hands. Two days earlier, just inside the church, a woman from Guatemala named Amanda Morales became the first undocumented immigrant in New York City to publicly announce that she’d be taking sanctuary from deportation inside a house of worship. Morales’ plight prompted Cepeda, 36, to reflect on his often-solitary existence as a full-time Catholic activist and former...

Love by Sacrifice

St. Agnes and Female Saint by Anonymous (From The Met Archives)

Love by Sacrifice

Competing Perspectives on Moral Living

By Jeannine M. Pitas \ 2017-10-13

What does it mean to be a good person? This question has been with humans since antiquity, and it has been with me since early childhood...

Not Cease from Mental Fight

William Blake's Jerusalem

Not Cease from Mental Fight

William Blake and the Question of Agency

By Jonathan Murden \ 2017-10-13

Youth of delight! come hither
And see the opening morn,
Image of Truth new-born.

Creative and unorthodox, William Blake has often been associated with the radical potential of Christianity. Drawing on the prophets of the Old Testament, Blake’s writings are full of bold and dramatic symbolism, targeting both priest and king, and describing an alternative vision of reality in accordance with what he saw as the spiritual demand for justice and liberty.

Although in death he has been widely applauded as a genius – whether by artists like Patti Smith or Paul Nash, or political thinkers like E....

Sharks as a Symbol of God

Sharks as a Symbol of God

None

By Megan Townsend \ 2017-10-13

For most of my life, I have been afraid of sharks and I have been afraid of God. My mother and my grandmother are both strict Irish Catholics who are so afraid of sharks that they will not swim in the ocean. As a child in Catholic school, I learned of the gift of the Holy Spirit known as wonder and awe, or fear of the Lord. This split in language and meaning would come to define my relationship with God (and therefore all of the living world)...

On The Way To Standing Rock

Photo from the National Archives | General Sherman and representatives of the Lakota and Dakota tribes meet at Fort Laramie, Wyoming to sign the treaty of 1868

On The Way To Standing Rock

History and Context of the NoDAPL Movement (Part 1 of a 3-part essay)

By Nathan Albright \ 2017-10-13

By the time we made it through Chicago everyone else had fallen asleep. Seven of us, loosely connected through a number of Catholic Worker houses of hospitality on the East Coast, had set out from Manhattan earlier that day for the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. We traveled along the Rust Belt, driving through counties that, less than a week ago, had played a pivotal role in the presidential election. All day long our conversations had found their way back to this topic, to our shared sense of dread and uncertainty for the immediate future. Nothing really felt...

Prayer on the Frontline

Photo by Elizabeth Culbertson

Prayer on the Frontline

Direct Action at Standing Rock (Part 2 of a 3-part essay)

By Nathan Albright \ 2017-10-13

We stood linked in a chain, about 30 people across, facing three bulldozers that sat on a dirt path directly on top of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Only a day earlier I had driven out to Standing Rock with a small group of Catholic Workers from the East Coast...

Oil Is Life

Discovery of America by Jan van der Straet (from the Metropolitan Museum of Art) | Amerigo Vespucci wakes a Native American woman and names her America

Oil Is Life

Settler-Colonialism and The Death of Nature (Part 3 of a 3-part essay)

By Nathan Albright \ 2017-10-13

My hands were shaking from the cold, sloshing antifreeze on the asphalt as I tried to pour it into our radiator with a homemade funnel. My friend Jesse had offered to drive me from Chicago to my parents’ house in Ohio as I made my way back from a short but powerful trip to Standing Rock...