The Flood
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

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...