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Disappointment and Reality at a Bay Area Church

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I'm not sure if I should write about this publicly but I feel as if, if I don't, illusions will just continue.

For the last few years, I've been immersed in liberation theology. For me, the liberation theology material I listened to on podcasts like the Creighton University series weren't even anything theological - what Gustavo Gutierrez was saying was basically Marxist structural analysis taken on a much more intimate, day to day level. He illustrated how structures create poverty in contexts much more institutional than that of nineteenth century Germany. His work with Paul Farmer is an excellent readout of the material realities of our modern world. 

The liberation theology stuff naturally led to an affinity for Oscar Romero, Dorothy Day and the like. I started attending Saint Columba Catholic Church in hopes of finding a community surrounding it. The church literally has portraits of both on it…

Insane Comment About JC Lee

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My interview with JC Lee, Stan Lee's daughter, for the Bay City Beacon illicited an insane comment:
"JC Lee did this interview about her feelings towards Marvel and her father's comic books. It is an odd interview in which she alleges Marvel's movies are gratuitous and violent. Marvel took her own father's comic books and created movies so is she saying her father writes gratuitous and violent comic books?She stated that her father started something and she is going to continue it. Continue what JC? Your father's comic books didn't promote diversity or peace. Those people you are talking about as being greedy must include your father since he is one of the most greedy and dishonest men that I have ever investigated. I hope that one day the truth comes out about your dad. Come on JC, I have spoken to you on the phone many times and I just can't visualize you writing about anything peac…

Fr. Pontifex - Invasion of the Light

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Coming Soon - Radical Second Things Volume 3

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I am currently preparing the third issue of Radical Second Things.

Each print issue of this magazine has been a bit of a learning experience. The first was just really about getting my late wife Jennifer Reimer's "Girl X" in to print. The second incorporated my collaborative work with Jordan Denato - "Stars of Courage" - in to print. In addition, I tried out different programs and ways of putting together Radical Second Things with each issue.

The third issue will continue with Jordan's art, although we are going a bit further than just artistic portraits of Daniel Barrigan or Martin Luther King Jr. and diving in to real Catholic material. I am in the process of RCIA initiation at Saint Columba Catholic Church and want to communicate the process effectively to my readers.

Opening for the Bay Area Book Festival, a Berkeley …

Liberating and Re-Branding

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For the last few years, I have been lethargic. I am just being honest about it. Perhaps not a total bum - I did volunteer work at charities or organizations like Tikkun, intentionally avoiding anything really professional, along with freelance jobs that were irregular in pay. I skated by and even figured out an elaborate system for myself to make it functional. The closest to a regular job I had was doing transcriptions for Rev, an Uber like transcription company based out of San Francisco.

Then over the last year, someone came in to my life that messed that up. Ignoring all excuses, she reminded me repeatedly that I was basically being a bum without using that word and also saying how intelligent I was and how many skills I knew about. I responded very badly when initially met with this and only got worse and worse as it went on - until I couldn'…

Moving Past Rejection

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So today I got this letter:

Dear Michael,
Thank you for your email. The editors have decided that your pitch is not suited to Commonweal at the moment. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider.Peace,Re***
I blurred out the letter writer's name for privacy reasons.
I've been published numerous places and currently have two freelance gigs, including a dream one with the Bay City Beacon, whose editor calls my work "beautiful" and says I "have my shit together." I don't take this personally although I would really like to have contributed to Commonweal. 
When I met the brilliant Catholic artist Stefan Salinas at the Bay Area Book Festival, he told me about how Ignatius Press had rejected, after a long process of having even contributed and created work for their publication, the book that became A Muslim Family's…

My friend Raphael Unpingco's Art!

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I have been friends with Raph Unpingco, an esteemed carpenter and renovation specialist, manager of a Chamorro Cultural Center and aspiring film set designer for some time now. He has a casual interest in art and art that many people wouldn't appreciate. He regularly posts about archeological finds, including art ranging from sculptures of Ghengis Khan in Mongolia to medieval artwork. Please check out his own recent art creation, the "J. M. Taotaomona tree:"




Stars Of Courage Digest

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Hello all,

This next month is a month where I'm going to be changing alot within my personal life for the better. As such, cleaning out my desktop is a huge part. I'm clearing out Jordan Denato's Stars of Courage series and putting it on a thumb drive and thought it would be a good excuse to post all the best art in one post so that people could appreciate it alone without going through all the original text. Here goes.













Learn About Guam

Note: I wrote this early in the morning - I am going to update it with links to news stories.

Guam, a small island 2,000 km. from the Phillipines that hosts 160,000 Americans, has been the talk of the world recently. North Korea has repeatedly threatened it with a strike and the threat level is at such a stage that the territory's government has issued a warning to its citizens about what to do in the response of a nuclear blast.

This isn't the first time this has occurred. The same scenario played out and defused early on in Barack Obama's second term. However, the danger is greater with the sort of reckless rhetoric that Trump is known for - with him and his administration threatening North Korea with "fire and fury" and "the destruction of its people." Like with Iraq, it's possible North Korea could be a problem that was simmering during a Democratic presidency and popped during a Republican one.

Guam, in the twenty first century, could have any …

Alienation is the Source of Misery

The worst thing that I know of in this life is alienation. I have experienced in periodically in my life and it is the scariest thing - the feeling that you don't know the people around you but that they nevertheless are calling the shots, that you are stuck, in danger or misunderstood. It puts really strange thoughts in to your head that seem embarrassing to repeat when understanding people are in your life but nevertheless seemed valid when you were alone and scared.
I come from Seattle, Washington - a city known for what is called "the Seattle freeze." The Seattle freeze is a social phenomenon in which Seattle social cliques are notoriously hard to break in to, with much of the population being stand offish and unapproachable. Growing up in a broken family with withdrawn family members compounded things - I really had to figure things out for myself. Often times, my questions literally were not met with answers at all, let alone bad or good ones.
Alienation will straigh…

Radical Second Things Teaming With Revolution Books!

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So I checked out of American politics. I went out and voted for Bernie Sanders but, like with George McGovern back in 1972, that hope was ultimately crushed and replaced with the Nixonian nightmare of Trump. I didn't vote in the general election and, given Trump's victory, I honestly thought about not participating for a while. This project was ultimately based on the inspiration of Pope Francis and the Latin American movement that propelled him forward - if it crossed in to US politics, that was coincidental.

Finding out about Saint Columba Catholic Church did get me a bit recharged, however - perhaps there really were people in the country who shared this message? Shortly after attending services there, I literally ran in to Cornel West while on the Berkeley campus. He didn't know me from Adam but after telling him it was very nice to s…

Coltrane - After the Rain

John Coltrane passed away 50 years ago - Dr. Cornel West honored his life by posting this song. I don't think they make music like this much anymore.

"I'm Not Worried About You" - Prepping for the Big Step

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In 2011, I experienced a brutal and horrible drug withdrawal. While travelling through southeast Asia, I went without SSRI and benzodiasepenes, which I was taking together in order to alleviate crippling anxiety. The process mentally was indescribable - in no small part because I don't fully remember it all. I remember a decent amount sure, which honestly felt pretty close to dying - whatever these drugs do leads to a very destructive feeling during withdrawal, but I wasn't conscious for all of it - it came to a head with me waking up in a hospital, being told of a fit that I had absolutely zero memory of.

When I woke up, I woke up to a Chamorro nurse telling me my "brother" was there. My brother of course was Erving, who had helped me survive hell by keeping me with him. He brought McDonald's, which I will admit has led…

Portions of Saint Columba's "Justice That Makes Peace Possible" Proposal

Today I attended mass at Saint Columba Catholic Church. For the parishioners, they provide a pamphlet called "The Justice That Makes Peace Possible: An Interfaith Proposal." SCCC seems to be a genuine liberation theology driven Catholic church in the heart of the Bay Area - the sort of congregation that I have hungered for for years.

I want people to see for themselves and to visit their website or, if they are in the area, the church for themselves. However, I really did enjoy parts of the proposal and want to share portions of it here. The text was originally written by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P. with the Interfaith Peace Project. Check it out:

1. We must become what we want the World to be. It is quite normal to have a vision for the World. We are often disappointed with the World around us and the people we meet and encounter. Sometimes we are angered by the misdeeds of others. The World situation can seem overwhelming. I come to realize what disturbs me. This upset can be…

Oakland's Liberation Theology Embracing Saint Columba Church

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Today, I actually got out of bed in the middle of the morning, as exhausted as I really was, got on the BART train and made it all the way to San Pablo, in North Oakland, to attend services at Saint Columba church. I found about the church from an online special about it. I would greatly like to interview someone at the church but until then, here is a feature with some of the pictures I took. Saint Columba has portraits of Cesar Chavez, Dorothy Day, Oscar Romero and a number of other radical Catholic figures that you wouldn't typically expect to be prominent in a major church. In addition to that, there is a black Jesus figure - an homage to its largely African American constituency.

Radical religious organizations aimed at African Americans aren't really a new thing but they usually are Baptist, Muslim, even Seventh Day Adventist or…

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About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

© 2017 Radical Second Things