After 12+ years of Sunday school lessons, wondering what this “good news” stuff is all about, in June, I walked into a concert at the Showbox and witnessed what the kingdom of God really looks like. It’s colorful. Surprising. And musically delightful.

The soul-piercing message was delivered from the pulpit by unlikely prophets: a Persian-American DJ (Sabzi) and a Filipino-American emcee (Geologic) of the local group The Blue Scholars. The rhythmic thesis of their homily was this: the time is now to redefine, reinvent, rebuild, and reshape the structures of power and oppression—in your neighborhood, in Seattle, wherever you are at. It’s about a reversal of what we usually define as strength. Basically, it’s the beatitudes[1] hip-hopified.

The concert at the Showbox was the launch party for Mass Line Media, an independent Seattle record label, whose mission is to spread the social gospel of service, peace, community education, and youth empowerment. A two-step forward in uniting artists in Seattle’s hip hop scene, the record label “rejects the notion of art for art’s sake, acknowledging that cultural arts is a hammer with which communities can reshape society.”[2]

And how is history and society reshaped? Person by person, neighborhood by neighborhood, through socially conscious cultural expression combined with local community development. As Wendell Berry—a Kentucky farmer, writer, and poet—claims, change is wrought “one forest, one acre…, one corpse, one wound at a time… The great problems call for many small solutions.”[3]

Society is reshaped through a unified uprising of ordinary people like you and me. Through an awakened attention of what’s happening in our local and global neighborhoods. And, as in this case, through a hip hop tent-revival.

Whether or not they intended to conjure up religiously prophetic language and images from the Islamic, Jewish and Christian traditions (they frequently criticize institutional religion), The Blue Scholars’ spiritually powerful metaphors weave thick strands throughout their lyrics, consummating in the musical spheres to create the potential for down-to-earth, corporate worship.

Heads and hands pulsing united to Sabzi’s rhythmic dexterity, the audience was transported with emcee Geologic, who “offers nothing but the uncertain promise [to] honestly pursue the crooked path of the conscious,”[4] first up to the infinite inkwell high above the city and then descending down under to the low places, to discover power reversals—the divine in unexpected locations:

The view from up is not enough
I dwell below to find the god that I rebuff…


…and I need
A brand new prayer to read
Seems the old ones grew tons of mold cuz they’re narrow as hell
Sometimes they be thinking that this heaven’s for sale
Worse than that, they still think God is a male
But Moms used to hang up pictures of white Jesus
Fist clutching rosary beads, over the years
I began to question this Father Almighty
Made in His image but don’t look nothing like me
But we be the children of the most high
Ghosts of the colonized lost in the time
Redesign, redefine what it meant to be divine
Knowing that She meant for me to rhyme[5]

There is something unmistakably prophetic about the group’s challenging messages. I did some brainstorming about what are the essential elements of a prophet, rummaging through an attic of dusty evangelical bible-lessons, and came up with at least two ingredients for prophetic eligibility.

First, prophets directly and relentlessly question the political and societal assumptions in a courageous yet hopeful way that allows for the possibility of change. Geologic takes up his pen to actively confront injustice in this way:

To sit back and rant is just misplaced anger
So I cradle pens from now until the fable ends[6]

Hurdling the fear of inquiry (even if the answers may be dark, hairy, scary, and difficult), the Scholars encourage their audience to shy away from the safety of passive acceptance. A modern contemplative, Thomas Merton, captured the danger of questioning in this way:

Now, anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity. It is the fruit of unanswered questions. But questions cannot go unanswered unless they first be asked. And there is a far worse anxiety, a far worse insecurity, which comes from being afraid to ask the right questions—because they might turn out to have no answer.

One of the moral diseases we communicate to one another in society comes from huddling together in the pale light of an insufficient answer to a question we are afraid to ask.[7]

But what is worse: to face the possibility of uncertainty—the silence of a question left lingering in the space of a vast unknown—or to sit, like paralytic Sponge-Bobs, saturated with the propaganda transmitted from “broken antennas [that] be on televisions…with our backs to the stockpile of weaponry enough to make the earth a memory?”[8] To improvise our poetry in the midst of chaos, or to be automatons mouthing others’ stale phrases?

In their unorthodox classroom, The Blue Scholars would teach you to live the questions now. “Perhaps then, someday far in the future,” says poet R.M. Rilke, “you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”[9]

Up on the Showbox stage behind Sabzi, a projector flashed a photo of Army Lieutenant Ehren Watada, a Fort Lewis officer who refused to attend the war in Iraq. Sabzi spun a vinyl of “War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!”

Another artist said the Iraqis would eventually get their own rap music—a way of questioning and pressing outward against the boxed stereotypes of “bearded men” that our media daily embosses on their culture.

“My people were once labeled insurgents too!” yelled the emcee of another group, Native Guns. In the air, a colorful mixture of hands waved support. At least for the moment, it seemed the crowd was not satisfied with imposed answers either.

The second element in the application for hip hop prophetdom that emerged from my brainstorm was this: connectedness to a location.

If you want to find the surprising kingdom of Allah in unexpected places, you have to be connected to those places. Call it incarnational. It’s about being there, in the park across the street, at the school next door. If you’re criticizing your neighborhood, you’d better make sure your neighbors know and trust you.

In their music, The Blue Scholars frequently reference Beacon Hill, South Seattle, White Center, the International District, and the Ave (a street in the University District). But more than just connecting to neighborhoods through music, they present an active presence, performing at local schools, working on developing art education programs for youth in South Seattle, and building webs of connection through ordinary family and neighbor relationships. The earth where they walk is salty.

This combination—deliberate questioning + rootedness to place—is what unites to drum out a prophetic punch-in-the-stomach effect. It’s what prophets have always done. To have clout in a community that you’re criticizing, you have to be a dedicated, loyal, grounded member of that community. Ironically, the prophets of old (and new?), in daring to ask the itchy questions, have frequently been exiled from their communities, criticized, persecuted, even killed. Think of Dr. King. Gandhi. Or Jesus.

A bit more mind-boggling perhaps, is how the messages of these communally-devoted prophets of history have often been whittled to fit the plug of suburban drone-culture. Yet, somehow it seems like even the sharpest messages can be packaged and pancaked. “Dr. King said freedom at last and some interpreted that / To mean we’ve come to the end of a pact / But instead the long march hasn’t even begun, y’all.”[10]

What is needed are the voices of modern prophets—you, me, and others, cradling our inquiring pens to march a change through the streets right now, grounding ourselves in the place where we’re at, believing it’s possible, one step, one word, one acre, one wound, one corpse, one person, one rhythm at a time.

At a Laotian exhibit, Legacies of War,[11] I was introduced to another local group of urban prophets. The Good Foot, a small non-profit company in Seattle, is dedicated to building relationships with local youth, teaching artistic expression through b-boy dancing, spoken word, music and art.

The two founders, Louie Praseuth and May Ching, spoke so forthrightly about their community connections that I asked to have an interview to confirm my suspicion that they, too, were sporting the prophetic hoodie.

In the interview that follows,[12] Louie and May articulated their commitment to building relationships, giving the gift of their presence to youth in Seattle, and finding release in their courageous forward-movements, one person at a time.


TOJ: I’m very interested in hearing about The Good Foot, the vision behind it, the history, and especially, it seems you keep talking about community. I would like to hear you talk about what that is for you, what drives that interest.

Louie: In a nutshell, our mission is definitely to honor God through performing arts, and to do it in order to love God, to love others, to love the community in a genuine way. Not in a way that says, “We are preachers, and we have talent so you should listen to us, and you take off after we tell you the gospel.”

But, instead, you know, we live here. People see our lives. We are called to Seattle. We need to own what God has given us, however long that’s going to last. And this is just my interpretation, and May’s interpretation of how we can best serve God in Seattle. This is what we love to do.

TOJ: It sounds like it’s very rooted to Seattle, to this specific place.

Louie: Yeah. It’s birthed here. I learned a lot of these things from other places and other times, but for this time and this season, God has called me to be in Seattle and to be planted and rooted here. If you look around, you can see why.

A lot of times, Christian performance arts stuff is not relatable to what is really going on. It’s often more like, “Come and join our youth group club,” but that’s not where people really are.

TOJ: So how are you different than that?

Louie: For me, I’m just myself. I’m not trying to be something I’m not. And if people don’t like that, that’s okay.

May: I think a lot of it is that we don’t separate that we’re Christian and then there’s a secular world. It’s so easy when you get caught up in “being spiritual,” to start talking like “us and them.” That’s not how we like to live. We’re part of this world, and God put us in this world. I mean, we are different now than we were before we received the Lord, but we still live with our old friends and talk with them—we love them. It’s not an “us and them” mentality.

Louie: It’s about longevity and stability and friendship. It’s about relationship. We’re not a Christian company. We’re a company that is run by Christians. When you throw out “Christian dance team,” it secludes you and limits the people who can be included.

TOJ: You become limited to the audiences of Veggie Tales.

Louie: Exactly.

I know that the people that we have are real artists in the community—they’re real people, they’re talented. And whether people know God or not, they cannot deny the skill level and excellence that we bring to the stage. Regardless of whether people agree with our message or not, they’re still going to walk away thinking “man that was an awesome show.”

Another big thing that we’ve learned is that once you say that you’re doing something for God, people are always watching, waiting for you to mess up. Which isn’t really fair, but that’s what happens a lot of times in ministry. So a big thing for us is how we live our lives off the stage.

TOJ: Well, what does that look like to you? How do you live your lives off the stage?

May: It’s easy when everyone is looking at you, to be a certain way. But when no one is looking at you, who are you going to be? You know, Louie and I are dating too. Not that we’re trying to be something else—we want to live our lives in a way that we know we are putting God first. I mean, we don’t set standards that say “this is the only way that it’s supposed to look like,” but we do set our own moral standards.

One thing Louie always says to our Good Foot people is “our public life should imitate our private life.” If it’s off, then where is our real identity? Who are we?

Louie: We know we’re not perfect. It’s still going to take mistakes to get to where God wants us to be… A lot of the people in our company are at different places.

TOJ: A question that I often wonder when thinking about living out what you believe is, what does it mean to love God? What does it mean to love your neighbor, beyond saying that you love God and your neighbor? What does that look like in action?

May: Well, I’m going to put it in the context of how we treat and love the people who are involved in The Good Foot. We are ever-changing, so we want to love each other and that’s our priority. It should be an outflowing to do other things in the community, but it’s not about the doing. Louie always says, “we’re not human doings, we’re human beings.” We want to be.

Most of the people who are involved—the volunteers and staff—are really young. We’re the oldest. I’m 27 and Louie is 28. We want to show them that we care about and love them. If they’re doing something that they know they shouldn’t be doing, we just love them through it.

If anything, it’s about just spending time with people. And not just sitting there and talking all the time. Just spending time with them, going to parks together, shopping with them, working with the community. Doing little things like that speak loudly.

Our biggest desire for what we do is building relationships in the community to share the love of God through the arts. Not just through putting on a show, but we work in the community too. We get contracts. We’re goal-oriented to serve in the community, so we work for non-profits orgs, especially for example, the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center.

We’re working with kids there, teaching and we’ve been contracted to do a six week summer workshop with Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP) teaching the kids what it means to be part of a production. We spend time, teaching them how to be financially responsible, about character building, and then aspects of the arts. I work with the kids and basically make a curriculum in public parks, like Judkins Park, Pratt Park, spending time with them 5 hours a day and teaching them the arts.

But it is really about spending time with them and loving them. So, we’re community-based because we really want to pursue contracts to do these kinds of things within the community, but then we will put on shows too because we just love performing, and we always have a message with it.

TOJ: Do you put on shows with the youth that you work with performing as well?


Louie: Well, we choreograph and work with them. For example, with the SYEP program, we take kids who have basically never done this before, and expose them to theatre, arts, dance, singing, whatever, and that’s their summer job. As opposed to answering phones, picking up trash, cleaning up graffiti, they have to show up on time, they have to write a script. Everything is them. We are there to coach them. All the material is there, the music selection…everything. A lot of times you see the kids’ materials and it’s really good.

TOJ: When they’re given the resources—the space and time—to do that?

Louie: Yes. And our investment is the love and the time that we spend exposing them to this and coaching them. That’s one example of my heart for this city. But at the same time, like May said, we just live in the community. We’re being able to witness to the directors of programs and people in positions of power. They know us and they love us, but you know, we’re not shoving God down their throats.

They know us by how we treat them. That opens doors for them to trust us.

May: In the long run, we do desire to have studio space where we’ll teach classes. We want to have a place where kids can come and learn how dance, have a job, cut hair, whatever. We want to have a place that can serve as a base and be a serving ground for kids.

Louie: So, in a nutshell, we are a community-based performing arts non-profit organization and we put on events and serve the community as far as going into juvenile detention centers, and orphanages (if that opens up). We do it in a standard that we believe is an excellent way.

TOJ: And you do this on the side of full-time work?

Louie: Yes. I work full time to live off of, but a lot of that goes to paying artists, to plane tickets. For our first hip hop event, both of us invested personally $500-$2,000 altogether. We got some money from the church, but we were in the hole. But we consider that an awesome investment.

May: It’s okay not to have a return all the time. I mean, we’re not here to make money. I used to work at the Wing Luke Asian Museum, but I quit to do this full time because we have to get someone full time to start everything up. But on the side right now I do freelance graphic jobs to keep money coming in. But we felt like it was time to go full force and just do it.

Louie: This is all after years of learning under somebody else’s vision and growing through and learning from diversity. We are very passionate people, and we are doing what we want to be doing. If I died tomorrow, you know, I’m content. But at the same time, I know that there is so much more that God has for me. God has filled my life with purpose.

This isn’t a race. We’re not trying to build our ministry. We just want to love God and love people, and to do that in the best way that we know how, which is dancing and art.

May: We just do what we love. Our first B-Boy competition was called “For the Love of It.” That’s basically our theme.

Louie: We brought in some pretty key judges in the hiphop scene. We knew it was going to be a draw. Our target audience was the underground urban b-boy scene—skaters, breakers. About 500 showed up. We shared a message of hope, love, and forgiveness and we had a two-on-two b-boy competition for $1,000 prize, and boy, it was awesome.

And this is the kind of stuff that God has used us for to expose to the mainstream church. Because the church is like, “Oh, we want to be here! We want to be cool! And I’m going to pull my pants low.” These kids are straight from the underground scene and they have so much talent. When you look at them, people are scared of that. But [these kids] are just people.

TOJ: Why are people scared? Because of what is perceived to be the kids’ backgrounds?

Louie: Yeah, like people just think, “oh, they’re from the ghetto.”

May: Like they’re not relatable. People think it’s such a different world, but it’s like, if we can have so many mission trips to other nations, why can’t we go across the street to the park?

Louie: And the worst part is that, often in our suburban churches, youth are trained to see people as “a project.”

It’s like, “Okay, all these black kids, all these Asian minorities, and all these Hispanic people, we’ve got to treat them ‘this way,’ because they’re not like us.” It’s like you’re training these kids to not really see others as people, to not be on the same level.

But when you just hang with these youth, when there’s no agenda, just Holy Spirit led with the common interest of breaking or whatever, and when you ask someone, “Hey what’s your name?” and “How long have you been breaking?” what you’re doing is building a relationship.

I could be wrong, but I’m just speaking out of what I’ve experienced.

TOJ: How much do you think that the established relationships that you already had have contributed to the big response of your first B-Boy event “For The Love Of It”?

Louie: It was definitely through relationships that we have in the community. Because we would practice with them, and they would know that we were Christians. But everyone in this country usually has some kind of knowledge of God, whether they choose to reject it or not. And even in this area that has that “most unchurched” statistic, whatever, people know when they meet someone that has some kind of authenticity.

It’s a serious thing to talk about God with somebody. It’s personal. So it’s through those personal connections and relationships that we have favor with the community. It wasn’t like we were on a pedestal preaching and they were down there and we were unapproachable. They’ve seen us at their schools, they’ve seen us at the community centers, in parks. We hang with them; we eat with them.

TOJ: You’ve given them your presence, it sounds like. You’ve built a sustainable presence.

Louie: Yeah, they know us. And also, they know what they’re gonna get too.

I’ve learned that there are certain people that people will go to when they just want to joke and have fun and not be serious, but then there are people who they’ll go to when things have happened in their lives that require real work done. Not that we have it all figured out, but these kids trust us. Like, “man, I got my heart broken.” How do you deal with that? You can only go so much to the bottle and to weed and relationship after relationship. But you know, before I knew God, there were always certain people who I would go to for serious stuff. In a way, we kind of fit that role for some people. It’s not hyped. It’s just real.

May: We’re just trying not to be anything other than what we are. I grew up in Seattle and all I really know is community. That’s what my parents always shoved in front of me. So I feel like that’s how I learned to breathe. Out of being involved in college and working with community-based nonprofits. There’s no competition anywhere.

We just want to know what we’re called to and set standards that love people. Our passion is people.

Louie: Another example of how that really works well is that if someone is struggling, that doesn’t disqualify them from being involved with us. Maybe there are things that need to be changed, but we still love each other, we’re still friends and family—we walk it out together instead of saying, “you’re screwed up. Get outta here.”

We’re all a work in progress.

May: We want to see transformation in people. We don’t want to sit back and invest in someone in our company because they’re talented, but rather we want to invest in them because we believe in that person. We love them for who they are and not for what they can do. And then to see them transform is the most powerful thing, I think.

And then the icing on the cake is that they love to dance or love to do spoken word or whatever and they can release out of that.

Louie: And then they take that and they do it for somebody else. Because you empower people to empower others and it becomes a ripple effect.

That’s how it was for me. God led other people to my life that impacted me and now look where I’m at. The first time that I heard the gospel and it really went in and made something, which is pretty radical, was from a roller blader who was 17 years old, rolling around preaching the gospel. And that’s what got me.

TOJ: What was he preaching?

Louie: He was talking about how we tried to seek fulfillment from sex, drugs, wanting people to love you who you don’t even like, you want to buy stuff, and I was like, “Yeah, yeah, that’s me! That’s me!” And he said, “What you need is Jesus Christ. He loves you.”

And this from a guy on roller blades. His name was Chris. We were on the same ministry for about four years after that, because I joined them. Man—just young people speaking to young people is very powerful. That’s what did it. It wasn’t just some guy in a suit trying to be hip.

May: It’s just nice to see kids be released and not always feel like they are being talked down to and they have to behave in a certain way until they turn 25 and then they can be an adult. You know, treat young people so that they know that someone is believing in them and that they are capable. Even if they are young, they are capable.

Louie: When a young person realizes their potential at an early age—seriously—you can’t stop them. They’ll be knocked down every now and then, but they’ll get right back up.

We believe that this is a generation that has been talked down to, looked down on, “Oh, they’re just a bunch of generation X-ers and nobody’s going to amount to anything.” You know, your greatest weakness is sometimes your strength.

I don’t think that it’s fair for people to make a judgment about young people if they’re not willing to love them, not willing to help them and empower them. Don’t talk crap about people if you’re not willing to do something about it. It’s the same thing about your community—don’t talk bad about your community if you’re not doing anything for it. Don’t sit on your high horse, riding and complaining about a problem that you are contributing to. This is something that I get really passionate about.

May: When you see a lot of injustice going on, it can be hard. I was raised in a very pro-Asian-American, “We have a voice! We are not held back!” and “We are the unlikely,” type of community. But when I worked in an Asian-American community organization, I heard about injustices that were still going on, and it just fired me up.

You just want people to see that these are people and they can be loved. We’re just as good as anyone else.

Louie: When you grow up with people telling you that you aren’t going to amount to anything, that you’re a loser, an outcast because you don’t have a degree, you come from a broken home, you don’t have a dad, and this message is coming from your leaders, your teachers, your parents, you start to believe that.

We try to break that message.

May: We both had to really conquer that belief growing up too. And now, we see kids who we know are walking around with those lies in their heads, and that’s the most heartbreaking thing.

There’s this young girl in my summer class who’s only five years old, and she kept saying “I can’t draw this,” and I said, “Yes, you can!” and she said “No, I don’t know how to draw,” and I said, “Here, I’ll show you,” and we were just drawing a circle. And she drew it, but the lines didn’t connect and she said, “I can’t do nothing right,” and threw the pen and shrank down and started saying things that I could tell were things that had been told to her, “I can’t do anything. I’m good for nothing. I’m ugly. I’m not beautiful. I’m stupid.”

I knew right away that this was something that she had learned from somebody else. And that’s what’s heartbreaking. Especially at a young age to believe that, and that she is going to grow up believing that. Those are some of the things that we see.

Louie: We’re just praying for ways that we can communicate the truth about kids’ potential in a way that isn’t “religious.” I mean, it is from God and filled with the spirit, but in a language that they can understand. It’s more through our actions, because our actions really speak louder than what we have to say.

TOJ: How many of the youth that you work with are also from immigrant families? How much of that experience that you both have is relatable to these kids?

Louie: There are a lot of kids. Our experience is very relatable. The fact that we’re just the same ethnicity, the same color, the same eyes, that we’re “Asian” is very relatable. With youth, the case is that mostly they’re being born here now. But, together, we all know what it’s like to come home and eat all this crazy food and your mom yells at you in a different language, but then you go to a school that’s American, and it’s another world. It’s like night and day.

And you have this identity issue, and that’s what people can relate to, because you kind of lose that after awhile. It’s easy to lose who you are and stop being proud for who God made you to be.

God made every tribe and every tongue. I can’t deny that I’m Laotian. It’s not like “Wow, I’m Laotian and I want to take over the world.” But it’s a balance of being considerate of people who just don’t get it yet, but also knowing who you are and not compromising that.

TOJ: At the Legacies of War exhibit, you mentioned that the exhibit had made you aware of your heritage even more.

Louie: Yes, it’s easy to be ignorant when you live in a culture that’s so blessed, to worry about what kind of shoes you’re going to wear to the basketball game, it can take more precedence than your cousins and nephews and uncles and aunts who are getting blown up in Laos [by un-detonated bombs left over from the 1970’s].

May: I think that our experiences have impacted the way that we both run The Good Foot because I used to be pro-minority everything, Asian-power and wanted to be a boater.

TOJ: A boater?

Louie: A boater is a term that Asians use, that means like, “fresh off the boat.”

May: At the same time, God opened my eyes. I grew up around minorities and then when I went into college, God called me into this internship at a church that was predominately white, and I realized some of the cultural issues that I had that I hadn’t worked with. One of the biggest challenges is that I would understand the American culture and receive the blessings of it and still know who I am. But not everyone in our company is Asian. It’s all mixed. We’ve got black, white, Asian…

Louie: Yeah. Something we should mention too is that there is strength in unity. As much as we love on Asian kids, black kids, I love including white kids too who grew up in the ghettos because they get it. They know what it is to be destitute and to be yelled at and put down. We’re not excluding ourselves to anyone—not to minorities, not to anyone. We’re totally inclusive.

TOJ: You know, there’s this idea that we have to be a melting pot where everyone gets thrown in and gets boiled down into the same color. I like to think of it more as a tapestry of different colored threads, different fibers and textures, where each thread or background or culture enhances the pattern, and each one of them is unique and individual, but when they’re woven together it creates a strong fabric.

Louie: Yeah. If we were all the same, we wouldn’t be as strong. It wouldn’t be the same. If I didn’t live out who I was called to be, this world would be different than what it is. And if you weren’t who you were called to be, the world wouldn’t be the same. I totally agree with that. I think that everyone has something unique and special to bring to the table.

That is one of our philosophies for how we try to run The Good Foot. We want to value people for who they are and where they came from and not try to make them like us. Sometimes we work with kids who don’t know who they are yet.

May: We’re all broken inside and we all have to find who we are, and someone has to love us through it. We want to love these kids through it too.

One of the cornerstones of our company that sustains us is the relationships. We spend time together. We live life together. We don’t just decide to have a meeting, talk about the logistics and delegate tasks to get things done. We sit, we eat, we have potlucks, we watch movies, we go camping, have retreats, go to concerts. It’s building on these things first. We know that this is what we want to continue building.

Louie: It’s a family. We know we’re a bunch of misfits that have come from different places and we support each other where we are. If one of our people is performing somewhere, we’ll all go and watch them. We all have our own professional lives, but this is something that we’ve all done together on the side. But it is what I would love to do full time with my life. This is what May wants to do with her life.

Everyone has different places that they are at in community, but we come together to build each other up. We do things together. Help each other out.

We can’t do this alone.

[1] The Beatitudes are Jesus’ main sermon, the pinnacle of his message about the structure of the kingdom of God, found in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. From Matthew 5, the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, they are:

Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who weep, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are the hungry, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Another reference to this upside-down/right-side-up gospel is in Matthew 25:
Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me… Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me. (NRSV Bible)

[2] From the Blue Scholars website
[3] From Wendell Berry’s essay: “The Way of Ignorance” in his collection of essays bearing the same title.
[4] Blue Scholars: “The Inkwell”
[5] Blue Scholars: “Self-Portrait”
[6] Blue Scholars: “Blue School”
[7] Thomas Merton: “No Man is An Island.” (p.10)
[8] Blue Scholars: “Blink”
[9] Rainer Maria Rilke in “Letters to a Young Poet” (1903)
[10] Blue Scholars: “Solstice – Reintroduction”
[11]The Legacies of War National Traveling Museum Exhibition was premiered in Seattle at the ArtXchange Gallery from June – August, 2006.
[12] Interview on September 14, 2006 at The Essential Bakery in Madison Park, Seattle