In this final episode of season two I continue discussing the relationship between the Bible and organizing. I begin by talking to Keisha Krumm, who opened the first episode of season one (you can hear more about her journey there). Here she gives a reading of Luke 18, or what she renames the parable of the tenacious widow, and reflects on what Scripture means to her in her work. I then talk to Alexia Salvatierra. Alexia shares something of her background, her formation as an organizer, and of her work with predominantly Evangelical churches. I was keen to talk to Alexia as she has developed a compelling vision of the specific role and gifts of churches in broader social movements and democratic coalitions. Scripture is central to her vision of the meaning and purpose of democratic politics. Alexia also gives a reading of the tenacious widow, one that compliments and amplifies Keisha's, as well as the story of David and the prophet Nathan in 2 Samuel 12. She situates her readings within a broader account of what she calls serpent and dove power, a framework derived from the exhortation in Matthew 10.16: "See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."
Keisha Krumm is lead organizer for Greater Cleveland Congregations, a nonpartisan community organizing coalition in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Since 2001, she has previously organized and built community organizations in Los Angeles, Seattle-Tacoma, and Milwaukee. Her work entails developing leaders within congregations, educational associations, nonprofits, and labor unions to tackle issues ranging from job creation, quality education, affordable health care, mental health, to racial justice. Keisha has a master’s degree from the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in Christian Community Development. She is a devoted wife and mother who has committed her life to justice seeking.
Rev. Dr. Alexia Salvatierra is a Lutheran Pastor with over 40 years experience in combining congregational ministry with community organizing. She is currently the Academic Dean of the Center for the Study of Hispanic Church and Community at Fuller Theological Seminary and the Assistant Professor of Integral Mission and Global Transformation. She is the author with Peter Heltzel of Faith-Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World (Intervarsity Press) and Buried Seeds: Learning from the Resilience of Vibrant Marginalized Christian Communities with Rev. Brandon Wrencher (Baker Academic, 2022). In addition to her academic work, she coordinates the Ecumenical Collaboration for Asylum Seekers and serves on the leadership team of Matthew 25/Mateo 25––a bipartisan Christian network to protect and defend families facing deportation in the name and spirit of Jesus. She has been a national leader in the areas of working poverty and immigration for over 25 years, including co-founding the national Evangelical Immigration Table in 2011, the 2007 New Sanctuary Movement, the Guardian Angels project for unaccompanied migrant minors in 2014, and Matthew 25/Mateo 25 in 2016. From 2000 to 2011, she was the Executive Director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice in California—a statewide alliance of organizations of religious leaders who come together to respond to the crisis of working poverty by joining low-wage workers in their struggle for a living wage, health insurance, fair working conditions, and a voice in the decisions that affect them.
Scriptures discussed: 2 Samuel 11-12; Matthew 10; Luke 18.