23 January, 2017

It is Time to Speak Truth to Power

We each had an ethical decision to make in November. Do you vote for someone who you disagree with on a political or personal level? Well, we had no choice there because no candidate was perfect; so let's move on to which was the bigger threat for justice, equality, and the realm of God. Which candidate put your neighbors and brothers and sisters in the most danger? One who admitted sexually assaulting women, made outright racist comments, did not denounce the endorsement of the KKK? Or the one who did not take good care of emails.

You see, your vote was a choice that put people's safety as women, people of color, those descended from immigrants, people who sought refuge in this county, people with medical challenges, disabled people on the line.  Your vote is a reflection of how much you value truth, transparency, mercy, sexual morality, generosity, and humility.  You chose someone -- said you could live with a leader-- and it reflects who you will follow and what you value.

What does it say about you if you choose someone who acts in ways, says things, and has a history of behavior which is fundamentally against everything Christ taught us about how we treat other people, if your vote negated your regard for every black person, every disabled person, every woman, and every person who voiced disagreement with a politician as less important than your dislike for the other candidates?  To vote for a slanderous, deceptive, merciless, racist, sexually immoral, greedy person is a reflection of who you are and what you value.  To vote for someone for the highest office in the land who you would not want your daughter or grand daughter to have as a mentor is a reflection of your values -- and who you value.

To me it says that my rights, my safety, my well being, and my person are less important, less valuable than what you value. And that, friends, is why I marched on Saturday. To say to you and everyone else that I will not be dismissed as less than human by any politician, any other citizen, any brother or sister in Christ. And I will not allow any other brother or sister human to be treated this way.

I will continue to love and respect my brothers and sisters who love the new political leadership in this country. But I am no longer sure how to relate to you in a personal way. My trust in you has been torn apart by your decision in November.  How can I trust you with my being if you would trust someone who has said and done the things DJT has said and done?

On the other hand, I also thank you. By lifting up a ego-maniacal, unethical man to the highest office in the land, this nation has unleashed the greatest rebellious force since the Civil War. And we just getting started. Along side of my sisters and brothers, I will fight tooth and nail against any policy, decision, law, or action that demeans, belittles, takes away the rights, or denies equality and justice, and equity to ALL people.

We've only just begun to march, to protest, to speak truth to power.

Someone greater than any of us said a long time ago, 
"'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.'...... 
Then he began to say to them, 
“Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.'”

This is the year of God's favor. It's time to march.

07 January, 2017

Torn and Mixed Emotions

I am torn.  If you scroll back through my posts here to 13 years ago, you will find a series of posts from a very painful time in my life and ministry.  So painful, in fact, that I had a heart attack and much illness from the stress of it.  That was a
dark night of the soul for me.

For all these years, I have worked very hard to forgive the person who instigated that pain -- with mixed results.  I have been able to let go of the anger and the pain, to stop letting these control me.  I have been able to move on and learn from the experience.  I have become a different person than I was.

But without resolution, with out justice being served, without this person being held responsible for the wrongs committed, there has not been closure.  It has remained a wound that breaks open and bleeds every time I've encountered this person, every time I've seen this person's name being exalted as a respected leader, every time I've run into a member of the circle of people who protect this person's standing in the community.

From time to time over these years I've encountered others who have experienced similar pain at the hand of this person.   There are between 15 and 20 of us, mostly-- but not all -- women, all professionals.  We were all told we imagined the abuse, that it is not possible that this person could be capable of such abuse, that we have exaggerated the situations.  All of us suffered professional consequences to voicing the abuse aloud.  Amongst us we have shared stories, tears, and anger that this person has remained all these years in positions of authority where they have been able to continue their abusive behavior.  We have comforted one another.  And we have strategized about how to remain outside of the circle of this person. We've remained a loosely organized group of people who know and acknowledge one another, stick together for safety when in gatherings where this person has been present. Largely, we have all moved on with a note of caution and an eye for spotting potential re-occurrences of the this type of abuse.

Progression by David Ho
"Moved on" is a key term.  We all struggle with a lack of closure of these experiences.  We all struggle with a need for justice to have been done.  We all struggle with the pain of this past.  But we step forward in faith refusing to let this pain, this person, define us or our calls and vocations.  Yet we all long for the justice that will bring closure.

We will never know that justice.  The person has died a very unexpected death, alone, and found only after death had fully taken them.  The accolades flowed like mountain streams in social media and in the press.  Expressions of grief and loss pour in from every corner of the church.  This person has become revered saint.

Of course no one will speak ill of the dead.  Of course I have deepest sympathy for the grieving family.  Of course I will not voice my own loss of possible justice.

Yet I am torn.  I have mixed emotions about this shock, this death, this lack of justice, this lack of closure.

And when from the service that celebrated this one's life I heard those words of benediction, "Well done, good and faithful servant," I stifled my guffaws, suppressed my gagging.  And continued on without closure with an old wound reopened.