Emotionally Exhausting, Fundamentally Necessary (You Oughta Know)

Some people don’t understand, maybe they can’t, they have no context for the pain that others have experienced or are experiencing and don’t actively seek out the differing (and more challenging) viewpoint. Their privilege allows them the ability to stay ignorant, to become defensive when asked about their views, to be offended when told the truth, to point out that God is in control and assume that a person’s life is hard because they lack a religious je ne sais quoi. White people who are told that they are racist, for instance, too often attack when confronted with their bigotry, when the moment calls for introspection and an attempt to change. Why then would we expect those same people to stand up when the system that treats them so well is shown to be racist? Because they self-identify as Christians? If only that meant something.

Staying up-to-date in the current timeframe is admittedly exhausting, both emotionally and physically. Immigration, asylum, healthcare, trans rights, civil liberties, perjury, Russia, Syria, nationalism, racism, discrimination, fear, hate, impeachment, resignation; how can one person be expected to track all of these concerns (and more), let alone act on and react to them? Unfortunately, you can’t always blame these people for their ignorance of specific subjects, you can’t even blame them for their desire to stay out of it, but you can blame them for staying out of it when push comes to shove.

To those people, I have the following to say, in short:

Are you scared? As white people and due to our privileges in this society, we have little to be afraid of because the system and institutions within that system have not been targeted against us. I know families who are scared because of the threat of deportation; I know families who are scared because they can’t travel without concern of being detained. God calls us to take action against these things and to care for those who are scared and oppressed, He calls us to speak for those who have no voice, He calls for us to clothe the naked and feed the hungry. He also calls us to fight systems that force these circumstances upon our neighbors. Prayer can only get you so far if you are unwilling to step outside your front door and do something to help.

The more news that clogs the feeds, the harder it is to focus on one thing. I have attempted to stay up-to-date and to share out a small fraction of the information I digest, but as scandals break and weekends house even more information, even a summary post is becoming untenable. So on this day of resistance, check out the resources listed below and spend some time being introspective about your actions, especially taking note where you have taken action and where you have decided to be silent.

One Video

Sikh-American civil rights advocate Valarie Kaur’s speech on New Year’s Eve was something to behold. If you watch one video today, have a heart and make it hers about raising a brown boy in today’s America.

Awesome Women

I usually stick to one Awesome Woman per post, but I really wanted to share both of these.

Read, Think, Share, Repeat

The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.