Thursday, July 19, 2018

Theology is Boring - (or is it?) thoughts on study leave as I try to distract myself from reading.

I know, I know, I am a minister. Theology is the foundation of my vocation. I am not that type of minister I say. People look strangely at me and wonder, as if their world had tilted off its axis. It is not that I don’t like theology, but most who write about it feel the need to prove how educated they are with multisyllabic words  (see what I did there 😊). I read book after book. In reality it is more like slogging through it. Certainly some of it is my ongoing contemplation and argument with every line that I read. That can be exhausting. Why? How did you come to that conclusion? What does that mean? I debate myself in my own mind before I go  on to the next sentence. It makes reading a book a journey.  

In truth everything is theology. Every walk, every movie, every conversation, every event I attend is a view of the world from a theological perspective. What is the purpose of this or that. What meaning can be derived from the experience. What mystery of the universe can be unlocked from every observation. What is the metaphor of every interaction. It is exhausting and beautiful and just how my radio waves are tuned in. 

But reading one more book of the erudition of Spinoza’s ethics, (which is really just a way for him to hide his atheism) and Augustine’s Confessions (really next time keep it to yourself – its done so much damage just because you had to justify leaving the woman you loved and your son at your mother’s insistence to marry for position and power and that led to ongoing misogyny within the church) or even new challenging perspectives on the Scriptures (How long has it been and we still have not figured out “thou shall not kill” – its pretty simple) will make me catatonic. 

No I want to read a simple poem, see a beautiful flower, pet my cat (I really need to get a dog), roll on the floor with my grandchild, watch the sunset and hopefully rise the next day. This is my theology – Life and living it. (and of course writing and talking about it). Thanks for reading and listening to me. 

Sunday, July 01, 2018

My Speech at Families Belong Together Rally June 30th

My friends I think sometimes our country has lost its moral way.
Then I see you, and I hear these stories.
Let us remember that we determine our fate,
the actions we take or the lack of action is a choice.
I ask you to choose action to side with our immigrant and refugee siblings.
I invite you to side with children and families,
I invite you to side with love.
It seems incredulous, that I have to say we need to take action to side with children and families.
I am thankful that the very first article in this country’s bill or rights states “
Congress shall pass no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 
Well I have a few grievances with the government. 
Friends it is time to fight for our moral and ethical values. These are my demands

One, We need to end the inhumane practice of this government’s policies of Family separation and Reunite families now.  Plain and simple. This is inhumane, immoral, and the fact that we even have to teach this baseline morality to government officials shows our country has fallen into the moral and ethical abyss. Can we never learn from our past. We separated children from our indigenous siblings, we separated children from our African American siblings when we enslaved them, and now we are separating children from refugee families.
Let us support children, not abandon them,
Let us love children, not traumatize them,
Let us side with children, Let us side with love.

Second, We need to end this inhumane practice of family detention.
The fifth article of the bill of rights says no person, not no citizen, no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; Children and families deserve due process, not indefinite imprisonment.
Children do not belong in cages and internment-like camps.  
Family incarceration is not the solution to family separation.
It seems the practice of continuing to imprison and destroy families of color from slavery, to jim crow to Japanese American internment camps, to mass incarceration, to now refugee imprisonment continues today.
Give them due process, I ask you to side with love

Third, End ‘Zero Humanity policy of this governement.’ Reverse the policy that created this crisis and chaos to begin with. Parents should not be criminally prosecuted for doing what all parents have done throughout history, which is bring their children to safety.
Let us remain that safe haven for families facing persecution, and let us do what we can to end that persecution, not add to it.  
I ask you to side with love. 

Last for today we demand Comprehensive Immigration Reform
We must have a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million refugees who are already here, our neighbors, part of the fabric of our community, whose children our children go to school and play with, people working hard to build a better life for their families.
That is the dream of America
I invite you to side with love and build that world that we dream about.

So what can we do. We must choose to act!! 
Your showing up here is a start, it tells the leaders of this community and throughout the country where our values are. But it can not end there.

We can and we should continue to communicate with our elected officials asking them to denounce this government’s immoral policies on refugees and to create policies that will create a welcoming community for all.
But that is not nearly enough.

We must vote in November and encourage everyone we know to vote for candidates who support our values. No election has been more crucial to the future of our country. I encourage you to vote with love in your hearts thinking of these children
But it can not end there.

I invite you to Work with local organizations in the community that are doing the work of racial and immigration justice, Palomares, LULAC Moline,LULAC Davenport,  
NAACP Davenport and Rock Island, Quad Cities Interfaith, One Human Family. Progressive Action for the Common Good and Boots on the Ground just to name a few.
Get involved. Locally we can impact our community.
But it can not end there.

If our government officials don’t listen, or continue to obstruct and suppress voting, we may have to take stronger actions. The time is coming again for acts of civil disobedience if our government does not respond to we the people. My congregation has offered to be a sanctuary for refugees. I invite you to talk to your place of worship to do the same or to join the sanctuary coalition helping other religious organization who have and I personally commit to helping you with that. We may have to shut down streets, business, even the government, if they do not listen to the grievances of the people.

Do not be afraid. The work for love is never easy and it requires sacrifice, but it is necessary.
We are fighting for the soul of this nation,
we are fighting for children and families,
and we need to go the distance.

Lastly the most important work we have is to maintain hope in the face of adversity.
We have to maintain hope and have the faith that what we do matters.
Even in the uncertainty, especially in the uncertainty of not knowing how or when change will happen,  we must have the faith that we can build a better world where all are safe. ,
Let us find our way together out of the abyss.
Thank you my friends. May you be blessed and may you be a blessing to others.