Tensegrities

25 July . Comment

Tweets of the week

18 July . Comment

Tweets of the week

13 July . Comment

Teaching about race, racism and police violence

A number of organizations have put out lists of resources for communities — especially white ones — to engage. I like this list from the organization Teaching Tolerance, the best. I also found the idea of a “30 day race challenge” a useful tactic. Here is a list of books which writers of color suggest we should be reading now. Here is a list of tweets which concisely represent white privilege. And here is advice from the Center for Courage & Renewal.

11 July . Comment

Tweets of the week

9 July . 2 Comments

I am tired

I am tired.

I am tired of feeling like I am shouting out into a vast abyss, and nothing is changing.

If I feel like this, a middle class white cis straight woman (with all sorts of other privileges I’m not even naming), how much more fatigued to the bone are my sisters and brothers of color in this country?

This morning I was looking for a resource I knew I’d blogged about a while back that supports families as they seek to talk with children about racism, and in the process was digging into this blog.

What an archive of pain and anger about racism can be found there!

In March of 2012 I was writing about Trayvon Martin. In July of 2013 it was responding to the lack of conviction of Trayvon’s murderer. In August of 2013 I posted Javon Johnson’s searing poem “cuz he’s Black.” By November of 2015 I was collecting tweets in response to Jamar Clark’s death.

As I wandered further and further back into my archive, I found this sermon I preached — in September of 2003 — about learning from family, and religious identity development that reaches outward, rather than closing off. And a post about a pastoral letter our Archbishop (at the time, that was Harry Flynn) had written on racism. Not to mention Howard Dean’s striking speech on racism in December of 2003.

So just in the span of social media time it’s been more than a decade that I — and so, so many others — have been writing, marching, advocating to dismantle structural forms of racism. And yet here we are, in the first week of July 2016, mourning the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and five police officers in Dallas, shot at a Black Lives Matter peaceful protest.

Fatigue can so easily turn to despair. And despair can so easily turn into anger and hatred.

Last night hundreds of people gathered in the Luther Seminary chapel to lament the death of Philando and the rending of our social fabric which is structural racism. I was seeking hope. Songs were sung, tears fell… and I still walked away with a deep pessimism about whether we might actually do something about all of this.

I can analyze all day and night, I can talk about neoliberal capitalism, and intersectional oppression and the ways in which embracing our differences can lead to change, but unless we actually do that, embrace our differences in love and humility and hope, nothing will change.

God, hear my prayer. Hear the prayers of all those who seek your transformative breath in the midst of our anger and pain and fear. Help us to see YOU in each other, in ALL of our “each others.” Help us to move beyond emoting, and sustain us in the hard and long and fatiguing work of changing the conditions in which we live, and the structures which keep us from each other.

Help us. Help me. Please.

8 July . 1 Comment

A blessing for today

This morning I woke up to the deaths of multiple police officers in Dallas. This constant drumbeat of violence is making it hard for me to fight off despair. As a white person I have been able to avoid this pain for a long time, the privileges I carry insulating me. But I am trying very hard to stay open and present, to perceive what is going on through the eyes and hearts and pain of all those whom my faith declares ARE my neighbors.

I find John O’Donohue’s prayers powerful, and this morning I’m returning to one he wrote as a blessing “for an interim time.” Perhaps for those of us who carry conferred dominance, this might be an interim time as we struggle to awaken:

When near the end of the day, life has drained
Out of light, and it is too soon
For the mind of night to have darkened things,
No place looks like itself, loss of outline
Makes everything look strangely in-between,
Unsure of what has been or what might come.
In this wan light, even trees seem groundless.
In a while it will be night, but nothing
Here seems to believe the relief of dark.
You are in this time of the interim
Where everything seems withheld.
The path you took to get here has washed out;
The way forward is still concealed from you.
“The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born.”
You cannot lay claim to anything;
In this place of dusk,
Your eyes are blurred;
And there is no mirror.
Everyone has lost sight of your heart
And you can see nowhere to put your trust;
You know you have to make your own way through.
As far as you can, hold your confidence.
Do not allow your confusion to squander
This call which is loosening
Your roots in false ground,
That you might come free
From all you have outgrown.
What is being transfigured here is your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new.
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn.

7 July . Comment

#PhilandoCastile

This morning I woke up in MN to the latest killing of a Black person by a police officer — mere blocks from the seminary where I teach. This time it was Philando Castile, shot in his car in front of his girlfriend and her 4 year old daughter. Words fail.

As before, I will try to post useful pieces at this blog. In the meantime, here are a few to begin with:


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