Category Archives: Justice

Social Justice and Injustice Issues

Take Up Your Cross

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This past weekend I was in Chicago, where I visited a few museums and lake Michigan and ate some deep dish pizza. I also visited Fourth Presbyterian Church. The sermon was by Shannon Kershner. It was all about the cross and fear:

“Take up your cross,” Jesus said, “and stop worshiping fear and death as your gods. Take up your cross and follow me. Take up that horrible cross as a sign that you believe in the life-giving power of God more than you believe in death-dealing power of fear.”

Definitely worth reading the entire thing.

Overturning Tables

Early on Monday morning, I went to the post office to pick up a package. They send all the people with package slips to a separate window, but this morning there was no one at the window. We waited awhile. Someone left. Someone got very angry. I snapped at a lady. She wasn’t listening to what I was telling her, but I still felt a little bad about it. It probably was not her fault. Maybe they are understaffed. Maybe someone didn’t show up for work for some reason.

I rarely get angry. It’s just not in my temperament. Often this serves me well, but I do think there is a place for anger. There’s a time to knock over tables and call people out. Maybe at 9am in a post office isn’t really the time.

Last weekend I went to a march on behalf of Eric Garner, who was killed when police held him in an illegal chokehold. People are angry about this and other recent shootings, and rightly so of you ask me (I know you didn’t, but anyway).

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Of course, the anger I felt in the post office is nothing like what others are feeling about the real injustice in the world (I’m not even certain it’s the same emotion).

I think anger is often the right response to many of the things that happen in our lives, and can be useful. An important question is what you do with that anger. Do you take it out on those who are powerless or just struggling to do their jobs, do you harm others, or do you channel it against the people in power, those who abuse their wealth and privilege?

I don’t know how long you can live angry before it starts to eat at you, but it seems like there’s a kind of anger that can be used to create change. The kind that Jesus demonstrated when he threw out the moneylenders from the temple. This anger isn’t petty or self-centered. It ultimately comes out of love for others and a desire for justice.

Ferguson

Maybe you, like me, are following the events in Ferguson, feeling sad and somewhat helpless. Many Episcopalians are praying and preaching about Ferguson. Some people from my church held a walking vigil in the neighborhood. I am not sure what the right thing to do or say is, but listening to the voices of the people who are suffering from racism and doing all we can to make their voices heard is a good place to start.

If you, like me, are white, The Root has helpful list: 12 Ways to be a White Ally to Black people.

The one thing we can’t do is ignore Ferguson. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr (via Sojourners):

Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they do not know each other; they do not know each other because they cannot communicate; they cannot communicate because they are separated.

Religion deals with both earth and heaven, both time and eternity. Religion operates not only on the vertical plane but also on the horizontal. It seeks not only to integrate men with God but to integrate men with men and each man with himself … Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a dry-as-dust religion.

I hope we can all pray and listen, learn and preach, and pay attention.

A Prayer for My Privileged Heart

This week I ate at a delicious restaurant called the Lamb’s Club and was measured for a new suit for my wedding, for example, and I am grateful, but I also feel a little funny now and then about the things I can enjoy and afford. Which is probably as it should be. I think that privilege should always be uncomfortable and wealth should make us uneasy. So here is a prayer for my privileged heart, in hopes that I can do better:

God of the High Line and God of the desert, God of the steak house and God of the cook fire, God of the bespoke suit and God of second-hand jeans, God of the iPhone and God of handwritten note, Continue reading

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Change your Cover Photo for the week leading up to Valentine’s Day

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