Sunday, August 13, 2017
Friday, August 11, 2017
I have also said, though, that deciding to "stay out of it" is, in and of itself, a completely faithful response. Our Unitarian Universalist faith -- and our ancestors the Unitarians and Universalists as well -- call on us to respond. And while "not responding" is a response, in order for it to truly be a response we need to be conscious and intentional about our decision and what we choose to do instead. Simply putting it out of one's mind, acting as if nothing is happening, is not a response. Something is happening downtown tomorrow, and it is important, and it affects every single one of us. Each and every single one of us is called by our faith to do something to respond to the arrival of this embodiment of evil that is coming to our city. (And I do not use those words lightly.)
Here is one of the ways you can consciously and intentionally respond to tomorrow's events without going anywhere near them -- wake up to the realities of the systems and structures of white supremacist culture. I am directing this suggestion particularly at people who identify, or are identified, as white -- learn something new; deepen your understanding of what it is we are striving to dismantle and, even more of a challenge, how we, ourselves, participate and perpetuate in it.
Congregate Charlottesville has created a page of resources for learning more:
Learn More about the LOCAL CONTEXT
LEARN MORE ABOUT RACISM, WHITE SUPREMACY AND WHITE PRIVILEGE
UCC White Privilege Curriculum
Dismantling Racism: A Resource Book
Anti-Racism Resource Packet
Theological Curriculum on Race and Economics
White Supremacy Defined
White Supremacy, Overt & Covert
WORDS WE'VE HEARD BEFORE
Over the years I have preached many sermons, and written many "musings" regarding racism in the United States, white supremacy, the call of our faith to address racial injustices, and more. You can go to my blog -- A Minister's Musings -- and search for words like "racial justice," "racism," or "Black Lives Matter." The search term "White Supremacy" brings up some posts that might be particularly helpful at this time.
Friday, August 4, 2017
“Let us enter into that inner place of peace, that mood of meditation, that some call ‘prayer.’”
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
On July 12, 1898, a man was lynched ... here in Charlottesville. Accused of raping a white woman, John Henry James was seized by a mob of 150 people from a C&O train transporting him to the Charlottesville jail. He was then hung from a tree at Wood’s Crossing near Ivy Depot and shot 40 times. According to a front-page article of the Daily Progress, “the people of Charlottesville heartily approve[d] the lynching.”
“Dear Friends, stand by this faith. Work for it and sacrifice for it. There is nothing in all the world so important to you as to be loyal to this faith which has placed before you the loftiest ideals, which has comforted you in sorrow, strengthened you for noble duty, and made the world beautiful for you. Do not demand immediate results but rejoice that you are worthy to be entrusted with this great message and that you are strong enough to work for a great true principle without counting the cost. Go on finding ever new applications of these truths and new enjoyments in their contemplation.”
Friday, July 7, 2017
That said, I would like to encourage all of you who can to join me at the First United Methodist Church at about 1:00. Traffic downtown -- and parking! -- will be challenging tomorrow, so I'm suggesting trying to get to FUMC by 1:00 so that you will be there for the bystander and de-escalation training that will be going on at 1:30. At 2:30 a contingent will leave the church and march to Justice Park. We will be singing, and praying, and playing kazoos and vuvuzelas. We will be a presence.
When we arrive at the park there will most likely be a lot of other people there. It is expected that only a few of these will be members of the "Loyal Order." The vast majority will be people there to protest the klan's presence, with many coming from out of town. Some will be there to bear silent witness; some will have come for confrontation. Then there will be "the morbidly curious." Those of us marching from the church, those of us representing the faith communities of our city, are being asked to engage the scene we enter in the way that feels right for you. There will be details and suggestions at the training, but some may want to carry backpacks with water, Gatorade, granola bars, peanut butter crackers, and wet wipes. Others will want to continue singing. Still others will be blowing bubbles. Others will be looking out for places of particular tension, and possible danger, and will move into those spaces to provide comfort and support (and, if need be, protection) to those who are feeling vulnerable. I intend to be one of these.
Yet however you choose to respond -- by attending the morning programming at the Jefferson School, going to the People's Picnic at IX Park, joining the crowd at the Justice Park, remaining at First UMC, enjoying the concerts at the Pavilion, attending the program at Jack Jouett Middle School sponsored by the NAACP, or staying home and living your life giving the presence of the klan no attention at all -- I encourage you, as I said on Sunday, to make that choice mindfully. It is not hyperbole to say that the world will be watching Charlottesville tomorrow. (We know that there will be national media coverage, and in a planning meeting this morning someone said that they'd been contacted by Al Jazeera.) My prayer is that in the choices each of us make we both demonstrate the truth that "out of many, one" (e pluribus unum), and that we show the world how Unitarian Unversalists respond to hate.
Friday, June 30, 2017
This is the official statement of the Charlottesville Clergy Collective, outlining the response(s) planned by many of the faith communities in C'ville. (The list of signatories is at the end.) Over the next several days I will post more information, both practical and theological.