Too and to

too
few
days

too
few
hours

too
many
tasks

to
feel
good

6 December 2014
Manhattan, New York

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The long goodbye

Nothing would have happened,
nothing changed,
in the marrow of my bones
I know.

Nothing would have happened,
nothing changed,
partly me,
partly you.

Nothing would have happened,
nothing changed,
too much said and done,
undone, unsaid.

Nothing would have happened,
nothing changed,
too many years,
not enough tears.

Nothing would have happened,
nothing changed,
what is, is and
will be.

Nothing would have happened,
nothing changed,
and yet,
in the morning’s wee hours
I wish I had tried
before you began the endless slide
into the long goodbye.

6 December 2014
Manhattan, New York

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Always broken

The system is broken.

I have heard that often following the decisions of grand juries not to indict in the cases of the killing of Michael Brown and the killing of Eric Garner.

The system is broken.

Unless the speaker means she/he is just realizing that for people of color, women, immigrants, members of the LGBTQIA community, and many others, the system has always been broken, I strongly disagree with that statement.

The system was built on the institution of chattel slavery. And when that institution ended, it was replaced by Jim Crow laws that legalized segregation. And when those laws were overturned, institutionalized racism remained, expressing itself today in the New Jim Crow that results in “millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then denied rights, rights won in the struggle, and relegated to a permanent second-class status.

The system was built on indentured servitude.

The system was built on the genocide of the indigenous peoples and the theft of their resources.

The system was built on the theft of the land of Latinos/Latinas.

The system was built by controlling who could enter the country. And then providing a welcome that grudginly accepted labor but only slowly and incompletely accepted humanity.

The system was built on the view that women and children were property of men to care for, perhaps, but also to dominate and abuse and violate.

The system was built on driving people who did not fit the cisgender, heterosexual norm into closets.

The system was built to privilege a few at the expense of the many.

The system is broken. The system has always been broken.

The vision of a system that provides justice and equality for all has long been with us, perhaps always been with us. It judges and challenges the status quo. Since the beginning, there have been people who have been caught by the vision and have challenged the system, who have worked to remake it. Through their efforts, progress has occurred. I give thanks for them. I give thanks for where we have come. But significant work remains to create a system that provides justice and equality for all.

The system is broken. It has always been broken.

God grant me grace and courage to support and join those who seek to remake it.

See you along the Trail.

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Purple Flowers, Central Park 14

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Our friend Nancy Eng MacNeill received a liver transplant in May, 2014. As part of her rehabilitation, she trained for a half-marathon with other transplant recipients. Her husband, Bruce joined her. Her children supported her. The half-marathon occurred today.

We could not go to Seattle to watch Nancy and Bruce and Team Transplant. We could not stand and cheer. We could not welcome them at the end of their Half Marathon. So Tricia and I walked in New York. We walked 13.1 miles during the day – not consecutively. But we walked in friendship, in thanksgiving, in hope.

And when we paused in Central Park, we spotted these purple flowers.

Consider signing up to be an organ donor.

30 November
Central Park
Manhattan, New York

 

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Remember those who sought peace and justice

Eggs in cannonToday marks the 150th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre. A National Park Service press release describes the event in these words (italics added):

The Sand Creek Massacre, tragic and unnecessary, impacted Federal-Indian relations and created the circumstances for years of warfare. With the events of November 29, 1864 fixed in their minds, Plains Indian nations faced an uncertain future between warring against and accommodating the federal government.

Cheyenne and Arapaho peace chiefs [Black Kettle among them], influenced by assurances of peace at the Camp Weld Conference, reported to Fort Lyon throughout October of 1864. The fort’s commander told Black Kettle and other leaders to await a peace delegation at their camp on Sand Creek and to fly the U.S. flag to indicate their peaceful intent. Throughout November, these elders waited.

On November 29, U.S. Army (Volunteer) soldiers
[under the command of Colonel John Chivington, a Methodist minister],
 attacked the village. Disregarding the greetings and calls to stop, these “beings in the form of men” fired indiscriminately at the Cheyenne and Arapaho. Of approximately seven hundred people in the village, about two hundred died that day. Two-thirds of the dead and mutilated bodies left on the ground were women and children.

Boasting of his victory and downplaying Army casualties, Colonel John Chivington paraded the body parts of dead Cheyenne and Arapaho through the streets of Denver, reveling in the acclaim he long sought. However, not all of Chivington’s officers and men agreed with his actions, and soon the
consequences of these actions would sweep up and down the Plains, back to Washington, D.C., and into the lives of thousands of people. [Captain Silas Soule refused to order his company to fire during the massacre; he and Major Ned Wynkoop played key roles in the investigation of the massacre.]

Learn more about the Sand Creek Massacre:

Remember.

Remember those killed and wound and violated.

Remember the horror, the atrocity.

But remember also Black Kettle, who sought a just, honorable peace for his people; and remember Silas Soule, and Ned Wynkoop and the others who, in their way and fashion sought peace and justice for those touched by this day of horror.

May the day soon come when, by God’s grace, we transform weapns into implements of production and healing.

See you along the Trail.

 

 

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Let the circle begin

Intl Day Solidarity Palestinian PeopleToday is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The UN Calendar of Observances app says this about the day:

More than eight million Palestinian people live in territory occupied by Israel, in Israel, in neighbouring Arab States, and in regional refugee camps. International Day of Solidarity provides an opportunity to remind the international community that the question of Palestine remains unresolved and that the Palestinian people have not yet attained their inalienable rights as defined by the UN General Assembly, including the right to self-determination and national independence.

On the official page for the day, the UN provides this description:

In 1977, the General Assembly called for the annual observance of 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (resolution 32/40 B ). On that day, in 1947, the Assembly adopted the resolution on the partition of Palestine(resolution 181 (II))

In resolution 60/37  of 1 December 2005, the Assembly requested the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights, as part of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 29 November, to continue to organize an annual exhibit on Palestinian rights or a cultural event in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the UN.

The observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People also encouraged Member States to continue to give the widest support and publicity to the observance of the Day of Solidarity.

In 2014, the Day, which is normally observed on 29 November, will be commemorated at UN Headquarters in New York on Monday, 24 November.

I had the privilege to speak on behalf of the Israel-Palestine NGO Working Group at the UN for the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. We called for the UN and international community to increase their engagement and efforts to support Palestinians and Israelis in the search for just, sustainable peace.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also spoke. He concluded:

On this International Day of Solidarity, I call on the parties to step back from the brink.  The mindless cycle of destruction must end.  The virtuous circle of peace must begin.

May the circle begin!

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Human Rights, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations

Advent starts at 12:01 AM (EST in the U.S.A.)

Lion and lambAdvent begins on Sunday, a time of preparation and waiting. In conversations with my son about a discipline we plan to practice together, we decided to make 12:01 AM (EST in the U.S.A.) our starting moment. That may not be liturgically sound. But it is what we choose.

What is sound, and more than sound, as a way to enter the Advent season is to read Advent/Darkness, a post by Christina Cleveland. Here are a couple of excerpts to encourage you to read her whole post:

… Advent isn’t about our best world, it’s about our worst world. …

… But we do the Light a disservice when we underestimate the darkness. Jesus entered a world plagued not only by the darkness of individual pain and sin, but also by the darkness of systemic oppression. Jesus’ people, the Hebrews, were a subjugated people living as exiles in their own land; among other things, they were silenced, targets of police brutality, and exploitatively taxed. …

… Advent is an invitation to plunge into the deep, dark waters of our worst world, knowing that when we re-surface for air we will encounter the hopeful, hovering Spirit of God …

Read Advent/Darkness, re-read, ponder, and pray.

I wish you a holy Advent and a blessed Christmas.

See you along the Trail.

 

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