I weep. And rage. And ache.
I need to do more.
In response to a lawyer’s question, Jesus told a parable about a man who was beaten and left for dead by the side of the Jericho Road. Some passed by and failed to help.
Then came a Samaritan. An other. The least expected person. And the Samaritan stopped to help. He bound the wounds of the beaten man and took him to an inn for further assistance. Go and do likewise, Jesus told the lawyer.
Hopefully the lawyer went forth to try and care for those beaten, battered, and wounded by life. I try. I often fall short but I try. Many others do. Many far better than I.
But then I think …
What would happen the next week if the Samaritan came along the Jericho Road and found another beaten person?
And the next week?
And the next?
How long would it take the Samaritan to realize that something had to change–that the Samaritan had to help change things–or there would be wounds to bind forever?
Perhaps the road needed widening. Or brush needed to be cleared. Or the economic conditions that led people to rob needed to be addressed.
Sooner or later, we realize that it is not enough simply to bind up those wounded and left along the Jericho roads of life.We realize that expressing love corporately involves seeking justice in corporate, public decisions, actions, and policies. We have to address the conditions that contribute to people being wounded. We have to transform the systems that inflict the wounds.
This is not a question of either binding wounds or transforming systems. We do not have to choose. We cannot choose. To recreate our society, we have to do both.
Change will involve working on laws and practices. It will involve working on attitudes and values.
What am I going to do? I have a lot to learn, but here are some first steps I will take:
Listen, really listen, to the voices of people who our society and culture has pushed to the margin. And then act accordingly.
Recognize the privilege that is mine and how privilege in different areas of life intersects and reinforces privilege; push back against privilege.
Educate myself, and when possible, others.
Speak up and challenge racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, classism, and all systems of belief and practice that tell me any person is not a beloved child of God.
Show up at rallies and witnesses.
Explore ways to share power. Last night’s #presbyintersect conversation on Twitter reminded me that the image of table is an image of power; it challenged me to ponder the image of tabernacle in its place.
Work for human rights: an end to mass incarceration, an end to deportation and immigrant detention, economic justice for workers, voting rights.
Seek and join groups that are working to address racial profiling, militarization, stop-and-frisk policies, and other issues related to policing.
Know there is more. There is always more. And I will try to remain open to that.
I will make mistakes and I will pick myself up and start again.
This post is late. Too many have died. Blacks. Indigenous. Latinx. Asian. Trans. Too many. One is too many. This post should have happened long ago.
But I will learn. And, in ways I cannot yet imagine, I will change.
See you along the Trail.