Tag Archives: freedom

A freedom I am thankful for

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If voting makes no difference, why do some people work so hard to see that other people cannot exercise that freedom?

Traci Smith, author of Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home has provided a gift of the November 2018 Gratitude Every Day calendar. I am using it as an opportuity to revisit photos and post them as they speak to gratitude.

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Lent 2017, day 31

lenten-reflections-on-the-confession-of-belhar“The Belhar pushes the church, as she confesses, to be present in the lives of others beyond formal gatherings and policy-making engagements. Belhar calls the church to come to know itself, to actually love the neighbor, and set captives free.”
Mark Lomax
Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar

God help me, help the church, love our neighbors and free captives. Guide our actions.

This Lenten season I am using a new resource to explore the Belhar Confession: Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar, edited by Kerri N. Allen and Donald K. McKim. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in which I serve as a teaching elder (pastor), added the Confession of Belhar to our Book of Confessions in 2016. This confession came from the Dutch Reformed Mission Church during its historic struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Books, Lent

The color of the day is green

IMG_1708Friday Prince. Today Ireland.

Friday purple.Today green.

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising of Irish men and women against the occupation and oppression of England. More civilians were killed during the rising than were combatants on both sides. Guerrilla warfare followed that resulted in England leaving Ireland. The agreement to end that war partitioned the country: 26 counties became the Irish Free State; 6 counties in the north remained part of the United Kingdom. Civil war ensued but did not change that configuration. The Troubles convulsed Northern Ireland; progress has been made toward peace, the journey is not complete.

In remembrance and prayer, green was today’s color.

Note April 24 also marks the day the Armenian genocide began in 2015.

See you along the Trail.

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Declaration

Independence.

Live free.
Live full.
Live well.

Independence from
old patterns,
learned habits,
undeserved guilt.

Live free.
Live full.
Live well.

Live free.
Live full.
Live well.

Independence
in the coming year,
on this very day,
at every moment.

Live free.
Live full.
Live well.

Independence
to laugh
to love
to live.

Live free.
Live full.
Live well.

24 December 2015
Cleveland Heights, OH

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17 March – each year, every year

I speak for no others,
only for myself.
For me, this day has
nothing to do with
green beer or
green rivers or
green clothing,
this day has nothing to do with
pinching me or kissing me;
my bad jokes aside,
this day has nothing to do even with Jameson.
Today is a day
to remember oppression
to honor resistance
to recognize that, despite the efforts of
systems of race and racialization
to separate us,
struggles for dignity and justice,
freedom and equality,
human rights and humanity
are inseparably linked:
none of us are free until all of us are free.
for that reason, in that spirit, and in my own fashion,
I mark this day, and each 17th of March.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Fitzgerald, from County Cork, on my mother’s side.

See you along the Trail!

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Kenneth Bae is Released

Great news! Delighted to share this from my friend Grace Ji-Sun Kim.

Grace Ji-Sun Kim

kenneth_bae_ap_imgSo excited and happy that Kenneth Bae is on his way home. He will be reunited with his sister, Terri Chung, his mother, family and friends in Seattle tonight.

We praise God for his release.

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Making the Fourth of July a day for us all

IMG_2530 (533x800)Whose holiday is the Fourth of July?

We like to think of this day as a day of celebration for all the citizens of the United States of America. But as Frederick Douglass proclaimed over 150 years ago, for many people – people living in this country – the Fourth of July serves as a painful reminder and a mockery.

When he spoke, the issue was slavery. Millions lived in the chains of chattel slavery. Those chains have fallen, thanks in large part, to Frederick Douglass and other African-Americans who resisted enslavement.

But many still do not enjoy fully  the vision of freedom. Racism persists. A number of states greeted the recent Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act by moving ahead with Voter ID laws, some of which have been rejected under the voting rights act. Immigrants face challenges as they seek to make a new life. Supreme Court decisions have made it possible for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters to marry – in certain states. An economic gulf looms between the rich and many people who struggle to find ends, let alone to make them meet. Men, women, and children are trafficked for labor and for sex. Slavery has morphed; it has not disappeared. For many, the promises of freedom and the United States remain unrealized. For all of us, the words of Frederick Douglass ring true.

Frederick Douglass was born in a slave cabin in Maryland. The date and year remain unknown even to Douglass. The condition of enslavement resulted in such a lack of knowledge for many. Douglass endured the violation and horrors of slavery. And he resisted. His first attempt to escape failed. Then he tried again and, in early September 1838, disguised as a sailor, he escaped to freedom – precarious freedom, but freedom none the less.

During a visit to the African Burial Ground National Monument in Manhattan, Tricia and I opted to take a tour that focused on slavery, resistance, and abolition efforts in New York. We learned that Douglass made his first stop in New York City. He did not stay because of the city’s support for slavery. In New York, Douglass married Anna Murray. They went to New Bedford, Massachusetts to live.

Douglass became a leader in the abolitionist movement. A talented speaker, he would spend about six months each year travelling and speaking. Douglass attended the Seneca Falls Convention and became a supporter of women’s rights including the right to vote. This connection led Anna and Frederick to move their family to Rochester, New York, perhaps to be near Susan B. Anthony.

On July 5, 1852, in Rochester, Douglass spoke at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence: the Fourth of July, U.S. Independence Day.  Perhaps they anticipated his words and tone. Most likely they did not. Douglass reminded his audience that, “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.” He went on to note:

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

Douglass did not end there, however. He observed that, despite his experience and the painful realities,  “I do not despair of this country.” He closed with a  poem of hope written by William Lloyd Garrison that begins:

God speed the year of jubilee
The wide world o’er!

The poem ends with an affirmation remaining engaged in the struggle for liberty, freedom, and justice – of working to make the promise of the Fourth of July real for all.

Frederick Douglass devoted himself to that struggle.

May I do the same.

See you along the Trail.

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