Tag Archives: hate

Disrupt and dismantle

Killings motivated by racism at the Kroger where I shopped when I lived in Louisville.

Killings motivated by anti-Semitism at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, where I have never lived but claim as home because it is more recognizable than the nearby small towns where I did live.

Pipe bombs sent to public figures, putting at risk the intended recipients and everyone who came near the packages.

Words do not pull the trigger on guns. Words do not build explosive devices. But words create an atmosphere in which some people think it is somehow acceptable to build and send bombs and shoot guns. When we hear words that express hate or stoke violence, we need to find ways to respond.

Racism. Anti-Semitism. White supremacy. Patriarchy. Homophobia. Ableism. May we find ways to disrupt and dismantle these and all systems that divide us and distort our living.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Gun Violence, Louisville, New York

Lent 2017, day 29

lenten-reflections-on-the-confession-of-belhar“God disapproves of hateful divisions that are daily shown in our collective injustices and self-centered actions.”
Randal Maurice Jelks
Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar

Randal leads up to the above statement by telling the story of a rally held by a racist, hate group in Grand Rapids. A counter rally was also held. And then, after both groups had left, students from Calvin College cleaned the stairs as a symbol that God disapproves “of hatred and the promotion of divisions.”

Where are the stairs I need to clean? How can I daily demonstrate God’s disapproval of injustice and division?

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, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

It comes this night

It comes this night.

Faintly,
ever so faintly,
it comes.

Above the roar
of anger and hatred,

Above the howl
of prejudice and bigotry,

Above the maelstrom
of systems and structures,

Above the crash
of violence and war,

Above the groan
of doubt and despair,

Above the dis-ease
of heartache and heartbreak

Above the tumult
of turmoil and trouble

Above the clamor
of struggle and strife

Above it all,
despite it all
because of it all,

It comes.

Faintly,
ever so faintly,
it comes.

A baby’s cry,
proclaiming
life and
love and
justice and
peace and
hope,
this night
and all nights.

24 December 2016
Goochland, Virginia

 

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Filed under Advent, Poem, Uncategorized

I choose the way of life

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. has apparently urged students, staff and faculty at his Christian school to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon on campus. The purpose seems to be protection in the event of an attack.

“Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here,” Falwell reportedly said.

This from a man who purports to follow Jesus who told Peter to put away his sword.

But Falwell further appears to have added an Islamphobic remark.

“I’ve always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in,” Falwell said.

Donald Trump issued a call to bar Muslims from entering the United States.

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” a campaign press release reportedly said.

This from a man who claims to follow Jesus who continually crossed lines of prejudice and discrimination.

To Falwell and to Trump, I say “No! You do not speak for me.”

I reject these messages of hate.

I reject these messages of hate because of what I understand it to mean to be a citizen of the United States of America. We are the home of the brave and courage comes from inside ourselves and among ourselves not from being armed to the teeth and shooting first. The message of Lady Liberty is a message of welcome not a message of exclusion.

F26 Lift Highlands Camp, CO 25 August 2012

I reject these messages of hate because they are incompatible with my faith in Jesus.

Jesus calls us to include not to divide; to love not to fear; to respond to violence with creative nonviolence. Jesus invites us to live into hope; to make ourselves vulnerable; to build and nurture community.

The world is a scary place. I know that.

However, responding with weapons and violence and judgement and exclusion leads only to more fear, destruction, and death.

The way to life, and it takes hard, hard work,  is to recognize we are all God’s children, created with an amazing diversity, to honor God’s image in one another, and to love one another. It will involve challenges and risks and pain and sorrow. But it will also involve grace amazing and joy abounding and blessings abundant.

So I reject these, and all, messages of hate. And I choose the way of life. I will protest hate and I will love as well as I am able.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events

Keep moving

Anguish grips my soul as events unfold in Gaza.

I am cautiously grateful for the cease-fire announced today. I have prayed for peace; now I pray the negotiations will succeed.

I have called on Congress to act for a ceasefire in Gaza and to pursue a lasting peace in Israel-Palestine.

I have contributed to UNRWA to support their work caring for Palestine refugees in Gaza. There are a number of other agencies responding to the needs of Palestinians and Israelis.

photo (71)I also read Izzledin Abuelaish’s book, I Shall Not Hate.

On January 16, 2009, Israeli shells hit Abuelaish’s home in the Gaza Strip. The devastating explosions killed three of his daughters and a niece. A Palestinian doctor, Abuelaish writes of his experience and his refusal to turn to hate and revenge. Faced with heartbreak unimaginable, he called for the peoples of the region to talk to each other and to build relations with each other that could serve as the basis for efforts that might lead to a just peace. Abuelaish lives his call.

As bombs and shells fell on Gaza; as rockets struck Israel; as Israeli tanks rolled and Israeli troops marched; as Palestinians emerged from tunnels; Abuelaish’s words carry a powerful poignancy and a deep urgency.

We use hatred and blame to avoid the reality that eventually we need to come together.

Hatred is an illness. It prevents healing and peace.

Peace is humanity; peace is respect; peace is open dialogue. I don’t think of peace as the absence of anything that just puts it in a negative light. Let’s be positive about what peace is–rather than what it is not.

We do not need to merely accept what is happening around us. We all have the potential to be agents of change.

I believe that Einstein was right when he said life is like riding a bicycle: to keep balanced, we must keep moving. I will keep moving, but I need you to join me in this long journey.

I give thanks for Izzeldin Abuelaish and all who keep moving on the long journey to justice and peace in Gaza and Israel and places around the world. I pray for the courage and strength to keep moving with them.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Books, Current Events, Human Rights

Teach your children

If you see
your parents
abused,
violated;

if you watch
your grandparents
disrespected,
humiliated;

if you witness
your siblingsbeaten,
excluded;

if you view
your friends
denied,
imprisoned;

if you observe
your people
tortured,
murdered;

what can you learn
from a teacher,
from a textbook
about
hate?

24 October 2013
Livonia, Michigan

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Filed under Current Events, Human Rights

The light of love

Satpal Singh, chairperson of the World Sikh Council – American Region, recently published a reflection in response to the September 21 attack on Dr. Prabhjot Singh. His article, entitled, “Our Resolve in the Face of Terror and Hate,” tells of the work of Dr. Singh for a better community and analyzes the nature of hate crimes.

Such crimes are attacks against a person or a particular place. They are also attacks against a whole community. Satpal Singh puts it this way:

Beyond the death of innocents, their ‘victory’ lies in shaking the foundation of a free society. It manifests in a sense of fear in the society, with everyone looking over his or her shoulders. It manifests in a sense of suspicion of others, including neighbors, especially of those who look different. And even more perniciously, the terrorist victory lies in creating hate among people, and heightening the divisions within a society.

We deny hate its victory when we control our suspicions, build community, and overcome fear with love. Dr. Singh demonstrates this in his response to the attack he endured as reported by The Times of India:

“If I could speak to my attackers, I would ask them if they had any questions, if they knew what they were doing. May be invite them to the gurdwara where we worship, get to know who we are… Make sure they have an opportunity to move past this as well.”

Satpal Singh expresses a similar resolve and vision:

May God enlighten the attackers and bring peace and understanding to their mind. Let the light of love pierce through the clouds of hate and illuminate our hearts with universal love and harmony.

God made this world a wonderful place for all of us to live in peace and happiness. Let us not allow the terrorists to undermine the house of God.

Amen.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, New York