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Jan. 22nd, 2017

ihs

miriammoules

WIGIT

Where is God In This?

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Jan. 14th, 2017

Arts Festival

bbovenguy

Pray for those who persecute you. Yes, even them.

The last time a Republican administration tried to bully my church, back in 2004 when our Rector Emeritus dared to say that Jesus is against war, George W. Bush's IRS demanded to know which political leaders we had mentioned by name during worship services. So we told them the name we mentioned every service on every single Sunday. George W. Bush.

In the Episcopal Church, we have always prayed for our leaders, both political and spiritual, and at my church we have always prayed for them by name. But with Donald Trump coming to the White House, that's gotten a lot harder. A couple of weeks ago, the rector decided to remove all the names from the liturgy and pray for leaders only by title. In a follow up announcement, though, he said this would only be a temporary measure. In time (assuming Trump stays in office), we will be praying for him by name.

If you're really going to follow Jesus, you'd better expect to be challenged. You'd better expect that you'll be pushed out of your comfort zone. Oh sure, you can go to church and sing the hymns and pray the prayers and do your Sudoku during the sermon and live a nice, comfortable life - but if you really want a relationship with God, He's going to demand that you be better than you contentedly think you already are.

In this case, that means following Jesus when he told us, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." And in this case, I am being pushed. I know that praying for Donald Trump is the right thing to do. He certainly needs it. But I'm having a really hard time with it.

I've realized that it's easier for me to pray for ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi than it is to pray for Donald Trump. It's easier for me to pray for al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri than it is to pray for Mitch McConnell.

Why? Because I don't really expect ISIS and al-Qaeda to hurt me. They may want me to think they're going to hurt me, but I feel like they're a safe distance away. On the other hand, Trump and McConnell and the rest of the Republican mob hurt me every day. They hurt me with their lies. They hurt me with their insults. They hurt me with their hypocrisy. They hurt me with their plans for the country. They hurt me with the forces they've unleashed.

And I'm a straight white man. Supposedly they love me. I can only imagine what it's like for a woman or a person of color or someone who's LGBTQ. In his announcement that names will be taken out of the liturgy for now, Rector Mike Kinman wrote, "We are in a unique situation in my lifetime where we have a president elect whose name is literally a trauma trigger to some people – particularly women and people who, because of his words and actions, he represents an active danger to health and safety."

Praying for someone doesn't mean you support them. It doesn't mean you agree with them. It's not an endorsement. This week, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry wrote, "I grew up in a historically black congregation in the Episcopal Church. We prayed for leaders who were often lukewarm or even opposed to our very civil rights. We got on our knees in church and prayed for them, and then we got up off our knees and we Marched on Washington. Following the way of Jesus, we prayed and protested at the same time. We prayed for our leaders who were fighting for our civil rights, we prayed for those with whom we disagreed, and we even prayed for those who hated us. And we did so following Jesus, whose way is the way of unselfish, sacrificial love. And that way is the way that can set us all free."

But that doesn't mean it's easy. Maybe the best thing I can do is be honest with God about it. Perhaps my prayer should be, "God, I know I'm supposed to pray for these people, but it's really hard. Please help me to do better." And perhaps, bit by bit, I'll be better. I'm not talking about "normalizing" Trump and the Republicans. Their own actions will prevent that. I'm talking about the need to continue seeing them as fellow human beings, and not as inhuman monsters. I'm talking about the need to keep our own souls free of hatred. Because that's the only way we're going to get through these dark times and emerge into something better.

Jan. 8th, 2017

Arts Festival

bbovenguy

Sunday Reading

These days, on Sundays when I'm not singing, I'm reading Thomas Merton's Seeds of Destruction, a series of essays on the social conditions Merton saw around him in the America of the early 1960s. So far, I've read "Letters to a White Liberal" and "The Legend of Tucker Caliban," which both concern the racial situation in America at the time of the Civil Rights Movement. But I've got to tell you - these essays could have been written now, here in the 21st Century. In some ways, things haven't changed very much. The Presidential election has shown us just how little they've changed.

The latter essay, "The Legend of Tucker Caliban," is a commentary on the 1962 novel A Different Drummer by William M. Kelley, a book that is now on my need-to-read list. The aforementioned Tucker Caliban is a black man in a fictional Southern state, the descendant of a family that has served the family of the state's governor since the time they were slaves. After buying a plot of land from the governor's family and farming it for a year, he inexplicably sows it with salt, shoots his mule, burns down his house and then disappears with his family. Then, as the bewildered white residents of the community watch, all the other African-Americans in the state pack up and leave, too. Finally, the only African-American left in the state is a northerner who founded a black racist movement, who has come down to see what's going on. The white characters decide he is to blame for what's happened, and so at the end they drag him off and lynch him.

The way Merton describes this story almost makes it sound like an Existentialist novel. Tucker Caliban destroys everything that defined him under the legacy of slavery. He and the other African-Americans then depart for some unknown land, to define themselves on their own, free of who the white men say they are. As Merton writes, "Their departure is a symbolic statement: it is the final refusal to accept paternalism, tutelage, and all different forms of moral, economic, psychological and social servitude wished on them by the whites."

And the white men, for their part, suddenly find themselves masters in a land where there is no one for them to be masters of. They have no idea what to do with themselves, and so they kill the only black man left because they can't think of any other response. "The white man," Merton writes, "has lost his power to hear any inner voice other than that of his own demon who urges him to preserve the status quo at any price, however desperate, however iniquitous and however cruel."

Sound like the times we're living in? The people who want to "Make America Great Again" have shown us how high, how desperate, how iniquitous and how cruel a price they're willing to pay in order to preserve the "White Christian America" of their nostalgic dreams. Merton was writing about the times before I was born, but he could have been writing about today.

When one group of people forces another group into a specific role, it's really both groups that are enslaved. I noticed that when I was married. My ex-wife tried to fit herself into the gender roles mandated by the Evangelical Christianity we practiced at the time. Her attempt to be a "good Christian wife" pushed me into being a "good Christian husband," whether I liked it or not. (Spoiler alert - I didn't.) Similarly, in a society where white people dominate people of color, both groups are trapped. We white folks need people of color to have their full equality. Otherwise, we ourselves are enslaved by our own inner demons.

America is changing, whether we like it or not. The demographic tide is sweeping us toward a "majority minority" country, and the younger generations are embracing our increased diversity. If we white folks can't be the Masters of America, then who are we? That's not a rhetorical question. It needs a serious answer. Who are we going to be in a land where we are one among equals? The various peoples of color need to come up with their own answers for who they're going to be. We need to come up with our answer for who we're going to be. And then we need to get together and work out who we're all going to be as Americans.

I'd like to think that God wants us to be facing those questions instead of building walls, making religious lists, rounding up people for deportation or any of the other things that have been suggested to Make America Great Again. And I am sure He's ready and willing to help us with the answers, if only we will listen.

Jan. 6th, 2017

WGComm-mod

miriammoules

*yawn and stretch*

Hello there

It's been a year since the last time anyone posted in this community, and I thought I would put up a post inviting you to check in and see how you're all doing?

I'm working on a Wild God book, primarily for my husband, and for consumption on here, and I may release it as an e-book at a later date, if I'm happy with it. It came about because my husband had hundreds of questions about what I believe and how that shapes my politics and ethics. And I mean hundreds - he narrowed it down and then I put it onto a spreadsheet...

If you would like to invite people to join here, please let me know. If nothing else it would be good to get discussions going, and seeing where people have shifted, grown or shrunk.

Much love, Many Blessings

Miriam

PS: There is a similar post on DW, and you are welcome to post there or here.

Dec. 8th, 2015

Amadeus

ideealisme

Climate summit

I've just seen there's a push to make this happen, a real deal with teeth:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/08/coalition-paris-push-for-binding-ambitious-climate-change-deal

I don't actually pray much, I don't feel like it's real, but I'm praying now.  I hope the Advent energy propels this along! Thinking of humanity has caused me such deep despair, much more that I admit in public. I cannot even live my daily life without being aware of the robbery and rape I commit just by existing in the modern world and using its facilities for throwaway, disposal things at the earth's expense.

If the authorities told me I'd have to lose it all tomorrow, I'd feel relief. God forgive me for the ruining and despoiling of His world and innocent, unknowing beings, which I eat all the time, and of the part I have taken in it. God speed the negotiators in their important work.

Nov. 22nd, 2015

The Mods

wildgodmods

[WAY]

Where are you?


WAY posts are open to interpretation, allowing anyone to say where they are and what they're up to. Be as serious or light-hearted as you like, but if you've not commented elsewhere recently, comment here to say "hello" or "I'm here."
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Nov. 6th, 2015

The Mods

wildgodmods

[WAY]

Where are you?


WAY posts are open to interpretation, allowing anyone to say where they are and what they're up to. Be as serious or light-hearted as you like, but if you've not commented elsewhere recently, comment here to say "hello" or "I'm here."
Tags:

Oct. 27th, 2015

The Mods

wildgodmods

Walking with the Wild God

Any member of the community is invited to post a WIGIT post, a public thinky post or a private thinky post. The mods actively encourage you to go back and catch up and comment on posts you may have not had a chance to get to, from this week or further back. If you would like to draw the attention of the community to articles or blog posts that might be of interest, please leave a comment on this post.

24th October
wildgodmods [WAY] [public post]

WIGIT: WIGIT posts need to be community-locked, and include the WIGIT rubric, which you can copy and paste from any of the WIGIT posts so far. You can include a personal reflection if you would like to, but don't feel you have to include one.

Oct. 24th, 2015

The Mods

wildgodmods

[WAY]

Where are you?


WAY posts are open to interpretation, allowing anyone to say where they are and what they're up to. Be as serious or light-hearted as you like, but if you've not commented elsewhere recently, comment here to say "hello" or "I'm here."
Tags:

Oct. 18th, 2015

The Mods

wildgodmods

Walking with the Wild God

Any member of the community is invited to post a WIGIT post, a public thinky post or a private thinky post. The mods actively encourage you to go back and catch up and comment on posts you may have not had a chance to get to, from this week or further back. If you would like to draw the attention of the community to articles or blog posts that might be of interest, please leave a comment on this post.

13th October
wildgodmods [WAY] [public post]

17th October
wildgodmods Prayer requests [community-locked post]

WIGIT: WIGIT posts need to be community-locked, and include the WIGIT rubric, which you can copy and paste from any of the WIGIT posts so far. You can include a personal reflection if you would like to, but don't feel you have to include one. We aim to have a WIGIT posted every 24 to 48 hours (so a post every day or every other day). sabethea will make sure that a WIGIT goes up regularly, but if you feel called to post one, please do so.

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