Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Longing for Emmanuel and Sophia

Immanuel is Hebrew for "God with us," as well as a name applied to Jesus.  Sophia is Greek for wisdom. Jesus came in the wisdom tradition. Jesus is God-with-us. I could use a little of both right now.

My heart is grieving.

Saturday I participated in the Transgender Day of Remembrance, where we lit nearly 300 candles in memory of the people who have been killed in transgender hate crimes since Nov. 20, 2013. We watched an eloquent powerpoint slide show that included individual names, how they died, and where their bodies were found. So moving to sit with so many people, watching the names and hearing the music. I talked to parents of a transgender daughter who is being treated well at school, so I am thankful. I wish all transgender people had loving parents.

Sunday we listened to the director of our local teenager homeless outreach program, Tumbleweed, thank our church for the donations we make. It shook us all up to hear the statistics on homeless kids, and that some are sleeping in caves in the rims. They stay alive on below zero nights by wearing 6 coats. Sheri told me that the vast majority of kids leave home because at least one of their parents are doing drugs, or their parents kicked them out because they were LGBTQI. I preached “Let’s be clear what God’s plan is” and quoted these texts.

Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.                                               Micah 6:8

They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.  They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity.                                                             Isaiah 65:21-23a

The Bible teaches us that it is not God’s will
for adults to be so blinded by addiction or alcoholism
that they can’t care for their children,
for parents to be so fearful of their children who are L or G or B or T or any kind of Q
that they will abandon them.
It’s not God’s will
for any children to be turned out of their homes.

Monday, once again, Ferguson Missouri. There was an impromptu vigil Monday night at our courthouse here in Billings. I couldn’t go—I had to pick up my daughter from work. I wish I could have been there, holding a candle.

Tuesday, I wrote the liturgy for our Blue Christmas service that honor people’s grief at Christmastime. We’re giving out blue angel ornaments for people to take home, and having people light candles in memory.

I am full of grief and prayers for loss, discrimination, racism, and injustice. 

I so appreciated what Michael Brown’s family said: Don’t make noise. Make a difference.

Last weekend was Not In Our Town Billings’ Summit on Hate: Challenging Discrimination. I passed out a paper that listed these resources that had changed the way I thought, preached, and acted. Here they are. I hope you look at some of them.  Share them. Let them make a difference in your life and encourage you to make a difference in the world. 

Resources that Helped Me Figure Out Privilege and Challenge Discrimination
assembled by Susan Barnes, ally-in-the-making

Everything on the Not In Our Town Website

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack– Peggy McIntosh – a classic (1988) that looks at racism and white privilege from the viewpoint of a white woman who has experienced sexism

Here’s one helpful response to “Why do all (insert race here) people look alike?” from a Chicago curmudgeon

“Playing with privilege: the invisible benefits of gaming while male” by Jonathan McIntosh, video game player

 “Daily effects of straight privilege” by straight-identified students at Earlham College

“10 Examples of Ability Privilege” by Shannon Ridgway  -- helpful for TABs (Temporarily Able-Bodied)

 “I Stayed in the Closet So I Could Benefit from Straight Privilege” by Marissa Higgins, March 21, 2014

 “The Invisibility of Upper Class Privilege” 1997, by Class Acts at Women’s Theological Center.  College students list privileges they recognized themselves. http://www.thewtc.org/Invisibility_of_Class_Privilege.pdf

 “30+Examples of Cisgender Privilege” Sam Killerman, author of a book on how to stand up against gender-based oppression.  http://www.guidetogender.com/ and


 “If Black People Said The Stuff White People Say”

 “If Latinos Said The Stuff White People Say”

“If Asians Said The Stuff White People Say”

“If Gay Guys Said the Stuff Straight People Say”

“Racism Insurance”

Other helpful links:

“Pronoun Do’s and Don’ts”

“Practicing My Shut-Ups: A Spiritual Discipline for Being An Ally”

 “How Should You Respond to a Racist Comment?” http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5576785