Sunday, January 16, 2011

MLK Day: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'" - Martin Luther King Jr.

Tommorow will be the first time in a number of years that I won't be marching in Atlanta for MLK Day. It always struck me as interesting that the majority of faith representation that made up the march were primarily socially active seminary students of all denominations, African American Baptist Churches and Unitarians. You'd see social justice groups, bands, and schools, but the representation of faith communities in Atlanta was not as inspiring.

Though there are lots of ways to honor the dreams of Dr. King for beloved community. I think half the battle is getting past apathy and showing up. Public witness has many forms: marching, letter writing, voting, and service among others.

My college town in Wisconsin does not have a large march through the city or a big hubub about this day. In fact schools are still in session, except for the University.

One of my congregants did invite me to an event that helps people tap into community justice opportunities. Justice does not happen with only words and feet, it has to happen with working hands. This year I'll be attending Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service at the Community Table. I look forward to connecting with others in thinking about how simple acts of service can change lives. When a community comes together to think and work on equity in housing and wages, food distribution, and the basic needs of fellow beings then perhaps we are moving in the right direction. Dr Cornel West said, "Justice is what love looks like in public." May we work together to keep strong in the practice of love, justice, and most of all - showing up.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Civil Public Discourse: A response to the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords

When you put a political opponent in the cross hairs of a gun, when you encourage people to "reload" there is a direct violent message delivered. Let us not mince words. The incindiary right has been frothing at the mouth and riling people up. There is a point when freedom of speech moves to incitement. I am wondering when that point will be observed?

There is a need for civil public discource in the media, in politics, and goodness knows in every community. Between Fox news and their "fair and balanced" reporting (see Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin) and infammatory Tea Party remarks there is little surprise that there has been political violence. If we appeal to the base instincts of fear and "othering" how do you think people will respond? When our president is painted as everything but "American" anger is incited.

Napolean Bonaparte has a remarkly true quote, "In politics stupidity is not a handicap."

We have to move away from this zero sum game of winner takes all politics. If we can not talk with one another, we can not work together. If violence becomes the accepted and promoted language of politics, it will foster violence.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

You might be a "mama minister" when...

you write your sermon on the couch while cheering for a lego Star Wars game.