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Daily Examen, August 14-16, 2017

Daily Examen, Monday, August 14, 2017

A busy week begins with a blur
and offering comfort.
The day ends, not much different than it started
with a rush from one thing to the next
with the underlying reminder
God alone is enough

Daily Examen, Tuesday, August 15, 2017

As I sit in the dental chair
I think of those
who cannot afford
a visit to the dentist.
Then the day rushes forward
ending with a reminder
by three deer
looking over their shoulders
at me.

Daily Examen, Wednesday, August 16, 2017

And on the third day
of the work week
the pace does not slow down
but neither do the reminders
of God’s love
and I settle in
to read a book
give as a gift.

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Radical Inclusion

As I prepare to start seminary next month, I am reading various books from the recommended reading list. One book, Radical Welcome by the Rev. Stephanie Spellers has particularly caught my attention. While the focus is more on how local churches can be more welcoming, in a radically transforming manner, there is much in the book that could be considered for other parts of the ecclesiastical structure or even for our country as a whole.

After Charlottesville, I have been wondering about how our civic life can become more radically welcome, up to, and including how we can welcome those young men who are being drawn away by hate filled ideologies like white supremacy.

In an interview, ‘I’m not the angry racist they see’: Alt-Righter became viral face of hate in Virginia — and now regrets it, Peter Cvjetanovic, the face of the torch wielding angry crowd on Friday evening says,

“I came to this march for the message that white European culture has a right to be here just like every other culture,” Cvjetanovic opined. “It is not perfect; there are flaws to it, of course. However I do believe that the replacement of the statue will be the slow replacement of white heritage within the United States and the people who fought and defended and built their homeland. Robert E Lee is a great example of that. He wasn’t a perfect man, but I want to honor and respect what he stood for during his time.”

It is easy to dismiss this as the self-justification of someone whose hatred and wrong-doing has been exposed. It is far more challenging to accept him as another person loved by God and created in God’s image. It is far more challenging to listen to what he has to say and work towards reconciliation.

What is this “white European culture” he is talking about? What does that mean to him, to us, to those who have been oppressed for generations by representatives of this “white European culture”? As we take down statues of Robert E. Lee, what can we put up that radically includes those who feel their culture slipping away?

As a northerner, I find parts of my heritage challenged. Thanksgiving was a very important day for me, but I have grown to understand how it is not a day of celebration for those who were here before white Europeans came and I seek ways of celebrating my ancestors arrival in a way that is respectful of those who were already here. I seek to learn about and celebrate their culture as well.

What are the things that white Europeans from the south can celebrate? The first thing that comes to my mind is Juneteenth. If you don’t know what that is and don’t celebrate it, go out and spend some time learning. What are other things? I don’t know. I hope my white European friends from the south can share some ideas. Perhaps it has to do with Flannery O’Connor or William Faulkner. Perhaps it has something to do with southern cuisine.

If we can radically welcome young white men who fear their culture is slipping away, perhaps they can join with us as we all battle symbols of hatred and oppression.

Daily Examen, August 11-13, 2017

Daily Examen, August 11, 2017

There are days
when you reach major milestones
and find
how much further you need to go
and work
later into the evening
than you want to
missing other important events.

Daily Examen, August 12, 2017

Praying.
Preparing for a memorial service.
Watching the news.
Asking the Spirit to speak
to bring God’s love
in memory of a peacemaker
to a country that sorely needs it
right now.

Daily Examen, August 13, 2017

Amidst the grief and politics
the elderly still need to be visited
and prayed with,
the homeless still need to be fed
physically and spiritually.
There is more that I would have liked to do today
then I had time for.
So I end the day
both blessed
and exhausted.

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