Over the past few days, white conservative 'christian' preachers have talked about Christianity being under attack, about Christians being persecuted. My friends here on Facebook have dismissed these comments. Yet the preachers are partly right. Christianity in the United States is under attack. Christians are under attack. Last night, another Christian house of worship was burned.
Mike Huckabee, Bryan Fischer, and the whole lot of them need to stand up boldly and lead the fight against the sin of racism, the sin of not loving our brothers as ourselves, the sin of burning down the houses of worship of our brothers and sisters.
Got home very late again after spending a lot of time talking today about issues of faith. On Facebook, many friends are posting concerns they have for friends that are ill or suffering. They don’t use the word prayer. That’s an old fashioned word. Instead, they ask for good thoughts and positive energy.
Yet as I think about it, supplication isn’t the only form of prayer on Facebook. There is a lot of thanksgiving, particularly in the form of pictures of vacation, weddings, newborns, etc. There are event moments of contemplation, or at least moments of Zen.
Underneath all of that is the sense of community, being a member of the body of …
More thoughts to be explored later…
I wonder how many European Finance Minister’s said The Lord’s Prayer on Sunday
Forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
I wonder how many went to churches sharing a common lectionary, where the New Testament Lesson was 2 Corinthians 8:7-15
For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich…
For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has-- not according to what one does not have. I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written,
"The one who had much did not have too much,
and the one who had little did not have too little."
As I think about these, I think about the beginning of Jesus’ ministry
Then Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been raised. As was his custom, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. When he stood up to read, the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord[p] is upon me;
he has anointed me to tell
the good news to the poor.
He has sent me to announce release to the prisoners
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set oppressed people free,
and to announce the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. While the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him, he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled, as you’ve heard it read aloud.”
And that man said that any church where black and white drink from the same cup has discovered something I want to be apart of and that the world needs to learn about. That man and that woman were my parents. This is the sacrament of unity that can overcome even the deepest estrangements between human beings.
I don’t remember how I first became acquainted with Bishop Curry. I imagine it was as I was reading about the turmoil at General Theological Seminary, or perhaps reading something about the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church. Maybe it was from one of my Episcopalian friends online.
I do remember following him on Twitter and sending him a friend request on Facebook and watching the video linked above. I regularly liked his Facebook posts about his visits to different churches, about confirmations and ordinations. Then, he was nominated for Presiding Bishop and yesterday, elected Presiding Bishop.
Many of the news stories talk about the first African American Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. I posted on Facebook “A first for The Episcopal Church! Electing a Presiding Bishop who is a friend on Facebook!” Both are important.
Bishop Curry talks about “The Sacrament of Unity”. It is a sacrament sorely needed today, and Bishop Curry using social media can make this sacrament more accessible.
I’m pretty excited.
Various friends have been sharing the link to the article, Black America should stop forgiving white racists, with its tag line, “Quick absolution does not lead to justice.”
Since I’m not black, I haven’t felt it was my place to comment on this, until I saw a friend share the link yesterday after President Obama’s Eulogy of the Rev. Pinkney, the same Eulogy where President Obama sings Amazing Grace to the chagrin of his detractors.
After watching parts of the Eulogy, especially where President Obama spoke about the forgiveness shown in Charleston, I added this comment to one of those posts:
Perhaps it comes from my white privilege, but I'd like to believe it comes from my deep abiding belief in God, that I have a very different view of forgiveness. The author writes,
"Yet, the almost reflexive demand of forgiveness, especially for those dealing with death by racism, is about protecting whiteness, and America as a whole. This is yet another burden for black America."
I do not believe this. I doesn't seem like President Obama believed this in his eulogy for Rev. Pinkney. For me, and I believe for many of my devout Christian black brothers and sisters, forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools, not of protecting whiteness, but of challenging it.
If the viral videos of Charleston after the murders had been of rioting instead of family members offering forgiveness, I don't believe we would have seen outcomes we have.
So, to the viral video of forgiveness, watch President Obama speak about this forgiveness: