+France and another attack. Just no words left.
That doesn’t mean hopeless or despairing, just quiet and thoughtful. What is worth saying in the world we have lived through in the last few weeks? So many words have been poured out, and so few help.
Through it all babies continue to be born. People get married. Young, hopeful, beautiful lovebirds commit to life together. Jobs are kept and loss. Migraines still manifest. Books continue to be published. Pokeman are caught. Donald Trump says something stupid.
I like to read big fantasy novels – like Tolkien, Modesitt, Jr., and Guy Gavriel Kay. And one thing you learn when you read these books, when they are done right, is that life keeps being lived. All the regular lives and all the ordinary people surround the amazing adventures that flow around, in, and through the main characters. There are still bee stings, and lost letters, abused people, and hungry children. People die too young, villages are destroyed, and politics never end (even as hordes of the enemy break through the defenses). Life continues.
So what can be said in the midst of all of this.
- Love your neighbor. I think I said that last month. But I really think that’s part of how we move through these times. Love the people that are around you. Treat them as human beings first. And love them.
- Acknowledge your biases. President Obama was right to talk about this on Wednesday. We have to acknowledge that we have bias – even when we are the ones who fight against it every single day.
But America, we know that bias remains. We know it, whether you are black, or white, or Hispanic, or Asian, or native American, or of Middle Eastern descent, we have all seen this bigotry in our own lives at some point. We’ve heard it at times in our own homes. If we’re honest, perhaps we’ve heard prejudice in our own heads and felt it in our own hearts. We know that. And while some suffer far more under racism’s burden, some feel to a far greater extent discrimination’s stain. Although most of us do our best to guard against it and teach our children better, none of us is entirely innocent. No institution is entirely immune, and that includes our police departments. We know this.
This isn’t just a PC move. This is a human move. To admit that there are things I assume and take for granted that I need to think about. These biases are not just political issues, they are human issues.
One of the scariest things I’ve heard lately was an interview with a local woman who “came out” as a Trump supporter. This quote terrified me:
I ask people, ‘Why am I a racist? Why is Donald Trump a racist?’ and they have no answer,” she said. “It’s just they disagree with me politically and the way they’re going to silence me is by calling me names and hoping that the social pressure will shut me up, and I don’t care anymore.”
Now people consider the call of racism just a political issue – a political stance. When we trick ourselves into believing that there is not substance behind a call for justice, we have lost any sense of integrity we might have had.
- Speak. Even when it’s scary. We have to speak up. We have to stand up with our brothers and sisters. If we don’t. If we are silent then the world continues to believe that people don’t matter. That very real things are just issues and not about people’s lives. Stand up against abuse, misuse, bullying, slander, and hatred. We must speak because other people don’t.
- Create Community. Community is a powerful force. It is the force that can draw us together to change the world around us. It is how we find people that share our views and engage in conversation with those who don’t. It is how we work to make things different. If you feel like you’re all alone, go find some like minded folks on Meet Up. Start a new group in your faith community for discussing what’s going on in our world. Have someone who is different from you over for dinner. In community we find the strength to do the things that are too overwhelming to do alone.
- Build Bridges with people in other faith groups. Don’t assume you understand someone else’s faith because of what you see in the news. Or from what the minorities in a faith group do. Find people in other groups and get to know them. Have conversations. Share meals. Learn.
I think that’s enough. If we could just do these things, I think our world would start to change for the better.
May we open our hearts to create that better world.
Please feel free to add how you are coping with all that is going on, where you see these things working, and what you hope for as we move into the future.