CLC Blog

Harness the Advocate

John 14:

15If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

This continues to be such a heavy time in the world. Racial injustice. COVID-19. Personal health issues. Addiction. Depression. So much going on.

If you ever wonder, like I do, how we're going to get through another day, another week, another month, make this passage from John's Gospel your daily morning reading. Daily, God sends the sends the Holy Spirit, our Advocate, to lead us through life.

Sometimes, I think of the Holy Spirit as being a draft horse harnessed to our lives and pulling us through. Not only does the Holy Spirit pull, the Holy Spirit steers as well.

Thinking about that not only lifts my Spirit, it allows me to think of what impossible things might become possible because now, it's not just up to my energy and wisdom. The Spirit is pulling and steering! With that happening in all of our lives, the world will be changed!

We can change systems that have been built on systemic racism. We can cultivate and change our own hearts and acknowledge our own racism. We can learn how to navigate the world that is emerging after multiple crisis. It's all possible. There is a place for all of us in this time and and in this work, and the Spirit is what makes it possible.

It is [long past] Time

Man what a year this week has been. My time has been spent protesting, writing curriculum, holding space with friends and community members living in the neighborhoods where protesting and rioting is happening, helping clean up, connecting people with resources and information, reading, writing, praying, learning,  developing/reformatting trainings, and most recently creating space for our youth and church community to process, come together, and begin to do the work that we, the white church, have so desperately needed to do for far too long (dismantling/undoing the embodiment of white supremacy within ourselves and our institutions).  I find myself this morning out of words, unsure how to write all of the things swirling in my head and body. And so, today I leave you with thoughts from Lenny Duncan, an ELCA pastor, whose voice needs to be heard and wisdom heeded by us, the ELCA, the whitest denomination in the United States.

“Dear Church..we must dismantle, destroy, and bury white supremacy. In this nation. In our pews. In our liturgies.  As a church, as a people, and as Christians, this is our call in the twenty-first century. There is no way around it. We have lamented this call and drug our feet. We have run the opposite way of Nineveh for far too long. We have negotiated at church council meetings, trying to find a way not to face this. We have thrown sackcloth over our sanctuaries and thrown ashes over the heads of our leaders, crying out to God for another way.  But we are the whitest denomination in the United States; if not us, then who will enter this battle for freedom? If not now, then when? It is our duty and our joy that in this time and this place we join the angels and archangels, the witnesses of the resurrection in their never-ending hymn of justice. The banquet that is about to be laid out by the sovereign God is a feast of equity…We are the offering to end white supremacy in this nation and church. We can enter this new phase of American theology willingly, or we can fight it every step of the way. Either way, I am convinced the call of the church in the twenty-first century is to be the vanguard on this new battleground. We must enter this fray with wild abandon. We cannot pause to see if the ground will be firm or make sure that our entire confessional theology falls in line with every partner we make on the way. People are dying, and our secular leaders are more than OK with it. They have assumed the role of empire and could not care less about who gets hurt along the way.” (Dear Church, pgs 13-15).

Dear white church, if not now, when? If not us, who? I saw a sign at one of the protests that said “rebellions are built on hope.” Church we must follow Jesus in joining the rebellion against the Empire and Empirical ways (eh hem white supremacy and the oppressive reality of capitalism on the most vulnerable peoples in society).

If you’re ready to engage the work, please reach out! I would be happy to walk this journey with you. And know at CLC we have a book study coming up in July on “Me and White Supremacy” as well as some other trainings and tangible action steps planned.

All I know is it is time. It is past time.

“Rebellions are built on hope.” Let’s remember the hope found in Christ, the promise of liberation and restoration for all of creation, and press int together to bringing the fullness of the Kingdom of God to earth.

I love you all. And I’m here if you need me.

God's Glory and Human Dignity

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3When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
 the moon and the stars that you have established;
 4what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
 mortals that you care for them?
 5Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
 and crowned them with glory and honor.

Psalm 8 explores the beauty of God's creation, the grandeur of God, and the place human beings hold in creation. We are a little lower than God, and we are crowned with glory and honor.

All human beings. Let that sink in. George Floyd was crowned with glory and honor. As the police officers were suffocating him, they were suffocating God's glory and honor.

This psalm lifts up the dignity of all people. Indeed, Black Lives Matter. For too long the world has acted as if they didn't, or if they mattered less. White people have been offended by the phrase, "Black Lives Matter." of course, all lives matter. But no one is treating white people like their lives don't matter. I can go on a run and engage in birdwatching without fear of being murdered or having the cops called on me. Heck, I could even do drugs and no worry about the cops murdering me. White people who were armed marched into the Michigan State Capital and no one batted an eye. What if they had been black?

God's Word has been calling for equality of the human race since its creation. It's time we listen.

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