When you can’t call for help
Sometimes a personal story is the best way to understand the stark truth of a situation; Kim Hampton’s story about fearing for her life if she called 911 is one such story.
I’m housesitting for some friends not too far from my house. No big deal.
Except that it is.
If something goes wrong, I can’t prove that I have cause to be in the house. So I can’t call for help.
Lest you think I’m being overly paranoid, just sit and think about the fact that two women have died at the hands of police after calling them for help in the past month; Charleena Lyles in Seattle and Justine Damon in Minneapolis. (East of Midnight, July 19)
Getting through this
Doug Muder was asked recently how he can spend so much time thinking through the news, without getting depressed. His advice is practical and pragmatic.
I’ll advise you to do whatever you can think to do to defend whatever you think is worth defending. Take your best shot, not because it will necessarily work, but because it’s your best shot. Enjoy the country and democracy you have for as long as you have it. Resist those moments—both positive and negative—when you think you know how it all turns out.
You don’t know. None of us do. So do whatever you can think to do, and what happens will happen. If things go well, we won’t know until someday years from now, when we look back and say, “We got through this.” (The Weekly Sift, July 17)
The Rev. Lynn Ungar has been thinking about “our national inability to talk with one another.”
We should stop arguing about what people think, and ask people what they want. Believe me, it makes me nuts that people think things that are both appalling and untrue. I want to fix them. It hasn’t worked yet. If someone is going to change their thinking, it’s going to have to originate from something inside of them.
But no one is wrong about what they want. They may not be CLEAR about what they want, and they may even want to have things that you don’t want them to have. But examining what people want has the possibility of working out solutions. (Facebook, July 17)
The stick on your shoulder
Jo Victoria shares a “privilege stick analogy,” which helps people understand the impact of their actions, regardless of their intent.
We all walk around with a stick on our shoulder. It’s not a stick we intentionally put there, it’s just there. It is part of us, as much as our ears and noses are. You can’t ever get rid of that stick, and we all have them. We just don’t normally talk about it.
As we walk through life, we may well forget our stick is there. We turn quickly and don’t realize someone is in the way. We think we are clear of someone, but the stick is longer than we realized. We don’t see the person standing there, or we get excited and forget to see if anyone is in the way. We even forget that we have a stick on our shoulder.
And our actions result in injury. Sometimes it’s just a tap, sometimes we might knock someone out cold. (Facebook, July 13)
Chris Crass discusses his thoughts about raising his kids free from heterosexism and patriarchy.
We want our kids to grow up loved for who they are, encouraged to express themselves and be themselves, and also to be gender literate in how the world is currently organized by heterosexism and patriarchy, and also how the world has been and continues to be transformed by feminism, queer and trans liberation, by people’s movements with ancestors and leaders today who are in our family and in our community. (Facebook, July 14)
Spiritual practice, spiritual direction
The Rev. Meghann Robern and her family find a way to say goodbye to a house that has not treated them well.
In the purging of our belongings, we found a small pile of papers that were too sensitive to simply throw away—they needed to be disposed of securely. I decided that instead of finding someone with a shredder, we would burn them in the fireplace, and let the fire cleanse us and the house of the past. (Nature’s Path, July 19)
The Rev. Phillip Lund has begun a series of posts about the practice of spiritual direction in progressive congregations.
[Spiritual] direction has in the last 30 years or so transcended the traditions commonly associated with the practice—primarily Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Eastern Orthodox—to become a truly multifaith, interspiritual movement. Spiritual direction, spiritual guidance, spiritual companionship—no matter what you call it, I believe that this ancient practice can give both clergy and laity the tools we need to make it through the dark night of the church and into a new era of progressive religion in America. (Phillip Lund, July 17)