Racism

Pastoral is Political: I’ve Already Said Too Much

(The Eternal continued speaking to Job.)
Eternal One: Have you heard enough?
Will the one who finds fault with the Highest One now make his case?
Let God’s accuser answer Him!
Job 40:1-2 (The Voice)

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I sit here at my desk, comfortable, white and quiet. I write from my very white, suburban, straight female perspective. And it is abundantly clear to me that I used to be living in some version of Fantasyland. As a pastor and a hospice chaplain, I have been listening to the anger and grief around me. I am coming out of a zombie-like existence, where what is reality and what I have perceived it to be are two very different things, indeed.

There have been moments since the US presidential election that I have been angry, despondent and scared, too. But was it really “unthinkable”? What bias skewed my understanding, my perceptions of my country and my culture? Where was my faith in a God of justice and peace? I joined in the conversation and reactionary posts on social media.

“Sit your white ass down and shut up.”

That was the response from my self-righteous protesting, “but… but… I am NOT like those white women who voted for Trump!”

For a few weeks, I was shamed into an uncomfortable silence.

And then, I came to realize that I am guilty by association and by my inaction. I did not see the depths of prejudice my friends and neighbors suffer. I did not complain to corporations where I have money invested. I did not write my elected officials or call them directly when I disagreed with their actions. I did not support candidates financially to the degree I could have.

Though I did not vote for him, I am part of the reason Donald J. Trump won the US presidential election.

I have much to learn from my brothers and sisters who have lived under systemic violence and hate.

I have worked in churches that are majority white, have a few persons of color in the membership, and thought it was “enough”. A kind of, “yay, good for us” mentality. I thought that I am not like pastors at those other churches! (Pharisaical thinking, much? Yikes.)

I can’t change my history… but I am trying to listen and learn to change how I respond in the future. Perhaps that is the most “pastoral” thing I can do.

(Job answered the Eternal.)
Job: Oh, I am so small. How can I reply to You?
I’ll cover my mouth with my hand, for I’ve already said too much.
One time I have spoken, and I have no answer to give—
two times, and I have nothing more to add.
Job 40:3-4 (The Voice)

“When people want to learn about God revealed in Jesus Christ, there stands the mythic white male figure. Some white male theologians and preachers frequently make Jesus sound more like Uncle Sam than the nonviolent, Jewish revolutionary described in the gospel narratives. With a pseudowhite male Jesus let loose in the church, the boundaries of acceptable theological reflection have neatly aligned with powerful, elite American male interests.”
Drew G. I. Hart in Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the way the Church views racism. (p. 163)

“We are the least scrutinizing, least critical, of the people whom we believe support us. The folk who really know how I am and appreciate me, they’re the ones I don’t worry about. …It is possible to be seduced into silence and stillness by affirmation that is really coming from the wrong lips.”
Benadette Glover-Williams, “What the Devil Didn’t Know” in Those Preaching Women, Vol. 4 (p. 23)

“Studies show that people of all colors use and sell illegal drugs at remarkably similar rates. If there are significant differences in the surveys to be found, they frequently suggest that whites, particularly white youth, are more likely to engage in drug crime than people of color. That is not what one would guess, however, when entering our nation’s prisons and jails, which are over-flowing with black and brown drug offenders.”
Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. (p. 7)

“No one alive today created this mess, but everyone alive today has the power to work on undoing it. Four hundred years since its inception, American racism is all twisted up in our cultural fabric. But there’s a loophole: people are not born racist. Racism is taught, and racism is learned. Understanding how and why our beliefs developed along racial lines holds the promise of healing, liberation, and the unleashing of America’s vast human potential.”
Debby Irving, Waking up White and finding myself in the story of race. (Introduction).

 


Rev. Deborah Vaughn is a hospice chaplain and pastor, affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists. She lives in Maryland outside of Washington, DC with her husband and young adult daughters. She is a contributor to the RevGals book There’s a Woman in the Pulpit and maintains a personal blog at An Unfinished Symphony.


RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

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The Pastoral Is Political: A Call To Be UnPopular

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I often wonder how the disciples had the courage to follow Jesus. I’m sure it would have been difficult for them to give up the things in their lives that they relied on for comfort and security. And I think it would have been very difficult for them to go out and proclaim Jesus’ good news after seeing the kind of backlash Jesus got from many of the religious leaders, by some people in his hometown and home synagogue, and even at times by his own family.

I wonder how the disciples continued participating in Jesus’ ministry when it would have been much easier for them to turn away when Jesus called out to them and to just go on living their normal every day lives, without having to acknowledge the suffering and injustice around them.

I think I wonder this about the disciples because sometimes I wonder this about myself. To be quite honest, there have been many times – particularly as I have become more aware of how much systemic racism still prevails throughout our country – when I just want to hold tight to my own privilege. There have been many times when I have just wanted to shut my eyes and pretend that the evil sins of racism and the unjust racialized systems of which I am a part don’t exist.

Because this is the easier way. Because this way allows me to live in my comfortable bubble that I have the privilege of living in. It allows me to avoid any kind of opposition that those who speak out often face. It allows me to deny my own participation in and benefits from the racialized systems in our country that still privilege those who look like me while deeming those who don’t as “less than.”

You see, as a white woman, I have the privilege of being able to live my life without having to fear what my siblings of color fear every day.  My whiteness is a privilege in so many ways (which you can read about in my last post: The Pastoral Is Political: I Am Racist). And one of the many white privileges I have inherited is that I can choose to live my comfortable life without ever having to think about those around this country who are being suffocated and killed by the very same systems that uplift and benefit me.

And yet, this is not a privilege I get to hold onto when I follow Jesus. Because this is not Jesus’ way.

Because just as Jesus called the twelve disciples to loosen their grips on their privilege and just as he sent them out into the world to boldly proclaim his very unpopular good news, he calls and sends all of his disciples to do so, as well.

Now, this work of proclaiming the good news is not always easy. It means we must denounce dehumanizing tweets that compare real people with real suffering to a bowl of poisonous candy. It means we must reject claims that terrorism has a religion. It means we must truly believe in our hearts that (clean) water is life and therefore stand with our siblings who are being denied access to it or who are at risk of loosing it. It means we must proclaim that Black lives matter! Black lives matter! Black lives matter!… over and over and over again until our country actually acts like it.

And it means we must call out the evil sins of systemic racism, confess and repent of our own participation in and benefits from it, and do whatever we can to cast out the demons of these unjust systems so that one day our country does in fact provide liberty and justice for all.

No, following Jesus will not make us popular. And for many of us, this work of proclaiming Jesus’ good news – which seems so radical to so many – will likely lead to opposition, even from some of the people we are closest to.

However, while following Jesus is not always easy, Jesus will never leave us to do this holy work alone.

We have been gifted with the Holy Spirit, who is with us always, comforting us and guiding us along the way. And no matter what, when others – even those who are closest to us – take offense at Jesus’ good news and hurl even the harshest of insults at us, we are not left without a family. We have a family right here in the body of Christ. One who will hold us, who will listen to us, who will encourage us, and who will walk alongside us as we discern how Jesus is calling us to go out boldly into the world.

So, may we have the courage to be the body of Christ. May we support, encourage, and hold one another as we join in this difficult work of proclaiming Jesus’ good news for all.  Because the lives of our siblings, elders, youth, and children are far more important than our longing to be popular.

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Rev. Emily Heitzman is an ordained Presbyterian (USA) pastor serving as the shared Pastor with Youth and Households at three ELCA congregations in the neighborhood of Edgewater in Chicago: Unity Lutheran, Ebenezer Lutheran, and Immanuel Lutheran.  Some of her sermons and reflections can be found at Musings from a Bricolage.

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RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com. Check out our growing list of Anti-Racism resources here.

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Categories: clergy women, Racism, RevGalBlogPals, The Pastoral is Political | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sunday Prayer: Hopeless

I have some not-so-polite things to pray today, God,
starting with:

You suck.

.

Also:

You’re falling down on the job.

.

Where is your balm to the brokenhearted
when pain is looped publicly on video
for voyeurism and ratings?

.

Is there no more freedom
your Spirit can breathe upon those
most strangled, most strained, most encumbered
by centuries of hatred?

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Where is your fulfillment of justice
in heaven or on earth?
Have the stars taken all your attention
in resolving their quarrels with far-flung moons?

.

Did you stop helping
after you fulfilled your promise to Jacob?
Were you too tired after the journey across the wilderness?
Was it just too much when they killed Christ?

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Have you kept faith forever
to yourself while we cast around
looking for hope worth holding onto?

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The prisoners are on strike,
the hungry are desperate,
the ignorant feel righteous,
the bowed down are drowning,
the strangers are turned away,
but sure: let’s carry on with loud praises to
the God who teases us across generations.

.

on Psalm 146

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Rachel G. Hackenberg is a United Church of Christ (US) minister, soccer mom, blogger, and author. Her book Sacred Pause plays with words to refresh our relationship with The Word.
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RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.
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Categories: Racism, RevGalPrayerPals, Sunday Prayer | Tags: , | 6 Comments

The Pastoral is Political: I Am Racist

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Dear white sisters, brothers, siblings:

I have a very difficult confession to make.

I am racist.

I wish so much that I wasn’t. I try so hard not to be. But I am.

I think this is such a difficult confession to make because we often think people who are racist are “bad” and are intentionally hateful. Yes, there are many people who say and do overtly racist things. But the truth is, most people who are racist are good and well-meaning people, who don’t want to be racist, try their hardest not to be, and don’t even realize they are.

You see, I don’t belong to extremist groups like the KKK, call people racist names, or say things that are overtly racist. I even shut down jokes and call out comments that I recognize are racist. And yet, I am still racist.

I grew up in a diverse town and went to diverse schools. I currently live and work in a diverse community, and I have friends, colleagues, parishioners, neighbors, mentors and even a family member who are persons of color. And yet, I am still racist.

I follow people of color on facebook and twitter, read books and articles about racism and white privilege, attend anti-racism workshops, preach and teach in my churches about racism and white privilege, and participate in marches and rallies that address systemic racism.

But despite all of this: I am still racist.

Why?

Because my entire life I have been socialized to be. I have been conditioned to see the world through my eyes (the eyes that belong to a white body, which is the kind of body our society has supported, deemed the “norm,” and uplifted as superior for 400+ years.)

My school textbooks have been written from a white perspective. My television shows, movies, and books have been dominated by characters who look like me. The media I follow often perpetuates harmful racialized stereotypes and biases – no matter how progressive it might be.

Despite that my family taught me that all people were created in God’s image and deserve to be treated equally, I am still racist.  When I first see a person of color, I still sometimes fail to see her as an individual and instead see her as a stereotype. When I hear people of color share their stories of being racially profiled or denied upward mobility in their workplaces, I still sometimes question if their experiences are valid. There are still times I say, think, or do things that I don’t even realize are racist and that perpetuate systemic racism. There are still times when I worry too much about ticking off my white friends or accidentally saying something that is offensive to my friends of color that I don’t speak up when I should. There are still times when I am in the virtual or physical spaces of my siblings of color and I end up wanting to center myself. And when people call me out on any of this, there are still times I feel defensive and focus more on my own discomfort than on the fact that black and brown lives matter more than my feelings.

You see, as a white person who was raised in a country that was founded on white supremacy (the belief that white people are inherently superior to people who are not) and that throughout its history has continued to reinforce this white supremacy through social and political forces (slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, mass incarceration, school-to-prison pipeline, glass ceilings, racial profiling, racialized policing – to name just a few), it is extremely difficult to shed myself fully from my own racist views, biases, thoughts, and ways I believe the world should function… No matter how hard I try.

I am stuck in this 400 year old deeply engrained racialized system that not even the activists of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s could completely free us from.

And I benefit from this system. My whiteness is a privilege in it.

For example, as a white person, people look at me as an individual, not a stereotype. I will never be denied a loan, housing, or job interview because of my skin color. A store clerk will never follow me closely to ensure I don’t steal anything, and I will never be taken advantage of by a car salesperson because of my whiteness. I have always had access to quality education and upward mobility. My white body is not seen as a threat. People will not call the cops if they see me taking a walk in their neighborhood past sundown or quickly move to the other side of the road when they see me walking on the sidewalk where they are walking. I will not be pulled over in my car for no reason or on my bike because I look “suspicious.” And if I do get pulled over, I will never have to worry that if I reach for my ID in my pocket, make a quick move, or even mouth back, I could get shot.

Among many things, racism denies the humanity in God’s beloved children and fails to see that God created all God’s children good, in God’s image, and beautifully and wonderfully just the way they are.

Racism is a painful and deadly sin.

And I am racist.

I live in a racialized society dominated by racist systems that were founded by white supremacy. And I benefit from and contribute to these systems.

Now, this may sound incredibly hopeless.

But it is not.

Because as Christians, we believe that when Jesus Christ died on the cross, he freed the world from its bondage to sin. Does this mean we are no longer sinners? Of course not. Because we are human.

But this does mean that we no longer have to be bound to sin. When we confess our sins in the presence of God and one another, our sin loses its power over us. Confession leads us toward repentance, where – by the grace of God – our hearts, minds, and thoughts begin to be transformed and we start to turn away from our sins. And whenever we turn away from something, we also turn toward something in the opposite direction. In this case, when we turn away from our sins of racism and white privilege, we turn toward a life of being anti-racists. But we cannot just turn away from our sin, turn toward a new way of life, and then pat ourselves on the back and go on our merry way. We must continuously and actively move toward this new way of life.

Since the sins of racism and white privilege are so deeply engrained in us and in the racialized systems we participate in and are conditioned by, we must actively check our privilege and racism, confess it, repent of it, and be moved to take action. We must do this over and over and over again.

While I am still racist, I choose to not let racism and white privilege dominate who I am.

I choose to be actively anti-racist.

I choose to learn about and become more aware of my white privilege and how I can work to dismantle it and the harmful racialized systems of which I am a part. I choose to listen to and learn from the voices and the cries of my siblings of color, to show up, and to grieve and stand with them in their pain and anger. I choose to speak with my white friends, neighbors, parishioners, and family members about white privilege and interpersonal and systemic racism. I choose not to allow my discomfort, embarrassment, guilt, defensiveness, or the mistakes I have made (and will make) to take over me and hold me back from doing this important work.

While this new way of life is really difficult, in the Christian tradition, we believe that we do not pursue this way of life alone. We do this with the help of God and with one another.

So, fellow white siblings, will you join me in this holy anti-racism work of calling out and dismantling our white privilege, white supremacy, and the racialized systems we are conditioned by and benefit from? Will you support me and encourage me? Will you help open my eyes to the ways in which I am still blind to my own white privilege and racism?

I need you. We need each other. So let us do this holy work together.

And as we begin this work through confession, repentance, and action, let us hold onto the beautiful gift we have: that God, who is rich in mercy, loves us even when we were dead in sin, and made us alive together with Christ.

In Jesus Christ we are indeed forgiven! So now together let us act!

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Rev. Emily Heitzman is an ordained Presbyterian (USA) pastor serving as the shared Pastor with Youth and Households at three ELCA congregations in the neighborhood of Edgewater in Chicago: Unity Lutheran, Ebenezer Lutheran, and Immanuel Lutheran.  Some of her sermons and reflections can be found at Musings from a Bricolage.

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RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com. Check out our growing list of Anti-Racism resources here.

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Categories: Racism, The Pastoral is Political | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Revised Common Lectionary: Whiteness in Scripture

(A sidebar at the outset: Reflecting on whiteness for today’s Lectionary Leanings is directly related to my U.S. context where the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the grief of too many hashtagged deaths demand that scripture not go untouched or unscathed by racialized violence. For our RevGals & Pals around the globe, current U.S. events may not resonate with the same intense energy … yet systemic racism is a global phenomenon that impacts all of our readings of scripture.)

This past weekend, Dr. Anthea Butler published a convicting article, “The Fire This Time,” which included these thoughts:

I’m done saving you, good white folks. You want Black people like me, who like you, to say the prophetic thing, and bail your a** out for not speaking up, for remaining quiet. … I’m not writing prophetic words to you anymore. You fix this sh*t. You figure it out. (“The Fire This Time” 7/10/2016)

(A sidebar on language: Yes, the article includes swearing. I’ve always taught my children that there’s a time & place for swearing — on the playground or as a part of name-calling are not appropriate places for curse words; a generations-long struggle for the basic recognition of humanity is absolutely a time for curse words. I encourage you to read the article even if swearing offends your eyes.)

One_Woman_With_Black_Lives_Matter_SignNow to an application of Dr. Butler’s admonition:

It’s long past time for those of us who are white preachers to do the work of seeing the ways in which we bring whiteness to our reading of scripture. It’s long past time for us to stop relying on scholars and preachers of color to exegete whiteness for us or to save us by teaching us how to find liberation in biblical text.

Many white preachers took a deep breath and preached against racism this past Sunday, which was necessary, important, good work … but one sermon won’t redeem our consciences or extricate the systemic racism in which our white churches live & move & have their being. While I have doubts about white preachers’ ability to be prophetic, if there is a prophetic thing to be done at this moment, it is not to allow ourselves to count one sermon as “speaking up” but to continue preaching on racism and to add “teaching congregants to unveil their white hermeneutic” to our pastoral work, so that white Christians’ support of anti-racism does more than take aim at other white people but actually wrestles with the whiteness within.

This coming Sunday’s Revised Common Lectionary texts hold the potent opportunity to lay bare many systems and attitudes of whiteness, if we dare:

  • I can’t even get beyond Amos 8:1, “This is what the Lord GOD showed me — a basket of summer fruit,” without hearing the gruesome verses of Strange Fruit (sung here by Jill Scott). We must be clear. This is the harvest of whiteness: fruit plucked, lives cut short, hanging from swing sets, rotting in the streets. Heaven forbid we white preachers make racism palatable for the white folks in our pews. Heaven forbid it.
  • The full RCL selection from Amos is 8:1-12 and declares the end of a season: By God’s good judgment, let it be the end of the season of white racism, white violence, white fragility, white supremacy, white lies. Let it be the end of white capitalism that buys & sells on the backs of others “from north to east.” Let it be the end of exclusionary feasts acted out at Christ’s table. Let the white Church lament and wander until penance is served.
  • There are memes and hashtags and protest signs admonishing whites to understand our silence as complicity. If indeed we are complicit in racialized violence, then we cannot hide from the charge leveled in Psalm 52:3: “You love evil more than good and lying more than speaking truth.” Systemically speaking (and individually speaking more than we prefer to admit) whiteness loves complicity over justice. Whiteness loves character assassination of victims over accountability for perpetrators. Whiteness loves “All Lives Matter” over “Black Lives Matter.” Let God break down forever our evil lies.
  • Martha of Luke 10:38-42 embodies the distractions of well-meaning whiteness: “Black lives matter but all lives matter, and I can save them all if you’ll just let me manage my ‘to do’ list and stop demanding that I focus only on Black lives. There are hungry lives and refugee lives and Pokemon lives and poor little wide-eyed African children lives, and Black lives matter should stop hogging the microphone.” Please hear my heavy sarcasm. As a white American with a German Protestant heritage, Martha is my chosen saint for standing on the pedestal of a strong work ethic, but her distracted determination that all things must matter all at the same time is problematic to her ability to learn an essential thing that matters at this particular moment; problematic to her ability to sit in solidarity with Mary and Jesus; problematic to her ability to let someone else say what is needed and how to go about doing it.

The work of examining whiteness is not easy, but for too long our Christian faith has been (and continues to be) the handmaiden of whiteness in the world, giving a righteous confidence to colonialism and mission work alike, showing up in burning crosses as well as white Jesus-imaging Bibles, defending itself against Tanisha since the days of Hagar. Too long. Far too damned long.

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Rachel G. Hackenberg is a United Church of Christ (US) minister, soccer mom, blogger, and author. Her book Sacred Pause plays with words to refresh our relationship with The Word.
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RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.
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Categories: Lectionary Leanings, Racism, Revised Common Lectionary | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

Monday Extra: This Night in the Middle – a pastor writes from the St. Louis protests

She saw my collar and asked me to stand and pray with her. She grabbed my hand and walked me through the crowd. Through the front line. And right into the middle. And he grabbed my hand and we were there. Police in full riot gear to my left and chanting, screaming, crying and singing protesters to my right. I was in the middle and held two strangers hands and prayed like crazy.

It was like this for hours.

I don’t know how it got like this. Just a few minutes earlier I had been in my jammies, my kid yelling at me about typing up something for her school for tomorrow. I heard the helicopters growing closer, so I checked the updates on twitter and knew the crowd was approaching. So I grabbed my keys and phone and ran out “just for a minute” in my jammies. I wanted to see with my own eyes what was happening. I watched the police drive ahead and shut down the intersection one block away. I thought it was pretty great of them to stop traffic, to clear the way, to ensure safety of all. To keep the peace, I thought. Then the crowd came walking down the road, both sides of the road and some on the sidewalks. Slowly, spread out. Calmly. Really, not too many of them. Not sure I would even call them a crowd. Someone had a bullhorn but it wasn’t being used. Lots of phones and cameras out recording everything. A couple of cars followed the groups of walkers. There was one group carrying a rather large American flag, except by carrying, I mean dragging it along the pavement. I stood on the corner and prayed and said hello and prayed and told them to be safe. There were a couple of cop cars behind them, keeping them safe from traffic, I thought. I watched them walk to the corner at Grand and Arsenal, just one block south. I walked along the sidewalk that way a bit. But everything was so calm, I decided I didn’t need to make a thing of it. I went home. A block and a half later, I bounded up my stairs, and pulled out my phone to post the pics I’d just taken, and learned that the crowd I’d just been standing with and praying for, got sprayed by cops in riot gear at that intersection I thought was too boring to walk towards.

I didn’t know what to do anymore. I hate guns and want the violence to stop. I want kids to stop shooting at cops and I want cops to stop shooting and killing our kids. I want the break-ins in my neighborhood to stop. I want to walk my dog without worrying that I’m gonna get held up at gunpoint. I want everyone to think that black lives matter; that my kid’s life matters, that all lives matter. I want peace in our city. I want peace in all cities.

Rev. Erin Counihan's view at the protest.

Rev. Erin Counihan’s view at the protest.

I messaged another local pastor, threw on my clergy collar, told the kid to put herself to bed, promised her I wouldn’t do anything dangerous but also told her to call me in case of an emergency, and I walked towards the mess. I talked with people. I talked with cops. I talked with neighbors and organizers and observers. And by talked with I mean, I asked questions and listened. I bought that clergy collar so that I could do just that. So I could be present, but silent. My pastor friend and I couldn’t get to one another, because we lived on opposite sides of the police blockade. And that’s when she spotted me. The clergy stranger, she spotted me and pulled me into the middle to pray. And an hour or so into it, I could see the across to the other side, I could see my pastor friend, also standing in the middle. In the middle is where we were. I stood in the middle, in that spot and I prayed, for the protesters, demanding to be seen and heard; demanding to be respected and treated as though their lives mattered just as much as mine. I prayed for the police, who were being screamed at for hours, called criminals and much worse, who stood there not knowing what might happen next. I prayed for the business owners, and neighborhood children, and mothers of lost sons, and mothers raising black sons, and mothers raising future police officers, mothers with babies being kept up by the noise of the helicopters. I prayed for pastors and teachers and elected officials, organizers, nurses, lawyers, and people who need jobs. I prayed for our community, our city and our country. I prayed for each person’s anger, each person’s rage, each person’s plea, each person’s function. I prayed for how the church might engage with all of this. I prayed for Jesus to come and be there in that space. I prayed for God’s love and justice and peace and peace and peace.

And when I left that night, when I finally walked away from the crowds, from the cops, from the middle, I kept praying. And I walked the two blocks home as fast as I could and bounded up those stairs and I kissed my kid’s foot and prayed some more.

Lord, in your mercy, for our city, for our families, for the cops, for the protesters, for the kids we’ve lost, for grieving mamas, for all youth, for all races, for our churches, for all of us, for your PEACE, hear our prayer…

This post was written with my family, friends and congregation in mind. I had no idea how much others would connect with it and share it. For those who don’t know, along side the congregation I serve, I have prayed, protested, marched, organized, and donated in support of calls for justice since the August 9th shooting of Michael Brown. The protests came to our neighborhood this week following the shooting of Vonderrit Myers. The two shootings were different, but I believe God’s charge for us to love one another is the same.

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The Reverend Erin Counihan is pastor at Oak Hill Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, MO. She worked 11 years in disaster response and social services before pursuing her call to ministry. When she’s not exploring parks with her dog or eating very expensive funnel cakes at free festivals with her niece, Erin blogs at Somewhat ReverendCheck out this post for more protest photos. You will find more of her writing in the forthcoming RevGalBlogPals book to be published in April 2015 by Skylight Paths.

Categories: Monday Extra, Racism | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

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