Writing about what I have been reading and encountering in the media.
|Yesterday, the net rang with celebration and disgust over the two Supreme Court decisions this week dealing with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare,) and same sex marriage. I enjoyed jumping into the talk with my opinions. I feel more hopeful today than when I last posted. Perhaps we really are moving toward greater mutual respect and inclusiveness. I just wish I could be more effective at reaching those who feel insulted, shut out, and downright frightened by the process. They say things like “you will get yours on judgment day,” and “this country will suffer the wrath of God.” They seem to truly fear we will all be struck down by lightening or something. They say things that suggest the judgment I face will be judgment on them, too. When I say “you need not worry about my judgment day,” they make no response. I had someone accuse me of hating FOX news. I had made no mention of FOX news at any time in our dialogue, so I was totally at a loss. I commented about that but got no response. There are many posts on Facebook about all of the horrendous things the USA has done to Native Americans, Africans, Japanese, and the environment asking how marriage equality and increased access to healthcare is terrible in comparison. I see responses only from people who agree. It seems that reason just alienates the fearful people.
In the midst of all the talk about ACA and marriage equality, there has been a mass murder in the oldest AME church in Charleston, SC which triggered talk about the flying of the “Confederate Flag.” We have received and shared factual information about the history of the Confederacy, of the Civil War and its relationship to slavery, and the history of the flag that never was the official Confederate flag. We have been educated about the history of the AME church and the particular congregation where the shooting took place. We have witnessed the removal of the Confederate flag from Statehouse poles, and several large merchandisers, including Wal Mart and Amazon stopped the sale of the flags. Now, there are reports of black churches being burned in the south. This is the saddest thing of all. People who claim that God is the center of their belief system are burning churches, houses of worship of the God they claim to respect. I can see that their hearts and spirits are on fire: they seem to lack even the basics of self-respect and concern for their neighbor encouraged by the scripture of their faith. They seem unable to identify with the basic document of their nation, The Constitution of the United States of America. In the middle of my increased hopefulness that all, including them, will feel more welcome and valued here, they seem to feel less hope.
The nine people shot in the AME church in Charleston stood in their faith as they faced the terror of their end. At the funeral of that church pastor, President Obama sang “Amazing Grace” with all his heart in his human, imperfect voice, and the people around him joined in that lovely musical meditation on Grace. I remember at the end of the many worship services I have attended: “May the Grace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.” And thus, the President reminded me that peace comes through Grace and Grace is hanging around us in every direction at all times. There is a family photo of me and one of my brothers picking grapes. I was a toddler wearing a very simple feed-sack dress and my brother, not quite two years older, had on shorts. The grapes look very large in my small hand. I imagine Grace is like that: when received by my little child hand, it is large and round and sweet. I hope that sometime, the people who are so fearful and angry will reach out with their child hands and receive “the Grace of God which passes all understanding,” and I hope I can always stand firm in my faith even in the face of certain death.