These tragedies have reminded us that words matter and that the power of life and death is in the tongue.” Chaplain to the Senate, The Rev. Barry Black.
January 6th. The Feast of the Epiphany in our Christian calendar. Much of that was lost on most people in the United States on Wednesday. For me, the day started with prayer, our Christmas season finally coming to its end. It also ended in prayer, a prayer offered by the Chaplain of the Senate, the Rev. Barry Black, who was asked by the Vice President to pray immediately after the Congress finally, finished their work for our democracy, in the middle of the night hours of Thursday morning.
Between those two prayers, a lot happened.
We collectively watched scenes not many of us would ever have believed would be possible just a few years ago. I don’t know about you, but in these last years I know many have said something like, “Surely this time… surely this will be enough…” In all that time little changed. In all that time, many have said - many of you have said to me - “these are just words.” “He is just like that.” “He speaks in hyperbole.” “He is unusual and crude, but…” And on and on.
I tried to listen, as uneasy as that always made me, and I would step back and think, maybe this will be the last time. Far too many of us did. I confess to you, I did, for too long, and I regret it now. I will not be doing it again.
Some of you said to me, “You need to stay out of politics.” Like many of our flash point words, “politics” is a word that is actually neutral. Its impact comes from us, comes from all we project upon it, all we burden it with.
Here is where I stand.
My primary allegiance is to Jesus Christ.
My primary flag is the cross
It is, for me, not about politics, but instead about the Gospel.
I have been willing to tell many of you who have engaged me in this discussion that he lost me when I saw the “Access Hollywood” tape before his election. That was a bridge too far for me. And then there were simply more and more reasons as the years went by - children separated from their parents, put in cages, many of whom to this day have not been reunited with their parents. An attempt to ban refugees from other countries, especially Muslims. “Very fine people on both sides.” Tear gassing peaceful protestors for a photo op, holding a Bible, in front of a church. Lies. Gaslighting us all. And all along the way, instigation, inciting unrest, pitting people against one another while he hides behind all that protects him. Even with his Twitter account closed down, he has found a way to continue, even now, to insinuate bloodshed and violence, when as our leader he should be doing exactly the opposite. It is easy for him to do this, as he is so protected, so safe, so insulated.
White supremacy is real. This President has, wittingly and unwittingly, used it, played along with it, promoted it, fanned the flames of it every day. Wednesday, the Feast of the Epiphany, he did that, clearly, before us all. He didn’t just suggest it. He told his followers he had asked to come to our capital city, “I will walk with you.” He told his followers, he told us all, “you can’t save our country by being weak.” He told us, and all those he called to do his bidding, “you have to get your people to fight.” Those were his words.
His sycophant attorney stood before them and used these words, urging them to give those in that building a “a trial by combat.” How can anyone now say they were not insisting, inciting, hoping for just what happened, if not worse?
He did all of this while a pandemic that has taken entirely too many lives, far more than we had to lose, with it raging worse than it has in all the months we have fought it, totally ignored. Thousands a day, every day, die, and continue to, all across this country, due to our simply abysmal response to the virus. A response he single-handedly, with his words, derailed, confused, hijacked for these last months. In fact, in these very days, as we focus on his latest self-absorbed side-show, the new record of more than 4,000 a day has been reached. The US is now the 11th worst country in the world, out of 152 studied, in COVID deaths per capita in the world. He ignored the plight of the people, for his self-serving gain, not only on this day, but most especially on this day.
He incited those sad scenes we saw on the Feast of the Epiphany, and then sat, safely in the White House, as our nation’s capital was raided, desecrated, and ransacked. People died. People continue to. People lost their lives, that day in our capital, and that day in our packed hospitals, all over this country, while he sat and watched, and smiled, at how devoted those storming our Capitol were to him. Despite his reluctant “right” words afterward, he continues, behind the scenes, to foment violence and insurrection.
Now, his Cabinet is jumping ship. People that have held his hand and made every excuse for him along the way, are suddenly saying “I am out.” All of this about 48 hours and, perhaps years, too late.
I could blame him, and I do, but it is not only him. White supremacy and white privilege raided and looted our Capitol on Wednesday, the Feast of the Epiphany. White supremacy and white privilege were on full display on that day and have been the last four years and quite frankly for the entirety of the history of our country. This was true long before him, and it will be true after him, and it is only us that can change it.
I know many of you, if you have continued to read this, are so angry already I have probably lost you, but let me say clearly, which will not make it better for some of you, that I am part of this problem. I do not exempt myself. I have benefited from white supremacy and white privilege and continue to. I strive daily, and will continue to strive, not to play along. I agree with those who are saying, if those banging down the doors of our halls of government on the Feast of the Epiphany, had been Black and/or brown, or any people of color, the death toll would be far higher, and the narrative remarkably different.
Even he said to us, with protestors that are not “for him” that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” But these folks, on this Epiphany, were “his” folks, “great patriots” as his daughter proudly tweeted out as it was happening.
I believe white supremacy is real, and it worked just as it is designed to work on Wednesday. We cannot expect him to change it, but we have to.
It was a sad day. I shed tears during the day at the sight of all that was happening. I shed tears when those who we elected, rather bravely I think, went back to work and got the work of the day, even though it took nearly two, done. And then, as I breathed a sigh of relief, that the work had gotten done, that no more people died, that no more bloodshed occurred, that our government was working again, our Vice President called upon the Chaplain of the Senate to offer a prayer, a book end of the day. It was 1 a.m. Pacific Time, Thursday morning.
I had not expected it, but I was so glad it happened. There, at a podium, that just hours earlier had been overrun by vandals, terrorists, and insurrectionists, there the Chaplain stood to address our God. For me, it was the best moment of the long day. I didn’t see it covered or mentioned on any news program. The New York Times and a few others picked it up. I want to share it, while I also give great thanks to Chaplain Barry Black for writing it, for speaking the truth, for the gentle admonition it contains, for the way it convicts me personally. Chaplain Barry Black stepped up to that podium, in our just saved Capitol, and our just pulled from the brink democracy and prayed this prayer.
Lord of our Lives and sovereign of our beloved nation, we deplore the desecration of the United States Capitol building, the shedding of innocent blood, the loss of life, and the quagmire of dysfunction that threaten our democracy. These tragedies have reminded us that words matter and that the power of life and death is in the tongue. We have been warned that external vigilance continues to be freedom’s price. Lord, you have helped us remember that we need to see in each other a common humanity that reflects your image. You have strengthened our resolve to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies domestic as well as foreign. Use us to bring healing and unity to our hurting and divided nation and world. Thank you for what you have blessed our lawmakers to accomplish in spite of threats to liberty. Bless and keep us. Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to do your will and guide our feet on the path of peace. And God Bless America. We pray in your sovereign Name. Amen.
These are the words I intend to keep, and hopefully live, from this Feast of the Epiphany, 2021. We do have to remain vigilant. We will have to hold this next administration equally accountable. They are no more exempt from this culture that is part of our common life now than any of us. We will have to hold ourselves accountable too. The work of changing this society, for healing it, is work for each and every one of us. No one person, no one party, no one ideology, can change it.
Though it be far too late, may it not be in vain, and may the events of these days be a true Epiphany for us all.
The scenes from our nation's capital today are surreal, appalling, and unprecedented. In our Christian calendar today is the Feast of the Epiphany, the day the Magi arrived to be in the presence of the baby Jesus and for us then, the physical manifestation of Jesus to us all. There is no small irony that this chaos and unrest happen on this day. As Christians, it is in this reality, the reality of Jesus Christ, a real person, who lived on this earth, and who lived through such trying times, even while being born into it all, that we put our trust, our hope, and our future. I am urging you all to center yourselves on that.
If we have not come to the realization that this country is divided, and is dangerously close, if not already there, to losing our soul and character, I am deeply frightened for what it might take to get us to see it. We have entered a selfish, pampered, inconsiderate time based in falsehoods amidst a total lack of curiosity, and even disdain for, facts. We can't deal with problems and at the same time disregard one another. We cannot solve our divisions, without enough trust to speak to one another without violence or the threat of it.
Our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, released a video just a few hours ago, which includes his prayers for this country and for us all. You can find that here. I encourage you to watch it, pray it, and then strive to, even in this hour, speak, act, and live into the Way of Love and not the Way of Division, Hate, and Fear. The Presiding Bishop also let the House of Bishops know that the Archbishop of Canterbury called him today to offer his prayers for us, and to assure the Presiding Bishop that the Primates of the Anglican Communion have been contacted as well and all have shared their prayers for us and with us. As I have found myself saying so many times in these past years, let us be, in our words, actions, and life, a reflection of the One we follow. In that Spirit and Way of Love is our hope, our strength, our foundation. In our God, and all our God asks of us, is our primary allegiance. I plead with you to live, in these days and in this time, in that way. I plead for this no matter what side of the current debates you land upon, no matter what your concerns or issues.
Blessings to you all,
A transcript of the statement follows:
Today is January the 6th, 2021. It is the Feast of the Epiphany. And on this particular day at this particular moment, even as our nation’s capital is being endangered and assaulted, we pray that the Lord Jesus Christ, we pray that God, in his Way of Love, might prevail in all of our hearts.
The events at our Capitol today are deeply disturbing. We believe the actions of armed protesters represent a coup attempt. We are a democracy, with long-standing institutional norms that must be honored, foremost among them, following the processes laid out in the Constitution and Federal statute to facilitate the peaceful and orderly transition of power.
Today’s protesters pushed through police barricades and forced their way into Congressional chambers, and the Capitol building are now threatened, and threatening the safety of lawmakers, their staff, and others who work in the Capitol complex. This threatens the integrity of our democracy. The national security of our nation, the continuity of government, and the lives and safety of our legislators, their staffs, law enforcement, and all who work in the Capitol.
I therefore ask you now to join me in prayer for our nation, praying first from the prayers that accompany Morning Prayer:
Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance;
Govern and uphold us now and always.
Day by day we bless you;
We praise your name forever.
Lord, keep us from sin today;
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
Lord, show us your love and mercy;
For we put our trust in you.
In you, Lord, is our hope;
And we shall never hope in vain.
Let us pray:
Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered together under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one God and Creator of us all; to whom be dominion and glory, now and forever.
Oh God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your son. Look now with compassion on the entire human family; and particularly this part of the family, in the United States, and those in our nation’s capital; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
On this day and at this moment, we pray for our nation. We ask God to heal us, to show us the way to healing, to show us the way to be one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power and the glory,
forever and ever.
And now, may the peace of God which passeth all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
The blessing of God Almighty the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be on you and on this nation and on the entire human family and all of creation this moment and forevermore.
On the web:
Epiphany 2021: A Call to Prayer for our Nation from Presiding Bishop Curry
And what a Christmas it is! I offer this video greeting to all of you in this Diocese and beyond who follow. I also offer three wonderful offerings sent to me by various people in my life that I think are worth sharing at this strange time we live through. First is a video filmed on a rooftop near the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, with singers singing Drummer Boy in English, Arabic, and Italian. Beautiful, and for those who have traveled there, with me and others, it is a good memory. I am really missing the usual impending trip this year.
Next is a little sermon from a Franciscan Friar, who talks some good sense on how to "use" this unique Advent and Christmas we are living through.
And then, number three, from St. James' Kent, and the Rev. Dr. Joyce Parry-Moore, this video of the Nativity St. James' style, replete with faces of the newborn babies of 2020 from their congregation.
And finally, my Merry Christmas wish for all of you. Blessings to all of you. Stay healthy, nothing can stop Christ coming into our world, into our lives, into our hearts.
Dear People of the Diocese of Olympia and beyond,
At our most recent Diocesan Convention you overwhelmingly passed a resolution supporting the Anti-Racism Covenant put forth initially by the Rt. Rev. Deon Johnson, Bishop of Missouri, and co-sponsored by many other bishops. My name has been on this covenant since just after its posting, however, I have now, on your behalf, added not just my name and office but the entire Diocese of Olympia. I provide a link below which will take you to the official website for the Covenant where you can view those who have signed, and sign yourself. More importantly, is to read it regularly, to use it as a rule of life right now, to study it in your congregations, and to hold it up as the ideal we are striving for. My plan is to post this quarterly on this blog, and our diocesan website, to remind us as a community to continue to use it. As I said at our convention, signing such documents, passing such resolutions, really is the easy part. The difficult part, the part that will change this Church, this country, this world, is our following it, acting on it, living into it. I offer it here as I vow to do just that personally.
You can read more about this Covenant, see the list of signers, and sign yourself here
Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”
1 John 4:20
The sin of racism disrupts the harmony and oneness that God intends for humanity. Racism is dangerous, divisive, and damaging. Racism purports that some are deserving of dignity over others and disregards the image and likeness of God found in every human being. We are created in the image of God; therefore, to engage in racism of any form is to refuse to acknowledge the image of God in the other and the stranger. The fact that we were created in the image of God should remind us that each person is a living expression of God that must be respected, preserved, and never dishonored.
Throughout our history, courageous people of God have taken the risk of standing up and speaking out for the least and the lowest. God now challenges us to become courageous people who seek to create sacred communities of hope by dismantling the sin of racism. This work involves risking ourselves for the sake of God’s love, moving beyond ourselves in order to seek and serve Christ and one another.
We invite you to add your name to this covenant and join us as we work to root out racism. Individuals, parishes, groups, dioceses as well as community leaders and businesses are all welcome to be a part of this project.
We lament…As people of faith, we acknowledge our sins and our failure to respect the dignity of every human being. We have, individually and corporately, fallen short of the glory of God, and now call to mind and name the aspects of our lament.
A Prayer For Our Country by Robert F. Kennedy
"Let no one be discouraged by the belief that there is nothing one person can do
against the enormous array of the world’s ills, misery, ignorance and violence.
Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events.
And in the total of all those acts will be written the history of a generation.
It is from numberless, diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.
Each time a person stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others
or strikes out against injustice, he or she sends a tiny ripple of hope.
Crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring,
those ripples can build a current which can sweep down
the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."
I give thanks to the Rev. Sally Carlson for reminding me of the prayer above. We are just a few hours away from one of the most important elections in our countries' history. More than that, perhaps also one of the most contentious and divided we have ever had. I will not belabor this. You all have heard, as we all have, far too many words, and so many of them not really that edifying or helpful. Whatever the outcome on Tuesday, I pray that we, our collective, our Body, will be who we are called to be, compelled to be, by the Gospel and Way of the One we follow, Jesus Christ. Let our responses, our reactions, our behaviors, our words, reflect that One. Beyond the ideas, the ideologies, the strongly held philosophies and opinions, may we be reminded of the importance of our care for one another, and that we, our bond together as humans, is far more important and must be our prime priority in the days ahead.
Here you can find the text of the Presiding Bishop's Sermon from the Holding on to Hope: A National Service for Healing and Wholeness. The sermon is entitled, "Our Values Matter" You can watch it by video here.
“We welcome our white brothers and sisters in this struggle. In fact, we need them. But I must ask them to remain humbly attuned to the opportunity of this moment — and to reflect on whether any actions they take will truly help establish justice, or whether they are simply for show”. (E.D. Mondainé, President of the Portland, Ore., branch of the NAACP)
“Our fight is our fight. Their privilege can amplify the message, but they can never speak for us,” .........“There have been moments where some (white people) have wanted to be in the front. I’ve told them to go to the back.” (Anthony Beckford, president of Black Lives Matter Brooklyn)
I am a white person. To be exact, I am a white, heterosexual, cisgender, male from the South. I am writing this to and for white people. I believe I am a recovering racist, although it took me a long time to get to that belief about myself. I now believe I have benefited from my whiteness through white privilege, which I do believe is a real thing, and I have worked hard to lay down my earlier white fragility, which I also believe in, and realize just how “fragile” I was long before I even knew this term. As in any recovery, I still have bouts of fragility, and I still stray toward racist thoughts. I am a work in progress on this and always will be. I believe I have a lot of blind spots, and more to still learn than what I know now. I have been asked, throughout the years, to share a bit about my journey with all of this and when I do I always make it clear, that these are my beliefs and thoughts. You, will have to find your own. I have ideas how you might get closer to it, but I have come to know it will happen, if at all, in many and varied ways depending on your history, your experience, and probably your personality and even the moment. And it also depends on whether you believe you have work to do yourself: in short, if you believe you are part of the problem, and not just a witness to it. Many things have to come together, at the right time, to have some of our blindness cleared. For me, it happened at the hands and care of the Rev. CT Vivian, now and always a hero of mine. And this hero of mine died on the exact same day another hero died, John Lewis. It is remarkable really. They marched together, were arrested together, worked together with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and then died together, on the same day.
Vivian spent one day with me, some 25 years ago, that changed my life forever. I would like to say it made it easier, but actually it made it all more difficult. His approach was a very combative one, a bullying one really, an approach that would not work for everyone, but it did for me. I believe many things have to come together for this conversion to occur, and it requires a lot of individual work for each of us for that to happen.
And so, I write, to my fellow white people, with a real concern. I am concerned about how we, often meaning well, and often unconsciously, sabotage any movement toward racial justice and equality, or at least slow it down, by creatively making it somehow, eventually about ourselves. I call it the “who is the best white person contest”. It has many different manifestations but the usual symptoms are a distracting focus and attention on which message is the best, or which method to “awaken” white people is the best, and even attacks on others who are not as enlightened as the one writing. In short, arguing amongst ourselves about who is most “woke” even when half those speaking don’t even know what “woke” means. This all concerns me because it takes away our energy from listening to the voices we need to be listening to in this moment, the people of color, people who have lived the expense and cost of white privilege, white supremacy, and white fragility, who know its full power and import and damage. Don't get me wrong, it is OUR problem. Racism is a white problem, that people of color suffer at the hands of. We can't expect people of color to solve our problem. But, we also have to know, and even more believe, there is a problem, and that we are part of it, if WE are going to be able to remedy it.
I think one reason this happens is that we white people are so quick to start rationalizing that “I am not a bad one, I am a good person”. It seems more important to defend ourselves than it is to just listen, absorb, acknowledge, contemplate, accept. In a sense, we should make it about ourselves, but only in the sense of owning our part in it, and then listening and learning from those who suffer from it.
I am trying hard to listen, especially in this moment. I inhabit an office that calls on me to speak out but I am trying to be very careful with that right now, which I can be equally criticized for, but this time, I’ll take it. I am going to speak out, and I have it in me to do so, as most of you are aware. But, I am trying to listen far more, and talk far less.
If you spend some time with this you can find my concern in some of those BIPOC leaders of the movement. I found such a voice in the President of the Portland NAACP, quoted above, who wrote in the Washington Post about his lament that white people seem to have an ability to take just about any justice movement and make it about ourselves, or at least globalize it, as with the dreaded “All Lives Matter” reply. “All Lives Matter” is a quick, mostly white way, to try to stop the discussion. I very much believe, in the Kingdom of God, and/or in the peaceful and equal world many of us dream of, that “All Lives Matter”. That is the truth of God’s realm, of the world Jesus spoke of and dreamt of, BUT, “Black Lives Matter” are three pointed words stating that this ideal is not true, and does not exist here. Yes, it should be our goal, but we are never going to be able to simply jump over the needed difficult and challenging conversations by simply stating what should be true, but isn’t. Instead I am urging you to acknowledge that we are not there and then to do the hard work of listening to the real time experiences of BIPOC that reveal the reality that we are nowhere close to this being the lived truth in our society, and in our Church.
White people, I believe we can get there, but I don’t believe we can do that without doing some real work, individually and corporately, all of us. One first step is to end this form of denial and minimization, this form of sabotage, that being, spending so much of our energy trying to figure out which one of us is the best, and more on bringing others along. This is an individual challenge for each of us, and a communal one for all of us.
What is the value of the life of a black man in this country?
George Floyd went to Cup Foods on Chicago street in Minneapolis on Memorial Day to purchase a pack of Menthol cigarettes. He paid for the cigarettes with a $20 bill which, after he left, was discovered to be counterfeit. Of course, no one knows if Floyd even knew it was counterfeit. Police were called by the young clerk. In a matter of minutes George Floyd was dead.
The standard cost of a pack of cigarettes with tax in MN is $ 8.10. So one might say that the answer to the question of what is the value of the life of a black man: $ 8.10.
And now, you can add yet another name, another face, another tragedy to the ever growing list of victims of police brutality and violence, most especially people of color, and most especially black men. George Floyd was from the predominantly African-American Third Ward of Houston. He was known as “Big Floyd”, a gentle giant, and a man of faith. He was considered an elder statesman and a community leader in the Third Ward. More than all of that, he was a human being, and a child of God.
He had moved to Minnesota in 2018, and I can tell you that is not easy for anyone from Texas to do, especially when one is a loved as he was by that community. Floyd went however, to be part of a Christian work program. And when this latest video went viral, as with so many other times this has happened, we began to hear of others, most likely where the local authorities had success in keeping the brutality out of the press. Breonna Taylor is such a name. An emergency room technician in Louisville who was simply sleeping with her fiancé in her home when police batter rammed her house, and shot her at least 8 times. The police were allowed to enter on what is known as a “no knock” warrant which had been issued by a judge. The police in this case were casing a house where they believed drugs were being sold. They decided to add the address of Taylor because they believed one of the men they were after had used that address at one time. That one suspicion, that one “notion” turned deadly for her.
Rightfully, many of our fellow citizens took to the streets to protest, and the vast majority intended, and did in fact, protest peacefully. Sadly, today, in our Seattle streets, but also in streets all over our country, the protests have turned violent. In Minnesota, the mayors of both St. Paul, and Minneapolis, have publicly stated all those arrested last night in their cities were from other states, using this event to seek their own gain, capitalizing on this tragedy to make peaceful protesters the culprits. I hope you don’t fall for it.
All of that is sad, but ultimately it also misses the point. We, together, must work to change the ease at which George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the ever growing list we do know and the so many we will never know, can be so easily and so senselessly murdered by those trained and paid to protect us all.
Today, our Presiding Bishop said this:
Perhaps the deeper pain is the fact that this was not an isolated incident. It happened to Breonna Taylor on March 13 in Kentucky. It happened to Ahmaud Arbery on February 23 in Georgia. Racial terror in this form occurred when I was a teenager growing up black in Buffalo, New York. It extends back to the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955 and well before that. It’s not just our present or our history. It is part of the fabric of American life.
He goes on to say, when all the TV cameras are gone, we have to stay fixed on these issues. And how many times have we all said that?
Thoughts and Prayers are good, but they do not change us. Peaceful protests are good, but they do not change us.
Finally, I want to say, the people that most HAVE to work on this, is my tribe, white people. We are the ones that have to consciously, intentionally, purposefully decide to be present, long after the cameras are gone, long after George Floyd and Brionna and Ahmaud are yesterday’s news. Their senseless deaths have to stay fresh for us. Then, we need to work on ourselves. We have to go to the difficult places inside ourselves, and find the racism and prejudice that reside in us. We have to learn more about that, so we can change ourselves. If we keep lulling ourselves into believing we are not part of the problem, it is going to be difficult to be part of the solution. Our privilege, our comfort, our unequal protection by the authorities is part of the problem. We need to use the privilege to change the balance.
Several years ago we put a lot of effort, in this diocese, to begin administering the Intercultural Development Inventory. Although, because this is certainly not a quick fix, and because this requires ongoing work, we have had some push back, and criticism. That usually comes because we all want the quick fix. By now we ought to know those are hard to come by. A couple hours in a class is not going to change this. Knowing the right words to use will not change this. This is very long term work. This is work for you to do on.....YOU, and the point of the work is to “develop” to evolve, to learn and grow.
My Anglo siblings, WE, most especially, need to do this work. I can tell you, my own work with this inventory has been transforming. Because of it, I can also tell you I have a long way to go. But I am working on it. Join me. We have to change this for the generations to come.
I end with our Presiding Bishop’s wise words,
Opening and changing hearts does not happen overnight. The Christian race is not a sprint; it is a marathon. Our prayers and our work for justice, healing and truth-telling must be unceasing. Let us recommit ourselves to following in the footsteps of Jesus, the way that leads to healing, justice and love.
I also want to pass along the invitation from the Union of Black Episcopalians, a group in which I am a life member, and a group that has taught me so much on this issue, and a prayer vigil via Zoom in which they are inviting all to attend.
You can read the entire post by the Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church here.
I have been troubled of late. That would certainly not be a surprise with all that is going on. There is a lot to be troubled about. I actually wrote this line and this blog before George Floyd was murdered and the world changed yet again. And I held this blog for that far more important thing. But, I thought now, I might resume. The viral pandemic has revealed so many good things to us, and it has exposed some of our failings as well. The pandemic of racism has finally, I pray, been exposed in a way that we cannot collectively deny or shove underground again.
The Rt. Rev. Gregory H. Rickel is the VIII Bishop of Olympia, the Episcopal Church in Western Washington State. He has been the bishop here since September, 2007.