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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Advent

Howard Thurman wrote in Jesus and the Disinherited:

The religion of Jesus says to the disinherited: "Love your enemy.  Take the initiative in seeking ways by which you can have the experience of a common sharing of mutual worth and value.  It may be hazardous, but you must do it."

For the Negro it means that he must see the individual white man in the context of common humanity.  The fact that a particular individual is white, and therefore may be regarded in some over-all sense as the racial enemy, must be faced; and opportunity must be provided, found, or created for freeing such an individual from his "white necessity."  From this point on, the relationship becomes like any other primary one.
...
What one discovers in even a single experience in which barriers have been removed may become useful in building an over-all technique for loving one's enemy.  There cannot be too great insistence on the point that we are here dealing with a discipline, a method, a technique, as over against some form of wishful thinking or simply desiring.
...
A whole group may be regarded as an exception, and thus one is relieved of any necessity to regard them as human beings.  A Negro may say: "If a man is white, he may be automatically classified as one incapable of dealing with me as if he were a rational human being."  Or it may be just the reverse.  Such a mood, the mood of exception, operates in all sorts of ways...The deadly consequences of this attitude are evident.  On the same principle scapegoats are provided, upon whose helpless heads we pour our failures and our fears.

Consider what Melissa Etheridge did in this context:

I told my manager to reach out to Pastor Warren and say "In the spirit of unity I would like to talk to him." They gave him my phone number...I received a call from Pastor Rick, and before I could say anything, he told me what a fan he was. He had most of my albums from the very first one. What? This didn't sound like a gay hater, much less a preacher. He explained in very thoughtful words that as a Christian he believed in equal rights for everyone. He believed every loving relationship should have equal protection. He struggled with proposition 8 because he didn't want to see marriage redefined as anything other than between a man and a woman. He said he regretted his choice of words in his video message to his congregation about proposition 8 when he mentioned pedophiles and those who commit incest. He said that in no way, is that how he thought about gays. He invited me to his church, I invited him to my home to meet my wife and kids. He told me of his wife's struggle with breast cancer just a year before mine.

When we met later that night, he entered the room with open arms and an open heart. We agreed to build bridges to the future.

Brothers and sisters the choice is ours now. We have the world's attention. We have the capability to create change, awesome change in this world, but before we change minds we must change hearts. Sure, there are plenty of hateful people who will always hold on to their bigotry like a child to a blanket. But there are also good people out there, Christian and otherwise that are beginning to listen. They don't hate us, they fear change. Maybe in our anger, as we consider marches and boycotts, perhaps we can consider stretching out our hands. Maybe instead of marching on his church, we can show up en mass and volunteer for one of the many organizations affiliated with his church that work for HIV/AIDS causes all around the world.

There are many paths and none of us has a monopoly on the truth.  We can certainly be outraged by Warren's preachings and inclusion in the Inauguration, but there might be other ways to address our underlying problems with him and his movement.

I would also submit that no matter how one chooses to react to Warren and his invocation, one might consider that people who are less-incensed than you are not less human than you, nor are they bigots, homophobes, or reactionary non-liberals.  Find that common sharing of mutual worth and value...

ntodd

December 24, 2008 in Pax Americana | Permalink

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Comments

You've got a lot of nerve, being so reasonable at a time like this!

Seriously, Merry Christmas, you dirty fucking hippie.

Posted by: Gummo | Dec 24, 2008 11:28:36 AM

I am incredibly impressed w/ Melissa, even more so than I originally was.

Posted by: NToddsPa | Dec 24, 2008 11:38:57 AM

This is one thoughtful and beautiful post. You do a service for every reader who stops by. Everyone should.

Posted by: Shared Humanity | Dec 24, 2008 11:44:57 AM

Young man, once again you have made me stop in mid-breath.

And once again I've learned something valuable.

Thank you.

Posted by: Diane | Dec 24, 2008 11:59:14 AM

This is all very well and good but if Ms. Etheridge or one of her GLBT fans wanted to get a job at Saddleback as, say, a worship leader or music minister they would be told thanks but no thanks because Pastor Warren will not hire teh gai.

Just thought I'd throw that out there. Those who are incensed and outraged have every right to be.

Posted by: Southern Beale | Dec 24, 2008 12:26:07 PM

Very, very nice, NTodd.

Posted by: GeorgeM | Dec 24, 2008 12:27:32 PM

This is all very well and good but if Ms. Etheridge or one of her GLBT fans wanted to get a job at Saddleback as, say, a worship leader or music minister they would be told thanks but no thanks because Pastor Warren will not hire teh gai.

Uh, yeah, that's not really the point. It's about reaching out to people to engage them and start working on change. I'm pretty sure she doesn't expect a gig at Saddleback.

Those who are incensed and outraged have every right to be.

Oddly enough, I never said they don't have that right. The question is what are they going to do with that outrage? Call other people names because they have a different reaction? Or do something constructive with it?

Posted by: NTodd | Dec 24, 2008 12:31:59 PM

NTodd - this gift from you arrived just in time, thank you.

And let me add, thank you for all you do and especially for photos of your wonderful furry family that we all have taken into our hearts as we have you, your Dad and E.

Posted by: Nancy | Dec 24, 2008 2:10:06 PM

That post is sooooo Gaiiiiii!

Where did you DFH's put Tastee-Freeze Boy?

Posted by: Remonster in Mosul | Dec 25, 2008 4:34:11 AM

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