Sunday Service 11am
Sunday 5pm Service resumes September 20th (see worship page)
A note about a shared American sickness
There are many churches which, when they hear the phrase Black Lives Matter quickly and nervously respond, no wait All Lives Matter! It is important to note that though great strides have been made toward equality in this country the legacy of white supremacy still pervades our land though it surfaces in code sounded in bytes like the elimination of progressive taxation, smaller government (starve the beast), wars on drugs (mass incarceration), stop and frisk, states rights, and on an on. These policies and others like them pit common citizens against one another in a battle for scarce resources proliferating scapegoating of the most vulnerable in the society. Conservative mainstream news outlets cynically specialize in this divisive codes and it is wrong, plain and simple. It undermines the creation of an educated citizenry equipped to build a “more perfect union” where the equality of all people is not the American bait and switch dream but perhaps a growing reality. Obviously all lives matter but the reason we have to say full stop that Black Lives Matter is because every shred of sociological and empirical evidence points to the reality that they matter less, too often far less, than other lives.
Churches stand for the dignity and beauty of all people, in particular standing with the most vulnerable in our society. We should remember Jesus enacted a confrontation with the lies of power and the myth of domination and violence perpetrated by Empire Empire against his minority people. Likewise Christianity lives in so far as it confronts the lies and idols of power today, racism chief among them; such idols are then revealed in all their naked and self protective and self interested fury. Christian faith instead offers a bold step toward each other in honest kinship and community as we begin to stand shoulder to shoulder with others.
We affirm black lives matter and call on each one of us, in particular those who identify as white to begin a fierce moral inventory of their attitudes and affiliations politically and socially, interrogating the consequences of our world-views, what we say in private, and of the choices we make and those we ignore. To be clear, there are no angels here; nobody has a monopoly on good, no ethnicity, group or gender, and yes, everyone is trying to make it, everyone feels squeezed but that doesn’t let anyone off the hook. Black and brown folks have been dying to long and most white folks just “mourn” a bit and move on. Next time we hear of a solidarity rally for justice bring your kids, or if you have none go yourself. Act at your job, at your school, in your life. Humbly call yourself and others out in this sickness, that is where healing begins.
We need to take responsibility for events like those in Charleston which are not freakish events but part of our common, sad, regrettable and deeply violent history. It is our responsibility to leave something better than this for our children. If we stake a step towards honesty and vulnerability God’s grace, love and forgiveness will lead us into paths of healing and greater hope.
The Rev. John Merz
Vicar of the Church if the Ascension