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Of course, I can’t find where I read it now that I want to share it with you.  But yesterday I read an interview (or something) with Martin Luther King Jr.  He discussed the idea that riots are the language of the unheard.  He explained that society needs to question not just the rioters but why the majority refuses to hear what is being said any other way.

Yes, we need peace. King never backed down from the idea that peaceful protest was best.  But he also understood why people riot.

Understanding.  It requires listening.  That means he listened to the people he disagreed with.

This is definitely something we all need to learn to do.  How can you truly serve Christ if you cannot hear.  How can you walk in his ways of peace?

–SueBE

 

 

My mom would have loved this quote from the author of Peter Pan.  She was a big one for being nice to people even when they aren’t being nice.  “Kill them with kindness” was her motto.

I don’t think she’d be super happy with me.  But, Mom?  Seriously.  These people are just so . . . so . . .

The St. Louis area has once again settled into a pattern.  Peaceful protests and Black Lives Matter during the day.  Riots and property destruction at night.  It isn’t everywhere.  It is actually really isolated.  Our area is pretty much business as usual, but people are people which means they are scaring themselves.

For some of you who don’t have teens, you may not realize that this is also homecoming season. This, of course, means TPing.  One woman reported a group of teens “committing mayhem with toilet paper.”  Yeah, that sounds scarier than TPing but let’s get real.  Just because someone TPed your neighbor’s house does not put you in the thick of it.  The fact that you were scared of a group of laughing teens with butt-wipe . . . well, it tells us more about you than about them.

Now, that did occur at night and some people are easily spooked once the sun goes down.  Full disclosure time.  My 6’1″ son doesn’t even jump out at me any more.  He stands around a corner in the dark and waits for me to walk into him.  Just stands there, grinning like a loon.  My fight-or-flight reflex is such that I always jump.  Always.

But enough about jumpy me.  We also had our annual balloon race this weekend.  You may not know that the balloons land wherever.  A few at the landing site.  A few here.  A few there. One or two landed on residential streets.  One flew so low over my friend’s house that you could hear the burner ignite.  “It was awesome!”  That’s what my friend thought anyway. Other people posted about how utterly terrifying the balloons were.

Utterly terrifying.

I may jump high enough to go into orbit when my son startles me, but as a society we really need to get over being spooked by everything.  Black Lives Matter supporters?  They have no plans to burn your home.  Really.  They just want us to decriminalize the color of their skin.  Quit treating them like thugs.

I spent a lot of time this weekend praying for patience.  I can’t say I managed to consistently be kinder than was necessary, but today is another day.   Just be nice.  Just be kind.  Take a really deep breath.

–SueBE

 

Yesterday Lori wrote about the Pope’s comments on DACA.  Yesterday the moderator of our Presbytery put out a message about the fact that a non-guilty verdict came down in the police killing of a black man.  Rev. Howard is leading a denomination with many predominantly white churches.  He, on the other hand, is not white.

He reminded us that the protests are not about this case alone.  The protests have grown up out of the racialized treatment of Blacks.  That’s it.

Because it has, for 100s of years, been okay to own or otherwise mistreat Blacks, they protest.  Because the police are significantly more likely to shoot a black male than anyone else, they protest.  They carry signs to inform us that Black Lives Matter.

The rest of us?  We need to hear their cry.  We need to listen and we need to cry out for them.  This cannot be their struggle alone.  After all, it impacts us all.

–SueBE

For all who need this today and tomorrow.

As I write this late Friday morning, I’m popping back and forth to check the local news.  A former police officer was just found not guilty of first degree murder. The victim was a black man the officer was accused of planting evidence on.

Guilty?  Not guilty?  I don’t know.  The plaintiff waved his right to a jury trial so only the judge had to decided.  He just released a 30 page document detailing the evidence and his decision.  So I don’t really have an opinion.  If you go with the media and the protestors, this is the wrong verdict.  Me?  I need the facts.

It’s unsettling to watch people’s reactions to this.  No one has had time to read all 30 pages.  No one.  But people are swearing that they have and that the judge is right.

Or the judge is wrong.

People have ruts and they are falling right into the same old predictable patterns.

As I listen to them rant and watch them posture, I wonder what will happen.  This is my polite way of saying that I’m wondering if there will be riots.  I’m wondering who has missed what because they think they KNOW.  What opportunities for peace and love have been missed because people went into this with their eyes shut, fingers in their ears, and their minds made up.

If only we would let go of what we believe about ourselves.  About other people.  We might be able to hear that still small voice of God.

–SueBE

 

 

Truth is precious.  I think we forget this as we massage facts to fit our agendas.  Truth and compassion.  Carry them with you wherever you go today!

Taking that first step can seem awfully scary.  Sometimes it means going against a long-held belief.  Praying in public freaks me out.  Truly panics me.  In part, I had a minister tell by how very bad I am at it.  She’s right but that sure didn’t help.  In fact, I panic so badly that I can’t even get the Lord’s Prayer right.  Did you know that was once considered a sign of witch craft?  I’d be in big trouble.

I’m teaching a section of Adult Sunday School again.  I’ve resigned myself to reading a prayer at the end of each lesson.  Now I need to convince my co-teacher to let me do it.

Take the first step can be even worse if you are making a change in a long-term situation such as leaving a job or a marriage.  Leaving after five/ten/fifteen years feels like failure.  Does it mean all those years were wasted?  A friend has moved out.  Recently she asked me why I’m not praising her for dumping the goon or warning her about ruining her marriage.  It seems that most everyone else has taken sides.

“Would it help?”

“I’m really scared and it just makes me mad.  This is a forty-year marriage I might have just totalled.  It isn’t a good thing!”

We discussed how the change was needed for her mental health and his.  We talked about how if the marriage ends, it is sad because they’ve been together for a long time.  But it could also be good if it shakes them out of patterns that no longer worked for either one of them.

And we prayed. Yeah, she’s the one who led it but that’s okay.  She’s got a plan for me.  I’m more than a little scared to find out what it is.

–SueBE

 

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