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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

1. Never sneeze with half-chewed nuts in your mouth. I’m still picking bits out of my hair.

2. If your wife makes something for the potluck, remember to actually bring it. (Owen, that’s you I’m talking to.)

3. Folks can say in one breath that they voted for Trump because he is pro-life, yet in the next breath fully countenance the forcible removal of immigrants, the yanking of health care to thousands — making pregnancy a “pre-existing condition,” while simultaneously denying prenatal care, and failing to understand why Black Lives Matter.

4. When one only has herself to cook for, one tends to eat sporadically and strangely. Creamed kale for supper, anyone?

5. God makes God’s-self known in loud trumpeting…and barely perceivable whispers. Both. I am much better at hearing the trumpeting. Although it is jolting.

6. As a brilliant artist friend reminded me with his painting of Jeremiah being lifted from the cistern (the biblical prophet’s enemies throw him into a dry cistern; a court official rescues him, not just with rope, but — thoughtfully — with pieces of cloth to place under his arms while he is being lifted, so the ropes don’t chafe him), you can lift a person up by throwing them a line and expecting them to be grateful for it, OR you can lift someone up with special attention to their individual needs — i.e., gently. How do you lift people up?

7. There is always a third option: To not lift people up at all. This is becoming less and less acceptable to me, yet more and more common in the world.

8. I need to speak less and listen more. This will render me pretty much selectively mute. That’s okay; the world has enough noise in it. It will, however, make phone calls awkward.

9. I need a nap. A year or two ought to do it. Now, if you’ll excuse me….

 

 

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

 

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

This week, I found myself using this phrase more than once as I read the headlines:

Why are they like that?

For example, reading about “PharmaBro” Martin Shkreli, I found out that his idol is Donald Trump. In pictures, they seem to be doing the same smug smile.

There’s one news article that perplexed me as I wondered why people do what they do – the one about the eighty-year-old woman who delayed a flight for five hours because she threw pennies into the plane’s engine for luck. Headlines characterized her in various ways, “Elderly Passenger,” “Chinese Woman,” “Buddhist Senior.”

She didn’t do this because she’s a senior. It’s not because she’s a woman. Or Asian. Or a Buddhist.

It’s because someone told her that this was “a thing” and she believed it.

Everything we believe is information that came to us through someone in whom we have faith. Parents, teachers, siblings, friends. Pastors, priests, gurus. Nowadays, the internet.

I know people who play their “lucky numbers” in the lottery every day. A man I know hit the “bonus” on the daily lottery number one day and won $500. He was so excited. But. He’s spent five dollars A DAY on those tickets for the last twenty years. He still hasn’t broken even. Actually, if he’d put those five dollars into a jar, he’d have had a nice little nest egg by now.

Actors won’t say the name of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, instead referring to it as “The Scottish Play” because saying its name inside the theater is bad luck. (Just to be on the safe side, I’m not going to write it either! You can Google it. 🙂 Okay, it rhymes with Quack-Breath.)

We do things like this so that good luck will turn our way, or so that, at the very least, bad luck stays away from us.

If I could give advice to the woman who threw pennies into the plane’s engine for luck, it would be this: Keep the change. You’re better off flying on a wing and a prayer!

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

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!

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