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AugsburgThe easiest way to irritate me is to not listen. Interrupt me. Talk over me. Ignore me. And apparently I’m not the only one.

Early this past week, a group of high school students at a local high school held a demonstration. Their school district, Hazelwood, like many districts is facing money problems. They’ve tackled it by cutting band and orchestra, reducing activity buses, not replacing teachers. Students and parents have tried to attend board meetings.  Comments are closed. Meetings are moved behind closed doors.  No one is listening.

Students came up with a way to be heard.  They went after the district where it would hurt – statistics. Two hundred students walked out of finals. One hundred refused to return to class and were suspended. The seniors couldn’t walk in the graduation ceremony, those with A+ Scholarships (2 years of college tuition) lost the scholarships, and student athletes were kicked off their teams.

Not surprisingly, the community raised a ruckus. Fine, fine, said the principal.  That guy there?  On the track and field team? He can compete for us, representing the school, on Saturday but not walk through graduation. I listened. Are you happy?

Oddly enough, no one really felt like he had listened. They pointed out that according to the student handbook the lowest possible punishment calls for detention. The highest suspension, but students must be informed of the reason and length of suspension in writing, they should have a chance to present their side of the story to the principal and the parents must be informed 24 hours in advance. Although the handbook calls for listening and communication, none of this happened.

The ACLU stepped up and the word lawsuit came into play. This, the principal heard. Suspensions are rescinded but the community is divided between those who think the kids are getting off easy and those who are relieved injustice has been curbed.

The whole situation reminds me of the Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8). She demanded that the unjust judge hear her. She eventually wore him down and received justice.

This protest was a long time in coming. The district has ignored parents and teachers.  They ignored students and the community. They refused to listen until the ACLU said “lawsuit.”

If you are one of the many prayerful who is working for social justice or educational opportunities in your community, pray for patience.  Pray for strength. Pray for listening ears. And while you pray, listen. It is the only way to hear.


Recently, a friend sent me a message. She had heard about an alternative to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Unlike the BSA, this new group is inclusive. Maybe we would be interested.

Maybe we will be involved in this organization one day, but for now we are going to continue to take part in the BSA. Why? Because there are boys and their parents in Scouting who need us.

Why? Because my family supports inclusion in marriage, in scouting and in society in general. Yes, we can and do read the Bible. We can even point out the verses that are used to discriminate against gays.

That said, we can also point out the verses that were used historically to support slavery and deny women civil rights. Eventually, the policies supporting these injustices were reversed, because of people like the Persistent Widow. The Persistent Widow brought her case before the Unjust Judge time and time again. She brought it to him so often that he finally made sure that she had the justice she had so long demanded.

We will stay in Scouting and we will make our demands again and again because there are boys in Scouting who are gay. There are boys in Scouting with gay parents. With so much hate speech in this world, there are boys in Scouting who need the support of people who recognize that they are a part of God’s creation and that He loves them as they are.

This is the message that we will repeat persistently.


1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”



Have a Mary Little Christmas

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