Thank you for your contribution to Project Union Responds. You were the first to answer to our call for a Christian witness to LGBTQ youth–and your involvement as the leader of our community was crucial. Without knowing it, you inspired us and galvanized a whole community into action–straight people, genderqueer people, queer straight people, lesbians, gays, queer people of color, butches, femmes, bisexuals, queens, trannies, aggressives, tomboys . . . we turned up. Thank you for helping to ignite the flame that’s turned into this roaring blaze.
Follow the link to view President Jones’s uncut contribution to Project Union Responds:
THIS Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 12:45 pm to 2 pm
Pick up food at Union’s community lunch and join us upstairs in the Upper Refectory
This week’s speaker: NT Professor & Pastor Hal Taussig
What do we say to someone contemplating suicide? How do we care for a community when a loved one has committed suicide? Prof. Hal Taussig leads this week’s Spiritalk, including case studies from his work as a pastor.
sponsored by The Resource Team for ministry and spirituality
When we tell our stories, we are transformed. When others hear our stories, they are transformed. The story telling for Project Union Responds stirred up the Union community. We were stirred up because sharing our stories was an action of liberation, affirmation, by re-claiming our selves, our bodies, and our faiths. We were stirred up because sharing our stories required us to reflect on how we had been (and still are) harmed. As a community we received, held, and honored all that has been stirred up in us throughout the process; specifically during an evening, candle-light service on Wednesday, October 13, 2010, in James Chapel.
The following is a copy of the reflection offered by Barbara L. Rice. Ms. Rice has a master of counseling and is a first-year, master of divinity seminarian here at Union. Her employment portfolio includes working with LGBTQ youth. As a community, we are graced by her presence and voice.
A Love that Would Not Let Me Go
When Zach was a child I loved him. When Elizabeth was a child I loved her. When Luke was a child I loved him. When Erica was a child I loved her.
[Hosea 11:1–12] is one of those passages of scripture that I have always been drawn to, never fully knowing why. I’m sure my 16-year-old interpretations of this text were age appropriately simplistic and egocentric. But there was something in my initial and naïve draw to the passage that was innate—that was calling me back to some womb-like recognition of my connectedness with a love that would not let me go. I would not have used those words, but there was a desire to ingest these images into my being. I wanted to know that type of security, that type of love. I wanted to watch an old home movie of God bending down to feed me when I was a toddler. I wanted to see, feel, and touch these cords of human kindness and bands of love. I wanted to know that they would catch me, would hold that space, would keep me safe. And I wanted the people in my life to know and feel that security and love in their own lives.
And I think in many ways those bands of love were very real in my heart and in my life. At the risk of being stereotypical, I was very much a tomboy, and it was considered cute to run around in my baseball uniform all year long. And I was always picked fairly quickly in the process of choosing kick ball teams in elementary school. I would occasionally be called dyke, but had no idea what it meant, and I didn’t care. I had friends because I learned early in life that if you listen to people they tend to like you. So, I could fit in pretty well and for the most part was spared the personal pain of bullying.
As I grew into adolescence I had that familiar gnawing sensation that many of you can relate to – that sense that something about me just wasn’t right. And it would creep into my thoughts now and then, this utter terror, that there might just be some tiny chance I was gay. This nightmare sat in the back of my mind and would rear its head, and I would think that if this is in any way true then I probably didn’t deserve to live. This belief that, if I were indeed gay, I would be unworthy of taking up space on the earth, mostly came from my family narrative which was passionately homophobic in the name of following Jesus. So, if this secret, this nightmare, was possibly true then it would mean that I was beyond the point of any repair.
And so I would sit with these images that I sought out in the Bible—pictures from Isaiah of loving protection amidst storms and scary things, the intimacy of Mary washing Jesus’ feet and his defense and love for her, and then this one in Hosea of having been known and loved intimately since babyhood regardless of my attempts to escape. And I would try to connect with that love and tell myself that this was enough, and tell myself that I could get through this life devoting all of it to God, and that I would be given the strength to keep myself together (i.e. not fall to the temptation of living in that ‘lifestyle’) until I died and could experience ultimate union with the Divine. My life was full of sports, friends, mission trips, school work, and service clubs. By all appearances I was a pretty happy teenager and as long as I could keep the terror silenced or distant then I was OK.
I wasn’t externally tortured for being gay, but I was internally tortured. I’ve thought about this a lot these last few weeks. I can’t imagine what I would have done if there had been this added layer of ostracism, of being targeted, or being ridiculed. I truly do not know that I could have survived that, and I look around at my friends in this room, not knowing each story, but knowing that for many of you it was a struggle that words can’t capture. And I sit with gratitude and awe realizing you have survived.
In my therapy practice in Greensboro, NC, I had the privilege of working with many teens and adults struggling to come to terms with their sexual orientation. Their struggles were often based on their understanding of what religion or the Bible said about same gender love, but they inevitably faced peer and family ostracism. In doing trauma work with my clients incidents of extreme bullying would often come up, and these memories would be so vivid that, as they were described to me, I felt like I was there. It was as if in their description I could see, hear, touch, smell and taste the terror, the fear, the punches, the tears, the shame. As if their spirits had been branded like cattle, we would work together to deconstruct the internalized messages left by these incidents. We would work to untangle and heal those messages, until they could become scars as opposed to gaping wounds, and we would work to take away the powerlessness of the memories.
However, the consequences of some of these marks can’t be avoided. I think about a 26-year-old gay man I worked with who suffered such horrendous bullying and abuse in high school that he stopped going to school to avoid being tormented, which led to him eventually dropping out altogether. He completed his GED and now works a minimum wage job while trying to go to community college at night. He struggles with just making it day to day—not only financially but also emotionally. He stays in relationships with fairly abusive partners because, as he would honestly share, if he didn’t have a partner with whom to live he would be homeless. The bullying and peer abuse that led to him dropping out of school has left its mark and he is trying to dig his way out, and it’s a long, dark path.
I recall checking my voice mails early one morning before work, and listening in heart breaking horror, as I learned that a queer mutual friend of several of my teenage clients had hung herself the previous night. I was familiar with this girl, who had committed suicide, because they both frequently spoke of her. When I saw these two clients that same day, they were both obviously wracked in pain with all the things that go along with the ones left behind by suicide—what could we have done, why didn’t we see this coming, why wouldn’t her parents get her help? But, as if that wasn’t enough, one of the girls, who also identified as queer, sat sobbing on my sofa as she told me how unsympathetic her parents were to this devastating loss. By her reports her parents were not at all accepting of her orientation, and did some ridiculing of their own. So, the night my client learned of her friend’s death she was hysterical, and went to her mother for comfort, only to have her mother respond by saying, “well, that’s what happens to gay kids, they end up hanging from rafters.”
Well, I’m here, we’re all here, to say ‘no.’ That’s not the inevitable fate of gay kids. Swinging from rafters, jumping off bridges, shooting themselves in the head… this is not the unchangeable fate of our queer kids!
How I wanted to transmit to these clients, to my friends, and so many others, a sense of the tenderness of God’s love, of these totally devoted images such as this passage from Hosea. I wanted them to know that they too had access to a love bigger than all this pain; that they too could tap into a love that would not let them go. This is our job – to take this love to the people, to be living examples of this determined devotion.
As some of us have been telling our stories for the video, I’ve wondered about who didn’t make it among us. Who would have been here, sitting with us now if they could have made it a little longer? How has God grieved for the lives cut short due to hate? Who are we missing? What ghosts are among us who dreamed of seminary and theological education, but who didn’t survive the crucible of a queer childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood? Where would they be sitting right now? How would they enrich our community and our lives here at Union? Who would be their boyfriend, girlfriend, their partner? Who would be their best friend on the hall? And so I look out at your faces and am filled with gratitude that you made it, that we have the chance to become the beloved community; that we have the chance to share our stories with each other. I also am grateful to have made it, and grateful that I have been able to cling to my daughtership during dark times.
And out of Egypt I called my daughter. Out of Egypt I called my son. Out of Egypt I called my child. Daughtership, sonship, beloved child…. What does it mean to be called out of Egypt, out of bondage, out of slavery? What does it mean to be called to freedom, to life? Sometimes we prefer the bondage we know over the freedom we don’t know. But we are called, if we can hear – and I believe we can hear when something inside of us is ready to hear – to take the first steps of a journey towards freedom. Sometimes that first step is a commitment to find support, to find somewhere you can be honest.
For me I heard the call towards freedom one day in 1997. I was a campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship,a conservative parachurch ministry, and I reached a point after years of being in reparative therapy, where I could no longer live with my internal incongruence. I reached the point where I didn’t care if I was indeed going to go to hell, because I was already in hell – my life was hell, my internal struggle had driven me to the brink of again wanting to be on the other side of this existence into the next one, just wanting Jesus’ arms around me. So I picked up the phone and called my supervisor. And, as I suspected, I was asked to resign, I was then asked to leave my non denominational church, which led to loosing most of my friends, and my family relationships experienced a type of death from which they have never fully recovered. And, it was in this wilderness space that I spent a lot of time reading and praying and wrestling with what to do. Regardless of what others said, what did God say? Could I still have a relationship with God and live this earthly life in a way that honored all parts of me, including my sexuality? I had wanted to be in vocational ministry since early childhood, and I thought that dream was over, and I was not sure who I was without this dream. I knew I did not want to live without a palpable connection to God, because to me that has been the only thing that gives life meaning. So, I decided I would take the first step. I would just move forward with what I could, and live, and see what happened. It was kind of an experiment because I was out of options, other than suicide. Of course what I found was more connection with God, and that God did not forsake me, but met me in ways I could have never known without taking that first step.
In this way, I was experiencing something similar to what Hosea describes at the end of the 11th chapter: “They shall come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria; and I will return them to their homes.” The freedom of flying, even though you’re trembling. The sense of soaring even though you’re shaking – but heading to your true home. I happen to believe that home is always and only coming home to that love, that Divine love, that claims us and declares us perfectly made. In essence I believe coming home is a kind of coming home inside of ourselves, to rest in the love that waits for us there. As these tragedies in our queer community have moved us to share our own stories, as we have been moved to do anything we can to give a struggling kid hope for one more day, I have come to feel that we can become, that we are becoming the beloved community. And I believe it is from that grounded place that we move out into the world to serve, to stir, to rage, to liberate, to mourn, and to ultimately heal. As Hafiz said, “God revealed a sublime truth to the world, when He sang, ‘I am made whole by your life. Each soul, each soul completes me.’”
When Tyler Clementi was a child I loved him.
When Billy Lucas was a child I loved him.
When Seth Walsh was a child I loved him.
When Asher Brown was a child I loved him.
When we were children God loved us.
—Barbara L. Rice, MS LPC
©2010 Project Union Responds. Reprinting available with permission.
This past week I have been uplifted and angry.
I am overjoyed that Union Theological Seminary students, staff, and faculty have come together to voice a positive and inclusive message to LGBTQ youth. The comments we have received have been heartfelt and grateful. One in particular says “This is the first and only message from Christians about LGBTQ people that I’ve ever heard that was supportive, loving and in the spirit of Christ. I am deeply moved and profoundly grateful for these words today. Thank you and God bless you.”
I am also deeply heartbroken and angry. Over the past week I have heard from friends and family who ask “what is happening all of the sudden?” To them, I reply, “all of the sudden? What do you mean all of the sudden?”
The media has recently started to pick up on the LGBTQ issues, most popular being violence and suicide. They are feeding off of these headlines, which gives them the ability to create revenue and promote themselves. In a few weeks the issue will most likely be dropped. This is another reason why it is important for the Christian community to speak up.
Yes, it took us hearing from the media to get this project going, I’ll admit that, but it comes at a time when we are aware of these two problems:
1. There aren’t many positive Christian messages of inclusion that are being heard and recognized outside of our safe churches and affirming communities
2. The media will use the stories of violence to promote themselves, because it sells, and soon it will all be forgotten. And, we in turn, will shake our heads and move on.
I must confess to being slightly complacent and comfortable on these issues over the past few years, excusing myself for being young and thinking that someone, somewhere was already doing the work. However, I realize that my ability to reach out to the community is supported by the Seminary and I have access to resources for networking and sharing compassionate stories of hope and love. It was most regrettable that there were no headlines from churches or religious leaders across the country speaking against hate crimes, hate language, exclusion, quality of education, equal rights, youth and young adult services, etc, etc, etc… It is devastating.
Please, let’s all work together and create an on going positive Christian message to our communities so we do not have to ever answer “what is happening all of the sudden?”
When we heard about the death of Tyler Clementi, the most recent in a string of queer youth suicides (a list which gets much longer if we take into account all of the queer suicides that we don’t hear about) we asked ourselves whether there might have been something–some act, some word–that could stop other queer youth headed down the same road to complete self-destruction. In this video, a whole community has mustered just that. Seminary students, post-docs, faculty members, and the President of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York speak to LGBTQ youth at risk and to those who find themselves being bullied and ostracized just for being who the Divine created them to be.
– Atticus Schoch Zavaletta
Click on the image below to view the video:
–Video coordinated and produced by Project Union Responds team. ©2010 Project Union Responds
Tamara and I attended the Pharr Literacy Project Festival on Saturday, July 17, 2010. We were happy to meet another seminarian, Yvette Murrain. Yvette is a 3rd year MDIV Student at Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, NJ. Yvette will be working here in the Valley for 10 weeks as a part of the Communities of Shalom program. It is funny how we came so “far” to meet each other! This is one of the reasons why I am certain that the Valley is a special place.
We are happy that Yvette offered to share one of her blog postings with us. Enjoy!
The Pharr Literacy Project has just recently collaborated with a local group called “Los Caminos Del Rio” by inviting this organization’s Ameri-Corps Vistas to work at the center. According to loscaminos.org, “Los Caminos Del Rio offers kayak trips virtually every weekend at Anzalduas Park. Participants will explore sections of the Rio Grande, and can experience a safe and exciting introduction to kayaking along the Rio Grande River savoring historical and environmental details with the assisance of friendly and trained adventure guides.”
My day with Los Caminos Del Rio personally introduced me to the “historical details” of immigrant women crossing into the United States.
On Saturday, June 26, 2010, I journeyed with my coworkers Chuy and Reyna (*who speaks little English*) to the Anzalduas Park which extends to the Rio Grande River. As we came closer to the river, near the edge of the park the family friendly atmosphere abruptly ended. The armed border patrol station, barbed wire, and yellow (government access) gates signified that everyone is not welcome. Especially not illegal immigrants crossing the Rio Grande River into the United States.
While we waited for our turn to kayak down the Rio Grande, Chuy, Reyna and I decided to find our own adventure and walk along the grassy river bank in hopes of getting close to the dam. Reyna and I were afraid of the snakes that Frank our guide warned of. We tip toes along the rocks in the high grass holding hands. Soon we would grasp hands in recognition of a more sinister fear, something that rocked us to our cores. Just a few steps in front of us I noticed a pile of black “stuff.” “Snaaaake Skinnnnnn!” I screamed. Reyna and I jumped back squealing like little girls. Chuy the grave man stepped forward and picked up the “snake skin.” Reyna yelled at him not to as he flung the skin towards us.
All at once we realized this “snake skin” was not what it appeared. The “snake skin” was actually a torn pair of black women’s panties. Reyna and I weren’t scared anymore, WE were safe. No snake skin to signify the impending approach of danger. No snake skin. Chuy held the underwear up and said “Ooooh someone couldn’t wait to get things going” with a laugh.
It was as if some light bulb went off in Reyna’s face because it lit up and then darkened. The same light bulb went off in my head too. We looked at one another and said “No Rape.” And then I remembered where I really was. The Rio Grande River isn’t just some adventure zone. It’s a place where the sweat and tears of an oppressed people rage between two worlds.
I was on the banks of the Rio Grande River where thousands of poor immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries a month cross in the United States. Many of these travelers are poor defenseless women depending on coyotes to make their way across the river into the United States. Those torn black underwear belonged to a woman, someone’s daughter, mother, sister, cousin - a child of God. I didn’t know if her left behind undergarments signified that she had been abused. I didn’t know if she was an immigrant coming to the United States to find work to feed her children. I don’t know if she was a young pretty girl manipulated by the Mexican Drug Cartel to carry drugs inside her body across the border. I didn’t know anything about her except for what she left behind.
I thought of all this as Reyna whispered the word “rape” in an erie echo. She knew just as I did what those underwear meant. We had a “sister moment” that defied out language barriers. My grasp on her hand got a little tighter as we walked further up the bank. Chuy didn’t make nay more comments as he walked ahead of us. A group of adventurers joined us in our “nature walk” and we all jumped in the river and free floated with the current until we reached the shore again. A few people remarked that they felt they were “doing what their ancestors did years ago.” They laughed as they said these things. It wasn’t funny to me in light of finding Blank Panties.
After stumbling upon the Blank Panties, the Rio Grande River didn’t look the same. The sand on the bank near the dam looked scattered as if a struggle had just taken place. The water looked cloudy, murky, and dangerous. I got in it anyway. I kayaked. All for adventure, right? No, I was in sacred water and will thus act accordingly from now on.
Watching news coverage of the new immigration law in Arizona hit home.
I’ve been on the border. I’ve seen and felt some things. It’s real here. There are snakes in the grass in the Arizona state senate.
“Jesus be a lawnmower, in the Rio Grande Valley Everyday”
to be sung to the tune of the Fred Hammond’s “Jesus Be a Fence All Around Me Everday”
In January when we visited the Rio Grande Valley, one of the highlights was meeting local families from an area “colonia” (see previous post for definition of colonia) and spending an evening sharing stories and dinner. On that evening I was paired with a young girl, about 11 years old, who was vivacious, smart, curious, and incredibly endearing. At the end of the visit she asked for my phone number to keep in touch, and I gave it not expecting much contact after the first few days of excitement had worn off. She proved me wrong, and has since called or texted me almost every week for short updates on her life. These updates include funny pictures of her and her siblings, an invitation to her First Communion and simple “how are you doings?” She was very excited to find out I would be in the area again this summer and I promised to visit.
This Friday morning her mother phoned to let me know that she would be making tamales all day and that we were invited for dinner. At 5:30pm we set off with directions, a watermelon, cheesecake, and a few butterflies in my stomach—expectations (even the good ones) make me nervous. We arrived to their home 20 minutes later and my friend (we will call her “Jenny”) and her two siblings came out to greet us. Jenny’s family lives in a home that they helped build in conjunction with Proyecto Azteca (www.proyectoazteca.com), a local non-profit that works with families to build affordable housing in the colonias. Jenny’s father is a construction worker and has has added beautiful detail work inside, like crown molding separating brightly painted walls and a huge lit-up plaster star adorning the girl’s ceiling. The cozy kitchen was busy with two massive steamer pots cooking 60+ tamales and the living room was filled with kids ranging from 5 months to 10 years old, the big ones holding the littler ones on laps and keeping them entertained. It was a truly bilingual event—all of the adults are Spanish speakers, while the children switched fluidly between English and Spanish as they played.
Jenny shyly brought me gifts from her room, a big conch shell from the beach, a felted heart that she had spent days sewing sequins to, and a school picture. She also brought out the family video camera which provided an opportunity for Jenny to talk about her First Communion: her fancy white princess dress and the huge multi-generational party given in her honor at her home including dinner and plenty of dancing. I was playfully warned that while the family forgave me for missing the festivities, they would not be so lenient for her Quinceañera and I should start preparing now!
Before long dinner was served. Huge tamales on banana leaves filled with chicken or pork and a spicy chipotle sauce, topped with shredded cabbage and more chilis for the brave. I love tamales, in fact I make great tamales, but these outshone my best attempts with the rich adobo flavor of the chilis and the hearty corn masa (after asking for the recipe it became apparent that my use of butter instead of pork lard is where I go wrong!). After two massive tamales I was stuffed but a half an hour later when it was time for dessert, I opted out of cake and went for a third tamale, provoking laughter and boasting from the cooks. Upon learning about my love of food and cooking, Jenny’s dad began to tell me about the most unique dishes from the region of Mexico he is from. He spoke of the Maguey cactus that is hollowed out and left to sit until the sap/juice drains into the center; that juice is then scooped out and fermented making a favorite regional drink. When it rains, from that same cactus emerge bright red worms that are a delicacy in the region. He laughingly explained how people try to take small earthworms and feed them food coloring to sell to the unsuspecting, but that the real thing, though pricey, are something he really misses from home.
After dinner Jenny took me to look at pictures on her parents’ bed. She brought out photos from her parents’ wedding, her birth, her early baths in a sink and later ones in a 5 gallon bucket, her birthday parties and photos of her grandmother who is still living in Veracruz. As we looked through pictures other kids came in to climb in our laps and giggle at pictures of when Jenny was smaller than them. Eventually Jenny’s mom came in and started explaining the stories behind the photos. Over the course of our conversation I learned that she and I are the same age (30 years old). We talked about the different places life had brought us since our high school graduations. I was humbled by her story.
Jenny’s mom first traveled to the U.S. 8 months pregnant laying in a raft. She and her new husband knew they wanted their daughter to have the opportunities that come of being born in the United States. At 18 she wasn’t even sure what the journey across the border would mean but she was newly married, crazy in love, and willing to take a big risk for a chance at a better life. Now with three kids, a home, a couple of dogs, and a community of neighbors carrying similar stories, this place has become her new home. I asked when she and her husband would become citizens and she explained that they will have to wait until their children are adults and can apply on their behalf. In the mean time they work, pay taxes (with a TIN number) and social security they will never see. They own a home, raise a family, and try to go about the business of living despite the constant fear of deportation and separation from their family. She told me about her mother living in Mexico and of the dangerous and expensive trips across the border to visit her childhood home. She explained that the journey is becoming more expensive and more dangerous with the drug wars and that her neighbor’s husband had been kidnapped 7 weeks ago while crossing and hasn’t been heard from since. She told me that she used to dream of saving enough money to go back to Mexico and buy a small farm, but that now Mexico is becoming so dangerous she doesn’t think she will ever return to live there. We talked about her job, cleaning the home of a local school teacher whose husband is a local police officer. She chuckled at my raised eyebrow, saying that the police officer has bigger things to worry about than her. She told me that 11 years into her marriage she and her husband are still very much in love and trying to find joy in the constant adventure of living in this country. She described herself as very lucky.
When it was time to leave I was sent with a stack of tamales for the road and was made to promise that we would be back the following Friday for nopales (cactus). The family has decided that Carolyn and I should come every week so we can sample a different regional dish and spend time listening and sharing in their stories.
I left full of tamales and gratitude—gratitude for the families who are living, struggling, surviving and raising a new generation full of dreams, and like their parents, hope for a better life. Children whom I pray might one day become leaders changing the way we think about the border, immigration and ultimately what it means to truly love our neighbor.
So I am here in South Texas ~ in the Valley of Texas ~ in the borderlands between the United States and Mexico. Many have asked why are you going? What will you be doing? How will this impact your work as a seminarian? These are all valid questions and I honestly don’t think I will ever have a “full” answer to them. HOWEVER, this trip to the border is important to witness and be of service to the people, organizations and communities that seek to bear witness that “no matter who and what you are” you deserve the opportunity to live, survive, dream – be acknowledged and recognized.
Texas is an interesting place. My brother even before I left New Jersey said, “Everything is big in Texas.” He is right, but Texas is also a place where particular groups have been written off and denoted as “invisible.” This is a problem for me! How can I as a Christian, a preacher, a seminarian sit back and just “watch, hear, witness” the profane treatment of what I consider G-d’s creation? We are all G-d’s creation right? With papers or without papers? Spanish or English speakers? Passport or no passport? Male or female? Young or old? Rich or poor? Aren’t we all a part of the kin-dom of G-d?
Over the past few days, my colleague, Tamara and I have been getting acclimated to our new home, work station for the next 6 weeks. Of course, we have to adjust our temperatures, but also realize how close to home separation, invisibility, supremacy mark the world that we are a part of.
It’s been uplifting over these first few days to reconnect with Rev. Ed Krueger and his wife, Ninfa, long time activists and justice workers who have put their lives on the line in order to serve women factory workers (maquiladoras) in Mexico and women here in the Valley who desire to be recognized by the US government as “citizens.”
There is a lot of hope being spread through the work of Proyecto Azteca and their Executive Director, Ann Cass, who is out in the field, in the Valley, helping families build homes with access to running water, a bathroom, electricity in the colonias. Things are happening here in the Valley perhaps not at the speed of a New York minute. But, something is happening to break open the reality of injustice and discrimination that has plagued the Valley for so long.
The first of many lessons that I have learned is that there is something about sticking with it, keeping the course, demonstrating fortitude even when conditions, government, friends and family say otherwise. “It’s not about winning, it’s about being faithful” are kernels of wisdom that Ann Cass shared with Tamara and me on Friday. These words have been haunting me over the past few days … they even came up indirectly during Mass yesterday at Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church in McAllen. How can I not be so concerned about crossing the finishing line but rather more concerned about the progress made along the journey? How can I accept the fact that standing up for those considered “less than” may mean no glory or honor but perhaps shame and shun? How can I endure the journey knowing that I maybe alone in this work to speak truth to power? How can I be satisfied in working through my call to be a justice worker? How do I remain faithful to what is right even when it hurts?
We have been called to be faithful … to be faithful to our resources that G-d has given us … to be faithful to the call of Jesus to do unto others as you would do for Jesus … to be faithful to the commandment to love our neighbors as we love ourselves … to be faithful to our founding document as a nation that declares that all men (women) are created equal .
We have been called to be faithful to the call, standard and expectation set for us by Jesus even in desperate and dire conditions and situations. The next few weeks that are before me provide me … Carolyn … an opportunity to demonstrate my faithfulness to the call of justice, mercy, understanding but also join with others who have made FAITHFULNESS their order of the day.