I strongly believe in living from a core of loving kindness.
I strongly believe that we are living in an unjust time where white supremacist patriarchy rules the day.
I strongly believe that we are called to be in dialogue.
I strongly believe that we are to stand against injustice.
Is it possible to live from a core of loving kindness and to protest? Protesting seems to be the anti-dialogue. But, I want to say that you can be filled with loving kindness and still stand strongly for something. We see it all the time with our Water Protectors. They put their bodies on the line. I do not perceive them to be doing anything but living out of a deep wisdom and concern.
I was imagining what I would do that is a non-violent, peaceful protests.
For the point of inclusion of all within the church that leads to healing and transformation, that addresses the fact that 46% of trans men attempt suicide, 42% of trans women attempt suicide and knowing that having support in the home and being allowed to socially transition earlier levels the playing field of depression. In other words, children allowed to socially transition have the same rates of depression as their cisgender counterparts.
So how to get people to notice that we are literally draining the life of our children?
I wondered what if the entire LGBTQIA and ally/accomplice community showed up to interrupt an event and half of us "died." Covered ourselves with a shroud or had lights that went out. That seems non-violent, creative, and grounded in loving kindness.
l remember at General Conference, silently standing by the doorway holding my queer clergy sign. Or taking the floor of General Conference and circle together.
That was grounded in loving kindness.
I remember sitting and charging my phone afterwards and being surrounded by those who would diminish my right to be. Which sounds scarier than it was. I felt very small compared to their very large maleness. It was a 80% scary moment on the alarming scale.
The question comes up for me. What if someone was actively doing harm? And what does harm look like?
I think we can say that if someone were shaking a child, we would intervene. If someone were berating someone we would find a way to interrupt them. If someone were going off the rails at a meeting we would redirect the meeting. If someone were assaulting a woman we would at least call 9-1-1. Yah?
But what if it is a vote being cast? A rule being made? Because votes and rules have real consequences that alter people's lives for the better or worse. What if someone is casting a vote removing the ability for early social transition for children? What if someone is casting a vote forcing trans women to use a male bathroom? What if a church is denying someone full membership in the life of the church?
How do you keep your center of loving kindness while not allowing further harm? OR How do you remain centered in loving kindness while putting your body on the line to prevent votes that will cause harm.
Because, honestly, don't we want to go to rage? And maybe righteous rage is okay. But that rage is grounded in a loving concern for the least of those among us, right? Rage grounded in loving kindness. Maybe we have to be able to hold the two seemingly impossible things together.
What will you hold together today?
The complete practice today includes:
- Centering with BIBO,
- Breath prayer,
- Music from Mary Lambert
- Reflective quote from George Washington
- Links to scripture in the Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions
- Prayers for the world
- Photo by Marian Dörk on flickr
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--roar! (repeat a few times)
Breath prayer (repeat 3-5 times):
(inhale) Holy Justice,
(exhale) Bring kindness.
And I can’t change, even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
And I can’t change, even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
My love, my love, my love, my love
She keeps me warm, she keeps me warm
Buddhist Daily Reading: Daily Zen
Jewish Daily Reading: Daily Study from Chabad
Christian Daily Reading: Revised Common Lectionary Daily Reading
Muslim Daily Reading: Daily Verse from The Only Quran
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, please share!
“I was sorry to see the gloomy picture which you drew of the affairs of your Country in your letter of December; but I hope events have not turned out so badly as you then apprehended. Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by a difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be deprecated. I was in hopes, that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far, that we should never again see their religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of Society.
[Letter to Edward Newenham, 20 October 1792 about violence between Catholics and Protestants]”
― George Washington, Writings
Weekly prayer focus comes from the World Council of Churches prayer cycle. We know the world needs to be surrounded with prayer and positive thought. This allows us to work through the world country by country. We focus on one set of countries per week with the same prayer, lifting them up. I encourage you to fill this in however you see it.
Let us pray.
We know that we fail to live up to being makers of peace. Let us bring in rather than push out, be invitational rather than confrontational--seeing signs of life while mourning for the desecration of hope.
This week we pray for the countries of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico.
For signs of hope and peace, we pray for
the mercy workers working so hard to put out the fires
those faithful who practice nonviolence and peacemaking
the rains that come to refresh the land, especially hoped for in California
our political leaders, that their hearts may be softened and sensibility will prevail
For the oppressed and weary, we pray for
those seeking food and shelter, especially those whose homes were destroyed in wildfires
those affected by hurricanes, especially Puerto Rico and the new threat of withdrawn support
those who have been harmed by violence, especially those harmed by gun violence
those who suffer in systems of domination, especially the earth
For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to, we pray.
For the transformation from ME to WE, we pray.
Let peace prevail on earth.
So mote it be.
Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi
O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.