Last week, I discussed prayer as an alignment with that which brings human flourishing. A sort of discovering of what brings maximum joy, mercy, justice, and good to all that is. That includes every human, every animal, every inch of the cosmos. All.
I have a pin that says "y'all means all" meaning, when we say all, we often exclude a portion of the created cosmos. But come on. All doesn't mean,
...all of y'all can participate equally in this government, except you [insert marginalized people here, probably African Americans]
...all of y'all can flourish equally in this world, except you [insert people you don't like here, probably supporters of ____ ]
...all of y'all can grow, except you [insert polluted or destroyed part of creation]
...all of y'all can be understood, except you [insert part of science you don't quite understand]
...all of y'all can have flourishing families, except you [insert anyone on the LGBTQIA spectrum]
...all of y'all can have justice, mercy, goodness, flourishing, except [who would you put there?]
The point is, I suppose, that it is hard to hold ultimate goodness (whatever that is) for all of creation (extending to the cosmos). It is so hard, in fact, that we can become frozen with inactivity. Perhaps, we should focus on aligning with all that is good within our own homes or community. And even then, it can be complicated. Where is the line between charitable assistance and colonized assistance? That is a complicated sentence.
Charitable assistance: Like a band-aid. Helps in the immediate. Food, shelter, clothing, individualized picking up of trash in wetlands, repairing trails, rescuing a dolphin in Japan.
Colonized assistance: I don't give you the tools to find your own food, shelter, or clothing so you must come back to me for more assistance. White savior complex stuff.
There should be something in the middle. Guided assistance? Merciful assistance? Come on, there y'all must have a word for it! Help my brain out. Anyway, that assistance that bridges charity and leads to healing. Charity is good. But if you are in a situation where you have a relationship with the person or being receiving charity, perhaps it is time for you to become a bridge to healing. That is what we should align with. This is what our prayer life should discover. Roads that lead to healing.
Sometimes the healing is for ourselves or others. The alignment may be about finding peace for you right in this moment. The alignment may be about sitting still with all that is good until you hear the whisper beyond your heartbeat that allows you to imagine justice, mercy, goodness, and flourishing.
One thing I believe, if we understand ourselves to be working for flourishing except for anything, we need to re-examine our understanding. Let me clarify lest someone think I mean everyone works for everything (and we are immediately overwhelmed!). Working with a particular population, for example, I work with incarcerated youth doing peacemaking circles , does not have me working against peacemaking circles with other people. It just isn't my particular job to do so. Peacemaking is for everyone, full stop. My path towards that is with incarcerated youth.
If there is a situation that goes something like this, "I must work to make sure that people in women's bathrooms are safe. In order to do that, I will allow harm to come to transgender or genderqueer individuals." That is not aligning for the flourishing of all. Surely there is a way for all to be safe in the bathroom of their choosing.
Last night, angels surrounded Pulse nightclub where 50 folx from the LGBTQIA community were killed a year ago. The angels don't stand against others, the are simply standing for the flourishing and protection of this community. I first learned about the angels years ago when my son was in The Laramie Project, the play about Matthew Shephard's life. What a beautiful way to stand against hate.
49 angels have arrived outside Pulse. Incredible scene. pic.twitter.com/2bzqBoXmwg
— Justin Warmoth (@JustinWarmoth) June 12, 2017
Flourishing is for all. Y'all means all. Prayer will lead to that. Alignment with all that is good will lead to that.
Now, go and pray. Find alignment with the flourishing of the cosmos.