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by Pastor John Pavlovitz

I remember the day after the Election, a friend of mine who happens to be white, remarked on social media that he “finally wasn’t embarrassed of America and our President.”

I sprained my eyes rolling them and they have never fully recovered.

Since then I’ve heard this sentiment echoed by more white folks than I can count, especially in recent months; supposed relief at once again having a leader who instills pride.

Since I don’t have the time to ask each of the[m] individually, I’ll ask here:

So, you were embarrassed for the past 8 years, huh?

Really?

What exactly were you embarrassed by?

Were you embarrassed by his lone and enduring twenty-five year marriage to a strong woman he’s never ceased to publicly praise, respect, or cherish?

Were you embarrassed by the way he lovingly and sweetly parented and protected his daughters?

Were you embarrassed by his Columbia University degree in Political Science or his graduating magna cum laude from Harvard Law School?

Maybe you were embarrassed by his white American and Black Kenyan parents, or the diversity he was raised in as normal?

Were you embarrassed by his eloquence, his quick wit, his easy humor, his seeming comfort meeting with both world leaders and street cleaners; by his bright smile or his sense of empathy or his steadiness—perhaps by his lack of personal scandals or verbal gaffes or impulsive tirades?

No. Of course you weren’t.

Honestly, I don’t believe you were ever embarrassed. That word implies an association that brings ridicule, one that makes you ashamed by association, and if that’s something you claim to have experienced over the past eight years by having Barack Obama representing you in the world—I’m going to suggest you rethink your word choice.

You weren’t “embarrassed” by Barack Obama.
You were threatened by him.
You were offended by him.
You were challenged by him.
You were enraged by him.

But I don’t believe it had anything to do with his resume or his experience or his character or his conduct in office—because you seem fully proud right now to be associated with a three-time married, serial adulterer and confessed predator; a man whose election and business dealings and relationships are riddled with controversy and malfeasance. You’re perfectly fine being represented by a bullying, obnoxious, genitalia-grabbing, Tweet-ranting, Prime Minister-shoving charlatan who’s managed to offended [sp] all our allies in a few short months. And you’re okay with him putting on religious faith like a rented, dusty, ill-fitting tuxedo and immediately tossing it in the garbage when he’s finished with it.

None of that you’re embarrassed of? I wonder how that works.

Actually, I’m afraid I have an idea. I hope I’m wrong.

Listen, you’re perfectly within your rights to have disagreed with Barack Obama’s policies or to have taken issue with his tactics. No one’s claiming he was a flawless politician or a perfect human being. But somehow I don’t think that’s what we’re talking about here. I think the thing President Obama did that really upset you, white friend—was having a complexion that was far darker than you were ever comfortable with. I think the President we have now feels much better.

Because objectively speaking, if what’s happening in our country right now doesn’t cause you great shame and doesn’t induce the continual meeting of your palm to your face—I don’t believe embarrassment is ever something you struggle with.

No, if you claimed to be “embarrassed” by Barack Obama but you’re not embarrassed by Donald Trump—I’m going to strongly suggest it was largely a pigmentation issue.

And as an American and a Christian committed to diversity and equality and to the liberty at the heart of this nation—that, embarrasses me.
 
 
An article from "The Hill" The text below...

What does Memorial Day mean to you? Is it a day off work, time spent grilling with family and friends? A day to grab the hottest discounts on cars and electronics — perhaps a needed new mattress? Or maybe a day to catch a game and enjoy a cold one or two?

It seems over the years Memorial Day has come to represent the luxuries of western society, and the best sales since Presidents Day. Retailers are more than willing to give the American public just what they want — sales.

However, for those of us who have served, and the families of those who did not come home, it is anything but a retail holiday. Memorial Day to us is a somber day of remembrance. It is a day to honor the ultimate sacrifice so many of our brothers and sisters in arms have made for this exceptional nation. To remember this country was founded — and kept secure — by the blood of patriots. Men and women who’ve heeded the call to stand the ramparts and defend all that we hold dear: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The day was first observed after the Civil War and known as Decoration Day. Businesses closed and communities came together in a day of honor and remembrance. They decorated the graves of fallen soldiers with flags and flowers. They set time aside, one and all, to honor those who fought for freedom. In 1971, this long-standing tradition was recognized as a federal holiday meant as a time for our nation to come together as one and recognize the cost of freedom.

To many, Memorial Day has come to signify the start of summer and a well-deserved three-day weekend. For the families who have lost a loved one, and those who've lost a comrade in arms to the ravages of war, it is a day of honor and reaffirming the promise to not let their sacrifice have been in vain.

It is a day in which we laugh at their antics, stand tall with honor for having them in our lives, and cry — for they are no longer with us. We are proud to carry on their memory and do so at one of the thousands of Memorial Day events around this great land, or at one of the thousands of cemeteries at which they now lay at rest.

Sure, we will enjoy a family cookout and a cold one, but we should also set time aside to honor our fallen. Memorial Day to us is a somber day, a happy and prideful day. These great warriors filled our lives and sacrificed everything to ensure we sleep peacefully at night under the protective blanket of freedom they helped provide.

So, on May 29th, take your loved ones to a Memorial Day event, or place the Stars and Stripes on the gravesite of an American military service member, or set time aside to reflect on the sacrifices that have been made to ensure we remain the land of the free.

Cliff Sosamon is a 2014 Congressional Commendation Award recipient and the executive director of Honor Courage Commitment, Inc. HCC empowers veterans to define their next mission through education, mentorship and community service.
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23 April 2017 @ 05:04 pm
It's probably been a year since the last time I posted here. Maybe longer! I know I'm sometimes active in comments, but only rarely.

This weekend had some low points. Yesterday I was driving a pastor from the jail where we had held a service for a group of inmates; one of them was saying that she wanted to have children someday but she was facing a 20 year sentence. At the end of that she'd be almost 50 and that would be the end of her dreams.
I lied to a PASTOR!!!Collapse )

This made the pastor (G) talk about his own family. He's an older gentleman, with kids older than I am, grandkids, and great-grandkids. This makes for a lot of family arrangements. He was talking about how two of the younger of his large extended family were living together without being married, and he was resigned to this but felt it was wrong. He suddenly looked at me and said "You, Hauke...you aren't currently living with someone you aren't married to, are you?"

"No," I said, which is a complete lie. There's so much he doesn't know about me, and I'm not in a hurry to tell him. Maybe that would have been a good opportunity, but it's clear that the church where we are members is not high on the "welcoming to gays" meter.

(As far as why I haven't married my partner I don't have a good answer for that. He thinks it's kind of stupid...I guess that's a good enough reason.)

I visited some inmates today instead of going to church, because I had a backlog of requests. I was in the visitation room and overheard someone else counseling someone who was being victimized by other female inmates in her dorm. They were trying to recruit her into something sexual with threats of violence switched with "love bombing"...the person counseling her kept going back to how homosexuals have been "given up by God, given over to perverse lusts" (paraphrasing Paul a bit). I didn't think it was the time to jump up and say "God loves gays!" since that wouldn't have really helped the inmate at all. Probably it just would have made her feel even more hopeless.

By the time I got out of there the last service at my church was almost over. Thinking about yesterday and this morning, I didn't really want to go in. I sat in the narthex, outside, and sort of spoke along with some prayers and other parts of the service that are the same every week, that I just know, and watched, thinking about how I didn't really belong there.

Communion went fast, people were singing the last hymn, and the crew up at the altar were walking around, giving communion to people who can't walk. I'm lost in my thoughts, and the next thing I know one of them, a guy I know but not by name, was there in front of me.

"I didn't expect you to come here," I said, and I think I started to say something else but I was caught off guard and sort of trailed off.

"Why wouldn't we," he asked? And I had communion.
 
 
21 April 2017 @ 04:43 pm
I entered FORGE's SAAM (Sexual Assault Awareness Month) design contest for a coloring page that will also be used as a t-shirt design. That felt daunting, since detail is important in coloring pages, and boldness is important in t-shirt designs.

And I won!

I'm excited, both at the win and at the prospect of seeing how people color in my design. It had a lighthouse theme, and I made the light from the lighthouse into a kind of stylized pride flag, so people can color it to suit their own identities.

Anyway, the link to the page is here, in case anyone in the group is interested in seeing or coloring it.

In other thoughts, I'm trying to remember if Rainbow Ark has a DW group as well--so many of my friends are leaving LJ after the new TOS came out. I am over there under the same user name, so feel free to friend me there regardless. (And here's hoping that supporting community and winning a design contest don't count as a "political" post and get me kicked off of LJ before I'm ready to leave.)
 
 
Current Mood: excitedexcited