Jun 192020

Christian moderates and racism

It is a sad commentary on our society that we must still discuss the rise of racism and bigotry in 2020. I doubt that Dr. King believed that it would take this long for things in our nation to change. Frederick Douglas and Harriett Tubman likely thought that by this point in history racism would be a thing of the past.

Yet, we continue to fight for equality and justice for people of color. Dr. King in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail wrote: ” Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”

Even today, injustice continues to thrive everywhere. Our family and friends marching for equality and justice are routinely called “outside agitators”. And people who came to this nation as children are considered outsiders.

Dr. King continued from his jail cell: ” I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom…”

This week I fought against the same moderates in the church that Dr. King referred to. Our parish and our denomination (the Old Catholic Churches International) continues to raise our voices and use our privilege to call for real and meaningful change. However, many of our fellow Christians continue to call for people to sit down and keep quiet. They call on people to wait just a little bit longer for equality.

How much longer must our beloved wait for equality? How much longer will they be denied justice?

Today we honor Juneteenth. This day hearkens back to June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation when Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. It took 2 1/2 years for the word of freedom to finally reach all those kept in captivity! We stand 155 years later and moderate Christians are still calling for our beloved family and friends to wait just a little bit longer for equality and justice.

Enough is enough. Now is the time. Today is the day of liberation. We can no longer call for people of color to sit down and be patient. We must lock arms with them and march toward the promised land. It is our sacred duty to support them and to use our platform of privilege to demand their equal rights and justice.

And one the ways we do that is by calling out racism and bigotry wherever and whenever it exists. Even when it is white privilege that raises its head to oppress our beloved friends and family. We must not be afraid to call out those who demand that those marching sit down or find other means of protest. And we must also not be afraid to call out those who claim the victims of police violence are somehow in the wrong and deserved their fate.

No longer can the church remain silent on the issue of race. Because to do so is to be complicit in the murder of our family and friends of color. While many Christians and many churches have come a long way, we all still have a long way to go.

Join me in this struggle for equality. Join me in standing with our family and friends yearning to be truly equal and free!

Fr. Greg

Jun 152018

Change is needed

Change

The world seems to have gone crazy lately. In fact, many people seem willing to exchange the truth for a lie and to exchange compassion for hatred, bigotry, and violence. Change is considered to be a dirty word, and yet, change is exactly what we need!

We have been warned throughout Scripture that such times would come. Many people think that these are the end times, but I believe we are merely at the end of an age. We are at a point where the pendulum will swing back to a more compassionate and caring place.

That said, we must be willing to be the instruments of change in the world around us. We cannot bury our head in the sand and expect things to improve on their own. Throughout history good men and women chose to hide their eyes from the horrors around them. And by doing so they, at very least, allowed bad things to happen, and at worst, approved of those acts.

For years I have preached about walking the middle of the road and now I see now the error of that teaching. By walking the middle of the road, I have allowed the evil the world to triumph. Rather than walk the middle of the road, we need to be willing to speak up against the horror of hate, bigotry, anger, and violence that has taken over our society.

Make no mistake, you will loose friends and family if you choose to speak up. People will label you as a troublemaker or worse. They even treated Jesus this way. Everyone abandoned Jesus. You are in good company.

Now is the time to stand up. It is time to stop hiding from the darkness and to confront it. It is time to live our faith. And our faith calls us to love others, to take in the stranger and refugee. Today is the day to be Christ to the world!

And if that cost me everything, I will give it all up to serve others and to follow my Christ!

Apr 202018

Say no to racism

Say no to racism

I find it very disturbing the level of hate and racism that exists in our nation. It is likewise disturbing to see that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once said, “We must face the fact that in America, the church is still the most segregated major institution in America. At 11:00 on Sunday morning when we stand and sing and Christ has no east or west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation. This is tragic. Nobody of honesty can overlook this.” While many churches, ours included, have taken steps to resolve this issue in our churches, many are still segregated. They may not be doing so by conscience choice, but they do so by their actions towards others.

This becomes most obvious when we see people who claim to be Christian using racial slurs towards others. When people who claim to be Christians write Op-Eds that say that African-Americans should observe curfews to avoid issues with the police. It is obvious when Christians demand that others speak English. They show their lack of Christianity when they shout that immigrants should go back to where they come from. It is obvious when people call the police on people waiting in a coffee shop for a friend.

It is time for the church to find its voice again and speak against this tide of hate and racism. As Dr. King continued in that same speech, “The first way that the church can repent, the first way that it can move out into the arena of social reform is to remove the yoke of segregation from its own body. …. Now that the mistake of the past has been made, I think that the opportunity of the future is to really go out and to transform American society, and where else is there a better place than in the institution that should serve as the moral guardian of the community. The institution that should preach brotherhood and make it a reality within its own body.”

We as Christians should stand up against the racism and hatred that has infiltrated our nation. It is our job to stand with the oppressed. We need to be Christ to everyone.

As we approach Good Shepherd Sunday, we should keep in mind that sheep come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders. The Shepherd does not care about any of that when he is protecting the sheep. His only concern is to protect them. And the Good Shepherd is willing to lay down his life for his sheep. It is time that we follow the Good Shepherds example. We must stand up for our brothers and sisters who are enduring oppression and attacks.

As a church, we resolve to stand with all people who are oppressed. We resolve to stand against racism, hatred, and bigotry.

And we will welcome everyone into our church with open arms.