Friday, July 3, 2015

The Friday Four, Part 125


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The shooting at Emanual AME in Charleston, South Carolina deeply affected me. Attending services at Bethel AME here in Spokane was healing, but I am horrified at the continued violence and racism of the last couple of weeks. And as I often do when processing hard topics, I read. Here are a few of the articles that have helped me think and understand better:

Dylann Roof's True Legacy Will Be That He Brought Black and White Together by K.J. Kearney
Dispatch from Charleston: The Cost of White Comfort by Chenjerai Kumanyika
We Need to Talk about White Culture by Joshua DuBois
Our God Will Never Us Forsake by Mica McGriggs
Through the Valley: Theodicy and Black Suffering in America by Janan Graham
Repenting of 'Colorblindness' by Rachel Held Evans
We Need to Deal with Our Discomfort and Talk to Our Kids about Racism by Meghan Leahy


I was moved by President Obama's eulogy remarks at Rev. Clementa Pinckney's memorial service. A few excerpts:

"Reverend Pinckney embodied a politics that was neither mean, nor small. He conducted himself quietly, and kindly, and diligently. He encouraged progress not by pushing his ideas alone, but by seeking out your ideas, partnering with you to make things happen. He was full of empathy and fellow feeling, able to walk in somebody else’s shoes and see through their eyes. No wonder one of his senate colleagues remembered Senator Pinckney as “the most gentle of the 46 of us -- the best of the 46 of us.”...
"According to the Christian tradition, grace is not earned. Grace is not merited. It’s not something we deserve. Rather, grace is the free and benevolent favor of God -- (applause) -- as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. Grace.
"As a nation, out of this terrible tragedy, God has visited grace upon us, for he has allowed us to see where we’ve been blind. (Applause.) He has given us the chance, where we’ve been lost, to find our best selves. (Applause.) We may not have earned it, this grace, with our rancor and complacency, and short-sightedness and fear of each other -- but we got it all the same. He gave it to us anyway. He’s once more given us grace. But it is up to us now to make the most of it, to receive it with gratitude, and to prove ourselves worthy of this gift...
"By recognizing our common humanity by treating every child as important, regardless of the color of their skin or the station into which they were born, and to do what’s necessary to make opportunity real for every American -- by doing that, we express God’s grace.
And President Obama's rendition of Amazing Grace, joined by thousands of others, was powerful and heartfelt.


If you feel so inclined, you can donate to the Rebuild the Churches Fund being managed by Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal) in St. Louis. All of the money raised will be disbursed to the four black churches (and hopefully no more) whose recent fires have been determined to be arson. I was glad to see two local Spokane congregations on the list of churches who have agreed to hold a special offering in July to raise money for the fund: Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist and Westminster Congregational United Church of Christ.


A folk artist named Panhandle Slim developed stunning portraits of each of the Emanuel Nine. You can see them on his facebook page or in this article. He's also done portraits of the Dalai Lama, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bree Newsome. Bright colors, simple lines, using the person's own words to describe her or him. Love it!

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