I’m looking forward to gathering with everyone on Monday May 2 at 6:30PM. We will be meeting at New Garden Friends Meeting located at 801 New Garden Road at the corner of new Garden and Friendly, across the street from Guilford College. Someone will be outside to greet you and direct you to our gathering place. Our special guest will be Wess Daniels. Please read through Parts 3 and 4 of the book. The focus of our discussion will be Chapter 37 but we explore another chapter also. Please take a moment to RSVP. See you Monday night.
I have been off-line for a while but this time it was not basketball. Melissa and I were married on April 9th and then enjoyed a wonderful time in Savannah. I hope you have found time to keep up with your reading. Understanding and learning is a continuous process. Each day brings something new and along with it something to learn. Our next gathering will be May 2nd beginning at 6:30PM. The location has yet to be set. Wess Daniels will be joining us. Wess contributed chapter 37. His other chapter is 48 in Part 5. Our focus will be on Parts 3 and 4. If you have any suggestions about enhancing our learning experience please let me know.
I have to admit life got in the way this weekend. Well not life but basketball. Having a team, you call “my team”, and pulling for them to win is part of our D.N.A. Anticipating the game, watching the game and then hopefully celebrating the victory is time consuming. Sometimes stressful. Thus my Sunday prompt comes on Tuesday. Sports can united people as well as lead us to division. Every four years soccer unifies the world through the World Cup. But only climate change, maybe, and injustices unify the world and bring about a collective action. There are a few outliers, but the tragedy and horror facing Ukraine is one example where the world is unified. As it should be, assistance and support is in abundant supply for the Ukrainian people. All with a goal of ending the invasion and war. Then billions of dollars will be sent for reconstruction. But what of the poor and hungry right here in our community. The war on poverty, the fight for living wages, and the protection of voting rights is more than 50 years old. Is there an end in sight? May 4, 2022 is our next gathering date as we arrive at Liberation. Our invited guest is Wess Daniels, the Williams R. Rogers Director of the Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College. So you have until May to read Parts 3 and 4 of “We Cry Justice.” Of course give particular attention to Wess’ chapters. The location of our gathering has not be determined yet. My hope is that “We Cry Justice” can unify us and bring an end to systemic racism. Spread the word, join the cause.
I feel stretched these days and perhaps a little less in control of my life than usual. On top of everything that does not need repeating, Melissa and I are getting married on April 9th and for some reason I have decided that now is the time to replace our aging heating and air conditioning units. But compared to others I have nothing that threatens my shelter, my daily bread, the clothes on my back. I’m not being forcibly displaced, bombed, working two jobs or deciding between medications and baby formula.
Continuing a theme from last week’s prompt, I CRY JUSTICE continues to ring in my head. We Cry Justice is not reserved for those in dispare, those that are struggling, those subject to systemic racism. I’m not crying for justice for myself, I’m crying for justice for them, I’m crying for my grandchildren. Imagine a world celebrating equality - what could it mean.
In Chapter 12, You Must Let Us Wail, Stephen Pavey points us to Amos, “sent by God to warn a nation of its unjust and moral disordering.” Sound familiar? Amos knew what was wrong with society. Stephen speaks of others that lended their voices and asks us to do the same. We must wail, loudly to the injustices committed against God’s children.
This next week, finish Parts 1 and 2. We will meet as a group on March 28th beginning promptly at 6:30 PM. We will convene at Fellowship Presbyterian Church, 2005 New Garden Road in the sanctuary. Our invited guest is the Rev. Melanie Mullen who contributed Chapters 5 and 17. Rev. Mullen is the Episcopal Church’s director of reconciliation, justice, and creation care.
Is the title “We Cry Justice” missing a comma or a word? Shouldn’t it be “We cry, Justice!” Or, “We cry for justice.” Then who is crying for justice? Me? The people who need justice? Or a collective we? Okay these are silly questions with obvious answers. But, a good attorney told me once, “Never ask a witness a question you don’t know the answer to.” However, in this case, I will not presume, ignoring the advice.
In the introduction Rev. Theoharis is clear, it’s a collective WE, a WE devoted to a God of liberation. Liberation for who, “for all.” But for me, a privileged white male who wonders not where my daily bread comes from, what am I seeking? Shouldn’t I too be seeking justice? The answer is Yes, “for [I am] not free until the world is free from poverty, systemic racism, militarism, and ecological devastation.”
WVAR picked this book not merely as a show of support for the Poor People’s Campaign. The book was chosen because: it provides the perfect vehicle to explore the intersection of religion and social justice; prescribes what the Bible calls followers of Jesus to do; and tells how to combat those who claim to believe Jesus to be their lord and savior, yet ignore the poor, restrict voting rights, and condone damaging the Earth.
In Chapter V of “We Cry Justice,” Rev. Melanie Mullen holds up the Sermon on the Mount as a defining moment in Jesus’ ministry. “In the sermon he offers radical, spiritual survival strategies for the poor, the powerless, and other outsiders of the empire.” For me the Sermon on the Mount passage tells that we must commit to justice, and Mathew 25 tells us how to identify injustice and what must be done to bring about justice.
This week you should either be starting your journey to Jubilee or well on your way. A Facebook group has been set up on WVAR’s Facebook page. Join it if you would like to pose questions or share your thoughts during the week. Others can email WVAR (we ask that you not reply to all) and we will share your thoughts weekly with the group. The goal is to have read Chapters 1 though 19 by March 28th, the date of our first gathering. As of this moment, the gathering will be at Fellowship Presbyterian Church beginning at 6:30PM.
Good evening justice seekers,
This during Fellowship’s worship service this morning we recited the follow Affirmation of Faith inspired by the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I refuse to believe that we are unable to influence the events around us.
I refuse to believe we are bound by racism, war and injustice.
I believe those around me are my brother and my sister.
I believe in dignity every day and that our brokenness can be healed.
I believe we can overcome oppression and violence, without resorting to it.
This means I seek to reject revenge and retaliation.
I remember, “Hate cannons drive out hate; only love can.”
It is the first line that drives me to do this work. The second line, being bound by racism, war and injustice, describes an unacceptable future. This is your first prompt, your call to begin this journey. I look forward to seeing each of you on March 28th. Continue to spread the word - - - until the work is done, it’s never to late to begin the Journey to Justice.