Saturday, December 06, 2014

The video of Bishop Eaton's statement on Racial Justice along with transcript

In baptism we are joined to the death and resurrection of Jesus,
and in Baptism we are all made one,
in Baptism we have forgiveness and that makes it possible for us to speak and listen to each other even, and especially, when the conversation is difficult.

Our nation and our church have been, and remain, deeply besieged by racism.
Following the decisions by grand juries in Ferguson and New York, it has become clear that we have different experiences of life in this country.
We continue to struggle, we continue to struggle in our conversation about race in our congregations, communities, and places of business, even at our kitchen tables.

We as members of the ELCA have named Racism—a mix of power, privilege, and prejudice,
a Sin—a violation of God’s intention for our world.

We recognize that Racism pervasively affects all aspects of our society and church.
Too often, Racism has not been acknowledged, particularly among people with privilege.

The criminal justice system is in some ways broken, and can perpetuate racial injustice.
The ELCA social statement The Church and Criminal Justice: Hearing the Cries acknowledges the disproportionate racial and economic impact within that system.

We are Church, we are in Ferguson, Staten Island, and Los Angeles; this church acknowledges and supports leaders and members on the ground making a difference every day.

We are Church Together, with resources to help turn the tide of injustice:
Together, we can advocate for legislation that protects the civil rights of all.
Together, we equip members through community based organizing.
Together, we can teach about our faith practices that enable us to live out our faith and grow in our discipleship
Together, we participate in the work of responding to disaster in communities by bringing hope, healing, and renewal among people whose lives have been disrupted.

Here are some actions that each of us can take where we are:
  •       Listen to and learn from the experiences and history of people of color and communities of color.
  •       Muster the courage to have, and stay in, difficult conversations about race.
  •       Respect and uplift the dignity and humanity of every person.

There are no quick answers or easy solutions, but we can remain in it for the long haul.

As we anticipate the birth of the Christ Child let’s recall our baptismal covenant to:
  •       Live among God’s faithful people,
  •       Hear the Word of God and share in the Lord’s Supper,
  •       Proclaim the Good News of God in Christ through word and deed,
  •       Serve all people, following the example of Jesus,
  •       And strive for justice and peace in all the earth.

Monday, December 01, 2014


I’ve been pretty much silent about the events in Ferguson. Kinda strange for a wordy man like me to be so silent, right? After all, I participated in National Novel Writing Month and have so far written 17,000 words on a Sci-fi novel entitled “Silicon Soul” about a fictional America in which computers become human. Strange that I’d not write a single word about a real America in which humans aren’t being treated as if they are fully human.

I’ve kept my silence with the assumption that it allows the voices of People of Color to be heard more clearly.
In case you’ve not read any of these voices here are two:

That said, this blog is read by some folk for whom I’m the closest thing to a voice of color they’re willing to read (I know, right!).
So, two quick points as a repost to the things you all consistently say on social media, and then I’ll get back out of the way.

1. In order to believe Darren Wilson’s version of events you’d almost have to assume Michael Brown is an alien—people don’t act like that.

2. Quit with the being so shocked by rioting already.
I was in Eugene, Oregon when the Ducks lost a big game—they drove a meter maid car into a bonfire and set off a bomb outside the local Starbucks.
For that matter, I was in Philadelphia when the Phillies won their big game; all the commentators were so overjoyed that there was “only” $100,000 worth of property damage… people did that much damage to their city to honor a sports team’s win.
The folk in Ferguson are horrified and angry that a young man in their community was killed and there was no trial. They are horrified and angry at an ongoing pattern of young black kids getting killed by cops and vigilantes.
I want to be clear, I think rioting is stupid and destructive, but if we’re going on the assumption that what happened in Eugene and Philly after those sports games was essentially good clean fun, and as a society we do, then the only logical conclusion you can come to is that the rioting in Ferguson is a totally legitimate response to collective horror and anger… unless of course you want to say white rioting is acceptable and black rioting is not.