They’re Talking About Me

By Mark Van Steenwyk, re-posted from social media

It is a bizarre experience—I’m reading posts from right wingers about antifa, anarchy, socialism and the “radical fringe” that threatens their freedom.

And reading posts from liberals/centrists fundamentally agreeing with the premise that these are bad things and trying to show how the Democratic Party and Biden aren’t like these bad elements.

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This is Where You Start: Letter to a White Child on Choices, Ancestors, and the Future

By Rev. Margaret Anne Ernst

PC: Kelly Sikkema

October 2020 

I started writing this letter to you four years ago on the kitchen table, the winter after a man had been elected to the highest office in our land who represents such meanness, such smallness of imagination, and such hostility towards humanity that I had to start writing to someone. Best, I thought, to someone not fully grown, or even here yet. If I write to you, I must believe in you.  I must believe in something past this moment, this nightmare, as many people behind me have imagined past the terrifying circumstances of their times. 

Your world is, to me, barely glimpsed, like the moon showing itself from behind the clouds. And yet I will hang on to that moonbeam like I would clutch a breadcrumb after having not eaten for days. I choose to believe in the future.

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The Psalms Summoned Something

By Tommy Airey

In the lead up to the election, I’ve been soaking my soul in the Psalms. I’ve found these Hebrew resistance songs profoundly relevant. They are rearranging my soul with both agony and ecstasy, two feelings foreign to most white folk like me. In hard seasons like this, I tend to get stuck in my head—and then head for the hills. However, these ancient, heart-wrenching words lend me the language to stay present and tend what is buried deep within me.

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4 Thoughts on Hope and Resistance

Note: This is part of a series of short posts, in the lead-up to the election, from leaders reflecting on hope and/or resistance.

By Marcia Lee

Thought #1

Lately I’ve been wondering if I’m doing enough.  With everything that is happening in our world, am I causing more harm but not doing enough or not doing the ‘right’ things with my time?  I definitely needed to make that pumpkin bread this morning instead of calling people for the election or checking in on someone, right?  Maybe…maybe not.  But one thing that does give me hope is the reminder that: i will never be enough.  No matter what I do, or not do, my contribution is not enough.  However, our contribution, when we mix and flow together, each of us, in our small and large ways, we are enough.  What I do or do not do, may not be the thing that changes the world, but if I do something and you do something, our somethings combined might, just might be enough.  Thank you for doing your something to make a more just and compassionate world.  I am grateful for you.

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10 Ways to Stop a Coup

From Daniel Hunter, re-posted from Waging Nonviolence. Go to Choose Democracy to sign the pledge and take action.

We have a president who has openly said he might not respect the outcome of our election. We have to be ready if he claims victory before votes are counted, tries to stop counting, or refuses to accept a loss.

Some days I feel confident it will happen. A poll showed over 75 percent of Democrats think this is possible — and a shocking 30 percent of Republicans do too!

Other days I feel confident this is tough talk from a president not good at planning ahead. Still, he is good at the kind of misdirection that can keep us complacent and reactionary — which could lead us to stop doing the important groundwork of getting out the vote, protecting the post office and fighting voter suppression. KEEP READING…

Hope as an Intervention upon America’s Antiblackness

Note: This is part of a series of short posts, in the lead-up to the election, from leaders reflecting on hope and/or resistance.

By Rev. Nick Peterson

Hope, for me, owes nothing to politics. The extent to which we think hope alongside and within the American political apparatus is discouraging at best and soul-killing at worst. At present, the religious right imagines American politics as the right site to enact a near-theocratic rule of law. Holding fast to an American exceptionalism established by the puritans, the right’s religious imagination appeals to a moral yesteryear that never was. Meanwhile, the left opts for a liberal humanism that, on the one hand, narrates inclusion and acceptance as an American God-given birthright. While on the other, liberals insist that the unceasing acts of anti-black violence are not reflections of who we are. On both sides, hope is a means to America.

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Hope is a Verb, a Song Called “Anyhow”

Note: This is part of a series of short posts, in the lead-up to the election, from leaders reflecting on hope and/or resistance.

By Johari Jabir (right)

Hope is a verb, a form of action not based on feelings or what is seen in ordinary time. To hope is to advance a stubborn, aggressive optimism.  

On January 1, 1863, a large gathering of Black and white people assembled beneath a sprawling oak tree in Beaufort, South Carolina, to hear the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. Standing on a platform behind military officers, dignitaries, and abolitionists was the nation’s first Black regiment, the 1st South Carolina Volunteers. After the proclamation was read, the regiment was presented with an American flag donated by a New York congregation. All of the ceremony and pageantry had gone along as planned, until one speaker’s comments were interrupted by an elderly Black man who stood to sing,  

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Advent is coming

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

While fires still rage in our forests and our streets, it is time to start looking towards that season when we slow our bodies down, when we welcome in the darkness, when a single flame is enough. While the work of resistance never ceases, Advent is the liturgical season where we find more time for the quiet, waiting hours to prepare our hearts. Prepare our lives for the transformative power of story and its ability to turn the powers that be upside down. It is time. 

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Anchored in a Reality Different from Our Own

Note: This is part of a series of short posts, in the lead-up to the election, from leaders reflecting on hope and/or resistance.

By Rev. Tiffany Ashworth

A few months ago, I preached a sermon on Psalm 1. During my preparation, I kept stumbling over the phrase their delight is in the law. Delight and law? From where I’m standing, those are contradictory. Images of law conjure drudgery, burden, and weight. Law all too often represses rather than restores, closes in rather than opens up, belittles rather than inspires. It can be anxiety-making, self-preserving, and power-seeking rather than peace-imparting, generous, and life-giving. How can anyone delight in a law? Law, to me, often belongs on the path of dried up chaff not well-watered trees.

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