Joy amid troubles

I don't know about you but I am troubled by the news surrounding our president-elect--who he is picking for his cabinet and now the fact that Russia may have undermined the integrity of our election process. 

I did not vote for him. His statements about people of color, Muslims, Hispanics, and women do not jive at all with my values. I serve a congregation that is a mix of white people and people of color and there are many wonderful relationships of trust within our church. But I have beloved family members who, I'm assuming, did vote for our incoming president-elect.

Part of the trouble is, who has news that is accurate? Fox slants right, Huffington Post slants left. Facebook has several "news sources" that are shared and are so inflammatory in language, stirring our anger up against the other.  I found one source that listed Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and The Economist as offering balanced, in-depth news. Other sources of news this source listed as minimal partisan bias: ABC news, NBC news, Washington Post, The New York Times, NPR, and BBC.  

We have work to do as we seek out reliable news sources online and on television as we educate ourselves and keep ourselves accurately updated on the latest news.


But, be that as it may, this is a week of Joy for Christians. During the four Sundays before Christmas, Christians light a candle on a wreath. Each Sunday the candles represent different moods. Usually, week 1 is hope, week 2 is peace, week 3 is joy, and week 4 is love.

 And the Scripture reading focus for Joy is on the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus. It is about her consent to God's call to her and her joy in meeting with her cousin who is also pregnant in her late age. And we read Mary's song from the Gospel of Luke as she praises God:

The starving poor sat down to a banquet; the callous rich were left out in the cold. God embraced his chosen child, Israel; he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
— Luke 1: 53-54

Whenever we find the world too troubling, we can always choose our attitude, our behavior. Mary lived in a time when the Jewish people, the Jewish nation were colonized by the Roman government. But people of faith, people with faith persisted in living out their faith, working as best as they were able to bring about goodness on earth for all of God's diversity--of creation and of people. 

Diversity and Post Election thoughts

I am struggling to understand. I listen to voices who voted for Donald Trump. I listen to voices who voted for Hillary Clinton. 

We are a divided people.

We live in bubbles, insulated within clans that reflect our own thoughts, feelings, perspectives.

Unless a person is part of a minority group.

Because we are all encompassed within the big bubble(s) of institutions and policies that favor particular white people whose parents had money or they were able to climb the ladder provided by the common good (usable roads, tax subsidies, public education, a degree that did not put students $40,000 in debt and land them in retail at minimum wage).

And now that people who were able to get up that ladder have their pot of money, they want to yank that common good (heaven forbid they need to share their pot) away from anyone, poor white but especially people of color, from using it.

There is a rash of racist behavior, of sexist behavior. There are young children who are bullying and youth who are spraying denigrating graffiti at schools. Just stop! 

Why is it ok to devalue people who look different from you/me?

It's not ok. We are all children of God.

And so we have protesters, who want to make sure that they are included, that they are not forgotten in maintaining, keeping, reinstating the common good.

A shared life is messy. Uncomfortable,  A life together may even feel intolerable for some people. It's so hard. It's so impossible.

But diversity is what God gave us, continues to give us. Along with the great gift of compassion.

Use that compassion.

Find someone unlike you. Befriend that person who doesn't look like you, who doesn't act like you.

Maybe even develop a friendship.