Tirawa, Saves!

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In the beginning Tirawa created the heavens and the earth.  Tirawa supplied for the needs of all of creation.  The earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from Tirawa swept over the face of the waters.  With this wind the Path of the Departing Spirits, known to the White Man as the Milky Way was created.  East of the Path of the Departing Spirits is our father, Morning Star, and to the west is our mother, Evening Star.

 

The earth was filled with many creatures at the hands of Tirawa.  There were Creatures that filled the streams and populated the waters.  There were Creatures that occupied the air and perched upon the trees of Tirawa’s creation.  Tirawa filled the sky with his Creation.  The night and day belonged to Tirawa.

 

All that is or that shall be, is ordained by Tirawa, and the stars are his servants.  From the east Morning Star began to pursue Evening Star in order to make love to her, but she continued to elude him.  She put obstacles in his path, but continued to encourage him.  When they found each other they lay with each other and gave birth to the Pawnee.

 

The number ten has always had significance for human beings, and this is because Evening Star placed ten obstacles in the way of her suitor.  One of the obstacles was in the chaos beneath them.  There was an endless sheet of water presided over by the Great Serpent.  Morning Star threw a ball of fire at the serpent, which caused the serpent to flee beneath the waves.  As the fire hit the water, enough of the water dried up to reveal earth and rocks. From these materials, Morning Star threw a pebble into the sea of chaos and it became the earth.

 

When the earth was in its proper place, Tirawa appointed four lesser gods to administer it.  They were East, West, North, and South.  They joined hands at the edge of the great sea on earth and a land mass emerged.

 

Eventually, Morning Star caught up with Evening Star and lay with her.  Soon Evening Star conceived a daughter.  When she gave birth to the girl, she placed the child on a cloud and sent her to earth.  High above the earth, Evening Star asked Morning Star to water her celestial garden and, as a love gift, he made the first rain.

 

In the Celestin gardens of Evening Star, there grew a great many plants, including Mother Maize, the greatest of food plants.  Evening Star gave maize to her daughter as a gift to plant on the newly emerged earth.  Soon the Sun and the Moon produced a son, who married the daughter of Evening Star and Morning Star.  Daughter-of-Evening-and-Morning-Star and Son-of-Sun-and-Moon are the parents of all living human beings, as well as the first beings to cultivate maize.

This is the Pawnee story of Creation.  There are countless stories of how this world was fashioned.  Along with these stories of creation we find stories of great floods, how law was found, and what happens upon death.  Story is an important part of the human experience.

Joseph Campbell offers that story is essential to understand the human condition.  Campbell tells us that story is how tradition, belief, and ritual is passed on and how civilization, religion, and humanity is fashioned.  Where would any religion or faith be without the archetypes of hero, mentor, threshold guardian, herald, shapeshifter, shadow, and trickster?

Is not the purpose of the Bible to awaken in us a sense of awe before the mystery of being.  Is this quest of being not the impetus of the wonderment behind the heralded question of why?  The story of Creation is central to understanding the purpose and intent of the very life that I, you, and we spend here in this existence.  What value does life maintain if absent purpose?  What is purpose sans a rooted idea of where we came from?

The story of creation roots us in a way that we may entertain understanding of what, why, and how the universe is shaped and catapults us towards validation of the social order we find ourselves subject to or participating in.  This social order includes religious framework.

The religious frame work to which I have been formed is largely Christian.  To be more precise it is a folky, conservative, evangelical, charismatic Christian faith that I have experienced my awakening within.  The tension of faith, reality, and what lie beyond are real for me.  This folky Christian faith was always delivered with a side of Native wisdom and lore.  I struggled to maintain a foot in two competing worlds, the Pawnee and the Christian.  I was not able to be Indian and… so I hid the Indian within and took it out of the box from time to time.

Story has guided me in life.  It has led me through trials and into the various stages of me being.  Story has taught me songs of love and the dirges of mourning.  Story feeds my soul as it seeks to restore balance within my fettered heart.

In the last few months I have awakened to my Indianness in more profound ways.  I have intentionally explored my tribal history, lore, myths, and rituals.  I have awakened to the historical trauma that seems to bind Native cultures in one homogenous thread of hurt and anguish.  I discovered the soul wound left by this trauma and map out the hurt that connects my name to my grandfather White Plume and countless grandmothers whose names have been lost to history.  The whispers of songs unsung for decades and the fading memories of dances long forgotten disturb the sanctuary of my soul, beckoning me to awake and follow.

I am unable to embrace the faith that fashioned me; the Christian faith that brought me comfort and carried me to the peace of my mother’s people.  I do not hate Jesus, the creeds, the Table, or the baptism(s) that washed my sin.  I am not sure that I can be my whole self within this faith.  The faith that was delivered to my father’s people at the expense of culture, ritual, and lore.  To my father’s people Christianity is a colonial faith that taught them that they are not human.  The fearfully and wonderfully made creation does not include Tirawa’s children.  The blessed children began as a wondering tribe from Judah.  Tirawa is false and so are his children.

This is my beef with Christianity, is that the normative to which the faithful seeks to adhere to does not include Tirawa and his children.  The cultural Christ saves in context but he still covers the “gods” encountered with his blood and the salvific act of redemption always moves us from where we are to another place of where we ought to be.  That place (in the US) is abundantly white and privileged.  It leads me to wonder, is the Bible capable of holding the ethos, ethics, and determination of all cultures?

At one point in my life I would have said yes. The Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is contextual and therefore meets all where they are at.  The problem with, for me, this is that Jesus always disturbs who he finds and leaves them unsettled.  Jesus comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comforted.  What does this mean for Tirawa and his children?

If I embrace Jesus and this gospel of his, am I also to reject Tirawa and the ways of my father’s people?  What then do I do with the abusive gospel that torments and hurts Native America?  Can the Jesus that “civilized my people also be the one that saves me?  I receive Jesus and I embrace the wonder working blood along with the spilled blood of Wounded Knee, the Long Walk, and the Trail of Tears.

Don’t forget, Tirawa made the heavens and earth as well.

Here Comes Your Man

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Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news about him spread throughout the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been raised. On the Sabbath he went to the synagogue as he normally did and stood up to read. The synagogue assistant gave him the scroll from the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the synagogue assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the synagogue was fixed on him. He began to explain to them, “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled just as you heard it.”

Luke 4:14-21

I volunteered at a prison ministry in Kentucky. This was different than the praise and worship services that visited the prison. Those services seemed to be focused upon the salvation and eternal well being of the incarcerated men and rarely did they engage the men outside of trying to save them.

Our church was like any other. We had pastoral care visits, communion, Bible study, a session, and various functioning committees. Every Friday night I would drive the 30 miles to the prison. Through suburban neighborhoods, past horse farms, and in to the barren parking lot outside of razor wire crowned fences, connecting menacing looking guard towers.

We would leave the free world and pass through a metal detector and in to a waiting area. Once the rest of the “free church” passed through the gates and in to the waiting area we would be escorted past giant electronic doors and in to the yard. We would walk on concrete paths nestled between tall fences donning razor thorns.

We were not allowed to wear anything khaki and the female members were encouraged to not wear dresses or anything form fitting. Marching onward towards the chapel we were meet by prison guards at every gate. We were counted and passed on to the next gate through a system of locks that prevented inmates from gaining access to undesired locations.

We arrived at the chapel and were let in to set up the worship space and communion elements. This stark multipurpose room quickly took shape and emerged as a house of the Lord. Liturgically colored banners hung from the pulpit and the house keyboard organ was set up. The Spirit was ready to entertain our hearts.

We set out the individually wrapped wafer and cup combos for communion and had a quick prayer. One by one the men entered the chapel and signed in. We had about 120 men every Friday night. The room was filled with men of all colors, creeds, backgrounds, and time. The unifying factor being addiction, conviction, and hope, and that all of these men were in prison.

There we were inside a prison. Most of the congregation was not free to leave after worship. A few of us had the privilege to enter and exit, to go inside and outside. To be in relationships with these incarcerated men. To stand shoulder to shoulder with rapists, murders, pedophiles, thieves, and addicts.

Some nights we celebrated the impending release of a member of the congregation. The singing and dancing on those nights were intolerable. They would beg, plead, and bargain with God or the Devil to discover satisfaction, protection, and a cure for their aching soul.

One particular Friday night of celebration, a member was going to be released the following Monday. The congregation loved to sing. The choir director was a pudgy late middle-aged man with neatly combed graying hair. His Sunday’s best was his khaki prison jumpsuit. I am not certain what he did but I know it involved drugs, sexual violence, and that it landed him in prison for life. I did not know anything of him outside of prison. I knew him as a sweet, quiet soul that volunteered to do anything for this church and he could sing like an angel.

The men were a mix of denominational, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds and it came through in worship. They all loved to sing spirituals and old time gospel songs in bluegrass arrangements. Only they had no fiddle, no guitar, and no bass. They had an old donated keyboard that the choir director could make dance.

This particular night we got in to “I’ll Fly Away.” That song will forever haunt me, those tears, that liberation demanded in their voice. It was the most beautiful thing that I have ever heard.

Imagine a bunch of tattooed, khaki clad men sitting in a prison chapel singing…Some glad morning when this life is o’er,  I’ll fly away;  To a home on God’s celestial shore,  I’ll fly away…When singing about death and departure many of these men know that this is the only way they shall experience liberation that taste of freedom arrives with death. I’ll fly away, O glory, I’ll fly away; When I die, Hallelujah, by and by, I’ll fly away.

When the shadows of this life have grown, I’ll fly away;  With the passion of a thousand loves the men’s collective heart screams Like a bird from prison bars has flown, I’ll fly away. I’ll fly away, O glory, I’ll fly away; When I die, Hallelujah, by and by, I’ll fly away.

Weary from the institution, hoping for better days, hopeful that Jesus is more than a fancy teacher, believing that God is more than a distant parent, and trusting that the Holy Spirit is a font of peace and comfort the men continue…Just a few more weary days and then, I’ll fly away; To a land where joys shall never end, I’ll fly away.

I stood there in the back of the room surrounded by men crying without tears. My own prison exposed. The thought of Jesus’ mandate to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor stung at my heart.

A light went on and I understood that we deliver the good news preached to the poor. By what we do, by what we have done and left undone we preach to the poor. This physical world matters. These bodies matter. They are not a prison to which the eternal soul is captive. We are liberated mind, body, and soul to be a new creation in Christ Jesus.

That as we proclaim this liberation and the freedoms found in bondage to Christ we must also work to extricate justice from the fallen and unjust systems in our world. We must work to release the prisoners of systems that predicate violence upon women and children. We must work to release the prisoners being persecuted in system of civil suppression based on whom they love. We must work to release the prisoners bound in the industrial prison complex languishing in geography that punishes humanity and fashions a violent way of life over true rehabilitation. We owe better to this Fearfully and Wonderfully made creation of God’s. We must work tirelessly to restore sight to the blind and help the blinded leaders of this world to see the light. We must liberate the oppressed. Like a bird from prison bars has flown, I’ll fly away. I’ll fly away, O glory, I’ll fly away; When I die, Hallelujah, by and by, I’ll fly away. And proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor to be at hand.

Amen

La La Love You

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On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it.

When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

John 2:1-11

Have you ever prayed for a miracle?

Miracles are perceived interruptions of the laws of nature. The sun guarding battle to illuminate a promise. The sea being divided in to a passage of liberation.

Miracles are Divine participation of natural law to a spectacular end. The lame are made to walk. The blind are made to see. Water is turned to wine.

Miracles are statistical anomalies that bear witness to the majestic, mysterious power of God. There is no discernable way to ensure a miracle. Miracles are not to be controlled or wielded as one would wield a hammer. We cannot construct community with miracles only God can do that.

Miracles are available in your grocers isles & as seen on TV. Miracle drugs for your aches. Miracle cures for your infirmities. Miracle diets for your waist. Miracle Whip for your sandwich.

With all the miracles going around why is there so much hurt, so much anger, and so much pain in this world?

We are not chasing miracles; we are chasing the American Dream. Pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps we seek to grab a big slice of the American Pie. Miracles occupy that space once reserved for compassion and that communal spirit of church, family, and God. Miracles are no longer intervention of natural laws to a divine end but a cry for help in the wilderness. People with desperate needs and little hope looking for a way out of the injustice and oppression of bondage to a political and economic system that does not offer much in the way of hope and peace.

We have become addicted to the necessity of miracles and have departed course of human events that dissolve political bands and highlight the equality of all earth’s citizens. Any self-evident truth is clouded by the aggressive march backwards to a religious tyranny, devoid of corporate suffering. This has delivered to the backs of many burdens beyond comprehension for the sake of a few. The miracles in this view are used to keep oppression fed and sooth the heartsick soul bound in the bondage of hopelessness.

Yet, as a nation, we are obsessed with miracles. Miracles in our context deliver us from hard work. Miracles cure decades of bad practice. Miracles divided a community and inspire more “us and them.” Miracles have lost their salt.

Look at today’s text, Jesus’ first miracle. He turns water in to wine. This miracle has been used to divide folks in to camps, Teetotalers and some sort of Christian hedonist. They are polarized opposites with very little ground to cooperate with each other.

This passage has been used to fashion an argument against teetotalers. It has been used to point to the quiet before the storm, the darkness before the dawn, the goodness that is to come if we just wait on the Lord. This passage has been argued thousands of times. For many communities that suffer the ravages of alcoholism or substance abuse this passage is a very difficult one to hold on to or engage with Jesus all front and center in this story. Jesus turns water in to wine.

It is argued that the wine Jesus made is not the kind that gets you drunk. You and I know that if someone wants to get drunk and they are determined, they will indeed get drunk. This passage has also been used to point to the celebration of life in the face of an austere Pauline theology of waiting for the immediate return of Jesus. The wedding at Cana is infamous.

I do not want us to looking at this passage and walk away from it with “The best comes later, just wait.” or “We just have to hold on and we will get the best blessing.” We can do better than this. We are not afraid to strive with the word of God, to embrace the faith of a child and ask questions until we understand. Our faith is constructed not just of faithful endurance but we wield a healthy dose of doubt and skepticism.

This passage when used to affirm or counter a case for drinking falls short of Jesus’ intent. Jesus turned water in to wine to fashion community. The miracle in this instance broke through the limits of natural resources and delivered to us a fully stocked community. The miracle transformed the community in spite and with the actions of all present.

Jesus turning water in to wine returned the course of human events to the dissolving human division that we use to separate ourselves into tiers of privilege and prosperity. With this Jesus made the high places low and the filled in the low places. Jesus delivered equality. Community was transformed and community was left with the indelible mark of divine intervention.

This miracle occupied the spaces that divided us and brought us back to compassion, community, and hope. The desperate needs of many we answered by one. The cries for help were heard. Jesus inspired action. That action led to the fulfilling of dreams.

The American Dream is replaced with the Kingdom of God. Where the streets are not paved with gold but with liberation from oppression. Gone is the desperation and injustice that plagues these days. Dreaming dreams is the national pastime. Gone is the need of miracles. That is a dream worth dreaming.

The dream Dr. King speaks of is not built of miracles. It is fashioned of hard work, diligence, and togetherness. Together we are a beacon of light and a bastion of hope. Diligently we must pursue justice. Hard work must be or plight. The self-evident truths we hold are shared and celebrated without impunity. The people’s desperation is our desperation. The hopelessness that haunts the hearts and minds of this nation rests in our capable hands. Miracles need not apply. What will we do to bear witness to Thy Kingdom Come? How shall we live On Earth as it is in Heaven?

Our response to this is the real miracle. When we no longer pray for miracles but we live to be a miracle to others.

Amen.

Wave Of Mutulation

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Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit (for as yet the Spirit had not come upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus). Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Acts 8:14-17

I used to be a part of a charismatic church that was addicted to the Holy Spirit. It was commonplace during worship and other gatherings for speaking of tongues and passionate pleas called out to God in personal prayer languages. The first time I went to church as an adult was to a Christmas Eve service. About half way in to the service a woman right behind me started to speak, loudly in tongues. It freaked me out and I slinked towards the floor, trying to hide from her.

She continued on in this manner for sometime. Repeated rambles. Then a man stood up across the hall and interpreted to all what she was saying. I seemed to be the only one present that was unnerved by all of this. This was just another day in the life of this charismatic church.

I hungered to be a part of this community. I loved them deeply. I wanted to speak in tongues, for this was the ultimate symbol of belonging. The one true sign that you were indeed saved.

I tried to learn by observation. I attended every prayer meeting and worship service I could but I did not learn to speak in tongues. I joined the softball team and one afternoon at a party following a game I asked for help.

One of the older guys at the church I hung out with agreed to teach me. He gathered everyone’s attention and turns to me and says, “I am going to teach you how to speak in tongues.” So he grabs my hands and starts praying out loud. “El Shaddai! Sabba da da dei. Sabba da da dei. Sabba da da dei. Come Holy Spirit Come! We welcome you Holy Spirit. Bless us Lord. Sabba dabba dabba. Sabba dabba dabba. Sabba dabba dabba. Sabba dabba dabba.” He starts to say this pray faster and faster. Now he seems to be hyperventilating. He says, “You pray now Ryan.” So I start to do the prayer. “El Shaddai! Sabba da da dei. Sabba da da dei. Sabba da da dei. Come Holy Spirit Come! We welcome you Holy Spirit. Bless us Lord. Sabba dabba dabba. Sabba dabba dabba. Sabba dabba dabba. Sabba dabba dabba.” Deep inside I knew I was faking it. I felt rediculous. Then a few other peope started to do it. “El Shaddai! Sabba da da dei. Sabba da da dei. Sabba da da dei. Come Holy Spirit Come! We welcome you Holy Spirit. Bless us Lord. Sabba dabba dabba. Sabba dabba dabba. Sabba dabba dabba. Sabba dabba dabba.” Now people are excited. People are cheering us on. The original guy hugs me and says, “The Spirit has anointed you.” I left there feeling weird and anointed. I just faked the Spirit.

What does it mean to have the Spirit be upon you? What does this look like?

For that faith community I was a part of so many years ago speaking in tongues was THE marker of the Spirit resting upon you. If the Spirit was with you, then salvation, eternal life, and the favor of God was with you. You were chosen.

Today, it is not so important to me that I speak in tongues or that the favor of the Lord rests upon me. I am more concerned with clothing the naked and feeding the hungry. But the Spirit is still very important to me.

I often struggle with God, the father. I am not fan of his totalitarian authority and role as judge and jury. I delight in the swaddled infant Christ Jesus and the wandering sage like hippie Jesus. Most of all I adore the mysterious, present Holy Spirit.

You never quite know what you’re going to get with that sweet, mysterious Spirit. She dances wildly in our hearts and minds. She brings us to great heights and sustains us in the midst of great tragedy. She blesses, confesses, and obsesses over the material well being of our lives as she silently cradles our soul in her loving arms.

The Spirit is the water in our life. She fits all circumstances and vessels she finds herself in. The Spirit is powerful and relentless, able to break mountains and give life to deserts. The Spirit is profoundly transformative.

The Holy Spirit of God is much like love. You are hard pressed to define it. It may be difficult to find. But you know when you are in it and you can plainly see it in others. The Spirit is not magic but is magical. The Spirit is powerful as much as it is weak. The Spirit is visible and invisible. The Spirit is a generous lover: kind, compassionate, peaceful, excited, eager, and truthful. She is everything we aspire to be.

How do we know when the Spirit is upon us? Just like love, we know when we know. Our lives take dramatic turns engulfed in the passionate embrace of the Holy Spirit or a long slow meander, lovingly holding hands with the Spirit. You are never the same when the Spirit is upon you. The Spirit infiltrates our life, to leave us better able to see the divine in our ways and in the ways of others.

The greatest beauty of the Spirit is in the diversity, complexity, and expanse to which the Spirit is and is not. The Spirit is more than the glue that holds the godhead together. The Spirit is more than a reflection or remnant of Jesus or an afterthought of God, the Father. The Spirit is the playful, charming, creating Divine presence that takes pleasure in silently guiding us to places unknown within. Those places that we have not visited since we walked in the garden with God.

What does it mean to have the Spirit be upon you? What does this look like?

We will awaken to what it looks like to have the Spirit upon us as this year unfolds, trusting and knowing that God wants the best of us, even when we can’t dream that best ourselves.

There is no shortage of answers these questions. Speaking in tongues is one answer. It is not necessarily the answer for us here. What ever it looks like to have the Spirit upon you, upon us…we will do it together. Rest assured that this community of faith is a mixed bag of spiritual journeys and walks of faith and we are right where God wants us to be.

In Response to Faith and politics: The New Wars of Religion.

This past November (2007) there was an article in The Economist titled “Faith and politics: The New Wars of Religion.  “that religion has re-emerged in public life is to some extent an illusion.  It never really went away…religion has returned to the stage as a much more democratic, individualistic affair: a bottom-up marketing success, surprisingly in tune with globalization”

I think about this article often as I am on the way out of seminary and possibly entering ministry.  Sometime in the future I shall be called to shepherd a congregation.  I enter this vocation with the conviction that I am called to serve, accept, and love everyone.  It may be difficult to uphold this at times. Even in the most difficult of times I am never excused from the obligation to serve, accept, and love all. To look into the face of the other. To be in proximity to Gods wonderful creation.

In the recent past I have been part of inter-faith dialogue and have been benefactor of its wisdom. A lesson I learned in these discussions is, we must condemn violence in our neighborhoods, in our country, and in our world.  There is not place for violence in the Gospel message that Christianity is rooted in.  We are not immune to the apathy and blank stares of inaction.  We slow down to see the train wreck and gawk at its carnage, making sure not to get involved.

We will protest the dehumanizing slave labor in foreign land and stand idly by as millions of people [legal and illegal] next door to you struggle to exist. They live hand to mouth, where the slightest emergency wreaks havoc in their fragile balance of work and life.

Religious leaders in this country are poised to be the visionaries/prophets of a new America. An America where one is not identified and divided by what they own or possess.

Possessions bind us to this world. Why is it that when faced with difficulty we go shopping or seek to own or consume things? We fear to be intimately woven to this created world. We are uncomfortable with intimacy, especially the intimacy that is involved with being human. Stuff cannot come between any citizen of this world.

Religious practice is on a rise.  The southern hemisphere is now the center of the Christian practice.  We are witnessing the power base of Christendom with black, brown, and yellow faces.

We must continue to work towards reconciliation with each other.  This is not possible as we point fingers and look at each other in mistrust.  Pride only breeds another generation of violence and bloodshed.

A lasting peace cannot be reached in the oppression or marginalization of any group.  Look to the colonizing efforts of Great Britain, France, and Belgium in the early 1900’s.  Division leads to resent and resent breeds anger.  Anger, if left unresolved, begets violence.

It is my hope that my fellow colleagues in ministry, of all faiths, will commit to dialogue.  We must set the example of tolerance and understanding.  We must sit together and denounce this violence.  It is my understanding prophesying or teaching ought to denounce violence as the way to exist.

If we can set together at the table and talk, then we can live together in a culture that is not fearful of the unknown.  We must invest in each other as a people, as a society.  If one is scared, than we all are scared.  Dominance and power are not a place to be peaceful.

All the “Red Campaigns”, relief efforts, and “storms” will never achieve peace until they emerge from an invested seat as we speak up for each other.