Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Calling Theo Epstein, Calling Theo Epstein...

It was not until divinity school that it occurred to me how central the idea of blessing was to Judaism and Christianity.  This revelation came from the combination of a NPR (in divinity school I started listening to state-run radio) story on a book of Jewish blessings, fabulous Old Testament teachers, and fellow students who pointed out the calling of Abraham.  Since this revelation I have focused most of my pastoral ministry (and pastoral theology) on blessing.  I define blessing as simply calling out or acknowledging or giving thanks for the goodness already present within someone or something.  

It is amazing how deep a pastor can get in the lives of people by focusing on blessing.  

But this presidential election forced me to alter my understanding of blessing.  I was only focusing on the positive side of blessing and not looking at the other side: cursing.  

I believe this election cycle has cursed America.  

By cursing I mean simply calling out or acknowledging the evil already present within someone or something.  How else to explain the feelings I have toward people I love and care deeply for because they voted for Trump?  How else to explain the feelings others have toward me because I was an adamant anti-Trumper.  (I need to confess here that I was not a pro-Clinton person, yes I voted for her but it was not an aspirational vote that I hoped it would've been).  How else to explain the basket of deplorables comment, the hate-filled and racist language at Trump rallies?  How else to explain the 700+ hate acts since the election? 

How do we reverse the curse?  I know Theo Epstein can work wonders (i.e. Red Sox and Cubs World Series - sorry baseball fans but I know there are some folk who do not know their baseball well enough to get the Mr. Epstein reference) but I don't think he can help us out here.  

Here is my way to try and reverse this curse.

1.  A National Pardon for all the people that voted for Trump.  There is no use holding onto the anger for the 62.2 million people that voted for Trump.  True, they may not want a pardon, but we need to do this for ourselves.  

2.  Organize, Resist, and Community.  We have moved beyond party politics.  Now it is about justice, mercy, fairness, equity.  We need to be prepared when the policies of hate are enacted.  We will need community to sustain us in this struggle of resistance.  Because social progress cannot go backwards.  
3.  Love the Blessing, not the Curse. Call out hate speech, racist acts, xenophobic acts, misogynistic language, behavior and acts, and damaging policies.  But realize we are all human beings and if religious teachings teach us anything is that we all have our own inner demons we need to keep in check.  We may like to believe we are superior but we are just a few steps away from similar behavior, acts, thoughts, and language.  Keep an abiding faith in the image of God within others, even if it is barely visible or hidden by deep pain and hate.  It's there, and it is the job of our religious imaginations to see it.  

4.  Humbleness.  As a white male I realize that my disbelief at the curse released on our nation is a late-coming realization.  Many Americans have lived with the effects of this curse on their lives everyday.  I am deeply sorry it took me this long to see the curse.

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