It was weird

Dear President Trump,

Yesterday my church held a Good Friday service with seven women ministers preaching on Jesus’s last seven utterances. It was incredible. I wish you could have been there. I wish you would have wanted to be there. I wish you were someone who was willing to step into the mess of suffering with us instead of being one who relishes adding to it.

Even though it won’t register as even a tiny blip on your radar, here is the list of phrases attributed to Jesus and the topics each minister preached on:

  • “Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing” ~ Gun Control
  • “Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise” ~ Mass Incarceration
  • “Woman, here is your son. Son, here is your mother” ~ Sex Trafficking Industry
  • “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ~ Immigration/Undocumented Discrimination
  • “I thirst” ~ Ecological Devastation
  • “It is finished” ~ Intersectionality & Inclusion
  • “…into your hands I commit my spirit” ~ Poverty & Inequality

After the first minister’s sermon I found myself reflexively wondering how any of the others were going to top it, wondering which I would end up thinking was best, who would make the most compelling case. About halfway through when I realized I couldn’t rank the sermons so far, I decided to kind of keep an eye on my mental process since it was such an odd thing not to be settling comfortably into the usual binning of experiences into ok, good, great, etc. When all seven were finished, I found I had no desire to rank them. None. It was weird. What’s more, I realized this might be the most radical, important thing I was taking away – that there is no need to say one preacher was stronger than another or one issue more important than another.

As I read through this, I see I’m still defaulting to comparing and ranking in that I said the idea of not comparing is the most radical and important thing I took away. I don’t seem to have the language or the conceptual ability (yet?) to step out of this basic most/least, better/best framework. I have a sense, though, that learning to temper it will be helpful in addressing this mess of suffering we’ve made. Maybe. We’ll see.

May we feel safe enough not to judge.
May we be happy to let go of old paradigms that pit us against one another.
May we be healthy enough to tolerate the discomfort of letting go of neat and tidy categories.
May we see through superficial differences to a peace that surpasses all understanding.

Tracy Simpson

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