Birthpangs

Dear President Trump,

This morning in church the lectionary (Mark 13:1-8) was about Jesus foretelling the fall of an idolized and idealized 1,000 year-old temple. He warned that there would be much additional disruption and chaos, but told his disciples not to worry because this is just the beginning of the birthpangs. It wasn’t Revelations but it was pretty apocalyptic sounding and not exactly an easy passage to riff of the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

Our pastor met it head on, though. She told the story of another minister who posted on social media that he was sorely disappointed in his wife because although she gave him two precious children, she was not meeting his expectations as his helpmeet. After telling us that she’s swinging a pick ax at the patriarchy, she went on to eloquently describe key ways that misogyny operates and how it’s time for a new paradigm even if we don’t know what it is yet. She also said that we’ve needed to see sexism and all the other ‘isms in action so we know what they are and can work to find and practice alternatives. Personally, I think we could probably be light years ahead of where we are now had we somehow bypassed this long drawn out period ridden with ‘isms, but since that didn’t happen I guess it’s ok to make peace with reality in this particular way.

Overall, the sermon was strong and I got a lot out of it, but what I really want to tell you about is how interesting it was to watch the people respond. Some were just totally with her – women and men alike were clapping, finger-snapping, yelling “amen,” and “yes”. Some, however, seemed dazed and overwhelmed as they looked around, apparently trying to gauge the crowd’s response so they could sort out their own. I also saw people (basically all of whom were women) looking pointedly at their spouses and mouthing things like “see!” and “are you listening?” I doubt there was anyone in the congregation who wasn’t shaken up in one way or another. For me, the most useful nugget, the one I wrote down and will paraphrase here is that comfort can be a state that prevents us from living fully. Essentially, I take this to mean that if we can let go of the old, confining, inequitable ways, we might just make America into a great place for us all.

May we all be safe to let go of what isn’t working for everyone.
May we be happy to see each one as precious and dear and worthy.
May we have the ego strength to love our neighbors as ourselves.
May we make peace with change.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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