If Ms. Aretha Franklin had not been a person of true greatness who will live on as long as American music has a history, the words of a racist misogynist cad would desecrate. But he will be forgotten or only recalled when it’s time to laugh at how low a US president who lost the popular vote even with Russia’s excellent help would continually go to remind everyone, mostly himself, how important he is.
She earned her right to be treated and remembered with dignity through raw talent, finely tuned, and uniquely performed from her first performance until her last. Any one song she performed far surpasses anything Trump has done or will do in his tenure, which any sane person hopes against hope is brief.
He may have paid Ms. Franklin’s performance fees on a few occasions, without realizing that she was Black. But she never worked for him. Who has just the right words for Trump and his latest idiocy? Lady Mae, looks like it’s up to you.
“DNA reveals what skin color obscures: We all have African ancestors” (Elizabeth Kolbert, National Geographic, April 2018).
So, light-skinned folk today can be traced back genetically to members of the Hadza tribe who migrated out of Africa 60,000 years ago. Those who stayed have descendants in today’s Tanzania who naturally kept their darker skin hues.
My great-great…great-grandfather may have looked something like this modern-day Hadza tribal chief.
Grandma lookin’ good too!
No wonder these once racist-trained eyes of mine always saw beauty in black skin despite the disdain and disgust such skin was supposed to bring to mind. (Click on the previous sentence to read one of the articles in this pivotal issue of National Geographic.)
Why waste energy protesting at the White House when your most ardent supporters live and work there–notably, the Racist in Chief?
“Thus says the Lord:
A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for [Ishmael’s] children;
she refuses to be comforted for [Ishmael’s] children,
because they are no more” (Jeremiah 31:15 NRSV).
1. Churches that profess to live by the teachings of Jesus must practice forgiveness. It isn’t optional. It isn’t praiseworthy.
2. Being forgiving doesn’t mean putting an offended person or group back in a position to be hurt again, or over and over again.
3. There is no reason the power person in an organization deserves automatically to be believed over a subordinate, client, etc.
4. Blaming a person whose boundaries have been violated cannot be the basis of diminishing her or him as a person or as a potential truth teller. An individual who was compromised in circumstances that made it easier for someone to take advantage of her or him can however warn others about how such circumstances made overstepping boundaries easier than anticipated. For example, Hybels’s former administrative assistant should not have moved into the home of Pastor and Mrs. Hybels. She was at a vulnerable place in her life according to her recollection of events. Perhaps she was also a gullible person who trusted her pastor/employer to do the right things, even during a back rub in front of a fire place. Again she is not to be blamed for whatever wrong was done. But she can warn vulnerable people not to get in similar situations.
5. I am thinking that Pastor Heather Larson might have been a stronger advocate for this former employee of the church, woman to woman. Let’s face it. Long before corporate abuse of women hit the headlines women moving up ladders of success knew what many women had endured even if they themselves had been fortunate enough to escape. Maybe behind the scenes she was.
6. Power in a congregation should never rest with one person, even/especially with the pastor or a pastor–no matter how much celebrity is associated with her or him. Power should rest with members of the congregation–regardless of how often they may resemble Keystone Cops.
7. Pastors of all sized congregations need TLC. It’s an often oppressive occupation.
8. Pastors who serve as if by the example of Jesus are servants, but if congregants keep telling them they are deities to be worshiped, and not mere humans–much less servants to humans–most clergy will eventually believe the repetitive messages and begin behaving as if standards established for mortals do not apply to them.
Roman Catholic death penalty advocates are in a tizzy! “Every life is sacred,” Francis said. No criminal beyond the hope of rehabilitation, he believes.
That kind of optimism is astounding. It interjects the mind of Jesus into death rows across the world.
Sister Helen Prejean is one of many in the US celebrating Francis’s proclamation. Such a cause to which she has devoted her life!