Thursday, June 27, 2013

Germantown

A couple weeks ago I took the train to Pennsylvania to visit my friend Jill, a fellow Mennonite who used to live here in North Carolina and attend Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship, where I am a member. It is always a joy to visit a far-away friend on her home turf, but doubly so when such a visit is to a fellow menno nerd with similarly odd taste in “tourism” to my own. Thus, within a span of two days we toured the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia, visited Ephrata Cloister in Ephrata, PA, and -- best of all -- went to Germantown, to see the first Mennonite Church in North America.

After we’d exhausted our interest in slogging around Philly in soggy shoes, Jill and I made our way to Germantown, which we had looked forward to since I started planning my visit this past winter. We entered our destination into Jill’s GPS and followed the directions it provided, eventually pulling into the parking lot of the building used by the current Germantown Mennonite Church. A sweet older brick building, it was worth visiting, despite the fact that we’d intended for the GPS to take us to the historic site rather than the newer one. We pulled out our umbrellas, attempted to pick our way around the puddles, and went inside. Looking around, I don’t think either of us was quite sure what to do next. I mean, it’s a church. Not a museum. I realized at that point how ridiculous we were. This is not to say that I have any desire to change my ways, however.

I spotted a guest book, probably meant for Sunday mornings more so than random menno tourists, and for lack of a more suitable activity I grabbed the pen and began to write down my name and contact info.

“Can I help you?” a friendly voice asked. I looked up and saw a woman I took to be the pastor.

Jill and I looked at each other, then at her. Neither one of us seemed ready to volunteer the real reason we were there -- simply that we’re Mennonites, and that we’re just that nerdy. I said something vague about how we just wanted to check out the church, and Amy, the pastor, introduced herself and offered to show us the sanctuary. I expressed my admiration for the worship space, and saw an opportunity to begin my confession, telling her that my own church has been growing and trying to find new ways to make room in our worship space, so I like to check out other church’s approaches to space. I name dropped Chapel Hill Mennonite, hoping maybe she’d have heard of it and we’d have some friends in common. I was successful.

All three of us started to laugh as Amy seemed to realize that we weren’t just random tourists or spiritual seekers who wandered through the Germantown Mennonite door by accident, but rather Mennonite church nerds who actually made a point to seek out this particular church because that is simply who we are. “This is totally the sort of thing I would do,” Amy said. Our nerd secret revealed, the conversation started to flow more easily as we played the “Mennonite game” -- one I’m not usually very good at, seeing how I’ve only been Mennonite for a few years, though I’m getting better (and hope to meet even more of you fine Mennonite folks in Phoenix next week!).

Amy offered to walk us down the street to the Germantown Mennonite Historic Trust so that we could see the original building, so we took her up on the offer. Umbrellas in hand in as the rain continued to fall, we talked as we walked and Amy told us about the history of the church we were about to visit, begun by Dutch immigrants who arrived in 1683. In 1688 they wrote the first protest against slavery in America. As a group who came here for religious freedom, they did not want to turn around and enslave their fellow human beings. It was a long time before our country and religious communities came around to this point of view, of course, but there is something both moving and challenging to me about this early statement, regardless of how little impact it had in the bigger picture.

As I’ve written about before, people often ask me what drew me to the Mennonite church. History like this is a big part of it. When I look at anabaptist history I come across stories like this, stories of Christians whose faith compelled them to speak in opposition to the accepted norms of the time -- norms that go against God’s call to love one another, to care for one another as fellow creatures, imago dei.

Are we on the forefront of such issues today? Do we wait around for other churches, or the government, to set the tone? Or, when it comes to those issues often categorized as “human rights issues,” is our faith moving us to speak out for those who are affected by dehumanizing laws and practices?

Are we the ones leading the way -- not because of who the U.S. constitution says does or doesn’t deserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but because we understand how wide and how deep is the love of God in Christ, and because we seek to see a foretaste of God’s good future here on earth? Will we say that whether or not the United States welcomes you, we welcome you? Will we blur the line between “you” and “us” as well?

This week two big supreme court decisions were made about the Voting Rights Act and the Defense of Marriage Act. I lament and will continue to lament the first until there is change, and shed tears of joy whenever I think of the second. We have both restricted and increased freedoms in the U.S. this week. As someone so aptly put it on twitter this week, now two black men could get married -- but they might have trouble voting.

How long, O Lord, how long?

It is never about just one issue, but the intersections that make us who we are. As I contemplate our relationship to government policies, I know that the bit of Mennonite history above will be present in my mind as we discuss immigration next week in Phoenix. I hope, too, that beyond that immediate conversation, this memory might lead us to feel conviction for how slow we seem to be to address other kinds of discrimination -- such as that based on sexual orientation. On this issue, we have not been the first to speak. And, while living into the gospel is not a race toward the finish line, as someone who was drawn to the Mennonite church in part because she has been a church not afraid to speak truth to power, however small her voice, it hurts to see the U.S. government agree to marry same-sex couples before we do.

My prayer these days? On those issues about which we are already speaking, let us raise our voices higher.

And on those about which we have remained silent? Let us speak now if ever.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Greater Debt


In Luke 7:36-8:3, one of this past week’s lectionary texts, Simon, a Pharisee, has invited Jesus to his home to eat, and a young woman -- “a sinner,” we’re told -- has learned Jesus’ whereabouts and comes to see him. She sneaks in the back, stands behind Jesus, behind the people gathered at the table.

She weeps profusely, her tears abundant enough to wash Jesus’ feet, which tells me she was really, really crying. I am a crier, yet even my most intense fits of weeping, body shaking sobs of despair, would barely produce enough tears to dampen someone’s feet, salt mixing with dust, so that I could wipe them clean with my long, loose hair.

I identify with her, this young woman with her hair hanging so freely, stepping in where she doesn’t belong. Though commentators often zero in on the question of what this woman’s sins might have been, and label her a prostitute, we don’t actually know that much. The Jewish Mishnah says that married women were to put their hair up; this woman’s loose locks don’t necessarily indicate a “loose” woman. We know she is not married -- a precarious thing in and of itself -- and she occupies a questionable social position.

A young, unmarried woman crashing the Pharisees’ dinner party was scandalous enough, I’m sure -- whatever her sins, real or imagined. Her crying must have raised more than a few eyebrows around the table. Yet the people are quiet in our story. Even Simon thinks only to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him -- that she is a sinner.”

Jesus knows, though. A bit socially disruptive himself at times, he must have a good read on the room, the body language and facial expressions, the carefully averted eyes. “Simon,” he says, “I have something to say to you.”

“Teacher,” he replied, “speak.”

Jesus then tells him a story, a parable about two people, one of whom owed a creditor five hundred denari, the other fifty denari. When neither of the two can pay their debts, the creditor forgives them entirely. “Now which of them will love him more?” Jesus asks Simon.

“I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt,” he responds. Simon knows the answer; yet does he really understand the question?

Jesus asks Simon, “Do you see this woman?” He calls Simon out for his subpar hospitality, and praises the woman for her extravagant gratitude -- this woman, the one whom Simon will not even acknowledge with a look, much less a word. Jesus calls her forgiven.

The others at the table whisper to each other, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” They’re preoccupied with Jesus’ actions, with their understanding of the proper way of doing things, of who is or isn’t sinful, who deserves what, who has what power, who is on the inside and who remains outside.

The first few verses of Luke 8 tell us of many women who accompanied Jesus and the twelve on through cities and villages, “bringing the good news of the kingdom of God.” This instance in chapter seven is but one of many instances of Jesus confounding social expectations, calling people where some thought they didn’t belong, and making clear that they do. His ragtag group of disciples: former fishermen, tax collectors, even women preachers. 



It is easy to be like Simon, to talk about people, about issues. The poor, the oppressed, and so forth. This distancing move characterizes much of theological education, and thus many of the conversations in churches, too. I said before that I identify with the woman, but just as surely I identify with Simon. Theologians are very good at holding things at arm’s length and trying to make sense of them.

But when someone is crying at your feet that becomes difficult to do.

Possibly the most important thing I learned in seminary was a sentence scribbled in the margins on my notes in a class with Willie Jennings: “A true intellectual always thinks and reads with people’s problems in mind.” You are not, I heard him saying, just making sense of theological issues -- you are encountering people’s lives, their deepest joys and pains, and -- hopefully -- the good news the gospel breathes into their reality.

Stop talking about the woman; be here with her. Look at her. Know her. You are in this thing together.

I suppose it isn’t surprising that this leads me to wonder about how we talk about sexual orientation, and the “issue” of LGBT exclusion. To what extent do the insiders -- those in leadership, those with power, those who fit certain social norms -- try to become, like Simon, the gatekeepers of who does or doesn’t belong. Who can attend? Who can be a member? Who can preach? Whose marriage will be blessed? As if we decide who is human enough, who God meant when God created women and men in the image of God and pronounced them good. Since when do we decide whether to exclude any of God’s beloved children?

So it seems the terms of the conversation are flawed from the beginning. Like it or not though, a history of exclusion exists. That is the reality of the world in which we live, the world in which we read scripture, the world in which we worship and are called to be the church together.

When I started seminary, I felt apologetic about the fact that I had settled my beliefs about sexual orientation long before I knew enough theology to explain why. I’m not sorry anymore, though.

I was a senior in college when my friend Susanna came out to me. I sat in the passenger seat of her car. She said she had something to tell me. I waited. She hesitated. I wondered what could be so serious.

“I’m not entirely straight,” she said.

Not entirely straight. I didn’t ask her to clarify. I interpreted the vagueness of her statement as a combination of her internal confusion about who she understood herself to be, and the fear of saying the words aloud -- words that could change everything.

I don’t remember how I responded. I probably just said, “Okay.” I wanted to express that I wasn’t shocked or offended, that I wanted to be a good friend, whatever that meant for her right then. Instead we sat there, and maybe the silence spoke on my behalf. One can hope.

Weeks later we were hanging out in my apartment, and Susannah was looking through a stack of books. They were Christian “resources” of the “make you straight” variety. She read a passage aloud to me.

“Stop reading those,” I said.

She looked up at me -- this woman, one of the strongest, smartest, most inspiring women I have been blessed to know and call a friend -- and there were so many questions in her face, so much pain, so much vulnerability. She looked limp, like hair hanging loosely at the feet of Jesus.

“Don’t you want me to be straight?” she asked.

The silence was heavy. I prayed one of those desperate prayers, “God, please tell me what to say, please tell me what to say, please tell me what to say...”

“I don’t know,” I finally began. “I want you to be who God made you, and I don’t know if that person is gay or straight -- but those books aren’t going to help you figure that out.”

I wanted to say they were full of lies, that they were evil, that even though I don’t believe in book burning I wanted them burned.

That one phrase has has stuck with me, though. “I want you to be who God made you.”

Again and again friends of mine who were closeted in college have told me those deep, hidden truths they felt they couldn’t share at our Christian school, liberal though it was compared to so many similar institutions. Few things in my life have been more humbling, more inspiring, more painful than being the person who was safe, being one tiny part of the church that they knew loved them for who they are, not in spite of, but because of each and every part of their God given beautiful selves.

In these relationships I’ve been given a gift. Not only have my friends given me their trust, a gift in itself, but they have given me a kind of freedom, as well. My friends who do not fit the prescribed norms of church history met me in places where, as a straight woman who was not much good at performing either “straight” or “woman” or even “Christian” in expected ways in college, I felt really out of place at a Christian school, in the church, and later on in seminary.

To have friends who accepted me and all my messiness as I navigated the pressures and challenges of femininity, of dating (or not dating), of choosing to go to seminary, of surviving seminary once I got there, of being whoever the heck God made me to be -- I question whether I would have become the woman I am, whether I would have found the strength and beauty in myself that I see now, were it not in part for them creating safe spaces in our friendship for me to transgress whatever boundaries, real or perceived, I came in contact with. They cried at Jesus’ feet with me, our long hair hanging loose, kneeling on the outside of the circle, not sure if we could fit in. Isn’t that where we all find ourselves, sometimes?

I only know in the conversation about inclusion and exclusion we seldom seem to consider that we are the ones missing out. When the church excludes anyone -- whether purposefully, or by default due to one powerful sentence in our confession of faith -- we deprive our community of the gifts of so many sisters and brothers. Sisters and brothers God has already called good, and is already calling upon to share the good news wherever and however they can. They’re already part of the body of Christ; we can only choose to name what already is, or to turn away and deny it.

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus asked Simon which man would love the creditor who forgave his debts more, and Simon said, “The one for whom he canceled the greater debt.”
Sometimes we’re the woman at Jesus feet; sometimes we’re Simon. But either way, we can’t pay our debts. Either way, Jesus calls us forgiven. In a case where the church is the one called to repentance, we can give thanks with humility that Christ’s love is sufficient for us, too.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wherefore Art Thou, Democracy? Moral Monday and the Future of North Carolina

Editors note:
I'm happy to introduce today's guest post by fellow North Carolina resident Laura R. Levens. Laura earned her Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School in 2008 and is currently a Doctor of Theology candidate at Duke. Her research and teaching interests include Christian mission, Baptist studies, and women in Christian history. She is an ordained minister through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. She has been a voting and tax-paying resident of Durham, North Carolina for eight years, and is a member of Watts Street Baptist Church. 

There is good reason every American should know the story of Romeo and Juliet, and it’s not because everyone needs a good cry. Shakespeare’s tragedy is a political story that needs to be told today in North Carolina, as this state finds itself wrenched by conflict between the Republican controlled legislature and Moral Monday.

Everyone has heard of Romeo and Juliet, but often forgotten is the extent of the hateful environment that is determined to keep apart these two star-crossed lovers. At the end of the play, Shakespeare reveals that the true tragedy is the way the whole city has fallen captive to the Exclusionary Way of the Montagues and the Capulets.

Romeo, a Montague, has been reared in the Exclusionary Way. He willingly joins the fight against his Capulet foes, and draws his best friend Mercutio into the feuding, exclusionary way. It is miraculous that Romeo could ever love an outsider more than his own clan, and would even try to become a new family with Juliet Capulet. Even Mercutio cannot believe it.

Juliet has not yet become a full Capulet. Her nurse provided a safe-haven during childhood, but cannot prevent Juliet’s fate as a Capulet woman. One day Juliet will be married off to strengthen the Capulet family. It is miraculous that Juliet, when Romeo appears on her windowsill, chooses to love her enemy instead of fulfilling her destiny as a pawn in her parents’ feuding game. The two lovers choose to leave the Exclusionary Way for a new way as the Montague-Capulet family. They have never seen this type of family before, but they are committed to being together in hope of a better way.

Romeo and Juliet are to be commended for choosing the difficult path of new family, even as they are drawn into that difficult path by a greater power—love. Yet they cannot have it both ways. Romeo loves Juliet, and promises to love her Capulet family as his own. Then in the name of revenge and justice he acts as his old self, as a Montague, and kills Juliet’s cousin Tybalt. Banished Romeo still has hope for love as long as Juliet, his love, lives on.

Juliet keeps her marriage a secret, but she cannot hide her grief. Her mother and father arrange for her to marry the Prince’s cousin, to secure Capulet plans for more influence in city government. Juliet must choose between her Romeo and the Exclusionary Way. Juliet resists returning to her old, Capulet self in the best way she can through faking her death.

The rest of the story is well known: the supposed death of the lover leads the other to despair. Each no longer believes their love can survive in Verona, and they both choose suicide rather than return again to the Exclusionary Way. But by this point in the play, All of Verona is caught up in the duel between the two powerful families. As Montagues and Capulets fight one another, they drawn in the Prince and the rest of the city by their tactics of control, manipulation, bullying, and violence. The Montague v. Capulet game of “winner take all” results in tragedy for everyone. Both families lose beloved relatives, and several other citizens of Verona die in the feud. In the end, the Exclusionary Way does not protect anyone, even those in its own party. There is no hero, no victor, at all. All are punished.

Love does not cause the tragedy in Romeo and Juliet. It is the old hate, the Exclusionary Way, which rears its ugly head for ultimate destruction. Or rather, it is penultimate destruction. For there are survivors in this evil time, even though all survivors are guilty. All hands are stained by the sin of exclusion, but they are given a chance to change their ways.

Romeo and Juliet truly is the greatest love story ever told, because on the morning after the tragic suicides, the surviving Montagues and Capulets pledge to leave the Exclusionary Way and cease their feuding. The families move into the future as Montague-Capulets, as fellow citizens of Verona instead of sworn enemies. Though “never was a story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo,” in coming together the families take up Romeo and Juliet’s hope in a better way for tomorrow.

But before they go, the two families do something strange. Capulet and Montague both promise to build golden statues for the other’s lost child. While some may scoff the gesture, Shakespeare knows that statues, like stories, are powerful symbols that make people remember. And remembering Romeo and Juliet is important to Verona, because the process of becoming fellow citizens after a feud takes much longer than a photo op and a handshake.

To end their Exclusionary ways, the families must heed the Prince’s challenge to “Go hence and have more talk of these sad things.” They must commit to the process of Dialogue with one another. To become fellow citizens may take years, generations even. It will take much talk, much discernment, much restitution, much forgiveness, and much more of the love brought together Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet. The golden statues remind every citizen to resist returning to the Exclusionary Way, so that one day, the story of woe will become a story of unconquered love. Exclusion will be ended, feuds will be over, and there will be true peace for the whole city.

North Carolina is now an American Verona. Rather than dueling families, there are dueling parties every Monday on the lawn of the capitol. And whether or not one is physically present, all North Carolinians are involved, and all are affected.

Currently one party, the Republican led General Legislature and Governor Pat McCrory, are trying to narrate the duel in a Montague v. Capulet way. These legislators want the state and the nation to join their side in a battle between Winners v. Losers. Rep. John Blust proudly framed the matter as a fierce, no-love-lost basketball rivalry: “I think of it like Carolina playing at Duke… I’m not going to let the Cameron Crazies throw me off my game.” Since Blust is concerned with winning, he cannot, or chooses not to see the Moral Monday protests in any other way. Blust believes North Carolina is a place of Republican Montague v. Moral Monday Capulet, and he has chosen to be a Montague, and wants the whole state to support the Montagues too.

Governor Pat McCrory and other state legislators believe they are Montagues fighting Capulets too, and this is the story they tell through media outlets. Pat McCrory warns that Moral Monday demonstrators are “Outsiders…coming in, and they’re going to try to do to us what they did to Scott Walker in Wisconsin.” State Senator Thom Goolsby used slander and mimicry to describe the demonstrators as a “circus…complete with clowns, a carnival barker and a sideshow,” with NAACP leader “’Reverend’ Barber…decked out like prelate of the Church of Tome…complete with stole and cassock.” He then blasted more bullying remarks at any person who dared post a comment on social media. He called ordinary citizens of North Carolina “liberal crybabies,” and claimed they were the guilty ones, not him. Where were they when the Democrats were in power, and “bankrupting the state?,” Goolsby challenged.

In other words, Goolsby claims that Moral Monday demonstrators and those who support them are Liberal Capulets to be defeated. If in power, participants in Moral Monday would champion Capulet interests and oppress Republican Montagues. Goolsby has positioned himself as defender of Republican interests, but his protection comes at high cost for the GOP and the state. North Carolina would have to let McCrory and the Republican legislators keep charge of the Republican Montague family and do things the Exclusionary Way.

But it is time for North Carolina to remember Romeo and Juliet, the famous Shakespeare play many saw and read in their youth. They need to remember that when political systems tolerate or operate in the Exclusionary Way, all sides lose and precious lives are destroyed. In this “winner take all” game of crushing one’s opponents, love cannot truly blossom and no one is truly free. All must sacrifice their wants and hopes and dreams to the family, to the Montagues or the Capulets, for the sake of the Exclusionary Way.

Right now, the leaders of Moral Monday understand this, and they reject the Exclusionary Way of the North Carolina Legislature. They have not come to the steps of the capitol to fight their sworn enemies in their pursuit of justice. Moral Monday demonstrators are looking for Democracy.

Moral Monday demonstrators refuse to be described as Capulets. The organizing leaders refuse to play the “winner take all” game Blust, McCrory, Goolsby and other legislators want to play. Reverend Barber refutes McCrory by reminding North Carolina that they don’t have to believe the Montague story nor tolerate the Exclusionary Way. “This ain’t Wisconsin,” Barber intoned. “This is the South, where justice was hammered out.” Barber stands as a North Carolina citizen for his fellow citizens. As he and others stand for the people of this state, Moral Monday exposes the injustices occurring due to the Exclusionary Way of the General Legislature.

Like wise, in a letter to his children, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove explained that he peacefully refused to leave the state capitol and was arrested because “we believe they are wrong because we know a better way of life. We have asked them to consider the pain they are causing others by pursuing their own interests. They have refused to listen.…But what they are doing cannot last forever because it is not true. “ Because the Exclusionary way isn’t true and doesn’t protect, Wilson-Hartgrove will not return hate with hate. Moral Monday will not act as Capulets, even when the Republicans act as Montagues with their words, their money, and their power to arrest those who practice civil disobedience.

Now is the time for all citizens of North Carolina to choose which side to believe and to stand on. Must North Carolina believe the Exclusionary Way and its story of fierce and unquenchable rivalry between Republicans and Democrats? Or is this “defeat or be defeated” narrative not the way to live as North Carolinians any more? Must all citizens, to protect the people and things they love, accommodate and contribute to an Insiders v. Outsiders society? Or is there a way to be fellow citizens with our own wants and dreams, and with disagreements as to how to make those happen?

There is a better way to address the injustice in North Carolina, and it is found in the search for Democracy. True Democracy, forged and shaped by generations of Americans, recognizes the diversity of its citizens and the dreams of multiple families. Seeking liberty and justice for all, citizens in a Democracy journey together for the good of all people through the practice of Dialogue. This is why I support Moral Monday demonstrators, and stand with them as they speak for me.

Rejecting fear and manipulation, Dialogue makes room for all parties. It follows the rules of hear and be heard. Dialogue understands differences, airs grievances, and then forges new connections that will bring justice and liberty to all. Legislators and citizens who practice Dialogue are the true Democrats and the true Republicans, no matter where they stand on any one issue. This is True Democracy, of citizen voice in the legislative process. And Americans have been working hard to reach Democracy, generation after generation. Let us remember our American foremothers and fathers, who strove to make a better way to be citizens together.

After all, American history is full of its own Romeo and Juliet tragedies. Many a plaque, statue, and memorial keep record of our nation’s losses due to the Exclusionary Way. The Civil War—North v. South, States v. Union, Slavery v. Abolition, Brother v. Brother—however you call it, it was the bloodiest instance of Exclusionary Way. The Jim Crow era was equally terrorizing for North Carolinians, with deeply held fears and power differentials between whites and blacks culminating in Klu Klux Klan revivals and the Lynching Tree. These American tales of woe left deep marks on American bodies and souls. All were punished.

Thankfully, there has always been a voice calling our nation and North Carolina back to a better way of True Democracy. Like the Prince of Verona, they challenge us to remember our losses, and go forth as fellow citizens instead of mortal enemies. The Civil Rights movement, born out of Greensboro and other North Carolina sit-ins, was once a voice. Moral Monday, right now, is acting as this voice in the state of North Carolina. They are calling all citizens to stop seeing one another as enemies, and to join together in search of Democracy.

Fortunately for North Carolina, this pivotal moment of choice is offered before the next great tragedy occurs. In this moment, the state stands between two paths. There is always a choice to repent from the old way, the old fights, and the old family feud. There is always a chance to try again to act as one Montague-Capulet family, to move forward together. But there is also always a temptation to fall back, and return to the Exclusionary Way.

And these two paths are open to everyone. Even now, Governor McCrory and the Republican legislature have a choice to stop believing they are Montagues who must defeat Capulets or their political party will die. They can act as Romeo, and leave the Exlusionary Way by falling in love with a Capulet. Moral Monday demonstrators must continue to resist the temptation to turn from fellow citizenship back to feuding, even in the name of justice. They must be strong like Juliet, or they will prove Goolsby right and become Capulet pawns in an Exclusionary power play. Like Romeo and Juliet, neither side can have it both ways.

For me, I choose not to believe in the Exclusionary Way. I admit that this is a difficult choice, because I, like everyone else, have been trained to fear potential enemies rather than trust potential friends. I must repent, and take stock of the ways I have been drawn into the Exclusionary Way, because in our society they are pervasive and mighty. I must repent on behalf of my community when it teaches me that the Exclusionary Way is “right” and “good.” I must repent when I have turned back to the Exclusionary Way, and try again to follow a better way.

Right now I choose to use my voice as a fellow citizen to affirm that Moral Monday demonstrators speak for me as they stand for North Carolina citizens in search of Democracy. But I am also ready to sound the alarm if Moral Monday turns to Exclusionary tactics of enemy defeat over Dialogue and True Democracy. I am convinced that if both parties in this duel submit to the Exclusionary Way, we are all punished no matter which side wins in the November elections. The key for North Carolina, and for me, is to remember Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and to go hence in search of True Democracy.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Kierkegaard, Malick, and the Soul in Need



I wrote an essay about the new Terrence Malick film, To the Wonder, which my former professor and friend Amy Laura Hall has graciously published on her blog, Profligate Grace. You can read it here.