Monday, February 15, 2016

A Donation

The Mystery within...
I treated myself to a new mattress in hopes it will help alleviate some of my aches and pains.  The sales woman said if my current mattress were in good condition the store would be able to donate it. That made me feel better about spending the money.  My new mattress was delivered today.  I look forward to testing its therapeutic qualities tonight but the good feeling about the donation has been dampened by the great neediness of so many people right here in my state, not to mention the country, and world.

Earlier in the week my brother sent me a New Yorker magazine article "Letter From Milwaukee – FORCED OUT – For many poor Americans, eviction never ends."  The personal account of Milwaukee's poor and their landlords is heart wrenching.  The author, Matthew Desmond states, "For decades, social scientists, journalists, and policy makers have focused on jobs, public assistance, parenting, and mass incarceration as the central problems faced by the American poor, overlooking just how deeply housing is implicated in the creation of poverty."

And a friend sent me this link to a Charlie Rose interview with Serene Jones, first woman President of Union Theological Seminary in New York City who laments we are a nation in a state of moral collapse where we hear cheers for bigotry and hatred.  She calls for depth of thinking about the human condition and asks that we not be afraid of moral complexity.  She said we have not even begun to address two hundred years of systematized slavery sanctioned by church and state.  She says the goal is simple, "Love each other—that's it.  Our job is to figure out how do it."

In "God Never Hurries" I write of an encounter that happened almost thirty years ago. I was returning to work one day after lunch when I passed a young black man on a downtown Milwaukee sidewalk.  I smiled and said, "Hi."  He shot back with, "Sure bitch, you can smile on your way back to your fancy job!  And I felt guilty.  I understood the soulful quality of that encounter through my own experience of tyranny from both my father and the church.  Listening to my inner voice helped me hear the voices of others oppressed and disowned.  As I worked to free myself through understanding my complicity in tyranny, I decided I'd rather be the oppressed than the oppressor. I might get crucified, but so what." 

I am grateful for the new mattress I will lay down on tonight, but I will also feel guilty.

What if we could truly appreciate our complicity in tyranny and feel guilty?

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