nonviolence in action!

July 19, 2009

My friend, Cassie, went to the Episcopal General Convention last weekend. She told me this story (third hand, so this is basically the gist of it) and i LOVE how it shows the creativity, grace and beauty of nonviolence in action.

Apparently Gene Robinson, one of the first openly gay Episcopal bishops, spoke at the convention. Outside the hall protesters held up signs and chanted about the ‘immorality’ of homosexuality. Most people simply ignored them, but one woman decided to take on the protesters in a beautiful and graceful way: she asked the crowd to “sponsor a protester” with the money going to something like overturning Prop 8 or AIDS research.

She raised her voice and asked people to donate, make a pledge, whatever! And what could the protesters do? They could stay — but their presence was now being used to support a cause they had not intended. Or they could abandon their protest, and leave the convention-goers in peace. Such is the beauty of nonviolence — facing head on the hateful bigotry of the protesters and twirling, moving, restoring it, to make the world better.

By the end, the group gathered around the protesters began to sing “Jesus loves me” — those beautiful simple words lifting up the dignity of all people, and, i would assume, exposing the shame of the protester’s hatred.

Amen! Thank you Jesus for showing us this ‘third way’!!! Let’s sing a little “Jesus loves me” today! ūüôā


my mormon experience

November 8, 2008

i just had a couple of missionarys from the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints on my living room couch…¬† (and I don’t mean “had” in the book of mormon sense!) ha ha ha.

let me take you back a few days…

In this most recent election a very slim majority¬†of California voters decide to pass Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.¬† The mormon church contributed over¬†$22 million to take away peoples’ rights.¬†

A friend forwarded an email to me:

Let’s ask the Mormon church for some of their money.¬† Go to their website below and request a free book or dvd from them.¬† This has to cost them at least $5 each.¬† Let’s get a few hundred thousand people to order a book or 2 from the “church” who brought you passage of Prop 8 in California, the State Constitutional Amendment that was passed banning gay marriage.
 You might even have it delivered by a pair of their starched shirt and tie missionaries.  If you are so inclined, you could gently explain to them how offensive you find their support of Prop 8, but wait until they give you the book.  We want to consume as much of their freely offered time and material as they will freely give.

I wasn’t sure, at first, if this a was ‘vengeful’ or petty way to go about voicing my frustration.¬† But I considered it and decided the only way to connect with folks is person to person. Even if I can only share with one or two people how this law has affected me and the people I love, maybe that will make a difference.¬† So I orded the book of mormon and¬†lo and behold, on a Saturday evening, the missionaries appeared!!

I wish I could say I was better at making that personal connection, but I really wasn’t expecting them to be so prompt (maybe the missionarying has taken a hit along with the stock market and they didn’t have much else to do?) and so I was a little unprepared. ¬†I did my best to be very respectful and hospitable (I even gave them something to drink). They asked how I heard about their website and I realized I couldn’t¬†keep up the charade of¬†being interested in the church for very long.¬†

I just let them know that the reason I had requested the information was to share with them how frustrated I am with their church’s support of bigotry.¬† The kind young men listened to my concerns, and I appreciated that.¬† I asked them to really think about what their church is representing to people when they force their religious views on other people and take away rights. In the end I let them know that if their church ever decides to start loving people for who they are and not force their beliefs on others, I would be more than happy to consider signing myself up.¬† I think my favorite part was when I asked what their church was about:¬† Elder Simmons started to say “love” but then decided to say “Jesus Christ” instead.¬† Ironic, huh?¬†

After they left I realized I was very very sweaty.

So I guess I gotta tie it all in to my theme, huh…
I am thankful that the “elders” (age: approximately 19 years old) were gracious and kind in listening to my concerns. ¬†I am thankful that they didn’t get all righteous on my ass. And I am thankful that there will soon be a day when everyone, no matter their sexual orientation, can share in the rights and responsibilities of marriage.¬† Yes we can!!!