Fallen Idols

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Clay gods house clay souls
In heroes lauded on high.
Crumble and Scatter.

rhk

 

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Hands Out Of Pockets: A Call To Justice

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Hand tucked casually in pocket
While knee on neck snuffs out
The breath of another human being.
Just business as usual
In the neighborhood.

 

The spiritual life is not
A casual meandering
Down a safe garden path.
Our path must diverge into acts of justice
Lest the spiritual life become self-serving.
Take your hand out of your pocket.

Amen. 

 

c. rita h kowats 6-2-20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit:  Facebook/Darnella Frazier/AFP via Getty Images in the NY Post

Revisiting “CRASH”

The year 2004 brought us an extraordinary film written and directed by Paul Haggis.  Crash won three Academy Awards, Best Picture one of them.  The film deals with every shade of the complex human experience of race in America.  It is on my mind as we wrestle with the reality of George Floyd’s murder. The film calls me as a white person to see the truth straight on, ask the hard questions and work toward conversion and acts of justice.  It calls every race to do that by holding a mirror to the consequences if we continue to ignore our inner work.    Two scenes contain the seed of the whole film.

The first scene, “Pat Down by the Police” will ask you to be brave.  It is not for the faint of heart, containing violent language and action toward a woman of color. Officer John Ryan (Matt Dillon) stops a car taking Hollywood director Cameron Thayer (Terrence Howard) and his wife Christine (Thandie Newton) home after an awards event.  Its truth is stark and powerful.

 

 

The second scene, “Car Fire,” turns the previous scene upside down and we are forced to examine the meaning of trust and vulnerability.

 

 

I invite us to gather in living rooms as adults and older teens to view this film for the first time or again.  Open a discussion of how it relates to George Floyd’s death and how we each carry the seeds of racism  buried deep or edging to the surface.  Spirituality is to be born in acts of justice.  We must not hoard it for self-gazing.

The Lesson

Looking out my window beyond the splash of pink cherry blossoms, I see an unsheltered man in the little park on the trail organizing his treasured belongings for the day.

He has spread a blanket on the grass beside his commandeered shopping cart and organized his treasures into categories that make sense to him. He is retrieving them one by one and arranging them neatly in the cart.

My mind immediately jumps to an analysis of the injustices that may have catapulted the man into this situation and my heart weeps that he endures it as his well-being is threatened by the pandemic crisis. A new question replaces my grief and anxiety:

What is he teaching me? The lesson lives in this advice from the PBS drama, “Call the Midwives,” ‘You just have to keep on living until you are alive again.’ Keep on living each moment with integrity. Like my unsheltered teacher grabbing a little bit of control over his situation, I have to be creative and intentional in choosing control when it’s possible and faith when control evades me.

In what small ways can you choose to keep on living through this pandemic until you are alive again?

Photo credit: pexels.com

Disposable

Quarantined Italians Sing To One Another Across Empty Sreets

False alarm, everybody…turns out the coronavirus only kills old people.” @ahleuwu


Laura Dorwart, Ph.D. on Twitter: “Trying to claim disabled people aren’t regularly and systemically devalued, disposed of and dehumanized is pretty tough given all the “don’t worry, Real People won’t die, only Non-People like old and disabled people will.”


Gov. Jay Inslee Wednesday 3-11 Seattle in response to a reporter’s question about the penalties for those who ignore social distancing mandates. “Penalty is you might be killing your grandad if you don’t do it.”

Elderly and disabled persons, among other groups, are often considered disposable. I do not refer to the medical community which has to make necessary decisions about who lives and who dies in extreme emergencies. I mean us. Let’s take the word “only” out of these discussions about covid-19. Instead, we could say, “primarily affects…”


Disposable

The Common Good lurks
Under a subterfuge of denial:

Only the old die.
Only the disabled die.
Only the poor die.

Come back, Common Good.
Cast your expected aura
Of empathy-energy around us.
Redeem our frightened and frazzled spirits.

c. Rita H Kowats 3-13-2020

WAITING PRACTICE

Lynn Schooler DAWN

 

I come to you on  my knees this early January morning huddled in a heap of conflicting emotions over the prospect of war between the United States and Iran.

The Reality…

Continuous War Sabers

 

The Prayer….

Rough Translations by Jan Richardson

Hoping against hope, he believed.
—Romans 4:18

Hope nonetheless.
Hope despite.
Hope regardless.
Hope still.

Hope where we had ceased to hope.
Hope amid what threatens hope.
Hope with those who feed our hope.
Hope beyond what we had hoped.

Hope that draws us past our limits.
Hope that defies expectations.
Hope that questions what we have known.
Hope that makes a way where there is none.

Hope that takes us past our fear.
Hope that calls us into life.
Hope that holds us beyond death.
Hope that blesses those to come.

by Jan Richardson from Women’s Christmas Retreat

 

 

Photo Credit:  https://www.facebook.com/lynn.schooler

I am grateful to Lynn Schooler for permission to use this exquisite photo experience of today’s dawn in Juneau Alaska.  You have a rich experience awaiting you at his facebook page.  Thank you, Lynn.

Re-Consecrating Desecrated Spaces

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When the city of Milwaukee experiences violent crimes now, something different happens. The Black Strings Triage Ensemble arrives and re-consecrates the space by surrounding it with healing classical music.

This hopeful story has moved me deeply, taking me back to a time in my life when I lived in a house that overlooked the railroad gate to Naval Base Kitsap. I held vigil as shipments of fuel propellant entered and left the base. Afterwards, I knelt on the tracks and prayed. Burning cedar became a cleansing sacramental which reclaimed that space and the empty space in my soul. It began the healing process.

Take solace with me from the actions of these musicians. Who knows. Maybe some musicians among you will feel called to begin this healing ministry in your city.

 

https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/crime/2019/06/05/milwaukee-crime-string-group-plays-alongside-scenes-gun-violence/1328211001/?fbclid=IwAR334_5JV25vgWXrZm72FFQ6pwdbfpVz_0Drry3GOKnY–X83kdiokYRlLI

 

 

New Year’s Everyday

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Although we are not celebrating Rosh Hashanna today and the calendar may not mark the beginning of another year, I offer Marge Piercy’s poem to give us hope that every day is new and we can come back after immigrants are rounded up like cattle and congresswomen are told to go back to the country they were born in if they don’t like this one.

 

The head of the year

The moon is dark tonight, a new
moon for a new year. It is
hollow and hungers to be full.
It is the black zero of beginning.

Now you must void yourself
of injuries, insults, incursions.
Go with empty hands to those
you have hurt and make amends.

It is not too late. It is early
and about to grow. Now
is the time to do what you
know you must and have feared

to begin. Your face is dark
too as you turn inward to face
yourself, the hidden twin
of all you must grow to be.

Forgive the dead year. Forgive
yourself. What will be wants
to push through your fingers.
The light you seek hides

in your belly. The light you
crave longs to stream from
your eyes. You are the moon
that will wax in new goodness.

Marge Piercy