Thursday, January 19, 2017

Beloved Community: Compassion and Resistance

Beloved Community,

Flickr: Mumu Matryoshka
We are living through a challenging week. We Americans are standing directly in the path of history and the moral arc of the universe. Everything we do – and don’t do – will make a difference. How do we navigate this very dangerous passage, being true to our faith and to our one and only planet? In deep discernment in the weeks after the election, Earth Ministry has committed to two values that we affirm in our decisions and actions in the times ahead: compassion and resistance. 

The Golden Rule has iterations in all faiths – the requirement to love our neighbors is a deeply-held religious value. Unfortunately, our neighbor can be a bully and a thief or someone who cheers on bullies and thieves. Our neighbor can condone hate crimes, make racist comments, and denigrate women. Yet as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said:

“Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.”

Compassion – in the Buddhist sense – is love combined with wisdom and non-attachment. Compassion isn’t weakness, it is strength beyond measure. It is a positive and powerful force against darkness. Compassion flowed through the Civil Rights Movement, because non-violence requires that we respond to evil with peace. MLK also reminded us that “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” The faith community is uniquely positioned to model this kind of meaningful response.

Yet we must also resist evil when we see it. Resistance is the ability to set clear limits on the way we and others are treated, and on decisions that affect us all.

Resistance means standing up for justice, speaking out for equality, and putting our faith into action. Resistance has a strategic purpose in protecting our neighbors, our communities, and our common home from harm. It is extremely powerful when carried out in community, though it requires honesty and courage.

We are entering a period when our outspoken and compassionate resistance may have an historic, even evolutionary effect. Our greatest strength as a faith community lies in our deep commitment to care for each other as a way to honor the Creator of life. At Earth Ministry we know that the faith community is up to the challenge of our times.

To begin this profound undertaking, we invite you to gather with Earth Ministry at the Seattle Womxn’s March on Saturday, January 21 at 10am in Judkins Park.

March Start Location: Judkins Park, 2150 S Norman St, Seattle, 98144
10am Start time - arrive, find Earth Ministry (we will try to be at the south end of the park near S. Judkins Street between 21st and 22nd Avenues South.)
10:30 rally/speakers begin
11:00 groups begin marching
End Location: Seattle Center, 400 Broad St, Seattle 98109
Route Length: 3.6 miles

March with us and thousands of others in compassionate resistance to the ugliness taking root in our highest public offices. We are better than this, and our love for each other, our country, and all of creation will see us through. See you on Saturday!

LeeAnne Beres
Executive Director

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