Here is a juxtaposition.
I was recently in Norway. Part of our experience was spending twenty-four hours on a ship. We were on a fjord. The sun was shining, the waterfalls cascading, the wind was whipping and whilst bundled in blankets to keep warm I tuned into a soundtrack I had heard a lot about but never had the time to listen to.
Instantly I was taken into the story of hearts, ambition, and freedom fighting. A new nation was born through so much violence and hope. I cannot shake the soundtrack.
On the same journey I was reading a book called “The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life” by Anu Partanen. The author was raised in Finland. She moves to the US and comes to ask why it is a society that is built upon the belief that all people are created equal would institutionalize disparity. Partanen speaks of the supports for new parents in the form of child care and paternity and maternity benefits. She goes on to speak of the educational system in Finland that seeks to create excellence in all schools; private schools are nearly unheard of. And then, there is the access to college because tuition is free or very very low cost. And health care. For all people.
In 2017 there is no less passion in the hearts of those who long for freedom. This past year has brought so many summons to awareness: Charlottesville, growing financial disparity, earth distress and chicanery in Washington DC haunt our sense of well-being on a daily basis.
Who are we, anyway?
Days after white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, people in Rochester gathered under the big top of this church. We were brown and white and Muslim and Christian. We were heart broken and shaken and needful of a place to remember who we are. We heard each other’s despair and hope. We spoke prayers and intentions about working for a world where we ask – as the musical “Hamilton” does – who it is who lives and who dies and who tells the story of a life and a people?
How will our story be told?
We cannot pretend that what currently exists is working, save for a very small and privileged few.
I am one of those privileged.
Through my work as a minister of the gospel, I am part of a movement grounded in the belief that all people are sacred and invited to partake of abundance.
We have work to do. I have work to do.
Who lives, who dies, who tells our story?