Give Me Liberty, Immigrants, Cripples, and Jesus!

Give Me Liberty, Immigrants, Cripples, and Jesus!

What you believe about the Statue of Liberty, immigration, disability, and our current US administration tells me everything I need to know about how you feel about Jesus and how you feel about me.

There has been a recent change to the immigration policy in the United States. It states that whether a person is admissible to the United States or not will be based on his or her likelihood of becoming a public charge at any time in the future, as set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The expressed goal is “to ensure that aliens seeking to enter and remain in the United States — either temporarily or permanently — are self-sufficient and rely on their own capabilities and the resources of family members, sponsors, and private organizations rather than on public resources.” 

Great, right?! Except how can you know? Beyond the obvious discrimination of people with disabilities like me, many of whom are fleeing violence, etc., it could be YOU at any time. Becoming disabled can and does happen at ANYONE. Further, if you live long enough you will almost certainly become disabled. Bodies don’t last forever without breaking down.

So, what does this mean? Unless you are super rich and elite, keep out? That’s sure what it seems like. What about Medicare? If you enter the country at a younger age and never need any public assistance, something you cannot know unless you are super rich, will you be eligible later in life? Does this exclude someone from coming to this country too? It’s a moving target.

Quite simply, we are moving toward eugenics. This should scare you into action! 

I know it won’t. I’ve been around nondisabled people long enough to know how little they think beyond their immediate concerns. You just don’t see yourself as me.

This is why we have a long history of locking away our disabled and elderly people. If you don’t see them, you don’t have to believe you will be them. You are wrong!

Speaking of long history, our current US administration recently stated that the words on the Statue of Liberty were for immigrants coming from Europe too.

I know, racism, shocking… Except, you should be shocked! You should be shocked into action against this administration and its policies. You have a voice. Use it!

worms eye view photography of statue of liberty
Photo by Jamie McInall on Pexels.com

Read more on both these things here or just look at the news or use a search engine. If you are uniformed or unshocked, you may be the problem.

Furthermore, any notion that you can support this administration while calling yourself Christian or pro-life is a farce.

(Admittedly, I’m afraid to make this connection not because it is untrue, but because some have used this as justification to say the Church should be charged with charity, healthcare, and supports instead of the government.)

Frankly, you are not just wrong, the Church is pretty bad at these things. Feel free to ask me about accessibility.

That’s just it. These people claim to be Christians yet the sit in direct opposition to Jesus.

In case you haven’t looked in a while, he takes the powerful in this world and turns them, and their systems, upside down. I mean, Jesus literally tells the rich guy to sell all his stuff and give it to the poor. (Matthew 19:21-22)

Look at the Beattitudes (Matthew 5:1-11)

For Christ’s Sake (Literally) The first Christians lived as a commune. (Acts 2:44-47)

Maybe that’s why the Church is dying.

As for the rest of it, what you believe about the Statue of Liberty, immigration, disability, and our current US administration tells me everything I need to know.

Wherever you are this day: Love Accepts You, No Exceptions.

It also seeks justice and inclusion for the people on the margins; even those least like you. Jesus talks about that too.

I’ll let you look it up if you don’t believe me because, “Carry your own weight,” right?

Peace Love and Acceptance

Notes: 1. Uscis.gov, 2. USA Today – 8/13/2019, 3. Biblegateway.com

 

 

 

Racism Is Not a Disability

Racism Is Not a Disability

Today, I went to Canada for lunch because I didn’t want to worry about getting shot.

Sure, I live near the border but, America, we have a problem.

The problem: Racist White Extremists with Guns. 

Here’s what the problem is not: Mental Illness. 

I know. I can hear all the arguments now. “No ‘sane person’ would do this.” This thinking just allows us to dismiss our responsibility.

If the perpetrator doesn’t look like me, I don’t have to do anything, right? Except, these men, look exactly like me. They are white men.

That’s what’s scary. These men could be my brothers.

Ask yourself, “If these incidents were carried out by people of color, How long would it be before we took their guns away?” Yet, here we are, nothing.

Because, if I can convince myself someone like me wouldn’t do something like this, I absolve myself of responsibility. 

I’m not saying you don’t feel bad. I see all the offers of thoughts and prayers. I believe them sincere. I’m with you.

Just don’t be so quick to move on.

Look at the real problem of white male racism.

It’s not difficult to identify. These men have told you as much in their manifestos.

But, putting the blame on mental illness is easier. We throw words like “insane” and “crazy” around so much, they no longer mean anything.

That’s crazy or insane has too easily become our default language.

I do it too. I’m no saint. Let’s all try to do better.

I’ve too quickly offered, “I didn’t mean it that way,” as an excuse in the past. Only, that’s exactly how this happens.

Our word choices and terminology matter.

Instead of crazy or insane use unbelievable, extraordinary, or whatever it is you actually mean.

For example, “Our problem is Racism and White Extremists with Guns.”

White racism and guns are not disabilities.

68419621_1072547582950305_2270396102953926656_n
Picnic table with Old Smoke Burger Restaurant Hamburger in wrapper with soda, french fries and a lager beer bottle next to a cup filled with beer.

Think about it. When I wanted to feel safe, I went to Canada.

Save me a trip.

Save some lives.

Wherever you are this day: Love Accepts You, No Exceptions.

To be clear it also works for justice.

Peace Love and Acceptance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Backlash!

Backlash!

“Fortune”
A Fortune of money is what you seek but a fortunate son is not someone like me.
A broken body, down on my luck, while you’re perched on top out of touch.
Running the business,
It’s always the same,
Making a fortune because you own the game

Heart with People

There’s always backlash.

Whenever an existing power structure feels threatened, you get backlash.

We see it in our world and, not surprisingly, we see it in the church.

It can be civil rights. It can be women. It can be the LGBTQIA+ community. Disability pride. It doesn’t matter.

In fact, it’s all of these things.

Wherever someone seeks equity and inclusion, you get backlash.

As we also often witness, you get cross sectional power players working together too. Think for a moment about how the powerful never seem to clamor for separation of church and state when they are colluding.

The power players all want to be in cahoots then.

It’s only when equity comes into play, such as when the church desired exclusion from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), do power players scream.

There are numerous examples here. Disability is my primary marginalizing experience but, it’s no different with regard to the other people mentioned initially.

You don’t have to go very far to notice the powerful orchestrating together.

I could name names, however, I suspect I don’t have to if you’ve read this far. They’ll even use us as tokens if we’re not careful.

Most of us won’t do this, of course, but it does happen and it only takes a couple for it to become some insulating justification for those in control. However, there is a better way forward.

When working within the existing power structure doesn’t work, and I believe that time is now, the rest of us need to build together too.

I’ve seen some of this, though, not nearly enough. In many cases, I’ve witnessed the opposite with divisions and factions.

The powerful know this and they’re happy to let it continue and even encourage it. If we minimize each other, they can continue their dominance over all of us.

We need to work across communities as allies for each other.

We need to lift up advocates in each their respective areas.

Whenever possible, we need to empower voices of those who are intersectionally marginalized. (Those who face more than one marginalizing identifier.)

I say this because I do believe you can be marginalized by one trait (as I am with my disability) while also being privileged in other ways (as I am as a white man.)

Yes, there will be times for me to speak. There will also be times for me to yield the floor.

There is time for both and too many times for all of us as it is today.

That’s the backlash to seeking equity. The truly powerful, the ones dominating our world today, will not go easily, quietly, or willingly. That’s where we are.

It’s also why it’s important for us to work together, building each other up. Because, they don’t have to tear us down if we do it for them.

Next time, I’ll look at how Jesus and his early disciples resisted the powerful in their time.

I hope you’ll check back because I believe this is an important lesson for us no matter if you believe exactly as I do or not. Solidarity.

Wherever you find yourself this day, thanks for journeying with me and remember in the world of Justice and Love, Love Accepts You No Exceptions.

Peace Love and Acceptance

 

 

 

If Your Faith Excludes You’re Wrong

If Your Faith Excludes You’re Wrong

“Love: Our Universal Truth”
If Love is our universal truth, then why is it so hard?
We keep each other far away as if to stand on guard.
But Love calls us to open up if we long to be set free.
And, in this way we share a Love that connects eternally.

Love Wins Wheelchair with Stole

I wrote these above words a few days ago because I believe Love and kindness is the key to everything. Love saves whereas hate destroys.

Yet, we live in a word so often characterized by hate. Even worse, just as we sometimes see, hate can be a great unifier for people. It can be a unifier that is, until it destroys and, make no mistake, it does destroy. Hate always needs something to consume.

Sure, it will destroy your identified target at first. Only, it doesn’t stop there. Hate is a scourge. It destroys everything. Eventually, it will even destroy itself.

Those, united by hate, will hate each other when nobody else is left.

Love on the other hand is different. Love saves. Love provides life. As a Christian specifically, and as a person of faith more broadly, I believe in this message.

This is what I find so troubling about people who use religion as an instrument of hate.

Since I’m a Jesus follower, I will speak directly to those who claim my faith tradition. It may be a universal truth, but I have a special responsibility to speak to my people. It’s also what I see most often in the world directly outside my font door.

If your use faith as a tool for hate, you are doing it wrong.

Put another way, you can’t rightfully claim to be a Christian while also supporting people and systems of hate and exclusion without being wrong.

As I wrote on social media,

“It would be nice if power hungry, exclusionist, patriarchal, lock up children, people of color, the disabled, and others Christians gave more consideration to the upside down and interdependent nature of the biblical narrative instead of using it as a tool for hate.” (1Corinthians 12:21-27, Matthew 5:1-12)

Love seeks justice.
Love uplifts.
Love supports.
Love sustains.
Love always expands to include people on the margins.

Love takes the force of power and hate and turns it upside down. That’s the message of Jesus.

Furthermore, yes, Love will win but we also are charged with living it into our world today. (1 Corinthians 13, Luke 10:25-37)

Maybe you still want to hate and exclude but, you can’t claim to be a Christian while doing it.

Peace Love and Acceptance

Love Remains: My Eulogy for Rachel Held Evans

Love Remains: My Eulogy for Rachel Held Evans

I just read news that Rachel Held Evans passed from this world. I am overcome with grief even as I write this.

There is a reason I’m so drawn to people still figuring it out. I’m one of them. Though I never had the opportunity to know her personally, Rachel Held Evans was one of these people too.

There’s something beautiful about sitting amidst the messiness of life. It can be painful and difficult, absolutely. Now, is one of those times. But, it can also be freeing. This was Racel Held Evans’ testimony. I hope it’s mine too.

Please know, if you have doubts, questions, pain, or brokenness, you are not alone. If you sit in sadness this day, I’m right there with you. I’m literally wiping tears from my eyes as I write this. Sobbing at times, my sorrow will not be unattended.

Yet, even as I face these struggling times, when all I want is to cry out with my voice quivering and quaking unable to adequately express the depth of my anguish, I have hope. Hope for something beyond this broken world which seems unyielding in this moment.

My hope is that love is bigger.

Don’t worry. I’ll still have questions. It’s natural to have questions in a world where such wonderful spirits are gone from among us all too quickly. We just don’t mourn without hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

That’s something I’m trying to hold onto even in this moment. That when all the brokenness, suffering, pain, and everything else passes away, three things remain. Faith, Hope, and Love. Love is the greatest of these. (1 Corinthians 13)

As you read this, please let me know where you find hope today. Perhaps in our sharing we can find strength together. Right now, your words of comfort, compassion, and community would mean a great deal to me.

That’s what it’s about, right? Sitting together?

RIP good servant. Wherever you are may you know your time and witness here made a difference. You were a bringer of love, the kind of love that lives on beyond all that we see or the questions we have.

You may never have known the full impact you made but you made it with me. I’m grateful

Wherever you are this day, thank you for sharing this part of your journey with me. Remember always, in the realm of love,

Love accepts you no exceptions.

Peace Love and Acceptance