Tag Archives: reconciliation

Charlottesville is also here

For two weeks I’ve been hearing about Charlottesville, VA: the event itself, analysis, the hand-wringing about ‘how could this happen?’, could it happen in Canada?  Really?  That’s a real question?  For two weeks I’ve been trying to find a way to explain my non-surprise.

The good thing about all of this is, my work is about seeking the sacred in the everyday. Easy: The Sacred brings us to Life in its Fullness, always moving us forward and so the Sacred has been at work as we lament the events and begin to confess our part in why they happen.

The violence at Charlottesville is only the latest manifestation of the “why”.  The hatred, the frustration and the violence that was evident in those events is what happens when we allow a culture to persist in which “some people don’t count”.  For the “white nationalists” people of colour don’t – or shouldn’t – count, especially in making policy and setting direction for “their” nation. For those who oppose that racism, and the prejudices that fuels it, there’s a fine line between saying “those ideas are not worthy of us” and “those people don’t count”. All of the violence is spawned by the same force.

When we persist with a culture in which “some people don’t count” we end up with: residential schools, not caring that hundreds of women have gone missing or been murdered (Indigenous & non-) especially when they are street-level sex workers. We end up arguing about whether or not people can wear conspicuously religious symbols at work.  An unfair taxation system which favours those with money to invest and handicaps those whose incomes are used entirely to pay bills and to make ends meet.  It’s what allows a citizen to use weapons against those whose ways make them feel threatened.  When we allow a culture in which “some people don’t count” we end up low wages for ECE workers,  overloaded child protection services, policing that racializes crime (that’s what racial profiling is), and civic policy that criminalizes poverty (that’s the anti-panhandling laws).  It’s why there is an increasing call for programs to teach how not to bully (that’s another blog…).  So, really, are we so surprised that events like those in Charlottesville happen?

But when we are open to the Sacred, which like our culture, is all around us…and within us, musingsfromaministerswife com 1 Jn 4

we move towards becoming our Best Selves; we get to let go of that being scared of the unfamiliar.

 

We stop making an “Us” and “The Other”.  When the Sacred is moving in us, we are moved to behave as if we truly believe Everyone Counts.

But it’s hard work.  Look around you, within you, see who has become, to you, the “ones who don’t count” (we all have them); then work towards seeing them as humans who do count. Because until we do that Charlottesville will just keep happening.

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Alternative Facts?

I’ve been part of many conversations this week that were commenting on (ok, mostly ridiculing) the idea of “alternative facts”.  Yes, it does sound like Orwell-speak.  But I’ve been thinking….I wonder if there isn’t  a case to be made for alternative facts?

Case in point: my friend and I were discussing someone we both know.  You wouldn’t know from our independent “facts” that we were describing the same human being. My experience and his experience of this person were as different as chalk and cheese.   Were my “facts” – my own experience – of this person any less true than my friend’s?  Did we have alternative facts about the same person?

What about on a macro-level?  Are my “facts” about (for example) the current Israeli government’s treatment of people in Gaza – gathered from the information I research, the agencies I support, experiences I have, the concerns that I hold – any less true than my Jewish friend’s “facts” (from the same kinds of sources and her fear of anti-Jewish sentiment increasing in Canada (I agree with her on that….)? Are these not “alternative facts”?

Facts are information accepted as informed by our perspective.  And what we value.  And what kind of world we want to help build.

I’m talking about alternative facts – based on evidence and experience, not rumor and assertion; not based on something made up with hopes that the louder they are proclaimed the truer they will get. (Sad but true, even legitimate media are slipping into the same muck as the self-determining media wannabes, spreading “we think” as fact.)

But back to the point: information comes at us from so many directions, how do we know what’s true?  Facts we rely on is the information we take in, subjected to critical thinking,  vetted by the questions we ask, the values we hold, and the kind of world we want to help build.  What are the questions you ask?  What informs your values?

My values are informed by my faith: that Life will be Abundant for all people only when we see one another (every ethnicity and cultural heritage, gender expression, religious expression, political persuasion) as a sister or a brother; that peace does not come through intimidation but by wanting for the next person the same as I want for my self; that justice is not a synonym for revenge but a path to restoring relationships to a place of balance; that reconciliation isn’t a politically-correct slogan, but a willingnthe-very-powerful-dr-who-4-2ndess to shape, and be shaped by, one another so we are both the best we can be.  In the end, I accept as my “alternative facts” that for which the “bottom line for me and mine” isn’t the only criteria for making decisions.

And, with respect to The 4th Doctor*, I don’t believe truth and fact are the same.  Facts are information. Truth brings Life for everyone, everywhere; that’s what makes it Holy, that’s what draws us together.  That’s what will set us free.