What Does Such a Moment Ask? What does such a moment ask of us? Kindness―maybe― but not the kind that cowers in a corner and will not articulate the jarring, rage-inducing, healing, liberating truth. Love―maybe― but not the kind that circles wagons, covers up injustice and provides protection for abusers to continue their abuse. Humanity―maybe― but not the kind invoked to excuse horrors as if they’re nothing but mistakes that every human makes. Peacemaking―maybe― but not the kind that clutches to tranquility at any cost and throws the rabble-rousers under buses rather than make reparations. Unity―maybe― but not the kind that calls on the oppressed to bear the burdens of injustice just a little longer, silently, lest they provoke unease in their oppressors. Restoration―maybe― but not the kind that minimizes damage done, that takes the easy route to placate but not satisfy demands for justice. What does such a moment ask? Perhaps the same things God has always asked: act justly―with the one who brings things done in secret into light; love mercy―with the one who hears the prayers of the oppressed and does not hesitate to take a side; walk humbly―with the one who offers us the staff of Moses when we need it, helping us to speak.
Women, I Would Like to Call Forth Women, I would like to call forth your holy anger. Let it rattle the sidings of your churches―the ones that keep telling you to serve, but do not serve you well. Let it be no longer held constrained within your bones in bonds unspoken, swept beneath the doormat to your soul― the one they wanted you to be as they kept telling you to sweep and sweep. Let it rise like yeast through sixty pounds of dough. Let it boil and spill over the edges of respectability, over the steaming rims of pots and pans that do not hold you. Let it fly forth until they can no longer put a cover on your head like cloth over your face to stifle your unruly sounds. Let there be words, so many words for every time they tried to shame you into silence. Let there be tears, so many tears for every time they said they needed you to smile. Let there be open confrontation, exposed wounds for every time they turned to you, like Absalom, and said don’t take this thing to heart― for every time they wanted you to bow and place your fierce God-given power in their grasping hands. Let there be squalls, twenty-foot swells, and Jesus in the boat who says with kindness, you of little faith, I made you for much more. Won’t you turn and own the power I breathed into you. Won’t you join me as I flip over the tables they have closed to you and make a whip and drive them out. Yes, with him, women, I would like to call forth your holy anger.
How Far We Were I did not know how far we were from one another til 2020 blasted into light the light years that had always been between us, like a looking glass intent on showing wrinkled scars where we expected to see youth. Sometimes I wish I did not know how much we do not hold in common. Before, when we were younger, and the world was, too, we felt we could afford to talk of high and lofty love as though it were a concept academic and abstract. It was a more naive and happy time when I had no idea what shape these thoughts would take incarnate in your hands. Before, we could agree on pleasant-sounding thoughts in inoffensive-sounding words, but this year’s traumas tipped our hands and pushed us toward specifics. Yet, it must be better, still, to know, to see which friendships can survive these storms and which were always built on something sinking. It must be better, still, to learn to speak the things we really think, to learn to talk about the things we see so differently― and where we cannot talk, perhaps to let our journeys drift, for now, apart. We could not live forever, anyway, in blind denial of the things each other’s souls truly believe. It must be better to reveal, apocalyptic though it may all feel, and be.