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CoInspire – A Reflection

October 13, 2019

Denise and I spent last week at our favorite place on earth, Montreat Conference Center (and village) in North Carolina. To be in such a sacred space is a blessing.

To say that this was a week of comfort wouldn’t be an understatement, it would be a lie. We attended the CoInspire conference put on by the PC(USA). The bottom line for the conference was how we must Liberate Imagination and Eviscerate Racism. As a white male with privilege, I had no clue growing up and early on in my career in the military where I was a Chaplain, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before retiring how bad it was.

Working with my LGBTQAI+ friends in the military for 21 years, I saw the lies and the strife they went through. I also saw first-hand the glass ceilings and “under the radar” Racism, Sexism, and inequality faced by many who have sworn to protect the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

I was reminded this past week that there is much work to be done. I was also reminded of the part I MUST play in systemic change in our nation and world.

There is still much to process. It will take more than a few days to process. Yet in addition to processing, there is a call to immediate action. Lord, give us the courage and the strength to do so.

There is so much to do.

Following our week at CoInspire, we spent a couple of days in Louisville. To spend time in the places where my spiritual mentor Thomas Merton walked was amazing. As I pondered and prayed, I asked God for guidance. How am I to walk this road and fight this fight?

To quote Merton: Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.

May God guide and challenge each of us, dear reader. May we truly be instruments of reconciliation and peace.

  1. The challenge of building bridges of understanding between races has been multiplied by the divisive statements of our president. Last week, Trump spoke in Minneapolis where he threw hate messages towards all immigrants, but more specifically the Somalian immigrants, who came during a time of war and have lived in peace here. These people have worked hard, started businesses and provided jobs. They have been good neighbors. I also realize how beaten down my African American neighbors feel by this president. I recognize that I can never fully comprehend their experience. But I can advocate and I can protest injustice and I can promote understanding. Thank you for your post.

    • You have identified so much of what Minnesota experienced. I remember well our Somali neighbors coming to Minnesota. Sponsored by churches as they fled the violence in their country… to see the protestors out in full force to let the world know that not all Minnesotans are racist hate-mongers was heartening!

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