Today at work, I got into a conversation with a customer about my activism blog. “What’s your current hotbutton?” she asked. I didn’t hesitate: “Guns.” I didn’t totally understand why this came through so loud and clear, but there it was.
And yet, in the three weeks since the Parkland School shootings, I have until tonight only written one blog post about this – why?
I’ve thought about this a lot through the day. Here are my top three reasons for focusing on this issue – and the top three reasons we might avoid it.
The focus on guns exposes the macho life-threatening underbelly of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. They are bought and sold by the NRA. They really believe that arming teachers is the answer. They are so out of touch with the hearts and minds of most Americans. This issue will help turn them out of power.
The prevalence of and love for guns epitomize what is out of whack in America. The battle over guns is a battle for the soul of the country.
Why we would avoid the whole issue:
It’s horrifying on the face of it. It’s about mass shootings, the slaughter of the innocents – about what could happen to us. Who wants to look at it?
It is in many ways true that right now the pistol-packers have most of the power (and most of the money). Focusing on this could be very demoralizing – and scary.
We have been disappointed so many times in the past. If Sandy Hook didn’t change things, what’s so different now?
How do we manage our hopelessness, our discouragement? How do we make this time be different? We do something – take action, take a stand. Nothing will change your energy better than doing something.
Make a donation/join a group. Just reading one or more of these sites may be inspiring.
Get the word out. Email your friends – even just a few of them, even one. “Share” this post to Facebook. Put some of your own words at the top. Or just make your own Facebook post about your reaction to all this. Include the link to the national “March for Our Lives” site and/or your favorite anti-gun organization. Include this one luminary photo.
Releasing the Force: Activism with HeartConversation Series
Four Wednesday evenings, 7-8:30, March 14-April 4, Jubilee downstairs. Majo hosts.
What’s your personal story around activism? What’s next for you? Contact Majo to register and get pre-work – or just show up for any evening. $10 or donation per evening. Each evening is self-contained – write Majo for detailed agenda. firstname.lastname@example.org, 828-582-9822
I delivered this little four-minute talk as a “gift” at the Jubilee Sunday services on January 21, 2018. It describes, in personal and sometimes humorous terms, the inception of the Releasing the Force project just 20 days earlier – and what it might mean for the people in the room…and for you.
Today was about young lives lost – and somehow more.
At Jubilee today, our phenomenal visiting minister Alba Onofrio spoke strong and straight about the high school shootings in Parkland, FL. She called out the lies of politicians who send their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and their families – but take money from the gun lobby and do nothing to pass common sense gun legislation. She said that the surviving students themselves are taking the lead in calling out the lie in politicians who are saying it’s “too soon” to talk about gun control, when really it’s too late.
The Jubilee choir sang a song by Martina McBride – Anyway – about the need to take action in the face of total uncertainty about how things will turn out. It’s very beautiful.
Somebody made an announcement that in the afternoon there would be a rally downtown to remember the victims of the shooting. I had actually been numb and distracted at the time of the shooting and it was all just catching up to me today at Jubilee – so I knew I wanted to go to the rally.
The rally was wonderful – well attended, with powerful and touching speeches, and great signs.
Highlights from the speeches:
– from a Stoneman Douglass High School (the school of the tragedy) alumnus:
– “I will not fall back into silence” and
– “I will not accept inaction”.
– from a mom who is a survivor of gun violence:
– “I see the tide shifting. We must throw out officials who take money from the NRA. We must vote out politicians who don’t vote for common sense gun laws.”
There was music, including one of my favorite classic protest songs, “Blowin’ in the Wind”: “How many deaths will it take ’til we know that too many people have died?” Peter, Paul and Mary
Want to take action? Moms Demand Action
– to connect with organizers in your area, text “ready” to 64433
At the end of the Jubilee service, the band – which tends to rock out at the end of the service (people dancing, etc.) – offered us an almost incomprehensibly sweet, happy, hopeful song: Jimmy Cliff’s “I Can See Clearly Now”. I danced and cried. Playing it now, I am happy and hopeful and crying. I recommend it.
Given all the confusion, pain, death and destruction in the world, it is incumbent on any conscious person to try to come up with some coherent cosmology – what is the meaning of all this? Confronted with all the lying, treachery, hate and destructiveness present in our national politics, we need – if our spirit is to survive – to go underneath all this to some sense of meaning.
All the offerings from Releasing the Force will have several spiritual underpinnings. I won’t try to prove them – they just are my experience of what’s true in the world. You can participate fully in any of our offerings without agreeing with any of these, but I think you will get more out of our programs if you wrestle with these ideas.
Everything is connected. Our analytical mind likes to break things apart, sees separation everywhere. When we drop out of the analytical mind and perceive with our hearts, we see connection everywhere. I am not separate from you – we are part of the same whole. Thich Nhat Hanh would say that we inter-are – I am you and you are me.
Life is intelligent. It’s not chaos – it has meaning and purpose. Even when it looks like chaos, underneath that chaos is order.
Life is benevolent – it is working towards our good. This is the toughest one for me to get my mental hands around. My analytical mind just doesn’t get it – yet I know that it is true. Life continually sends us the experiences we need for our healing. It’s Groundhog Day: if we don’t get the lesson the first time, Life keeps sending us opportunities to learn it.
It doesn’t matter how you conceptualize the Divine – whether you think of it as my sweet Lord or some more abstract Life Force. It doesn’t matter what your religion, or if you have a religion at all. It doesn’t matter how you fight the notion of some kind of cosmic Intelligence – that fight is your dance and you are exactly where you are meant to be.
It doesn’t matter if you meditate or do yoga or pray – social activism may be your spiritual practice.
Call 828-582-9822 and talk to me about this or just bring it up when we get together in a program offering or wait until it comes up, because it will.
We are very excited to offer three new experiential programs to fit your needs. These are:
The Something Squad
For people who want to do something about the current state of our country (state, city), but may not yet know what. Or maybe you have some sense about the what, but don’t know how to go about it – or how to fit it into the circumstances of your life.
Or people who are already doing something, but want to do something more.
If you believe that our connection with other species keeps us in balance, read on. If you experientially know that the dogs and cats in our lives offer us healing, see the movie The Shape of Water. The moviemakers also know these truths and display them in a powerful and beautiful way. (The movie is up for several Oscars and should be playing in most major markets until the Oscar show on March 4.)
If all this speaks to you, I would also encourage you to read Kinship with All Life, written by J. Allen Boone . (Originally published way back in 1976 – and first read by me in 1977 – it has been nicely reprinted and is available on Amazon and at many independent booksellers like Malaprop’s in Asheville.) The writer was a free-lance journalist who frequently dog sat for Strongheart the famous movie”Wonder dog”.
He became convinced that Strongheart sent and received psychic communication and went on a national journey to discover and describe animal-human communication. He’s a very good writer.