“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:12-13 NRSV
“Do you have time to talk? I would like to discuss something that is really important to me.” The stomach drops. Instinctively, you expect a difficult conversation –the “difficult” conversation with a friend.
The United States needs such a conversation. We need an honest, heart-wrenching conversation about race in America, and yet, it is the very conversation that we Americans run away from the most. It seems there is no way to have a true dialogue, a true sharing of experiences between members of different races in this country.
Last week the African American Presidents and Deans of Theological Schools in the United States posted “An Open Letter to Presidents and Deans of Theological Schools in the United States” in the Huffington Post. In it they wrote,
We invite our colleagues—presidents, deans and leaders of all divinity and theological schools—to arise from the embers of silence and speak up and speak out as the prophet of old, ‘let justice run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream’ (Amos 5:24). We encourage you to endorse this statement by responding in your own particular context to our theological call to action with curricular programs, public forums, teach-ins, calls to your congressional leaders, writing op-ed pieces, and more.
In the well-known biblical passage quoted above, Amos reminded the people of Israel, and reminds us, that there is no status that places one above the demands of justice. Amos challenged Israel’s belief that divine election allowed them an assurance of divine favor over against their sinful, pagan neighbors who were going to feel God’s wrath on the “day of the Lord.”
I want to talk about Eric Garner.
I want to talk about Michael Brown.
Seminary of the Southwest
September 12, 2012
In our lives Lord, be glorified
In your Church Lord, be glorified
The Very. Rev. Douglas Travis
Martin Luther King Sunday, January 15, 2012
St. James Episcopal Church, Austin