Rev. Barber: We Will Take Back Our Country, by Moral Means | Diane Ravitch’s blog

Diane Ravitch recently posted excerpts from an article Rev. Dr. William Barber wrote for Think Progress on December 15, 2016. If you do not know who Rev. Barber is, you should find out. He is the president of the NAACP in NC and a pastor of a church in Goldsboro, NC and wrote a book called, “The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear,” which I cannot recommend enough.

I learned about Rev. Barber a number of years ago when he helped build the Moral Monday protests, which were in response to the “extremist makeover of North Carolina’s government,” in other words, what it looks like to “take back America.” And this past spring, I had the good fortune to meet and work with Rev. Barber as we invited him to Guilford College to be our commencement speaker (video of his talk here). That was an incredible experience for me in so many ways. I admire Barber’s political insight as a community organizer and I am inspired by how it flows out of his theological commitments and analysis as a pastor and theologian. Barber is building a “fusion coalition,” rooted in a history of the fusion party in the South, of people across various issues, needs and communities, something he is working to build across the country.

Here is an excerpt of his piece via Ravitch:

When Obama broke through in North Carolina in 2008, we witnessed firsthand the whitelash that America is reeling from right now. Some folks are saying we’ll have to wait and see what a Trump administration decides to do. But we’ve already seen it in North Carolina. The blueprint for what it looks like to “take back America” in the 21st century was laid out in the extremist makeover of North Carolina’s government during the 2013 legislative session. What’s the policy agenda of Make America Great Again? I can tell you because we’ve seen it:

Give tax breaks to corporations and to the wealthy, attack public education, deny people access to health care, attack immigrants, attack the LGBTQ community in the name of “religious liberty,” strip environmental protections, and, finally, make it easier to get a gun than it is to vote….

First, we must recognize the need for indigenously led, state-based, state-government focused, deeply moral, deeply constitutional, anti-racist, anti-poverty, pro-justice, pro-labor, and transformative movement building. There’s no shortcut around this. We must build a movement from the bottom up. We must build relationships at the state level because that’s where most of the extremism of the current-day deconstructionists are happening. They see the possibility of a Third Reconstruction, which is why they’

Source: Rev. Barber: We Will Take Back Our Country, by Moral Means | Diane Ravitch’s blog


Romney, Sheep and the 47%


Understandably, there’s been a lot of hullabaloo in media since Mother Jones revealed Mitt Romney calling 47% of us Americans mooches. In case you’ve missed it, here’s some of the transcript of what he said to the attendees of this $50,000-a-plate dinner:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax Watch the video here.

Romney’s comment should catch you off guard, it should sting. 47% is a lot of folks. It certainly includes me and my family, and there’s a good chance it’s you too. But it becomes even more ridiculous when you realize that more than 1/5 of the 47% are the elderly. Not to mention this also includes many others, such as those in college, those in the military, the lucky beneficiaries of the Bush-era tax cuts, the super-wealthy and more — find these and other statistics here.

Continue reading Romney, Sheep and the 47%

Uniformity, Religio & Solidarity (Psalm 133)

This is the message I gave during our meeting for worship on Sunday August 13, 2011. 

_religion and Norway

On July 22, 2011, a 32-year-old man drove his car into the city centre of his hometown, Oslo Norway, near a number of government buildings. He was not out to file for a marriage license, or pay his bills, he was out to detonated a massive car bomb that ended up leaving eight people dead with many more injured in the explosion. He then took another car out to the island of [ooh-toya] Utoya where a youth camp meeting was being held by a group sponsored by Norway’s Labour Party which is represented by their current Prime Minister (similar to more liberal democratic party in the US). More than 600 of Norway’s youth meet on Utoya ever summer to learn about social democracy. We all know what happened next. Anders Behring Breivik arrived on the island in a police officers uniform and killed 68 people in cold blood. (Wiki) By all accounts this was a terrible massacre and each description of what happened is equally heart-wrentching and baffling. How could someone do something like this? Murder so many people so senselessly? Continue reading Uniformity, Religio & Solidarity (Psalm 133)

GMO OMG! Jeremy Seifert's New Sizzle Real

My friend Jeremy Seifert, the guy behind the popular documentary Dive!, which I have reviewed here in the past, is beginning work on a new documentary about GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). I am really excited about the new project and have posted it a few times in various places, but I haven’t shared the “Sizzle Reel” that Jeremy’s put together. You need to watch this. And if you can support the film that would be awesome too!

GMO Film Project Sizzler from Compeller Pictures on Vimeo.

Continue reading GMO OMG! Jeremy Seifert's New Sizzle Real

Peace Through Equality: Lucretia Mott, Paul and MLK (Galatians 3:26-29)

This was the message I gave this morning based on Galatians 3:26-29.

First we discussed some of these queries:

  1. What do you think the connections between peace and equality are in the passages above?
  2. In what ways have I experienced inequality in my own life or around me?
  3. What inequalities stir us most? What disturbs us? Whom do we care about?
  4. In what ways might we respond to inequality and work for peace in Southwest Washington?

Lucretia Mott

Quakers are convicted by the power of Gospel love for all people. Part of this is contained in our statement “there is that of God in everyone.” For a people who truly believe that there is something of God in all people, slavery is an impossibility, gender inequality is an aberration of the goodness of creation, classism crushes the most vulnerable among us and violence destroys another being who was made in the image of God. When we subject others to this kind of inequality, we work against a deeply held conviction. But when we are moved to respond to inequality, when we are disturbed enough to take a stand and to take on the work of peace then we enter into a story that has been going on for centuries. (We can respond). Continue reading Peace Through Equality: Lucretia Mott, Paul and MLK (Galatians 3:26-29)

Lineage, Belt Buckles and the BIG US. (Matthew 1:1-25)

Here’s my sermon from December 19th.

This morning is the fourth and final week of advent. We have travelled long and far in our discussion this advent season, and hopefully some of the ideas, stories and experiences you have had thus far have been meaningful, maybe even transformative, to you.

(We did an activity to start off the morning. After having a group of people read Jesus’ Genealogy we outlined our own genealogies on the back-side of our bulletins).

A. What’s in a name? (The lineage of Christ)

Especially in the Biblical times of Jewish culture, but I think that this is true in some parts of the world today, a person’s lineage is of utmost importance. If you think back to the Old Testament there are many places where there is a well-placed geneology. And if you’ve ever tried to read through the Bible you know exactly what I’m talking about, those genealogies might even be part of the reason why you never finished reading the bible through to the end. Continue reading Lineage, Belt Buckles and the BIG US. (Matthew 1:1-25)

Interfaith Clergy Letter to the Editor in Clark County

(This is a letter a group of us from Clark County wrote in response to some of the controversy surrounding September 11th this past week. We submitted it to our local papers which did not pick it up so I thought I’d post it here.)

This year, a small group of clergy in Clark County began gathering monthly to learn from one another and to support one another as community leaders.   As an interfaith group, we honor and celebrate the religious traditions and spiritual paths of all people in our community.

For many people of faith, this week includes two major religious holidays with Rosh Hashanah for the Jewish community and Eid al-Fitr for the Islamic community.   However, this week is also charged by the memories of 9/11, plans to build a community center and prayer space in a building 2 blocks from Ground Zero and the furor over threats to burn The Qu’ran, the sacred Muslim text, by a pastor and his followers in Florida.   We are grieved at some Americans’ misunderstanding of one of the world’s largest religions. We celebrate the rich diversity within all faith traditions.  We stand together to honor the Islamic Society of Southwest Washington and all Muslims who are our neighbors. Continue reading Interfaith Clergy Letter to the Editor in Clark County