God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Monday, January 23, 2017

Why I March

I march because when I was 22, I moved to Connecticut to go to grad school studying political science. I moved in with my grandmother. She was in her seventies and was beginning to pass on her knowledge, the things she wanted us to know. She would tell the stories that have meaning for her, so that we her legacy could continue her work. One set of stories she told me happened every time she wrote a check for Planned Parenthood. First she would talk about how when she had her last baby, she argued with the doctor and told him he needed to make it so she had no more babies. She felt seven was more than enough. She had to fight with the medical community to get a hysterectomy, because options were very limited in the forties for preventing pregnancy. They didn't have a lot of money running a small farm,  she worked as a nurse to keep things going. So the last baby was enough for her. Being in Connecticut options for birth control were very limited, meaning actually illegal because this was before Griswald vs Connecticut (1965). The law in Connecticut criminalized the encouragement or use of birth control. In Griswald, the Supreme Court ruled that a state's ban on the use of contraceptives violated the right to marital privacy. So even if you wanted to use birth control it was illegal. My grandmother  would continue her story as she stuffed the envelop with her check. When your uncle first got married and was living upstairs, I took his wife into New York to get birth control.
I drove her so she could have the choices and make decisions that I couldn't. She told me those stories over and over. I learned about my family history and I learned about resistance, about fighting for what is important to you. So when there was a woman's march during this time in the early 90s I went to DC to protect the rights that my grandmother and my aunts didn't have. I marched in Washington to say no to the roll backs and threat to going back. I marched then and I march now to say that we have the right to make decisions for ourselves about how many children we will have and having affordable  good healthcare.                                        

I march because when I was in my early twenties and was a student I didn't have a lot of money and when I needed birth control, I went to planned parenthood and was able to afford birth control because it was on a sliding scale so you paid what you were able. I had family and friends who made tough decisions and needed their services.
With our congress threatening to remove all funding to Planned Parenthood, so many women will be hurt by these decisions. Planned Parenthood may be the only place close by to receive healthcare. To leave women with few or no choices not just for birth control but for cancer screenings , std treatment, breast health and education. I march so people can make informed choices about their reproductive lives. 1 in 5 women in her lifetime has visited a planned parenthood, I marched to make sure that that the 1 will have that option.

I march because 18 years ago I gave my life to follow Jesus, who calls me to enter into places where people or lost, last, least and be on their side. I am to find the lost, serve the least, and remember that my role isn't to be first but last. In John's gospel, there are two stories about woman that help inform my thoughts. In John 8, we have a story of Jesus who is confronted with a moral dilemma and how to deal with it.
2Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, 4they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”
Jesus was teaching in the temple when the religious leaders wanted to test him, challenge him, make him conform to their morality and reading of God's will. So here is a woman - she was caught in adultery. We don't know what this means. But the rule no matter the reason required her to be punished. They wanted Jesus to choose the law over a person. They wanted to see her as their words - whore, slut, pussy, bitch. They kept speaking to him, questioning him. Jesus final said. "If you are without sin, throw the first stone." One by one everyone left. Jesus than told her he didn't see her by their terms, he didn't judge her. He then said she should go on her way and not sin again,, don't miss the mark, remember to turn back toward God. Jesus invited us to think about our place with people we are judging and to remember he didn't judge instead he invited her to turn back to God and begin again. I march because judgement isn't my call, love is.

I march for women who have been seen as not right, as not fully human, as disqualified and unwanted. There is a story in John 4 about Jesus encountering a woman at a well. Jesus was traveling through territory where people were considered the neighbors but not liked neighbors. These were neighbors who practiced their religion differently, because of where they believed God was to be worshiped. This woman that Jesus spoke to is a woman rejected by others, called names by others, treated poorly by others. I march because we live in a time when we do not have to segregate into a camps based on religion, class, ethnicity, race. I march to say that we are meant to be in relationship with each other, speak to each other, share a drink together, and talk about the big things in life. I march to say that we are called to be more than what was presented in this past year as a time to separate into our own tribes where we don't talk to each other. I march because you are beloved,  human, my sister and brother. We are shown by Jesus that we can talk to each other across lines, we can learn from each other and be changed by these encounters. I march for this country that has become a place where it is possible to be rainbow community of ethnicity, class, sexuality, race, immigration status. I march to say we have had setbacks, we haven't always listened as well as we should, we haven't fought hard enough for your rights and protection, but I will do better. I will learn from you.

I march because I can't keep quiet.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing, Frank at St. John's in Union