Word of the Week

We Can Not Be Silent

A lot has happened in the last day.

Orlando happened.  

And everything looks different now. Again. It's even worse than we can remember.

I like many of you have been captivated by the commentary on the news and from voices all over the world on social media. Twitter is favorite place to go to get the pulse of any major event.

And since yesterday I've followed voices like:

@lucia_graves (a columnist for GuardianUS)

"50 Dead in LGBT nightclub. Perspective. Va Tech 32. Sandy Hook 27. San Bern 14. Fort Hood 13. Navy Yard 12. Aurora 12. Charleston 9."

@mehdirhasan (a Muslim tv personality)

"Am sick to my stomach. 50 dead? I stand with my LGBT brothers/sisters against this horrific hate crime & act of terror. "

@ShaneClaiborne (a Christian peacemaker) who shared:

" Today let us grieve. Tomorrow let's honor the victims by actually doing something about gun violence."

And all that I could come up with to say in the direction of Orlando was NO. NO. NO.

Not only is this a senseless act of violence again (I mean when are we going to get serious about advocating for gun control in this country?) but it touches groups of people I love dearly who have endured so much oppression already.

The Muslim community 

The LGBTQ community

Our Latino friends

And as the news kept coming yesterday, my pastoral heart sank.

It sank to think how this event will lead to greater division both in our country and around the world.

It sank in despair of those who will somehow blame this tragedy on an entire religious group believing it's ok to call Muslims "radical terrorists." Or that all Muslims/ mosques/ Imams are harboring "terrorists." Or will make sweeping judgments about how Muslims are "less than Americans" because of their faith convictions.

It sank in despair of those who will continue to speak such hate and words of prejudge against those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer. And in it sank in realizing the new-found fear covering my family and friends. It could have been them on a death or hospital list this morning. It could have been. Where in the world will they ever feel safe again?

And it also sank in despair of those from the Latino community who were also in that club whose stories of loss will largely be ignored.

In moments like this, what to do next can feel so overwhelming. What is there to do?

A word that has regularly inspired and convicted me is this from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


And this is what I know for sure-- at least for myself-- I needed to speak up and say I stand together in solidarity with my Muslim,  LGBTQ and Latino friends.

My friend, Tamara (@TamaraLunardo) tweeted this yesterday: "Straight friends, especially you Christians, please know: We hear your silence so loud."

I hear her and countless beloveds like her. To do nothing, to say nothing, to not use whatever platform I have as blogger, a pastor and a person of faith to say, this is wrong would be a greater ill.

Today and in all the days to come Rev. Elizabeth stands with you. 

Will you join me?

Maybe not letting that racist remark at work go unchecked . . .

Maybe not letting that homophobic slip to enter a conversation . . .

Maybe challenging your pastor, your faith leader or you neighborhood's leaders to make a stand on the side of love, welcome and justice for all?

We are not powerless to do nothing my friends. We aren't. Use your voice to listen, to lament, and to love today. We've got to encourage each other to do better!