Current Learning

I’m reading about bodies a lot, particularly black bodies, and I’m also reading about trauma, though not trauma theory per se. I’m doing this for my course of study and because my courses are of interest to me, I’m doing this for me.

These readings are at work on my consciousness, hopefully helping me think about and see people in their bodies. I’d like to be a person who knows how to actually participate, in a healing way, in the lives of people who have been hurt.

As a man who’s trying to live in his body and who feels that everyday, with all the nuances that falling on the floor with my boys brings; or being kicked while sparring offers the second day after that class; or after sitting too long and hearing of sounds of my loosening joints; or, hell, waking up and getting out of bed and needing what my yoga teacher calls a full body stretch (who knew I’d need to do that?); as that person, it’s getting harder to forget about my body.

I like remembering my body, acquainting myself with this physical blackness that walks through the world. And I’m starting to re-view history of the last couple years when I was just going and going and holding at bay this awareness. I’m learning how to notice my self.

I hope I’m learning how to notice the same self in others. I think it’s getting easier to consider, to see, and to hold in my gaze and in my mind the bodies of others.

I wonder what you hope you’re learning? What are you currently seeing?




I walked in and saw the group of you, people I didn’t know but did. It was good to see you. Good to be with you. Good to be both known and unknown by you.

When one of you stretched out that familiar arm, draped in black and pointed to the wall, I took the invitation and the smile with it and went to my seat.

The old cushion was, like every face, a reminder. A reminder of things from before. Of organ music and hugs. Of cracked pieces of crackers and juice. Of microphones and fans. Of old people and young people. Of splendid togetherness.

Starting with you for those hours and hearing my senior colleague speak to his beloved relative about what was ahead; tracking the promise in the midst of a church’s choice to call a new pastor; praying for the strength of your emerging bond as church and leader; it was all familiar and wonderful. It was all new and unknown.

It was a faith community doing what faith communities do. It was good to be with you.

What If

What if your faith community gathered together today or tomorrow and, rather than participated in your planned liturgy, decided to claim the closest Muslim community as your neighbor?

What if you contacted the leader there, let that person know that you and your people were coming to support them, to stand in solidarity, to pray in love, and to witness to the possible?

What if your church expanded its definition of an encounter with God so that you saw the Eucharist, the Mass, the body and the blood in, now, the broken bodies of the latest victim of ever-present, simmering, structured, resilient evils representing themselves as having to do with goodness?

What if your community of faith added to its solid theology a pointed plan to always claim the latest least of these by re-working agendas in order to show up, to initiate the call to worship around that black church basement, around those riddled walls of that synagogue, and just outside the caution tape and close enough to see shreds of scattered prayer rugs?

What if you believed that God believed that being present meant going and waiting, going and crying, going and replacing your order of service in your city or your suburb so that the order came from the dizzying chaos of no order and blasted hope and suffering?

What if you took seriously the deepest pains of your folk and your people and used that pain to turn outward to the folks you have yet to see?

What if those previously unseen people started to look like you, your beautiful faith community, and your spiritual family until it became completely unsettling to do what your leadership committee planned for this fiscal year?

What if you took a risk to respond to this moment?

What if you committed to doing more as a spiritual practice, to inviting others to do more, and to staying inspired to make “more” a new setting in the face of politically nourished xenophobia?

What if you queried your people and said in an authentic, your-own-voice-and-your-own-words-kinda-way, what will we do about this?

What if that question became standard in response to such tragedy?

What if you listened to their responses?