A response to Dallas

Like you, the events of the last couple of weeks have left me feeling a host of emotions: anger, disappointment, fear, sadness. The anxiety I feel—and have experienced for several months—is exhausting. And I know I am not alone in this. You feel it, too.

Dallas

Sunday morning I opened my Dallas Morning News to the front page where a single eye filled with the Dallas skyline stared back at me shedding a tear. The editorial urged its readers to “learn to understand each other, to really hear one another, to learn from each other.” And then I looked at my facebook feed where some of my friends were posting their opposition to gun regulations, opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement, their uncritical support of police and policing policies.

And I wondered: do we have the capacity to learn, to really listen?

It was in the midst of this despair that I folded the paper and drove across Dallas to meet with a small group who gathers once a month in a classroom at Richland College called New Wineskins. There, we celebrate the Divine Feminine. There we help each other see that while it is easy to give up hope for this world so riddled with violence, Sophia points to a path that cultivates peace and justice.

Have you noticed the one constant that lies at the heart of the violence we continue to witness? This was the question that became our focus Sunday morning. It’s so obvious that it never is mentioned or considered. News pundits don’t talk about it. Pastors all over the country didn’t talk about it even as both rushed to offer their insights about the events in Dallas and around the nation.

Do you ever wonder why women are seldom the perpetrators of violence and instead are most often the ones who suffer from it?

Do you wonder what the world would be like if women were in equal partnership with men?

Do you wonder how our churches might respond to these tragedies if women were pastors?

Do you wonder how our laws and society would be structured if women had at least equal input?

Do you wonder how differently we would conduct international affairs or even policing in our streets if women were the architects of our system?

In our New Wineskins gathering Sunday we spoke of our vision of justice:

“We envision a land where the truth that all people are created equal will become a reality. Our vision is of a land where ‘liberty and justice’ for all is more than a pledge. Our vision is of a land where women and men of all colors, abilities, and sexual orientations will share equally in opportunities and blessings. We envision an end to war not only across the seas but in our own city streets, an end to abuse of all kinds on the job and in the home. Our vision includes faith communities in which all share equally in leadership and ministry, communities which give sacred value to female divinity as well as to male divinity. We envision a land free of discrimination and injustice in any form. We sound a call to freedom in our institutions and in our homes. We call for individual freedom from external definition, freedom to follow the voice within. We call for freedom to love, to create, to laugh, to learn, to grow, to become all we are meant to be.”—Jann Aldredge-Clanton

It’s a vision worth considering.