Happy are those

Happy are those who work for peace…

Matt. 5:9

At the beginning of prior years, I’ve started the year here with theme words, a word, or a verse. This year it’s a verse.

Please join me in working for peace this year.

“How?” you might ask.

Let’s work for peace in our families, our neighborhoods, our workplaces. Be willing to have lunch or coffee with someone from the other side of the aisle. You don’t need to talk politics. In fact, it might be best if you don’t. Instead, get to know other people as people. Talk about their hobbies, their families, the music they like, and their favorite hot drinks. Ask about their first cars. If you want to go deeper, ask them what they care about, what keeps them up at night, what difference they’d like to make in the world.

And then listen.

Anybody up for coffee?


Sherman Alexie’s “Hymn”

I will sing for people who might not sing for me.
I will sing for people who are not my family.

I will sing honor songs for the unfamiliar and new.
I will visit a different church and pray in a different pew.

I will silently sit and carefully listen to new stories
About other people’s tragedies and glories.

I will not assume my pain and joy are better.
I will not claim my people invented gravity or weather.

And, oh, I know I will still feel my rage and rage and rage
But I won’t act like I’m the only person onstage.

I am one more citizen marching against hatred.
Alone, we are defenseless. Collected, we are sacred.

Excerpted from “Hymn” by Sherman Alexie.

Please go read the whole poem.1Update. According to NPR, Sherman Alexie “issued a statement admitting he ‘has harmed’ others, after rumors and allegations began to circulate about sexual harassment.” I don’t know how we deal with situations like this. We can’t ignore, yet do we wipe their work from the public space? Maybe. At least we provide an asterisk, a footnote. Maybe you don’t go read the whole poem. At least now, it’s your choice.

“Sick of Politics” is privilege in action

I want my friends to understand that being “sick of politics” is privilege in action. Your privilege allows you to live a non-political existence. Your wealth, your race, your abilities or your gender allows you to live a life in which you likely will not be a target of bigotry, attacks, deportation, or genocide. You don’t want to get political, you don’t want to fight because your life and safety are not at stake.

It’s hard and exhausting to bring up issues of oppression (aka “get political”). The fighting is tiring. I get it. Self-care is essential. But if you find politics annoying and you just want everyone to be nice, please know that people are literally fighting for their lives and safety. You might not see it, but that’s what privilege does.

Kristen Tea

Guilty as charged. :-(

Brave faith

Any faith that admires truth, that strives to know God, must be brave enough to accommodate the universe.

“Palmer Joss” in the novel Contact by Carl Sagan