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Photos From the #RESISTANCE

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PHOTOS FROM THE #RESISTANCE

What a loaded word these days, made more powerful by the hashtag that’s often in front of it.

#Resist.

It’s a blessed word, too, encapsulating everything that guy Jesus talked about two thousand years ago. Resisting corrupt systems of power, resisting the worship of money and material things, resisting the all-too-human impulse to judge and divide people from one another, resisting the hubris and ego that pit us against each other instead of recognizing that we are all in this crazy life together and our species will only survive if we love one another.

Today’s word prompt from WordPress could produce a book, and I’m sure there are several being penned as we speak. Sadly, I don’t have time to write much today. But I hope you are thinking resistance. A lot. Especially if you are a follower of Jesus. Because those things that Jesus spent his life resisting? They all live in the White House right now.

Here are some pictures from Saturday’s White House rally in support of refugees and our Muslim brothers and sisters.

#Resist

Some buddies from church & I connected with other people of faith

Some buddies from church & I connected with other people of faith

 

This message could not be more important as the new administration tries to silence opposition and freedom of speech

This message could not be more important as the new administration tries to silence opposition and freedom of speech

 

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Not in my name.

Not in my name.

Love these signs together. We are one.

Love these signs together. We are one.

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Moments from the Women’s March

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Moments from the Women’s March

I’ve been to a lot of protests, marches, and demonstrations in my time, beginning with the Vietnam War. I have never seen anything like the crowd that converged on Washington, D.C. yesterday. And to think it wasn’t even the biggest rally of the day, and was one of 670 around the world!

The D.C. Department of Homeland Security said that the crowd surpassed 500,000 and was one of the largest in the history of our nation’s capitol. I’d call that successful by any measure. (OK, in Donald’s Twitter-world, it might have looked like a small group of losers and cry-babies, but I mean in reality where most of us live.)

I am still processing the images and basking in the afterglow (while moving my heating pad from achy hip to achy hip). I don’t have many words to share. But I do have pictures! So here are a few of my faves, and also a couple of chants that echoed off the government buildings lining Independence and Constitution avenues where we marched.

RALLY ON CONSTITUTION

Marching down Constitution Avenue

“Show me what democracy looks like!”
“THIS is what democracy looks like!”

 

Lots of pink

Pink, everywhere!

And it wasn’t just women, although we made the most noise.

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Animals have opinions, too

 

Real men wear pink

Real men wear pink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Do you think these guys could be terrorists? They have black hair.

 

“We need a leader!”

“Not a creepy tweeter!”

Pretty much sums it up

Pretty much sums it up

“Welcome to your first day!”

“We aren’t going to go away!”

“Welcome to your every day!

“We are never going away!”

After 5 hours of rallying and 90 minutes of marching, we reached the White House!

After 5 hours of rallying and 90 minutes of marching, we reached the White House!

And we left the new occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue a few mementos to ruminate on:

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So although yours truly is still cycling through all of these different reactions to our “accidental president,”

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yesterday helped remind me of the biggest truth of all in this new world of “fake news” and “alternative facts:”

me w sign at march

 

JANUARY 21, 2017:

 

 

January 21, 2017

 

 

 

 

Vibrant!

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This week’s photo challenge from WordPress is most welcome. They ask for something vibrant — the perfect antidote to a dreary February day! Never one to hold back from my friends in the blogosphere, I’ve selected a whole montage of cheerful and vivid memories from Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina, New Mexico, and Italy. Enjoy!

I Have a Dream

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I Have a Dream.

Only words, a collection of letters, random markings made divine when early humans first scratched symbols in the dirt, trying to communicate with each other. Trying to connect. The animals are here. The water is here. This is the way. This is what I know.

Only words, but words are all we have, and so we keep scratching.

I picture Martin Luther King, Junior, scratching away, crossing out, circling words, drawing arrows from one paragraph to another, shaking his head, crumpling up his paper, and starting again. Forgetting to pray, getting frustrated, praying, and starting again. And again.

He had a dream, and he needed words. And eventually, God answered his prayers and gave him the words that have been such an unspeakable gift to the world. I have a dream . . .

Today some folks from my church are getting together to watch Dr. King’s historic speech. Afterwards, we’ll talk about racial justice, white privilege, and reconciliation. It will probably be hard to find the right words. We’ll be afraid of using the wrong words. It might be hard to hear some of the words that are spoken; I mean really hear them.

We’ll forget to pray, get frustrated, pray, and start again.

“This is my experience. This is what I know.”

Words of Love

Words are a gift from God. Of course, they can be misused, even turned into weapons. Just tune in to a presidential debate, FOX News, or a so-called “Christian” broadcasting channel and you’ll see how words can be used to drive wedges and stoke the fires of hate and fear.

But love is stronger than hate or fear. Dr. King knew this. Words of love and hope have more power than words of hate and fear could ever dream of having. His words reach across the decades, bridging the great differences that divide us and diving deep into the common spirit that unites every one of us, throughout all time and beyond time.

This week’s photo challenge from WordPress is to share a photo that reflects the word: alphabet. This MLK Day post was inspired by these two photos taken outside a community center in rural New Mexico:

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The Magical Now

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The week between Christmas and New Year’s seems a sacred time, what’s called a “thin place” in Celtic spirituality: a place where the lines blur between this world and the next, the material and the metaphysical, the mundane and the spiritual. It’s liminal space, from the Latin meaning “threshold.”

We stand in the threshold of a new year, looking forward and looking back. The tree is still up, the radio is still playing Oh Holy Night, and you still see the occasional Santa hat or reindeer antlers bobbing down the grocery store aisle. People still smile at strangers for no reason.

The mood is bittersweet because we know the magic and the random smiles will soon be over, but now — right now — I revel in this in-between time.

The slight melancholy of what’s been lost is tinged with a burgeoning excitement of what might be. We get misty eyed singing “Should old acquaintance be forgot,” (especially when we’re singing it with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life), but we also look to the new year with childlike hope and anticipation.

Not everybody loves New Year’s Eve, but everybody loves contemplating new beginnings, even if they are the same new beginnings they contemplated the year before and the year before that, but never pursued. Maybe this will be the year . . .

This week’s WordPress photo challenge is well-timed. “Sometimes,” it says, “we get caught up in nostalgia, future fantasy, or both, and we don’t embrace the ‘now.’ For this week’s challenge, take a moment to notice your present, and share a photo of it.”

My “now” is a little sad. I miss my mom and my brother this time of year; the two-year anniversary of my brother’s passing was last week. At the same time, I am amazed at the transformation and healing I’ve experienced over the past year, and God’s presence and action is undeniable. I am challenged and growing in my new role as Pastor of Prayer and Healing at my church, and I feel as if I’m fully in the flow of cosmic intent. I’m expectant and excited to see what God has planned for me in 2016.

Here’s the photo I’ve selected to represent my now: a photo of my journal and my well-worn bible, taken at a recent quiet retreat day. This is my now – a time of reflection and connecting with Spirit, of letting go and of looking forward with hope.

As you ponder the past year and anticipate the next, I hope that you’ll take time to be present to this liminal week. Stand in the magical threshold of NOW with me and dare to dream.

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An Eye for Good News

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There’s been way too much bad news lately, right? The stuff of nightmares. So when this week’s photo challenge suggested the word “eye” as inspiration, I considered writing about the optical sight on the barrel of an assault rifle or the crazed eye of a terrorist behind a black mask.

But I’m weary of such topics, and besides, I haven’t personally taken photos of guns or terrorists and hope never to do so.

I have, however, photographed a pelican’s eye. Here it is:

Here's lookin' at you, kid.

Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.

This is a juvenile – isn’t he pretty, in a pterodactyl kind of way? Here he is in the water:

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Here, fishy fishy fishy…

Happily, this pelican-eye picture provides a reminder that good news happens.

You May Say I’m a Dreamer

When I was born in the fifties, Brown Pelicans had nearly disappeared from the continent, thanks to pesticide use. Endrin killed pelicans directly, and DDT weakened their egg shells so that they cracked when the parents stood on them (pellies warm their eggs with their feet).

In 1970, the year I entered high school, the birds were listed as a federal endangered species. Politicians worked together to confront the crisis (cue John Lennon’s song, Imagine), and within two years, DDT was banned and Endrin production was reduced.

By the time I started working at the Sierra Club a decade later, pelican populations along the Atlantic and eastern Gulf coasts were bouncing back, and when I left the Club almost 30 years later, pelicans nationwide had reached pre-pesticide numbers. The species was declared fully recovered in 2009.

All Eyes on Paris

So while many of us pause each morning before turning on our computers, televisions, or radios for fear of bad news, it’s important to remember that good things happen, too.

This post is dedicated to the thousands of conservationists working in Paris this week to negotiate a binding agreement that may at long last confront the crisis of climate change. All eyes are on you. Thank you, and may the Force be with you.

If you need another smile, check out the link to the photo challenge – Henry will melt your heart. Peace.

 

 

Three in Italy

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When I think of a trio, I think of the Three Stooges, the three blind mice, or Peter, Paul and Mary. My mind is a curious place. So there’s no telling how this post might have turned out. Fortunately, when I started browsing my photos in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge, “Trio,” I found this beauty, which I think you will agree surpasses Larry, Moe, and Curly Joe.

Jesus statues

 

These gorgeous statues usually stand over the famous “Gates of Paradise” of the Saint John Baptistery in Florence, Italy, but when I took this photograph they were at an exhibit at the Duomo in the center of the city.

The figures depict the Baptism of Christ, and were created by Andrea Sansovino between 1501 and 1503. It must have broken his heart, but he wasn’t able to complete his commission, so Christ and John the Baptist were completed by Vincenzo Danti. The angel wasn’t completed until 1752 by Innocenzo Spinazzi.

Nice, huh?

Click on the Trio photo challenge link above and check out the stunning picture of three redrock formations in the Utah desert.

 

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