Homeland Militarization can’t be our future

Featured

What is happening in Portland and American cities where Black Lives Matter continues to oppose the violence and lawlessness of those sworn to protect and serve. A search through previous Views from the Edge posts led back to August 22, 2014.

Click THIS LINK to read “Homeland Militarization — tanks in Ferguson, Blackhawks in Minneapolis — must be stopped” published by MinnPost.com. The conversation — 38 comments — was more telling than the piece. In 2017 the MinnPost commentary became the 30th of the 48 brief social commentaries of Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness (2017, Wipf and Stock).

Today’s NYT sounds an alarm with a picture from the June 6, 2020 cover of Der Spiegel (6.6.20) depicting Donald Trump with a match. What German readers see feels chillingly familiar. They still smell the smoke from 1933.

Thanks for coming by. Be careful out there. Wear a mask to stay safe, and tonight –while mourners pay their respects to John Lewis in sanctuary of the African-American Episcopal Church of Selma and prepare for his last trip across the Edmund Pettus Bridge — make some good trouble, the only kind that heals a broken world.

Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN July 25, 2020.

Resurrection of a Dead Sermon

Video

Pardon, please, the posting of an old sermon. It’s the best I can do this morning.

With “thanks, thanks, and ever thanks” to the gentle people of Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church in Chaska, MN — Gordon C. Stewart, author of Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness (2017 Wipf and Stock), a collection of 49 brief reflections written from inside the furnace of the refiner’s fire; Chaska, MN, July 25, 2020.

John Lewis: “we all live in the same house”

Featured

Giving thanks for Congressman John Lewis

So much can and should be said following the death of Congressman John Lewis, but every attempt to pay tribute to him here on Views from the Edge fails to reach the high bar of tribute and thanksgiving to which he is entitled. Into this wordless void came a message sharing Eric Whitacre’s virtual global choir singing “Sing Gently” – the sound of hope and gentleness that sings what words cannot say.

The Congressman’s words after watching video of George Floyd’s death reach are as deep and wide as Eric Whitacre’s musical testimony (scroll down).

“We’re one people,” he said, “we’re one family. We all live in the same house, not just the American house but the world house.”

YouTube of virtual global choir singing Eric Whitacre’s composition “Sing Gently”

They cracked his skull at the Pettus Bridge; his character remained unbroken

John Lewis’s skull was cracked by officers enforcing the law-and-order of white supremacy and white nationalism, but his faith and Christ-like character could not be broken. He was as gentle as he was strong.

Sing boldly. Sing gently. If John Lewis found the strength and courage to sing his way through all the troubled waters his world was making, who am I to keep from singing?

Gordon C. Stewart, author of Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness (2017 Wipf and Stock) available on the publisher’s website and on Amazon, Chaska, MN, July 20, 2020.

Elijah knows his ABCs

Video

Oops! Editorial Correction: Wrong Birthday!

Elijah’s joy reciting his ABCs, posted moments ago, was Not on Elijah’s birthday! It was his mother’s.

Elijah says his ABCs

Thanks for dropping by for Mommy’s birthday party,

Elijah and Bumpa, July 15, 2020

The Stone that Floats

Featured

The stone-skipping little boy

As a child you may have scanned the shoreline for just the right flat rock to skip. When you were lucky, the stone you picked skimmed the the water, skipping five, six, seven or —if you had thrown it side-arm like the ageless Satchel Paige — eleven or twelve times, or more. Some day you might make it to the Bigs!

You lost all sense of time. It was you, the water, and the latest stone you had freed from among the millions of unremarkable rocks and pebbles on the shoreline. The stone couldn’t be too big or too small. It couldn’t be too heavy or too light. It couldn’t be round, rough, or jagged.. It had to be flat to skim across the water, or it would sink like a stone and disappear. Or cause a loud splash that only losers make.

Last Friday, in the darkness, a little boy picked a jaggest stone, hoping against reason, that, if he commuted its sentence as worthy of skipping its sentence, it would draw little attention. The boy leaped for joy until the splash was heard around the shoreline. The Stone did not skip or sink. It floats like styrofoam. The boy insists the Stone was flat and worth the skip. The ripples from the splash grow wider by the hour.

Three days later: Washington, D.C.

A federal judge on Monday demanded more information about the boy’s selection of the stone for special treatment.

Later in the day, the boy told reporters that he was getting “rave reviews” for picking Stone and restated his position that the Russia investigation “should have never taken place.”

While Stone floats, the little boy is sinking.

Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, author, Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness (2017, Wipf and Stock), Chaska, Minnesota, July 14, 2020.

Intended and Unintended Consequences

Featured

My Brain is a Lump of Spaghetti

Nothing makes sense. Or maybe it does. And that’s what worries me.

My brain is a bowl of congealed spaghetti. Too many strands — so many memories and convictions — to pull them apart and know where to begin.

I take heart that the video of the lynching of George Floyd under a white cop’s knee has led to greater public consciousness of white privilege and proposals for dismantling the structural racism in which we are trapped.

Wise as Serpents

Experience also tells me that our good intentions sometimes produce unintended consequences. The momentary warmth of good intentions can fool us into thinking the campfire rids the world of ice. Sometimes those who gather around the campfire with the best of hopes get blamed by those who set the forest on fire. Those who intend the good must also be as wise as serpents, which brings me to Robert Reich’s video “Trump’s 2020 Election Strategy in 25 Steps.”

A Narcissistic Arsonist?

What do we do when a narcissist in the Oval Office is an arsonist? It’s happened before. It’s happening again. Watch and listen to Professor Robert Reich.

Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, July 1, 2020.

Letter to Readers of Views from the Edge

Featured

Dear Friends,

It’s been a while.

Views from the Edge has been unusually silent after the video of George Floyd’s murder under a white Minneapolis Police Department cop’s knee went viral. The silence has its reasons. Sometimes I rub my eyes to be sure the movement of protest is real. Other times I feel I’ve seen it all before, over and over, but most especially during eight years in the cross-hairs of the police and the community as executive director of the Legal Rights Center, founded by black civil rights leaders and the American Indian Movement.

You can’t write or speak without words, or when the knot in your stomach will only let you moan or groan or scream a primal cry of helplessness, or when your head becomes an atom smasher with too many memories. When words come together to form sentences, paragraphs, and pages that speak more clearly, Views from the Edge will break the silence.

Thank you for your moral support and encouragement. Take good care of others and yourself.

Grace and peace,

Gordon

Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, Minnesota, June 21, 2002.le

Let those who gloat over me turn back

Featured

The sight of a white police officer pressing his knee on George Floyd’s neck is horrific, and because it is so egregious, it is a teachable moment of why and how different people see things differently. Things like law enforcement. . . or the Bible . . . or the news. Black churches in America are likely to rejoice in biblical texts that white Christians avoid as too harsh, too “us v. them,” too black and white, so to speak.

This morning I’m hearing Psalm 70 as the voice George Floyd’s brother Philonise bearing testimony before a committee of the United Sates Congress 401 years after Jamestown.

Be pleased, O God, to deliver me; *
    O LORD, make haste to help me.

Let those who seek my life be ashamed
and altogether dismayed; *
    let those who take pleasure in my misfortune
    draw back and be disgraced. 

Let those who say to me "Aha!" and gloat over me turn back, *
    because they are ashamed.

Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; *
    let those who love your salvation say for ever,
    "Great is the LORD!"

But as for me, I am poor and needy; *
    come to me speedily, O God.

You are my helper and my deliverer; *
    O LORD, do not tarry.
 
-- Psalm 70, Book of Common Prayer Daily Office Lectionary, p.970.

Seeing America from on Top or from Below the Knee

“My concern is to understand America biblically,” wrote street lawyer theologian William Stringfellow, “– not the other way around, not (to put it in an appropriately awkward way) to understand the Bible Americanly.” — William Stringfellow, An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land (Reprint, Wipf and Stock, 2004).

Be pleased, O God, to deliver me. I, a child of privilege, need help. Let me not be ashamed. O Lord, do not tarry.

Gordon C. Stewart, by the wetland, Minnesota, June 14, 2020.

Verse in Memory of George Floyd — The Trumpeter Swans (the Pen and the Cob)

Featured

THE TRUMPETER SWANS


The pen sits and waits
Upon her nest among 
The reeds where no
Man’s greed can steal
Or break the eggs
Beneath her breast

She blares no trumpet
To call attention to
Herself and the unborn
Cygnets she soon will
Carry on her back to
Keep them safe

She waits patiently in
Silence among the
Cat-tails where red-wing
Black birds soon will
Soar and swoop around 
Her nest to feed their kind

She sees no red, no
Black, no white, and
Hears no honking from
The noisy swamp where
Black birds die beneath
A rogue cob’s knee.

- Gordon C. Stewart, with the trumpeter swans by the wetland, June 3, 2020

The Anguished Heart of God

“Now the whole earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was filled with violence.” “The Lord was grieved that he had made man upon the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.”

Genesis, chapter 6, verses 11 and 6.

— Gordon C. Stewart with the trumpeter swans by the Minnesota wetland, June 4, 2020.on’t

Singularity and SALT — a short film

Video

Matthew and Elizabeth Myer Boulton of The SALT Project granted permission to share this short (4:29 min.) animated production.

Produced by the SALT Project.

Click HERE to learn more about SALT.

Matthew Myer-Boulton is the son of long-time friends Wayne (RIP) and Vicki Boulton.

Grace and Peace,

Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, May 26, 2020.