Sunday, May 31, 2009

I have a lot on my mind....

...things like: I'm not really sure that it was so awful that Sonia Sotomayor said that she thought that sometimes a wise Latina might make a better decision than a white male. Everyone is having conniption fits about it, thinking that she is being biased, and this shows a particular mentality, you know, "reverse discrimination", or even "racism." (I'm putting "racism" in quotes, because it's my understanding that while anyone can be prejudiced, racism has to do with the overt and assumed power of the dominant class over minorities.)

I'm thinking also that for so long it was assumed that "white male" was THE norm, and that twelve white men could be considered "a jury of your peers", for, say, a woman, a black man in the South, or any minority. Please, also, let's not forget that there was a time when only white men could serve on juries. Perhaps, as Ms. Sotomayer has said, it was a poorly worded sentence.

I'm just going to go on record that I think that sometimes a wise Latina would actually make a fairer decision than a white male.

***

So Pentecost, the third major festival of the church year, every bit as important as Christmas and Easter, almost always takes place in the summer, and just doesn't get as much pizzazz. No midnight services with candles, no special carols, no "Pentecost dinners" with the whole family coming over. We did have a choir at 10:00 this year, and the Senior Pastor's children's message was a stroke of genius. He had a children's toy, it looked like some kind of a plastic toy air pump with a plastic rocket attached to it, and he had the kids feel the little burst of air when he squeezed the pump. Then he put the pump on the ground and launched the rocket in to the air. I didn't say this, but I thought, "maybe we should have done this on Ascension." Bad me. Bad me.

I also thought of the line from Annie Dillard's book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (and I don't have the exact citation) where she said that if we really understood what was going on at worship, what we were praying for, we'd all be wearing pith helmets.

***

I'm still thinking about whether I will post my Pentecost sermon. I'm thinking so many Pentecost-al thoughts lately, and they did not all get into the sermon. In fact, most of them didn't. I thought about the Service of the Word at my Synod Assembly on Saturday, presented by Bread of Life Lutheran Church, the only Deaf Congregation in the ELCA. Did you know that 90% of deaf people are unchurched? They long ago got the message that the church considered them defective, and that somehow their disability was the result of something they did wrong. I had no idea. But Pentecost is all about the Spirit widening our circle, telling us that the love of God is bigger and wider than all of our categories and all of our prejudices and all of the barriers we can erect.

***
Here's a story:

Once upon a time there was a funeral for a grandpa. At the visitation, grandma and children and grandchildren were there, including two granddaughters. The older was was eight years old. She had something she wanted to put into her grandfather's casket. It was a letter.

It was not a letter to him. It was a letter that she wanted her grandfather to deliver to someone else. She wanted her grandfather, when he got to heaven, to deliver this letter to her other grandmother, her mother's mother.

This grandmother had also died recently. This grandmother also had lived in Korea.

Her grandfather and grandmother had never met. They didn't speak the same language. They lived on the other side of the world from one another. But this 8 year old girl was sure that in heaven they would meet, and would know each other, and would be able to communicate.

Is this a vision? I think this is a vision, and not just of heaven, but of the Kingdom of God, the kind of world God is bringing to be. It's a vision of barriers of culture and language and time and place being broken down, and replaced with a vision of the wide wide love of God

"Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy...."

7 comments:

Lindy said...

I think you are right about Sonia Sotomayor. I would like some assurances from her on Roe v Wade, and some reason to be hopeful about marriage equality. But, I agree that the conniption comments are red herrings.

Did you know that Pentecost used to be a much bigger deal? In Italy they used to throw rose petals off the church roofs to simulate the tongues of fire. I think it was observed as an octave. Not sure on that. But, I know it was much bigger than it is today. Even as recently as 1980=90's in Virginia we wore all red to church on Pentecost. I didn't see anyone in red today but I am in pretty much Protestant country.

Your posts often make me feel as if I've been to church. Thank you Diane.

Love to Scout, and some pets because she's so pretty.

Unlikely said...

Diane and Linda,

It looks like this fuss is much to do about nothing much at all. The people who are making noise are

1) the press, who just want to create the appearance of conflict to sell their stories, and

2) politicians and pundits who are trying to get some attention to themselves by claiming some great offense at her remarks.

The best defense to either of these two groups is to either ignore them or call them out for not adding anything new to the national dialogue.

Purple said...

I continue to be amazed (well some days not really) at the level of division that in so many areas. It gets wearisome (is that a word) at times.

Annie Dillard has some of the best ideas.

Marsha said...

If, as most detractors are stating, that all judges should wear blindfolds and make their determinations strictly on the law as it exists, then why are there ever dissenting opinions? Seems to me that the only way dissenting opinions ever come about is because of the backgrounds of the justices making the determinations and how that colors their perspective.

As things stand now, I think in the end she will sail through.

mompriest said...

Let's see if this link works...it's from the Washington Post and a wonderful article about SotomayorAnd, I agree with all that is said here. I'm with Lindy, too.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

interesting stuff...

i touched on that too about Pentecost being just as "big" as Easter and Christmas... but where's the celebration?? we seem spirit-less in fact...

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

This is the second time in a space of 15 minutes that I've read the comment that Pentecost is as important as Christmas and Easter. That is a new perspective to me, and I am grateful for it.

I hope your arm is healing.