It’s my/our problem

Cogitation 23 Friday 5 June 2020 Violence doesn’t have problems. Viruses don’t have problems. Mother Nature doesn’t have problems. It’s my/our problem. It’s about how human beings address problems. In matters of human relations, illness, natural disasters, we can either do the right thing–for me that’s according to the dictates of Scripture, along with reasoned public discourse and law–or power our way through quicksand.

George Floyd mattered and matters. The life denied George Floyd reveals the mind-twisted, unconscionable, violent way many African Americans have been regarded and have been dying since slavery.

George Floyd calls us to join in speaking truth to the systemic issues that cause racism, oppression and death. I am grateful for knees bowed in reverence and solidarity on the streets, as for the celebration of oneness among the peaceful protesters.

The urgencies of the moment take us deep inside who we are as individuals, communities, nation, and global family. We are many and we are one. In these tempestuous hours, I, a privileged Anglo, am triply called to join the human family in acting for positive change concerning race relations, pandemic and climate change.

I quote, without context or direct application, the last verses of Chapter 14 of the Old Testament prophet, Hosea: “Those who are wise understand these things; those who are discerning know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but the transgressors stumble in them.”

The photos from the past week show how distant I have been physically from the moments of truth, the tipping point, the call being forged by people in the streets in this country and elsewhere to attend to what really matters. God grant me/us understanding, self-examination, changed action.

Tracking my week

DeFries Gardens, New Paris

River Preserve County Park

Greencroft campus

Death, Covid-19, climate

There are many wise people, past and present, from within our nation and every corner of the world, who call us to action to create a new day for all. We hear and see them responding to the death of George Floyd. Another such call comes from Sir David Attenborough: “The coronavirus is about dying tomorrow. With climate change, we’re talking about my grandchildren dying.” God, in your mercy, help us.

Blessed are the truth-tellers (During the Pandemic)

By Revd Peter Crumpler

ITV News journalist and presenter Julie Etchingham, a practising Christian, has defended the role played by journalists during the Coronavirus pandemic. She told the Christians in Media website, “Reporters are coming in for a lot of flack for the questions they are asking government. But what else are we for?”

We all get that this is a crisis like no other; that few in government have ever had to navigate such a challenge. “But, if we’re still attempting to function as a democracy in the face of this, then scrutiny is clearly crucial. Many in our frontline services and the wider public are demanding answers. We are there on their behalf.

We don’t always get it right. This isn’t a moment to trip people up, but urgently to get to the truth.” As a Christian who has worked in communications for around 50 years, I strongly support Julie Etchingham’s view. Now is the time for truth and accuracy to be at the centre of all our communications.

So, yes we need to be praying for and supporting the front-line health service staff, the public health experts, the scientists researching vaccines to combat the virus, and the key workers keeping our societies running. But we also need to be praying for and supporting the men and women working in and with the media to publish, upload, broadcast and distribute the most accurate information, without spin or distortion.

So here is a prayer for the media in these challenging days:

Loving God, We pray for everyone working in and with media in these challenging times. Encourage all who seek to explain and interpret the fast changing world around us. Embolden the truth-tellers, truth-seekers and factcheckers. Promote coverage that builds our shared humanity and where everyone has a voice. Bring clarity where there is confusion. Bring knowledge where there is speculation. Bring wisdom and insight when the way ahead seems unclear. And bring us all to a knowledge of truth that sets us free, and helps keep us safe. In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Revd Crumpler is a Church of England priest in St Albans, Hertfordshire, and a former communications director with the Church of England. Reprinted from New Contact, June – July, 2020, publication of the Benefice of St Anta and All Saints and St Uny, Cornwall, UK.

Tot to tree

Just something one sees when out for a walk. It’s a prod to a bit of musing. Best!

-John

4 thoughts on “It’s my/our problem

    1. Good to hear from you, Doris. We plod on, no sally forth, or maybe it’s setting a happy stride. In any case, we stay calm and walk on. Best!

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  1. Thanks, John. Yes, the murder of George Floyd has ignited protests and anger heard around the world. America was born in slavery and then of course the Civil War freed the slaves but it did not end racism. We need a process of Truth and Reconciliation like South Africa used to transition from Apartheid to a free and equal society. Many policemen act with impunity as if they are untouchable and this needs to change. All of us need to be involved in these changes!

    Monty

    May the God of Wonder be with you, delighting you with the beauty of sunrise and the majesty of sunset, with the song of the bird and the fragrance of the flower.

    >

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    1. The times are a’changing. We’ve been through parts before. This time has greater oomph. Thanks for your essential part.

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