WHO WANTS TO BE A BLACK MAN? I published an article called John Hosa Wants to Be a White Man! on The Huffington Post last week. While it received some interesting comments on Facebook and on Huff-post, I have yet to find any white folks who said they wanted trade places John Hosa, Keith Scotts, Terence Crutcher, Tamir Rice, or any other African-American, killed or living.

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My friend, an educator and organizer, shared a short clip of American educator, Jane Elliot speaking about race to a group of college kids. It’s a powerful scene. She invites all those white people in the lecture hall who want to be treated the way “our black citizens are treated in this society” to stand. Of course, not one person stands up. Elliot says that the fact that no one stood-up “says very plainly that you know what’s happening, you know you don’t want it for you. I want to know why you’re so willingly to accept it or allow it to happen for others.”

If you’re not already involved with a good church or with community organizations that are actively engaged in conversation about justice and working toward racial healing in America, I encourage you to get engaged now. And while you’re at it, get out and vote this November for those people and issues on the ballot that will best support the goal of ending racial inequality and injustice, and help us bring hope and healing to America.

Vote. Then act. Then act some more. If you find yourself losing steam, then answer the question: why does John Hosa want to be a white man. Or why you would never change places with him.

– RMG

 

Luke 15:1-10 – Jesus’s parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin follow accusations from some of the Pharisees and scribes that “this fellow” Jesus “welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

YOUR IDEA OF SUCCESS AND JESUS’S MIGHT BE DIFFERENT IF … you believe that to succeed you have to surround yourself with successful people. Jesus surrounded himself with the lowliest people of his day: sinners and tax collectors and, if you look closely and honestly, he had a good time with them, and them with him, eating and drinking and celebrating God’s amazing grace at every turn.

Even though Jesus was accused of being a “glutton and a drunkard” (Matthew 11:19), he seemed to prefer the company of the disenfranchised to those of the establishment. The Pharisees chose to critique Jesus, even accuse him of doing something wrong because of his grace-filled relationship with those on the edge. They missed the fact that there was room for them at the table, too.

Maybe the lost that Jesus is talking about in his peculiar parables that follow aren’t the ones who are already with Jesus – the sinners and tax collectors, but the Pharisees and the scribes who can’t seem to shake loose from tangled knots of the establishment. They’re surrounded by the so called successful in their midst, they enjoy a worldly power and privilege and, even though there’s little life in it for them, they’re not willing to give it up to hang out with this rogue from Galilee.

The question we might ask ourselves today is this: do we prefer to surround ourselves with successful people or to be at the party with Jesus?

– R. Mark Giuliano, September 2016

 

Proper 19C / Ordinary 24C / Pentecost +17

9/11 – 15 years later

Posted: September 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

September 11, 2001. Remember the date by honoring all those inspiring people in your life who fought the good fight and never lost hope – no matter how big their illness, tragedy or personal challenge was. Like and share this short tribute video with family and friends now.

It’s a scary video to watch. My friend, Scott, caught quite the scene on his camera at the CAV’s hometown victory celebration in downtown Cleveland yesterday. In the video, you’ll see a young girl who had climbed-up to a very high second story ledge with her boyfriend to get a good view of LeBron James and the CAV’s parade below but, then, didn’t know how to get herself down.

What impressed me about the situation is how many people were hoping and praying that the girl didn’t fall and seriously injure herself. In fact, after a group of people caught her, the crowd roared with delight that she was safe.

It seems to me that there a lot of people in America today who are on the edge, too. They’ve lost jobs and opportunities. They’re struggling to keep-up in an unstable and uncertain economy. And more and more, America’s losing its once proud and successful social safety net. People are falling and there are fewer resources to help catch them.

But what Scott’s video reminds me of is that if we’d just stop listening for a minute to the media and the politics of fear, which tend to blame or demonize those who struggle, you’ll find that people are essentially good-willed and don’t want to let each other fall. In fact, turn off the television or computer and tune-out the political rhetoric and social-media vitriol and you’ll find that even in a crowd of 1.3 million people, the estimated attendance in downtown Cleveland yesterday, most people want and will do some very generous things if you let them. It’s in our godly DNA. As Russell Simmons, Def Jam records co-founder and humanitarian once said, “compassion is the ultimate expression of your highest self.” Give people and chance to express that highest-self, the divine self, and they will.

I pray that in the thick of this election season, no matter who wants to build walls, cut taxes, make deals, close schools, decrease care, blame the poor for being poor, or leave any friend or stranger out on a ledge, that we might remember the image of a crowd of good people in downtown Cleveland who would not let a young girl perish.

Ending Gun ViolenceMany will recognize that, below, I have updated Martin Niemöller’s famous verse. Given the horrific massacre in Orlando, Florida this past weekend, I feel an overwhelming need to “speak out” against the rampant gun violence in America.

First they came to Columbine High School and murdered 12 students and a teacher, and I uttered under my breath “How awful, Lord!”
But I did not speak out—
Because I was not a high school student.

Then one came to Newtown, Connecticut and murdered 20 little children and 6 of their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and I cried, “How utterly sad, Lord!”
But I did not speak out—
Because I was sure our government would finally do something.

Then they came to San Bernardino, a husband and wife, and murdered 14 civilians and injured 22 more, and I whispered, “How terrible, Lord!” But I did not speak out-
Because California is a long way away from Ohio.

Then one came to a night club in Orlando, riddled the room with bullets and massacred 49 gays and injured 53 others, and I said, “How Horrific, Lord!”
But I did not speak out –
Because I am not gay.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

– R. Mark Giuliano

Ending Gun ViolenceThis speech and prayer was offered at Tri-C last fall for a Community Health Forum on ending gun violence. In the wake of the tragedy in Orlando this past weekend, I just felt a need to share it today. Please join me in (re)committing ourselves to doing what is right and ending the gun insanity in America!

Please note: There will be an Orlando prayer vigil tonight (Monday June 13th).

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I was honored to have been the invited invocational speaker as Rotary Club of Cleveland and Rotary International honored Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson.