Black Lives AND Cops’ Lives

Last year my local newspaper published an op-ed criticizing Black Lives Matter. Normally I’m fine with critique as long as it is fair and helpful. This was not.

Writing a response to the columnist, to the publisher and the editor seemed like a proper way to express my opinion and present an alternative viewpoint. I worked hard to be respectful even though I felt her words were reckless and inflammatory. Continue reading Black Lives AND Cops’ Lives

Guest Post: Sharing Our Stories

R-ewGNaa67LLmbfaVQOlwdJ4TUmh48f6abXv2K-TFdb2caykx_WbYCbBQNSS3j0bybsI7WZYAs0NRuuR8CIOmdDo8EG2r9i7UuLDdnUHtxXYH0g9HIeB94c-1BVVP_OYwrb3NVzSFrom Debilyn Molineaux
President Coffee Party USA

Events of the past week or two have brought many American issues to the forefront and many people to a tipping point, myself included. What do you need to say that must be heard?

Join us for an evening of sharing in a judgment free space.

Sharing our Stories
Monday, July 11, 2016
6:00pm PT / 9:00pm ET (2 hours)

My story:

I feel undone. Our country seems so fragile at the moment. Since the shooting of the police officers in Dallas, I’ve been distraught.  Our neighbors should be safe. Our police officers should be safe at a peaceful protest.  And yet, my neighbors are not as safe as I am…because of our history of racism.  While many claim the color of our skin does not matter (because it shouldn’t), there are families who fear for their loved ones every day.  I’m angry.  I’m sad.  I want to stay home, where I feel safe. But being alone and safe is not the answer.  I want all my friends and neighbors to feel safe as they live their lives. It is important to me now in a visceral way that it wasn’t before.  I used to say, “it may be my problem, I’ll look at that later.” I have changed and shifted to say “NO MORE.”

Please join us Monday evening in a conference call: express yourself and listen while others share their story.  It is time for us to come together.

You make a difference!

Debilyn Molineaux
President Coffee Party USA

This is Charlotte inviting my Intersections friends to join me in this opportunity to Share Our Stories. Each of us has had our own experience of the complex and heartbreaking events of the past week. From Baton Rouge to MinnesCVC photoota to Dallas, our world continues to be in turmoil.

Do you need a safe place to talk about it? Do you need someone to listen? Let’s be there for each other.

Register here for

Sharing Our Stories

Monday July 11

6 pm PT / 9 pm ET

Charlotte Vaughan Coyle lives in Paris TX and blogs about intersections of faith, culture and politics on her website and Intersections Facebook page. She frequentlyIntersections logo shares her thoughts with Coffee Party USA as a regular volunteer.

Charlotte is an ordained minister within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and also blogs about Scripture from a progressive Christian approach in her Living in The Story Musings.

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Charlotte’s Letter to Sen. Cruz: Earth Day 2016

Dear Senator Cruz,

Earth Day greetings to you and your beautiful daughters. nativeamericanquote-6w415-1 Earth Day is a good time to repeat this wise proverb: We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children.

I know you love your children and want what is best for them. I love my grandchildren and dream of a bright future for them as well. But you and I both know our current generation is not doing enough to provide a future with hope for your children or mine; or for all our children from whom we have borrowed this planet.

Protecting and conserving this earth ought to be right up your alley. After all you do call yourself a Conservative so it seems to me you should be on the front lines advocating for the conservation of the earth.

Continue reading Charlotte’s Letter to Sen. Cruz: Earth Day 2016

Charlotte’s Letter to Senator Ted Cruz: Whose Religious Liberty?

Dear Senator Cruz,

I’ve been looking at the information about your newly formed Religious Liberty Advisory Council. Reading your description and recognizing some of the people you have appointed to serve as advisors, I have to ask: Whose religious liberty are you seeking to protect?

Of course, as soon as I ask that question, I know the answer. constitution-426x225  Continue reading Charlotte’s Letter to Senator Ted Cruz: Whose Religious Liberty?

Religion and Culture: Two Sides of a Coin

I’ve just started my third online course in Harvard’s Religious Literacy project. 56c77bc51e000022007026fa This is good stuff. And fascinating. And absolutely vital as we seek to live well together within this diverse, global human family.

Two core tenets guide this continuing education project: one, that the culture of a people cannot properly be understood apart from its religious influences. And two, that no religion can be properly understood without knowing something about the culture that shaped it. The two are inextricably connected. Religion and Culture: two sides of a coin.

I know there are plenty of purists who will want to argue this thesis, but it rings absolutely true for me.

As a recovering Fundamentalist Christian, I am ever so grateful for the larger perspective that I gained about my own faith when I began to name the White Southern Patriarchal cultural influences that created the small Christianity of my childhood. Recognizing the reality that my religion had been shaped by its culture has freed me from a blind allegiance and allowed me to move into a wider, rainbow experience of faith. I have come to believe that there is no such thing as a “pure” religion. Across history, across the far reaches of the globe, my religion and all religions have been molded in deep ways by the various environments in which they are rooted and grown.

This is not a bad thing. Religious faith ought to be multicultural.

Some years ago, when I lived near a popular mosque and would visit there with my Muslim neighbors, I recognized how the one basic religion of Islam has multiple manifestations based on the nations and cultures from whence these people had come. I learned that the dress and the customs and the piety are different for faithful Muslims who come from different nations. I found the faith of Islam to be as diverse as my own Christian faith.

So I’m looking forward to learning more about this religion of Islam and the Scriptures that nearly a quarter of the people on the planet hold dear. I grow weary of non-Muslims quoting the Quran as if they know what they are talking about. As if they are experts. As if there is only one way to interpret the complex sacred texts of a complex people. This kind of presumptuous arrogance does nothing to facilitate greater understanding across our differences.

blogger-image--1857155484 These classes are helping educate me about some of the ways a people’s religion intersects with a society’s culture. These studies are reminding me that the authentic practice of religion will always lead its practitioners to seek the common good of all humanity. These insights are giving me more appreciation for the wisdom we humans need in order to maintain a healthy balance between the two sides of this coin.

So the Religious Literacy courses are adding lots of new knowledge and a new appreciation for the rich diversity of our human community. My faith is wider, richer and more gracious than it ever was before. My faith is both more confident and (at the same time) more humble.

There is a desperate need for people to do a better job of talking to – and listening to – each other across our divides.

More of us need to be students, learners, listeners. The world is a very big place and we all have much to learn. It is possible to be both confident in our own beliefs and curious, open and respectful of other beliefs. This kind of open, humble curiosity fosters a rich climate for talking, listening and understanding.

 

Harvard-comes-up-with-FREE-Online-Course-to-promote-Religious-Literacy-fight-MisunderstandingsThe courses in the World Religions through Their Scriptures series are offered free of charge. (Free to audit; $50 for a certificate) Follow this link to learn more about Harvard’s edX courses in the Religious Literacy Project.

https://www.edx.org/xseries/world-religions-through-scriptures

 

Charlotte Vaughan Coyle lives in Paris TX and blogs about intersections of faith, culture and politics on her website and Intersections Facebook page. She frequentlyIntersections logo shares her thoughts with Coffee Party USA as a regular volunteer.

Charlotte is an ordained minister within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and also blogs about Scripture from a progressive Christian approach in her Living in The Story Musings.

Letter to the Judiciary Committee on Advice and Consent

Dear Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate,

I’ve read your letter to Senate Majority Leader McConnell stating your intention to block any vote on a nominee for the Supreme Court until next year.  Senate-Judiciary-Committee-immigration-reform-legislation-APSenator McConnell said (long before Merritt Garland was even nominated) he would not even meet with a nominee. You and your fellow Republicans refer to this commitment as an “exercise of constitutional power” designed to “protect the will of the American people.”

There is a fundamental problem with your logic:

since the American people elected President Obama twice by wide margins knowing at the time there was a high probability there would be some Supreme Court appointments during his terms, then please understand that the majority of “the American people” already have made our will perfectly clear: we want President Obama to choose the next justice for the Supreme Court.

The American people want you and other Senators to receive the President’s nominee respectfully. We want you to offer fair hearings. We want to you allow the “full and robust debate” that this constitutional process is designed to produce. We want you to advise and consent based on the merits of the nominee, not on your particular pet ideologies. THIS is the “constitutional power” entrusted to you.

Our Founders created this impressive document in the midst of great debate and diversity. constitution-426x225 It represents a commitment to the principles of compromise and collaboration. It models a wise, ongoing approach of respectful negotiation between strong differences of opinion. Its spirit of e pluribus unum sets the stage well for our life together as an increasingly diverse community.

Claiming “constitutional authority” to obstruct the constitutional process of “advice and consent” dishonors the very Constitution you purport to serve.

It is “the will of the American people” that you respect the Constitution and do your job. Protect that.

Respectfully yours,

Rev. Charlotte Vaughan Coyle

 

Here is a link to the Senate Judiciary Committee members. You can find contact information for each of the senators from this GovTrack.us website.

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/committees/SSJU

 

Charlotte Vaughan Coyle lives in Paris TX and blogs about intersections of faith, culture and politics on her website and Intersections Facebook page. She frequentlyIntersections logo shares her thoughts with Coffee Party USA as a regular volunteer.

Charlotte is an ordained minister within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and also blogs about Scripture from a progressive Christian approach in her Living in The Story Musings.

 

 

 

 

Charlotte’s Letter to Sen. Cruz on Advice and Consent

Dear Senator Cruz,

I’ve read your recent letter to Senate Majority Leader McConnell stating your intention to block any vote on a nominee for the Supreme Court until next year. You and your fellow Republicans refer to this commitment as an “exercise of constitutional power” designed to “protect the will of the American people.”

Senator Cruz,

since the American people elected President Obama twice by wide margins;

since we voters understood at the time that there was a high probability there would be a Supreme Court appointment during his term;

since “a full and robust debate” is exactly what this constitutional process is designed to produce,

then please know that “the American people” already have made our will perfectly clear: we want President Obama to choose the next justice for the Supreme Court.
Continue reading Charlotte’s Letter to Sen. Cruz on Advice and Consent

Absolutely Stunning

I visited an exhibit recently that featured ancient Persian and Islamic art.  As I walked through the room admiring intricately crafted metals, skillfully fashioned porcelains and elaborately penned texts, the word that came to my mind was “stunning.” While I marveled at the beauty of these objects, I heard another admirer remark: “This is absolutely stunning.” Indeed it was.IMG_0936

Later, as I thought back over my experience and what I had learned about the history and culture of Islam; later as I pondered the vitriol and ugliness of our current public conversation about the people of Islam, another thought came to my mind: “There is some absolutely stunning arrogance out there.” Continue reading Absolutely Stunning

Charlotte’s Letter to Senator Cruz on Protecting Women’s Health

Dear Senator Cruz,

As a constituent from Texas, I received your latest email touting the recent amicus brief you filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Texas House Bill 2. You described H.B. 2 as an effort “to defend commonsense safety standards,” “to enact medical protections for women,” and “to protect the sanctity of life and the health of women.”

Let’s talk some more about protecting women’s health and their sacred lives.

Continue reading Charlotte’s Letter to Senator Cruz on Protecting Women’s Health

Charlotte’s Letter to Senator Cruz after the Iowa Caucus

Dear Senator Cruz,

I hear you won the Iowa Caucus on the Republican side. Your political savvy seems to have been successful with white Evangelical voters. I’ll be curious to see how your message resonates within our more diverse populations. You do remember that the United States of America is a highly diverse nation, right?

We are not only Red and White, but we are Blue and Black and Brown and Gay and Straight and Rich and Poor and Old and Young. 386046_353558644673595_1744144592_n If you would be president of these United States, then you are going to have to proclaim a word that makes sense to more than just your select tribe. If you would be president of this wonderfully diverse nation, then you should actually believe in the beauty of our differences.

Continue reading Charlotte’s Letter to Senator Cruz after the Iowa Caucus