Uprooting Racism: What is the role of Christians in America?
This Sunday's Sermon:

Uprooting Racism
What's a Christian Role?

Transcript of Last Sunday's Sermon below
: A Return to Hyper-Partisanship in the Pandemic: What's a Christian Role?
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Thanks again to Kateryna Pyatybratova for her help each week!

I will be online starting at 4:30 PM if want to work out any challenges getting on. If you aren't sure, get on early and meditate.

Social Hour is Discussion Hour
Discussion Hour last week was on our best as we grappled with complex issues by being curious toward others' political views. I included the transcript below in the bottom right column if you want to read it. Questions focused on what we can do to live out the gospel command to love our enemies.

Guidelines for a Good Discussion
This week I'll be speaking about racism and role we can play as individuals and a church in ending racism that plays out in murder.

You can begin practicing this in the discussion hour

Come to the discussion time with a curious mind. Be less interested in sharing what you know and more curious about what you want to learn.

Feel free to share differing viewpoints than what you heard in the sermon, but begin you comments with phrases, such as,
"While I found what you said interesting, I came out with a different perspective. Can I share that?"

Use your comments to encourage learning and participation. We are unique among many services that we hold discussions, so avoid combativeness and embrace curiosity.

Remember there's no need to agree with differing viewpoints, but it is important to demonstrate respect for all viewpoints.

Summer Services
In past years, Memorial Day would be the final service for the summer due to the heat in the church, Because we are online and in this crisis, we've decided to continue Sunday worship through June. The church board will come up with ideas to stay connected in July and August when the pastor takes his summer vacation. Let us know if you have an idea.

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Hang in there. I know these are challenging times. I’m glad we have each other and the Lord.

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Social Outreach

Spiritual Connection

Your Pastor
Rev. Richard L. Tafel



A Return to Hyper-Partisanship in the Pandemic: What's a Christian Role?

This Memorial Day Weekend, we remember those who gave their lives fighting against our enemies so we can live in a free nation. Today, the greatest threat to our nation’s future is no longer from enemies outside our borders it’s a war between Americans.
The pandemic which many of us hoped would bring us together is now breaking us apart.

The divisions are breaking out across the land. You’ve probably read stories of conflicts over opening and masks at stores. I had my own last week.
I ventured out to the Lowes out in Front Royal, VA to get some gardening supplies. I wore a mask and entered the check-out line marked with tape six feet apart. As I pulled up to check out the women at the register in her 60’s greeted me from behind a plastic curtain wearing her mask and gloves. We chatted briefly about the fact that Lowes had record sales and they were hiring.
The next thing I knew, the guy in line behind me shoved his flatbed right up to my ankles. He didn’t stop there as he lectured the women at the checkout.
“Your gloves are only spreading disease, lady, and your mask is only causing you to breathe in your own fumes, which will kill you.” Through her mask, she gave me a look of pleading telling me that this kind of thing is happening to her on a regular basis.
Then he targeted my mask. “Masks don’t make any sense. If you get it, you get it. It’s just your time. This whole thing is made up. It’s no different than the common flu. It is just culling the herd. People die with flu, too but they never report it. The media has just blown this up to hurt the president’s re-election.”
I turned back to him and said, “I’m wearing the mask, so I don’t infect someone else.”
His eyes grew wide.” You think you have it?” He rolled his cart back a foot.
I replied, “ I don’t know. It’s clear there are some people who have it have no symptoms. I know with all of this pollen last week I’ve been coughing ”
He rolled his cart back another three feet crashing into the people behind him.
I added, “I’m like you said if you get it you get it.”
The woman at the check out thanked me for getting him to back off.
Stories like this is playing out on a daily basis.
My story reflects the competing values in this crisis. Where do your rights to live the way you won't crash into mine, literally? Where do we draw the line between the public good versus our individual rights? How do we treat people in service roles? What story do we believe to guide us?
While the pandemic created a short period of unity it didn’t take long for our underlying divisions to re-emerge. There are many unknowns. Our uncertainty breeds anxiety. Anxiety likes clear answers and clear enemies. The most powerful meaning-making narratives in our culture right now are hyper-partisanship. We quickly retreated to the comfort of our political stories that demonize our opponents.
You might remember the traditional religious leader, Pastor Landon Spradlin who declared the virus a hoax being used by the elites against the President. He traveled to New Orleans to pray to crowds of Mardi Gras. He was certain his faith would protect him, and the elites were using the pandemic for their own gain. He died of the virus one month later.
Our science-based policy has been guessing as well. I personally remember the policy and medical experts getting it wrong. I was deciding whether to attend a church meeting in New York in the second week of March. I studied all the reports before I left. I saw the mayor of New York offering movie suggestions March 1, 2020, saying “Since I’m encouraging New Yorkers to go on with your lives + get out on the town despite Coronavirus, I thought I would offer some suggestions,”  I read that this was a disease that was only impacting older people. I read that there was no need for a mask, and it would be a waste to wear one. So, I went to NY washing my hands the whole way and sat with friends in a crowded restaurant after traveling through hundreds at the train station.
What I have since learned was I entered NY at the peak of infection. Everything that public health officials told me was wrong, but in both the case of the mayor and the pastor they were following narratives there weren’t accurate.
The reality is that all of us are doing our best and we are guessing. We will make mistakes. We simply don’t know what we don’t know. Most leaders are doing their best to give us the best information. Yet, instead of trying to figure this out together, we’ve put the pandemic right back into our political worldviews where we feel certain--where we are good, and the other side is evil.
The debate now is whether to open or not to open is playing out this same way.
Closers, want to hold off opening things up and they are right to be cautious. They argue that your decision not to suppress this disease will infect me and my family. They don’t want to risk death for any portion of the population. Their greatest risk is getting it from a person spreading it. However, many of them live lives that allow working from home with good internet and nice tech.
Openers, want to open things up and they are right to want to try to make a living. Many of them are experiencing the pain of lost livelihoods, crushing debt, and inability to educate children at home in tight quarters. They argue that your decision to shut down my work will destroy my family, the economy, and my mental health. However, they don’t address the reality that their choices can impact the health of others.
There is truth in the case made be Closers and Openers. America has always benefited from the tension and truth in differing viewpoints. They each bring a valid viewpoint to the table. But we’ve lost that ability to acknowledge the truth in other viewpoints.
The epidemic brings to life the danger of our warring partisanship that locks into an us versus them mentality.
What role can followers of Jesus bring to this partisan trench warfare?
First, we must envision a new politics and a new future of government with different leaders. Jesus today in the gospel message defines leadership as service. Swedenborg in his description of heavenly government describes that as well. I believe this is our future. I envision a politics where leaders are elected because they have the greatest ability to be of greatest service. Rather than ego and narcissism driving the goal of getting elected, political leaders will be drive by a desire to serve others.
How do we create a servant leader politics?
We must acknowledge the sin of hyper-partisanship of our current state.
Hyper-partisanship teaches that victory will come when my good side crushes your evil side in every political battle everywhere. The goal is complete domination and supremacy. Once we annihilate the other side, then our nation will return to unity.
Followers of Jesus recognize the goal of domination against others isn’t coming from love. The more we are fueled by hatred of our political opponents, the longer we’ll perpetuate a lose-lose political of recrimination. Practically speaking, it doesn’t lead to peace
Swedenborg repeatedly says that before something new can be created the old system must fall into a state of chaos. We are in that state of chaos now. How long it stays in chaos depends on how fast we can break free and offer a new political vision of built on deep respect for everyone.
Churches should become training grounds for this new way of being. We can teach new ways of developing empathy for those we disagree with. We can begin a practice like our discussion time where we really listening to other viewpoints. We can shift from a need to be right and heard to becoming more curious about viewpoints we don’t understand.
The path of peacemaking is not an easy one. It is When facing severe injustice, we can look to Christian leaders who lead the way before us. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr gave wise advice when he said. “If your opponent has a conscience, then follow Gandhi. But if your enemy has no conscience, like Hitler, then follow Bonhoeffer.”
The problem today is that both sides quickly move all debates to a battle against Hitler when they are not. Rev. King chose the path of Gandhi.
We can remember that loving doesn’t always mean liking. Understanding does not have to mean agreement. Forgiveness does not equal approval. Empathy does not mean we don’t speak out against injustice.
A politics of the beloved community requires personal spiritual evolution. It begins with followers of Jesus changing our lives We must each develop much deeper empathy for those we whose worldview we don’t understand. It requires that we resist the temptation to hate those we oppose politically. It means that we have to learn to listen to viewpoints from the other side. We need to look deeply at the pain and resentments driving some many toward hatred. We need to be careful in our intake of political propaganda that masks itself as journalism We must foster relationships with those, we disagree with knowing they are children of God and loved by God.
The illness of this pandemic has brought to light our deeper national illness of hyper-partisanship that is more dangerous to nation’s future than enemies outside our border.
Our house divided cannot stand.
This crisis makes more urgent our need to create a new politics of the beloved community. As followers of Jesus will need to raise up a generation of servant leaders who live out Jesus commands that we love of our neighbor and love of our enemies.
One practical way to begin this process is prayer. Let me close with my favorite-- the prayer of St. Francis.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it's in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it's in dying that we are born to Eternal Life

Tony Raffa becomes acting treasurer. Thanks to Nikiar Ahmadi for his leadership as our past treasurer.

This past week the the church officers appointed Tony Raffa to replace Niki Ahmadi as our church treasurer. His appointment will be confirmed at the annual meeting.

We thank Niki for playing a leadership role in guiding the church through the loan business plan that lead to the repair of our basement. He also pioneered a new online rental program called Peer Space for the church.

Thank you Niki for your leadership!

Tony Raffa takes overs as Treasurer with his background in creating start ups and advising social impact organizations.

Thank you Tony!
(Photo of Tony above and Niki with Maria below.)
Order of Worship

Light your own candle.

Set up your Bible or holy book at home.

Opening the Word
Open your Bible at home.

Welcome from Rev. Tafel

Rev. Tafel will greet everyone and ask for readers of the texts.

Read at home.

All: Eternal God, in whom we live and move and have our being,
whose face is hidden from us by our sins,

and whose mercy we forget in the blindness of our hearts:
cleanse us from all our offenses,

and deliver us from proud thoughts and vain desires,

that with reverent and humble hearts we may draw near to you,

confessing our faults, confiding in your grace, and finding in you our refuge and strength;


May almighty God have mercy on us,  forgive us our sins,  and bring us to everlasting life,  through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Ephesians 6

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—  3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”  a
4 Fathers,  b  do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.  6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.  7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people,  8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
9 And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

Swedenborg Insights

The African people are more capable of enlightenment than all other peoples on this earth, because they are of such character as to think interiorly and thus to accept truths and acknowledge them. Others, such as the Europeans, think only externally, receiving truths in their memory, but not seeing them interiorly in any light of the understanding—a light which they also do not acknowledge in matters of faith. ( The Last Judgment  118)

. . . Moreover, the Africans are more receptive than others in this earth, of the heavenly doctrine. . . . These willingly receive, from the angels, the doctrine concerning the Lord. They, more than any others, have it implanted in themselves that the Lord must appear altogether as a man, and that it can by no other means happen otherwise. They are in the capacity of receiving not only the truths of faith, but especially its goods. They are of the celestial genius. ( Spiritual Experiences  4783)

Matthew 25

The Sheep and the Goats
31 When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His glorious throne.  32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  33 He will place the sheep on His right and the goats on His left.
34 Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  35 For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in,  36 I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.’
37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink?  38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  39 When did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’
40 And the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’
41 Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  42 For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink,  43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
44 And they too will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’
45 Then the King will answer, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.’
46 And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”


We will save the discussion for after the service in our discussion hour.

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Community Prayers
Here you can simply say your intention with a word or phrase. There's no need to explain details. The Lord knows what's on your heart. All of us will respond together after a prayer is made by saying,
"Lord Hear Our Prayer."

Pastor Prayer

Lord's Prayer (in unison)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11  Give us this day our daily bread.
12  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.


Discussion Time
Please stay as long as you like to update each other on how you are doing. Rev. Tafel will stay until the last person has shared. You can ask the minister anything!
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Meet Church of the Holy City's Newest Members
Kateryna Pyatybratova

Kateryna Pyatybratova serves as the Director of Marketing and Business Development at the George Washington University's Center for Excellence in Public Leadership (GW-CEPL). In this capacity she is responsible for the Center’s go-to-market strategy and partnership-building efforts with U.S. and international government agencies, donors and associations, helping to prepare public sector leaders for the realities of the 21st century. Prior to coming to GW-CEPL in 2010, Kateryna worked and interned in a number of organizations, including the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Kennan Institute, and the White House Office of Presidential Correspondence. She graduated summa cum laude from the George Washington University with a BA in International Affairs, where she also completed a Joint MBA and Master's in European and Eurasian Studies. 

Bringing her expertise and passion for personal transformation and social innovation, Kateryna looks forward to the exchange of ideas on how we, as leaders, are called to respond to emerging crises with humanness and resiliency.
Sheri Smith
Sheri Smith is the founder and CEO of the Indigo Project and the Indigo Impact Initiative 501(c)3. Indigo, established in 2013, has the vision of catalyzing a learner-centered education system that cultivates innovation, entrepreneurship, and empathy. 
A lifelong entrepreneur, Sheri was integral in starting a metals distributor, coaching and consulting firms, and running a small retail housewares company. In 1998, Sheri designed the first website hosted at the US Department of State for Vital Voices, a global women’s rights initiative.
Introduced to assessment technology for hiring and employee development in her early 20’s, Sheri is an expert in these tools, which are used to build high performing teams, coach leaders, and align human capital to the goals of an organization. Indigo uses these same concepts to engage students, empower educators, and transform schools. 
Sheri has spoken at various conferences, authored two books, conducts research, and authors papers. She graduated magna cum laude from American University with a B.A. in International Studies, and holds an M.A. from Georgetown University in Communication, Culture and Technology. 
Scott Smith
Scott Smith is an entrepreneur, author, and managing member of the C Squared Fund . He was an early pioneer in structured finance on Wall Street, originating the first mixed-property commercial mortgage conduit and securing a billion-dollar line of credit from DLJ. He developed the model for securitizing loans that became the cornerstone for mortgage-backed securities today. Scott also helped structure the financing for the first phase of President Nelson Mandela’s Redevelopment Program , which provided affordable housing for some 11,000 families near Soweto, South Africa, and paved the way to provide housing for many more families throughout the nation.
While still in finance, Scott founded Kidz Magazine in 1995, an early example of user-generated content. The monthly publication invited students to submit content that ranged from stories and poems to puzzles and drawings. Paid sponsors were classroom-friendly advertisers. The publication grew from a local magazine to an international publication with an audience in the millions that spanned 30 nations. Scott’s work in education led him to co-found two Colorado charter schools, Summit Middle School and Peak-to-Peak Charter School , t he latter of which is ranked among the top schools in the nation by Time Magazine and U.S. News & World Report .
As an entrepreneur Scott is a co-founder of Massively Parallel Technologies and Fathym , as well as the founder of FinaTech . Massively Parallel is the developer of Blue Cheetah, a
software platform that automates the analysis and modernization of legacy code, so it can be migrated to the cloud. Fathym is a low code/no code platform that enables the rapid development of enterprise IoT solutions for the cloud. Scott developed FinaTech’s Augmented ROI solution, which dramatically improves yields for investors in Private ® Equity funds.
Scott is the author of The Financial Freedom Act , a book that develops the basis for a Congressional bill that would replace income taxes with a universal payments tax, which would slash the tax rate to 0.2%, balance the budget, and provide basic income, healthcare and college for all U. S. citizens.
Scott lives in Boulder with his wife, Sheri, founder of the Indigo Education Company . He has six children and enjoys painting galaxies in his spare time. 
Last Sunday's Discussion Transcription
Speaker 4 ( 20:03 ):
I think God normally expects at least if there is something that we can do for us to do it and not just sit back and well, God, you take care of this. I'm not going to make any effort myself. We of course don't put it that way, but sometimes it's at least implied. So what else can we do?

Speaker 1 ( 20:22 ):
Yeah. Great question. Really good question. And see, uh, it is a great question and you're right, Steve, we're not supposed to just sort of throw a prayers and to have no correspondence in our life to any of the actions. So really what actions can we take in our life? Um, I think one is another first step. So prayer, another first step is just self-awareness at the automat animosity that we hold toward people whose viewpoints we disagree with just being aware of it. Just not even having to act on it immediately, but just being aware of how it aggravates and what's what's driving that. Why are we so angry with people we disagree with just being aware of it and lifting that up to the Lord. I think there are practical steps to Steve that you could take, which is, um, sort of what I mentioned, which is, um, befriending.
Speaker 1 ( 21:14 ):
If you don't have one, a person whose viewpoints you don't agree with just, uh, and not to engage in debate, but just to really try to understand, uh, what their viewpoint is. Uh, so a friendship of someone outside your circle, some people use, uh, have Facebook and they know that it's quite, it can be quite contentious and people knock off. I don't know if you have that, but I know that, um, I personally make it a point in my social media to include people's viewpoints that I really disagree with strongly, just so I can develop that muscle of hearing their perspective because otherwise I'm in an echo chamber that reinforces itself and reinforces my worldview. So those are some practical steps we could do. And I think that, uh, at church of the Holy city, we've done some services where we've actually, uh, Annabel and I, and Joseph, Reverend Joseph Smith have acted out a debate that was going on. I think churches have to be less shy about hosting these types of discussions to show the world that we, that only in, uh, these sort of dialogue can we, can we really grow? So there's some practical things we could do, we could do at the church as well. That's a great question. Thank you, John. Did you have a question.

Speaker 9 ( 22:30 ):
I'll just follow up rich. I thought your talk was really good and short and succinct and, and covered the territory. And my question is because I guess the answer is yes, you transcribed these talks, so they're available, but in response to Steve, do you ever, you kind of go through and edit, transcribe and edit some of the questions and answers
Speaker 1 ( 22:55 ):
a great question. We don't transcribe the questions and answers and, uh, we have not done that. We have debated, we, we recorded it. It's been, but we're very careful about that sometimes too, because some people don't want to be, um, on the record for what they're asking, but, uh, but the service, yeah, the sermon every week, it'll, it shows up in the next week. So this will be written up in next week's newsletter.
Speaker 9 ( 23:23 ):
Well, I would, I would encourage you to also write up your answer to Steve's question, whether Steve wants to be acknowledged or not, because I think that's very much kind of, as he said, it's the second step after the sermon. I think that my sense is that you have a, an article here, if you like that really hopefully find its way throughout the Christian community. You know, you and I had talked about Jim Wallace the other day, who's a pastor and runs the sojourners out of Washington, D C some of the folks on the call know about him bringing many people to Christian leaders together across political and ideological and doctrinal divides. To me, this is an offering to him and that congregation. So I just think turning the sermon into almost an op ed as it were, but a Christian out bed with this Q and a and whatever anybody else asks that you answer in the context of the sermon. I'd certainly love to share it with some other people. Okay.
Speaker 1 ( 24:29 ):
Right. And I think, uh, yeah. Um, Steve and Natasha and Katrina have done a good job of pushing me to be a little bit more practical. So I'll add my answers to Steve's questions as well, and, and, and give it a shot as not bad because, um, I do think it needs to, we do need to address this and it's, there's no, no side that's perfect on this. We're we're all, we're all in need of help. So thank you, John. Okay.
Speaker 9 ( 24:55 ):
Well, I think the other thing I'd add, I think whether it's interfaith or multi-faith, I felt for a long time could still be the foundation block that brings this country together. Again, I don't see any other dimension that can do so. And in the conversation you and I had yesterday, or the day before spirit needs to hold politics in a way. And without that dimension from the Einstein level of we can't solve the problem at the level that's been created, perhaps the way we can solve it is in this dimension of spirit and consciousness and, and God, however, people

Speaker 1 ( 25:47 ):
Uh, thank you for that. Yeah. I think that, I think human nature is tribal, and I think it's a desire to be on winning and losing teams and sides and, and demonization is quite natural. Um, our team versus their team. I do think that spirituality has the key to break that and not just Christian spirituality, but it has a unique ability. I would say, it's the power of God, uh, to break out of that and to rise above the us versus them. And I, I, I'm involved in a lot of John, you know, but I don't think I'm in a lot of political discussions on how we can reform government, but I'm always left with the thought that this is not going to be a technical solution. It's not going to be a different kind of voting mechanism. They can all help those reforms, but it's going to be a change of heart and that's at the spiritual level.
Speaker 1 ( 26:37 ):
So I think you're right about that. Also, I think from a spiritual perspective, you know, I've, I've led Christian Muslim dialogue and various dialogue. I'm struck in the interfaith dialogue that we never start those discussions with the thing that divides us. So we never start a Muslim discussion by saying, Jesus is the only way to heaven. And so that's what we believe in Jesus was God. So let's, let's see if we can come to agreement on that. We would never start that there. We would say, let me understand what you believe as a Muslim or a Jew or a Buddhist. And let me share what I believe and what we find is, wow, we have so much in common, but we don't start with the difference. And I find in politics, we immediately start with the thing that divides us first, when we have so much more in common. And I think that's another lesson we can take from the faith community. So I appreciate that feedback and that advice. And I will work on that as an op ed.

I have a question. Rich. This is Sherry.
Speaker 1 ( 33:21 ):
Yeah. Sherry. I was wondering,
Speaker 11 ( 33:23 ):
yeah. I mean, I think this is a really a relevant discussion and I agree with John Steiner that trying to get this out into the consciousness would be helpful. And, um, and I do agree that if we're going to find a way to heal as a country or come together, I think it's not going to be through the traditional routes. I mean, spirituality seems to be maybe a hope. Um, but my question is really around this Swedenborg insight, you know, where the government in heaven is, is about service to others and doing the best for the people. And it's gonna sound really cynical, but what I've seen in my work in education and, and what it appears to be in politics is if you're somebody who has a heart and you're somebody who actually cares about people, it seems almost impossible on the system to have a position of leadership or power. And I don't know, there may be no answer to this question, but like, is there an example of fears that kind of leadership actually works in our world? Or is there a way to promote that more because it's pretty rare it's happening all the time, but it's rare in a way that's being seen or heard of or acknowledged. That makes sense.
Speaker 1 ( 34:49 ):
Yes. Thank you. That was, that is an excellent question. And, um, and it's just, it's the practical question. This all sounds good, but are there any examples of anybody who is living this out that has had any success? I mean, don't people who advised by what I've described, don't they get rolled and knocked out of the system. The, um, my experience is just the opposite. Actually, believe it or not. I look at all of the social change movements that have happened in the world. Always starting with a minority of power, a minority position, whether it was a women's right to vote or African American, um, suffrage or, um, in my own case, um, uh, on gay rights. I remember speaking, uh, before a very, very hostile audience of our far right fundamentals, screaming at me in Texas in 1998. And I essentially just preach the gospel.
Speaker 1 ( 35:49 ):
And I, I said at that day I was, we were, it's a documentary. You can see this online. They said, uh, but I did say in that speech morals, uh, numerical strength will never beat moral strength. And that's been my experience that moral strength wins out in the long run. And I do believe that is the case, what, uh, so, but I, that doesn't mean that we're not going to keep running into narcissists and ego driven politicians and leaders. But, um, I think going back to Swedenborg saying that there's, he always says that there has to be chaos and things have to fall apart before they can be put together. I think we're, we're getting exhausted of that. Uh, I hope we are where people are saying, I am really tired of this. I really don't want this. So, um, could a new leader emerge who represented those skillsets, uh, as a refreshing change?
Speaker 1 ( 36:47 ):
I think so. And, um, so, and that also isn't to say that a lot of people who do politics, aren't motivated by good many of the causes that I've worked on, particularly AIDS in Africa, there was not a political upside to anybody involved to work on that and fund that project, but everybody did because they understood they had the moral responsibility. So I have, I've seen it work. I know it's not common, but, uh, I, and I also would say on a practical level, it's the only sustainable change. This style of using domination to crush your opponent works very briefly. I do them, I crushed them, but what happens is the next generation resents it even more, and there's a backlash and we're living out cycles of hatred from people that have been diminished in previous generations. So I think it works in the long run, but I have seen powerful cases where, um, moral positions have won over numerical positions. And, uh, and I'm convinced that I know it's radical now, but we will have leaders, maybe not in our lifetime, but we will have presidents and leaders in the future where they will be motivated solely by the desire to serve and will we'll rate them and vote on them by that. So I do believe that's that that's more on the division category. I don't know how long, but I hope that addresses your question. Does that answer your question?

Great. Shall, uh, I agree and I'll, let me two things, Sherry, that was a wonderful question. And Richard Good answer. It would be fascinating to put together a list of both religious and spiritual leaders and political leaders who fit the criteria of what we're talking about today. I mean, you know, it'd be interesting to see who, not just us, but if we put it out there, there was almost some kind of a survey who would qualify, you know, what would be the characteristics cause when people like that emerge, they're recognized. So that would just that that's an, and, and Steve, maybe that's another actionable item that, that could come out of this. So it would be fascinating to see, you know, who might take that on. And then the second piece, which I think, you know, this there's a wonderful organization in the country called the national Institute for civil discourse.
Speaker 9 ( 40:48 ):
It was founded by one of the deans in the field of conversations, across differences, a woman and Carolyn Lukins Meyer. And last year they came up with a project that's on their website called golden rule 2020, and Jim Wallace and his group may or may not be a place to take this. But I think the folks who work there, I think Richie may know Cheryl gravy and Theo Brown would be another place at least to engage in this conversation. And I, and again, I think Joan blades who's been working with living room conversations has been reaching out to Christian leaders around the country to engage them in this kind of dialogue. And I know that you want to create a, um, an Institute in the church that begins to do this kind of thing that you're talking about. So again, I just I'm really responding to some conversations you and I have had before.
Speaker 1 ( 41:47 ):
Yeah. Uh, I would love to see our church or the Holy city almost as a think tank or a leader on how to do this and the culture, uh, and, uh, on the, on the particular thing, that bold rule thing, just so you know, I did coauthor a new, a new year's op ed with Joan on that. And I did a, a town hall on doing a second town hall with living, with living room conversation. So that one I am connected to, and I, and I'm interested in it because they're bringing faith leaders together. Um, so, uh, thank you for that. And I, I do think our church could play a role and, uh, um, in, in kind of even just, uh, to Sherry's question, who are the leaders in the real practical world who have actually succeeded because your first response is that sounds like someone who's going to get rolled. Um, but if we look at history and we're surprised that, you know, the power of Gundy, um, you know, uh, Mandela, King people, uh, the suffragettes, the abolitionists who with much smaller numbers are flipped political norms in a very short time. So, uh, that's a, that's a, that's a good point as well.

Speaker 1 ( 43:12 ):
You mean leaders who were alive today or?
Speaker 9 ( 43:14 ):
Yeah, no. I mean, if we're talking about beginning of an act right now where this conversation is going, who's out there, are they speaking to each other? Are they working in praying and loving together? Do they see themselves as part of a crass? If you like,

Speaker 1 ( 43:46 ):
Okay. Well, that's good. Uh, we have time for one more question. Does anybody else who hasn't spoken yet? Have a comment or a question?
Speaker 7 ( 43:52 ):
Yeah, this is Helen. I have a comment. We are more than just a Christian nation. We have other faiths. We have people that are, um, atheists. There are interface movements, others, Muslim, uh, Christian dialogue that rich you had mentioned. Um, I'm wondering if at some point there could be a way, and it might be something that we can start at our small church or our denomination where we can Breen is down the comments and the attitudes we have and the thoughts we have to a local level. So you could have perhaps a small groups of people getting together at a local level with churches, with political leaders, local leaders, to try and come up with ideas on how we can make, um, our political system more reflective of all of the viewpoints and see where we all can agree on certain goals and ways to get to them. It's not going to be easy obviously, but, um, it seems like Richard mentioned a lot of revolutionary ideas. If you want to put it that way have started with small groups at, I'm not sure necessarily at a local level, but I just, it seems there's a break between the higher levels of thought and that may be where it needs to be developed and the actual workings of how to get this decided and acted upon through all communities. That's, that's it?
Speaker 1 ( 45:56 ):
No, um, that's a, I think that's a beautiful note to, to leave on because it's, uh, I think that is the mission and that it should be the mission of our church really, because it needs leadership to be leadership on this. I'm going to butcher the quote from Margaret Mead, um, that you can all Google after I leave, but she had a quote, something to the effect. It's so beautiful. She said, um, we can't imagine that small groups can, uh, change the world, but in fact that's the only people that ever do. And so every historic change that we've experienced in the history of the world always started with a small group and it always was in reaction to the men. Majority. It was very rarely do ideas, creative, innovative, social change ideas come from the majority. They come out of a minority view that it percolates up.
Speaker 1 ( 46:45 ):
And so I think Helen's exactly right. And I think our church has a unique position. And I also think the fact that our faith is so interfaith and its orientation, that all faith paths are good, puts us in a unique spot that we don't need to. Um, we can truly embrace all, uh, faith paths in what we're doing. So, um, I think I'm very empowered by the discussion that we had today. I think we're onto something here. I think the nation needs that I think the world needs it. And I think each one of you for being a leader in helping to bring that into being so thank you for having this discussion for coming to church, the Holy city for evening prayers tonight. And, um,
Speaker 8 ( 47:29 ):
I'm gonna wish you blessings on your way. I'm putting out my candle. I'm going to do you want to get wax on the computer on me, but, um, please feel free to say goodbye as you're leaving. Yes. I think, uh, John wrote to me, but I think it was meant for the full group, a smart, thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed. It's the only thing that ever has. There it is. Here it is. Thank you, John. Have a great week. Take care.
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