Posted by: smstrouse | October 18, 2015

PWR: Day 4

This lovely BrIMG_0598itish Sikh explained Langar to us as we entered for lunch today. His obvious exuberance and joy at the spirituality of feeding people was inspirational. As I was eating, I was thinking about how much Jesus would enjoy this. I mean, he really loved feeding people, too.

It was a day of making connections. I met with Parliament board member, Dr. Shanta D. Premawardhana, who is President of the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education in Chicago. And he kindly introduced me to the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations officer of the ELCA. IMG_0605

More new friends: from Gender Reconciliation International. I didn’t get to go to their workshop,  “Transforming Patriarchy in Religion” (too many good options in the same time slots), but had a fantastic time talking and learning about their training retreats.

The workshop I did attend in that time slot was #Black Lives Matter. Panelists were Rev. Michael McBride (pastor of The Way Christian Center in Berkeley), Rev. Francis Davis (Calvary Baptist Church, Salt Lake City) and Rev. Jim Wallis (Sojourners). Their presentations were good, but it was the Q&A time that really got the crowd fired up. In response to the question “how do we know what to do join our community?” Michael McBride said, “Go and find the least reputable black person you can find in your community or your church and ask what they think you should do. And be prepared for them to tell you.”

Another questioner challenged us all to complain to the Parliament for relegating this workshop to the end of the day on Sunday, when it should have been front and center. She also wondered why all three presenters were Christian men; she would have liked to see a black trans woman on the panel because of the high rate of violence in that population. Unfortunately (as is usually the case), the session ended shortly thereafter. This topic really does need a venue for extended conversation.

Now I’m putting finishing touches on my workshop for tomorrow. The last day approaches. The mandala will be finished – and then swept away. As tired and extroverted out I am, I’ll be sad to leave this sacred place of diversity, generosity and peace.

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