Saturday, November 15, 2014

Episode 32: On why we must keep dancing...

Last Wednesday night nine college students, two clergy women, and a social worker serving the Department of Mental Health gathered to discuss systemic oppression and institutional brokenness for two and a half hours.

Heavy conversation? Yep.
Heart breaking? Absolutely.
Overwhelming? Uh huh.

Did it end in a two minute dance-off and a giant, love-filled group hug with the retiring social worker in the middle? It sure did. After discussing the intersection of racial and socioeconomic oppression as it is made manifest in some of our largest government systems, dancing was, after all, the only logical next step.

"Where is the hope" one of the students asked-"it all feels so big" another one added, "and I feel so small."

I've been thinking a lot about smallness my friends, about the way another's words, a system's brokenness, an institution's places of hurt, can bruise and wound, dehumanize and injure. I can't make all of that pain go away even though, Lord knows, I try. We try. We will keep trying.

But, I can--and we did--dance.

Because, as the prophet and poet Alice Walker reminds us, "hard times require furious dancing."

And without our "faith, without (our) determination to believe in liberation and & kindness, without (our) dancing" the gospel might not have any space to break through.

And so, we danced, right there in the State Hospital where our class was being held. We hugged, right there, in the midst of the heavy truth of our conversation, and we will keep on dancing still. Will you join us?

The world has changed:
Wake up & smellthe possibility.
The world has changed: 
It did not change without your prayers 
without your faith
without your determination to believe in liberation kindness; 
without your dancing through the years that had no beat.

-Alice Walker

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