The Rev. Charlie Holt, rector of St. Peter’s Church, Lake Mary, in Seminole County, Florida where George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. He is helping to lead the effort to strengthen relationships through prayer. USA Today has the story:
The Sanford Pastors Connecting, an alliance of Seminole County churches formed after the shooting, said it is sponsoring the noon prayers Monday to promote peace and unity in the community.
“Our call is to pray for our community for the long-term unity, peace and strength of relationships,” said the Rev. Charlie Holt of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Lake Mary. “Our churches welcome any and all to come and offer prayer to the Lord for ourselves, for all involved and for our community.”
Holt said his church was delighted to participate in the community effort. “Prayer is what it takes to continue to move forward in our ever-changing society,” Holt said.
The Rev. Benedict Varnum, an occasional contributor to the Cafe who leads a church in the Diocese of Kansas, wrote on his blog that the Zimmerman jury reached the right verdict because our society has not outlawed racism. He wrote:
Don’t get me wrong, we’ve made some steps. And really, how could we possibly make racism illegal? Who would be charged under such a law? Children who grow up in racist homes? Communities who believe their own ethnicity is threatened by another’s? It’s absurd. We couldn’t possibly implement so abstract a law. Not to mention the difficulty of enforcement: if persons or communities are racist, why not police officers, judges, juries?
And what IS racism anyway? If we want to work against it, we have to define it. The definition I work with most often, which I came to believe in through an anti-racism training that was part of my ordination preparation, is this:
Racism = race prejudice + power
I like the definition, in part, because it seems to work in ways that are almost mathematical. Add the word “systemic” before each word, and it holds. Change “race” to “sex” or “gender” and the definition holds. Take out “power,” and racism doesn’t seem to “happen” . . . but we’d all agree that “prejudice” is still present.
The Rev. Patrick Hall of the Diocese of Texas preached a provocative sermon urging Christians to avoid angry debates about current issues to focus on selfless love for those around them. The podcast is here.
Jason Evans, young adult missioner in the Diocese of Washington, wrote a brief essay about what stood out for him as he was preparing to preach yesterday. It included the following tips:
Get personal. To begin, when Jesus is challenged to define what a neighbor is he describes a man that is willing to become intimate with “the other,” the person in need on the side of the road.
Count the cost. Jesus describes a neighbor that is willing to pay the cost required by getting involved in the life of the other.
It takes a community. The neighbor in Jesus story gets others involved. He couldn’t have continued to help this individual without getting the innkeeper involved.
Meanwhile, another black teen has been shot and killed in Florida.