The things that I have seen written by Catholics on what is going down in Ferguson has blown my mind. Even worst is that some of it is coming from Catholics that I respect and love and look up to as voices of my faith. As I sat and listened to the Gospel on Sunday I thought about how hard it is to get people to live this Catholic faith. Starting with me, but the thing about me is that I am a radical. I have been hurt too many times in my life to be a part of any bullshit. I do not do it. If I say that I believe something, then you best be sure that I am going to die trying to live it. (I will also make plenty of mistakes trying to live it, because I do not always listen well.) It is not just words with me. People tell me how courageous it was for me and my husband to get our sterilizations reversed and I simply don’t get it. In my mind, there was no other choice when God gave us the funds to do it. That radicalism gets me into a lot of trouble because I still had to learn to submit to God’s Will when it comes to my fertility. Now I want a baby and still have no baby soooo I’m mad. I get Peter, he was a radical and it got him in a lot of trouble. He jumped the gun a lot and he cut off people’s ears. Jesus was always getting onto him. Poor Peter, he really messed things up until he submitted himself to God’s will. I have so far to go when it comes to doing that. I’m stubborn and I run off without waiting for God’s timing. I’m like that 3-year-old that wants to do everything on their own but has no idea how the hell to even tie their shoes.
Being the radical that I am, I do not understand how a people who go to a Church that just read this gospel reading of the sheep and goats helping and not helping the poor, naked, thirsty, in prison and then turn around a few days later, see the poor on TV acting out in pain and say “Look at those animals”. Ya wanna be a freakin’ GOAT?! Maybe it is that I think of only some people as poor, because not hearing the words of Jesus when you claim to follow Him, is kind of poverty.
Someone said that Mike Brown’s step-father isn’t dealing with his grief in an “unhealthy way”. I can’t even explain just how much ignorance and privilege is packed into that statement. What exactly is the “healthy” way to deal with your child getting shot and left on the cement for 4 ½ hours dead? Someone else said that the step-father calling for people to burn the town down showed what kind of influence Mike Brown had in his life. Really? So, it’s cool that the 18-year-old is dead? Because he had bad influences in his life? And people keep talking about Mike Brown’s size. Why? Because being big and black makes you an obvious threat to someone who is not big and black? Even though I do not think that Brown was shot in cold blood I do think that we all need to think about the way we see others. And I say that first to myself. I realized yesterday that if I hear of a cop shooting and killing someone, I automatically think of a white cop. I discussed so many things with my white husband yesterday and I realized that I have serious issues with my thinking of white people. The same way that pictures on TV showing black rioters cements a certain idea in some people’s mind about the kind of people who act that way, so do the comments about “animals” and “thug” cement a certain idea in my mind about the kind of people who say those things. And when the majority of people I’m looking at are saying those things are white, then it only adds to my own racism. I refuse to raise my children to carry on those ideas, so first I am going to take a long hard look at myself and change my own thinking.
I heard the Pastor of Bl. Theresa of Calcutta Catholic Parish on Real Life Radio yesterday do and interview with Mike Allen. In the interview he talked about how we need to follow the example of Christ and lean in to hear other people’s stories so that we can get to know what they are going through. Jesus always did that, He was never scared of someone’s story; in fact He is highly interested in it. At the root of it, prayer is us telling God our story. Telling Him about our day, of the things going on in our life, of our heartaches, of what’s good in life and everything else. Even though He knows, He still cares to hear it from us. So why are we so scared to hear the stories of other’s. Father’s words reminded me of exactly why I started the Red Door Foundation and what the mission of it is. It’s crazy that I put that project in the hands of Mother Theresa for her intercession.
When people do not feel heard and do not feel that their struggle matters, they do crazy things. I once set a guy’s car on fire because he walked into a bar that I was at with another woman. We had slept together for almost a year and he said he was not ready to have a girlfriend. No matter what I did for him, he never wanted to commit to a relationship with me. When I went to jail for two weeks, he started seeing someone else and one night he walked into the bar that we frequented and introduced everyone to his girlfriend. I was heartbroken, embarrassed and angry so I set his car on fire. If my child was killed, even if it was justified, you can bet that my first instinct would be to lash out in anger. Jesus being in my life these days would probably stop me, but I won’t lie and say that I’m sure I would listen to Him, because I honestly do not know what I would do in that situation.
I strongly suggest for those who are sitting at home watching the 24/7 news cycle watching the rioting and looting while getting angrier and angrier at “those people” to think of the bad side of town where they live (the part of town they know to avoid) and look up the schools in that area. After the holiday, call up that school and ask them how you can volunteer your time to mentor students. If they do not know, then find someone you know who can help you and start a mentoring program for that school. I know in a Church full of homeschooling moms that there is one or two people who can help organize mentoring programs for students in public schools. And then find people who are willing to volunteer. Be a sheep, mentor. Don’t be a goat who doesn’t see Jesus in those suffering.