Friday, February 12, 2016

Five More Minutes

Believe me when I tell you that I know what five minutes feels like. Five minutes is the difference between picking my kids up in daylight and picking them up in dim twilight. Five minutes in the difference between seeing the sun before I go into work and only seeing it when I go out to get the mail.

Alaska has been gaining daylight- oh, so slowly- since December 22. At that time, in Anchorage, the sunrise was at 10:15 am and the sunset was at 3:43 pm. Now, though, is when we begin to feel the light gain. What was a gasp of additional seconds of light is now a gulping five minutes of additional light. And it is AMAZING!

In my first years in Alaska, I lived in Nome. We used to have "sunrise" Advent services... at 11:15 am. The sun was gone, gone, gone by 3:30 pm. It became nearly unbearable and then... like the Beatles say, "Here Comes the Sun".

Even when you are used to the dark, it is still frustrating to never see much light. The lukewarm light of noon on a cloudy day when pitch darkness will be back in 3 hours is not only not comforting, it's practically insulting.

Many Alaskans who can go Outside (leave Alaska) for some sunshine, somewhere, anywhere. Most of us know that we need more Vitamin D and we take capsules, mix powers, and use special lamps. Our recent horrible winters (much ice, little snow) have made it more difficult for those of us who are casual winter athletes to get outside. Ice-slick ski paths and slippery playgrounds mean it is nearly impossible just to go for a short, casual walk or run to the swings and slide.

So, ice bound darkness (which may be what you always thought Alaska was) is frustrating for many. Additionally, the ice does not reflect the limited light in the same way that snow does. Reflected moonlight, headlights, and flashlights off snow make driving, walking, and playing easier. The ice seems to absorb the light and makes the dark even darker.

So, back to five minutes, we're gaining seconds more of daylight each day. By March 1st, we will be over ten hours of daylight and gaining not quite six minutes a day. This is the time of year when the light increase really makes a difference.

I'm sure there's a spiritual metaphor in here somewhere- five minutes of Christ-light (through you) can make a huge difference in someone's day- in its overall brightness and bearability.

I won't belabor that point, because I need to go out and enjoy today's extra five minutes. It's five more minutes of easier driving, of Vitamin D, of seeing the sun on the faces of my children, of remembering that winter is not forever. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mixed Messages

On the way home from Ash Wednesday service, my six-year-old and I listened to a science podcast for kids. In this episode, we heard the sounds of brain waves. We heard waves during regular thinking and then during a seizure. My son asked about seizures- what were they, what happens, and what to do. 

I said a seizure is when the brain gets some signal mixed up. Then the brain and the body get mixed up messages and so they seize... which migh look like spasms or like freezing in place. 

I actually had seen a man have a seizure today, a small one, in line behind me at the grocery store. I told my son what happened and what I did. 

During the service, I actually talked to children about Lent being a "fast fast". We are supposed to fast from moving so quickly that everything and everyone becomes blurry. 

We get mixed messages all the time about our worth, our place, and our shoulds, coulds, and woulds. These mixed messages can cause spasms or paralysis in our spiritual life and growth.
We do know that too much, too fast, too bright can cause certain types of seizures.

Let us all embrace the "fast fast" and take time for contemplation, reflection, and being (as opposed to doing). Perhaps we can reduce our rush of spiritual seizure. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Lifting the Veil

2 Corinthians 3:12-4:212 Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness, 13 not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that was being set aside. 14 But their minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ is it set aside. 15 Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; 16 but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit. 
4:1 Therefore, since it is by God's mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God's word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.

When reading the scriptures selected for this Sunday, my heart leapt at the last verses of this passage. Since we, as a congregation, are regrouping from a break-in and fire that has put a bit of a cramp in our building availability, not to mention all the additional decision-making that had to go on... a little cheer-leading (in 2 Corinthians, no less!) seemed like a good idea.

It is by God's mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, in this place! We do not lose heart! We are not alone! We have forcefully said no to the things that one might hide and embraced truth, hope, and grace that surround us from God in Christ! Huzzah, alleluia, and amen!

I really wanted to leave it at that and just ignore the earlier part of the passage. After all, people who are far better Bible scholars than me say this is the most obscure passage of Paul's seven letters We're not sure what he's saying, why he's saying it, when he said it, and what the Corinthians were doing that prompted him to say it. Doesn't that give me a pass to say, "Yes, this does sound vaguely (not-so-vaguely) anti-Jewish, but we know Paul was a Jew, so it's probably not. Now back to not losing heart..."

Perhaps if we were in a utopian time, a heavenly time, a mountaintop time, wherein all people were perceived and cherished as equals in the eyes of the Lord, if we did actually see in word and deed that all lives matter, if politicians and terror groups didn't trade in the fear of the other to rile up support and hatred... then I could skip over that earlier part.

Since we are not yet to that stage of our sanctification, our being made holy, then it appears that I must say something about the earlier portion of this passage.

Paul understood God to have made a permanent covenant with Abraham and his descendants (both through Isaac and Ishmael) AND a permanent covenant with David and his house. These covenants were rooted in who God was and is, regardless of what the Hebrew people (who became Israel) did. They wander, they doubt, they idolize, but God keeps God's word.

Paul also understood that, in addition, God had made some conditional covenants with the people of Israel. Blessing and safety, in some instances, were contingent upon the people's obedient and faithful behavior. It is not that God wouldn't offer them blessing and safety when they were disobedient, but their poor choices and failure to trust in God and God alone could lead to bad situations- exile and death being some of them.

Part of why Moses veils his face when returning from being in the presence of God is that his fellow Israelites cannot bear to look at the light, but also that they will idolize the glow itself and not its source- the presence of the Almighty. However, veil or no veil, the people begin to take for granted that they are people who have been proximal to the presence of God. Being chosen people becomes their elevated way of seeing themselves without moving forward with the relational aspect of being chosen to convey the presence of God to the rest of the world.

Paul's concern for the Corinthians is that they have begun to take certain things for granted in the same direction. They should not attempt to be the Jews they were not born to be. Neither should they be exceedingly proud of having perceived the good news of Jesus Christ. Favored status is the veil that gets in the way of the world being able to comprehend the way that we are transfigured by life in and through Jesus.

When people, Jews or Christians, trust in the title of being chosen, baptized, members, or disciples, but forget the way those things are actual spiritual AND tangible ways of being that transfigure them personally and the world around them... the veil of the title (chosen, baptized, etc) dims the light of love that shines from faces, in words, and in actions.

Yesterday, I picked up my daughter and was hugging her and kissing her cheek. Swinging her around as she giggled, I looked over to see if my son was watching. I was planning to go to do the same thing to him if he was. The reason was actually because I did not want him to think that my daughter is my favorite. I love them both. I might be more annoyed with one or the other from time to time, but I love them both- deeply, whole-heartedly, without reservation.

In the moment of looking between my daughter and my son and wanting them to know that I did not have favorites, I suddenly grasped the thing that Paul wants to communicate, but cannot. God does not have partiality between God's children. God's unconditional love is deep, whole hearted, and without reservation. It is when we believe that we are the favorites- because of denomination or theological awareness or doctrine or habit- we draw a veil over the glory that is the relationship and our hearts harden. There is freedom in realizing that Christ was not sent to tell Jews they were no longer God's favorite, but instead to the whole world, the whole cosmos, to explain that God does not have favorites.

On Wednesday, with the imposition of ashes, we will enter the season of Lent. This is typically a time of serious contemplation, of reflection on spiritual discipline, on preparing for baptism or joining a congregation, on metaphysical improvements in mind and soul. In Lent, we put away the alleluias and focus our minds on the cross and what it means for our faith.

I can't undo Lent, but I can offer an addendum or correction for this year. A church that had just had a fire and break-in doesn't need to short on the alleluias. A church that is being looked to as a community gathering space does not need to pull in for self-examination. A church that has received over five thousand dollars in donations toward rebuilding does not need to skimp on the alleluias.

From this mountain of transfiguration, let us remove our veils... veils of fear, veils of frustration, veils of self-doubt, veils of trust in things that are not God... personally and as a congregation, let us unveil ourselves as people are who transfigured and transformed, day by day, not by what we believe, but by the One who believes in us.

It is by God's mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, in this place! We do not lose heart! We are not alone! We forcefully say no to the things that one might hide and embrace truth, hope, and grace that surround us from God in Christ! Huzzah, alleluia, and amen!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Were You Wearing A Hat?

Were you wearing a hat when you smashed the window of the church? Was it a hat that I made?

Did you eat a sandwich yesterday- tossing the plastic over your shoulder? Was it a sandwich from the kitchen you set afire? 

Have you come by before? Did you get bus token, a bathroom, coffee, communion, fustrated? 

Were you alone? Was it a dare? An initiation? A fruitless and annoying search for cash? 

Have you sat in the building for a funeral, a wedding, a high holiday, a low Sunday? 

Did you scoff at the sign about God's people all being welcomed or did you decide that hope had flown in your life, as far as you could see? 

Did it matter who we were? The preschoolers, the elders, the working, the retired, the unhoused, the multiply-housed. 

Or were we just there, where you were- crossing paths at a time that is now linking us both?

You may have already forgotten us, but not we you. 

If you are never caught, we may still yet meet. Sandwich, hat, communion, bathroom, we'd still give them to you.

Were you wearing a hat? Was it one that I made? 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Beauty for Ashes

Early on Friday morning, January 29, 2016... a person or persons broke into the church building where I serve.

They smashed a concrete doorstop through a window to enter the building. Additionally, they threw said doorstop through the plate glass office window and then ransacked the office looking for money. Not finding any, they stole a small, inexpensive digital camera and tore up the office. 

They proceeded to the sanctuary where they overturned the baptismal font, shattering the pottery insert that protected the brass font from water damage. 

The saddest damage was found on Sunday morning, where they wrote in the liturgical leader book. 

Right over the idea that the Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world, they wrote "lie". Did they stop to read this and react to that specifically? Do they refuse to believe the body and blood of Christ were given for them? Did they simply not care what the book was?

There was no other damage to the book or in the sanctuary (besides the font). No Bibles torn, no hymnals, nothing to the piano or organ (thank God). So this quick writing seems very specific. 

The worst damage was in the back of the church where they put books and papers on the stoves and turned on all the burners full blast. We have had electric stoves, so it probably took a while for things to start burning, but they did. Eventually the sprinkler system kicked in and one localized sprinkler dowsed the flames. Lots of water pouring through the kitchen and over some of the preschool contents. The kitchen was totaled. 
A person walking his or her dog early in the a.m. saw the strobe lights of the fire alarm system and called the fire department. The alarm system alerted specific church members. 

It was, expectedly, chaotic. 

I was on a ship, but got the news and made many calls... at the rate of $1.99/minute.

We're slowly cleaning up and deciding how to move forward. 

The emotional reactions come and go, but when I look at the worship book, there's only one spiritual reaction: prayer for such a hurting individual. 

In ransacking the office, they opened a plastic bowl I had full of ashes. Last year, I burned 3 years worth of old palms from Palm Sunday. I sieved the ashes very finely and stored them. I had enough ashes for about 500 Ash Wednesdays. The person opened that container and dumped the ashes everywhere in the office. The ash is so fine, it just hangs in the air.

This means that the perpetrator, still a child of God, left Lutheran Church of Hope covered in our still ringing "Hosannas" (God save us!) and the reminder that we are all dust and to dust we shall return.

There's something so poignant about that. I'll try to cling to this as we move forward.

Donations to Lutheran Church of Hope or Hope Lutheran Preschool may be made here:

Saturday, January 16, 2016

He Doesn't Have to Be Jesus

Martin Luther King Jr NYWTS 4.jpg
"Martin Luther King Jr NYWTS 4" by New York World-Telegram and the Sun staff photographer: Albertin, Walter, photographer. - Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

I'm familiar with a certain type of conversation around Martin Luther King, Jr. 

When he's being noted or praised, one or more people in the conversation will decide to mention that MLK, Jr cheated on his wife or plagiarized parts of this thesis or committed this kind of crime or that.

Keep in mind the conversation was never about whether we should add him to the Trinity or the Pantheon or what-have-you. Yet, in the conversation, there seems to be the need to shine a spotlight on MLK, Jr.'s flaws. 

It is also characteristic of this conversation to note "If he hadn't been martyred, he wouldn't be so beloved." 

I've heard all of these comments more that once, more than twice, more times that I can count. 

The truth is, though, he was killed. Martin Luther King, Jr was shot and killed because he advocated for equality of black Americans with white Americans and because he was part of a group that was no longer prepared to see the goal of justice pushed away until a "more convenient time". 

My first-grader came home this week and asked me if I knew about "King Junior". Once I figured out who he was talking about, I asked what he'd learned. He told me that once there was a time when kids with different skin colors could go to the same school. "King Junior" helped fix that so kids [like black kid in his class] could all go to the same school. I asked if he learned what happened to Martin Luther King, Jr. He said, "They shot him." 

They shot him. 

I did explain that Martin Luther King, Jr didn't exactly work with schools all the time. That he did a lot of work so that people with different skin colors would be allowed to choose who was in charge and who makes decisions...  what we do when we vote. Some people did not want to allow people with black and brown skin to vote. 

As I drove and talked, I wondered when I should explain that it is still that way. 

And I wonder how long it will be before someone adds to the "conversation" about MLK, Jr with my son. How long will be before someone feels compelled to mention the character flaws of the man alongside his work? Will this be the same person who is silent about Tamir Rice or Freddie Gray or believes the death of Michael Brown was justified or has no concerns about Sandra Bland? 

When I read "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", it is everything to me that Romans or Galatians was and is. I expect no more perfection from the author of those epistles than I do of the later letter, itself as much an epistle. 

Martin Luther King, Jr didn't have to be Jesus to be right. He didn't do everything perfectly, but he was still right. He didn't have to be a non-sinner to still be a saint. He didn't have to be Jesus carry a message of justice to the world. He didn't have to be Jesus to see God's affection for all people. He didn't have to be Jesus to dream of a time of unity and community. 

And he didn't have to be Jesus to be killed for being a threat to the status quo. 

There are times when I haven't replied in The Conversation. When the other words start and I have indigestion, but I don't say "Stop right there." I wish I had. I hope that I will. 

In the meantime, many people have a three-day weekend. Sales, vacations, rest, family time... Somewhere in there, let us remember the man who was one of the main voices of a movement that dared to dream of something different for the world, for America, for their communities, and even for the church. 

Dr. King wrote in the aforementioned letter: 

We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber. I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: "All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth." Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.

A three-day weekend contemplating that will not be wasted. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Affirmation of Baptism for Epiphany

I ask you to acknowledge the gift of faith in Christ Jesus, reject sin, and confess the faith of the church.

Do you say no to external spiritual forces that defy God and attempt to disrupt the presence of love in the world?
Response: I forcefully say no to them.

Do you say no to lies that are told about God, including ones that perpetuate fear, scarcity, and control?
Response: I forcefully say no to them.

Do you say no to sin, that is, actions that cause you feel far from God and God’s love?
Response: I forcefully say no to it.

Do you believe in God, the ground and source of your being?

I believe in the eternal love that is God, creating, redeeming, and healing.
God’s grace is greater than anything that opposes it.
Neither the will of the flesh, the twists of the mind, or the efforts of evil
can bring lasting destruction where God is working for good.
Eternal love, which is God’s ultimate manifestation, bears all things.
All time exists within this love.

Do you believe in Jesus the Christ, God enfleshed and the pioneer of our faith?

I believe in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, Emmanuel, and fellow child of God.
Emmanuel, God with us, walked as Jesus in a certain place and a certain time.
Emmanuel, God with us, still comes in unexpected ways, through ordinary and extraordinary means.
Emmanuel, God with us, anchors us, and our hope, within God’s eternity.

Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?

I believe in the Holy Spirit, holy breath, holy mystery.
The Holy Spirit has brought us here.
Beyond our understanding, but with our trust, the Spirit gives us faith.
Our lives are our response to all we have been given,
The sum of which is greater than we know.

We are grateful. Amen.


Worship resources posted here are written by the Reverend Julia Seymour. They are available for use, in full or part, but only with attribution and permission. Use without both attribution and permission is stealing. 


Monday, January 11, 2016

Baptism of Our Lord (Year C)

What is the proper motivation for baptism?
- tradition
- fear of hell
- desire for salvation
- to please someone else
- to dedicate your life (or the life of your child) to God
- a response to irresistible grace

            Why did Jesus get baptized? Luke has already made it clear with the beginning of his gospel account that John and Jesus are on parallel, if not exactly similar tracks. This passage is where the tracks diverge. John is aware that he is not the Messiah.

            However, Jesus does not seem to be aware that he (Jesus) is the Messiah. John’s proclamation of the One who is to come, who will separate the useful part of God’s harvest from the wasteful part… Jesus does not leap up and say, “Yes, and the day is at hand!” John calls out the leader of the people on his immoral behavior and is imprisoned for it.

            Luke seems to organize the story this way so that we cannot say for sure who baptized Jesus. If John was in prison, he didn’t do it. Moreover, if John is in prison, who exactly has taken up his place down at the Jordan River? And what is Jesus’ motivation? Why does he go down and get dunked, along with many others?

            The baptism that John offers in the wilderness is one of repentance. It  is a bath of reorientation, of metanoia, turning around and going in the correct way. We assume that this isn’t something that Jesus needs. When last we saw him in Luke, he had gone to the temple as a young teen, but was instructing the temple officials in the fine points of the Law and the Prophets.

            Yet, maybe Jesus wasn’t totally sure when to begin the work to which he was called. Perhaps he realized the indigestion his temple visit had caused his parents and he pulled back a bit. Maybe Joseph died and Mary need help caring for the rest of the family. Maybe Jesus grew up hearing the story of his birth and knowing that he knew more about the universe that others did, but his divinity ran up against his humanness and he just didn’t know how to get started.

            So he ends up at the banks of the Jordan, with other baptism seekers. Some are devout. Some are curious. Some are derisive. And amid them all stands Jesus, the Messiah. They’re invited down into the water- murky and cool. Perhaps it is more like a mikveh- a temple ritual bath- where they are guided into dunking themselves, rather than being lowered and raised by someone else.

            They go under, one by one. There goes Jesus. And then they rise into the desert sun. Do they feel different? No one can tell. Maybe they don’t speak to each other because no one wants to admit that they aren’t sure what to feel. Perhaps they feel clean or renewed or confused. And then, a dove descends and lands upon one of the newly baptized- standing off by himself, praying. The dove, the sign of God’s presence and the visual symbol of the Holy Spirit, glides down and perches.

            Does only Jesus hear “You are my beloved Son” or does everyone? It’s hard to tell in Luke. Who needs to hear it? Perhaps only Jesus does. Even Jesus needs baptism to be only about grace, only about God doing the naming and the claiming. This could be the push Jesus needs, maybe even his baptism motivation answered. Now, now the work begins in earnest- the work of being Jesus combining with the work of being the Son of God.

            Frankly, even when we baptize in a gallon or so of water in a shallow font, it’s still a similar scene. People not entirely sure what to think, but coming with a variety of intentions and motivations, adults and children come to be baptized. We all come, no matter what our motivation, but when we approach the font of grace, nothing that we have in mind matters. God’s desire overrides everything else.

            At the edge of the water, it becomes all about grace, irresistible grace. Some people resist the call that the water is wide because it feels like they can retain some control. The truth is, our hearts long for it. We come to water because we thirst. We come to baptismal water because our souls thirst to be quenched with the assurance that we are beloved children of God, that we are beloved no matter what we have done or what has been done to us, that God is pleased with us as part of creation, that we have purpose and place- warts and all.

            This is what baptism is about- for Jesus and for us. Not what we can do or say or claim or who pours the water or whether it’s from a cup or in a river… it’s all about the vast expanse of God’s grace and how God claims each and every baptized person as a beloved child.

            Baptism has been given to the church as our work. Not as something around which we should form strict barriers and even motivation tests, but as something free, hopeful, and accessible. We are formed around the water, washed by it, and in its outpouring, we are flooded into the world to be carriers of grace.

            Ultimately, our motivations are no match for the Holy Spirit and the irresistibility of grace. We are drawn, even Jesus was, to a place where we can stand still, be open to relationship, and hear… and even comprehend… “You are my beloved. With you, I am well pleased.”

Psalm 29 for Alaskans.

Give credit to the Lord for all power, all glory, and all strength.
Give the Lord worship that is holy and beautiful, a response to God’s glory.

The voice of the Lord roars across the oceans and whispers in the streams.
The voice of the Lord is strong and gorgeous.

The voice of the Lord bends the spruce and snaps the birches.
The voice of the Lord stirs the bear and leads the salmon.

The Lord makes the people of the land to skip like moose calves
And the people of the water to frolic like seal pups.

The voice of the Lord bursts forth like a river relieved of an ice dam.
The voice of the Lord shakes the bases of the Alaska range.

The voice of the Lord rumbles, stirring molten rock
And all around God’s throne shout, “Hallelujah!”.

The Lord resides above the tumult, yet sees everything.
The Lord reigns forever.

O Lord, give strength to your servants;

O Lord, give them the blessings of peace.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Slaughter of the Innocents

The appointed gospel reading for 12/28: Matthew 2:13-18

13Now after [the wise men] had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
  16When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. 17Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
18“A voice was heard in Ramah,
  wailing and loud lamentation,
 Rachel weeping for her children;
  she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”

Where were the wise men to tell Tamir Rice's mother to flee, to move, to run? 

Where was the dream that told his family to gather him close and escape with him? 

Where was the truth-teller who would dare to say, "You can't give him a toy gun. The police don't stop to look for the orange tips when all they see is black skin"? 

Where those who will refuse to be consoled about Tamir, about Bettie, about Quintonio?

The greatest lie in print in our country at this time is thus:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (The Declaration of Independence)

Clearly, these truths are not self-evident. 

They have been massaged and rebranded and covered over by the lies of generations who will not let them go. Who will not allows the mistakes of the past to be properly understood as mistakes. Who will not grieve what might have been if Freddie had lived and been treated as an equal or Sandra or Michael. 

It is a slaughter of innocents when the boulders are coming down a greatly tilted playing field and when the shots come from those who have sworn to serve and protect. 

Where are the wise men and women? The angels? The Josephs?

All I can see is Herod after Herod after Herod.