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Longer Tables, Shorter Walls: The Fuel of Inclusion: Compassion

Matthew 9:35 – 10:23, NRSVUE


If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are (people) who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand

— Frederick Douglass

  • The Messiah overcomes the difficulties that often stigmatize our lives. The messiah practiced inclusion. In the new community created by Jesus, the social boundaries that marked one group as insiders and another as outsiders are redrawn so that are all insiders. — Michael Brown, True to our Native Land: An African New Testament Commentary
  • 3 Things Jesus has that enable him to have deep seated compassion
  • Proximity to the Pain; without it, we are naïve about the solution
  • You cannot be an effective problem-solver from a distance. There are details and nuances to problems that you will miss unless you are close enough to observe those details. If you are willing to get closer to people who are suffering, you will find the power to change the world. — Bryan Stevenson
  • Sophistication of how unclean spirit operates; it’s insidiously acceptable, and in built-in system; it’s when we feel powerless
  • Do we actually believe that there isn’t an evil that still permeates a society whose wealth and power came from the genocide of native people and the enslavement of African people just for the benefit of European people? Like, spiritually, that kind of evil just goes away in a generation or two? Friends, it is an unclean spirit that allows for the criminalization of skin color. And this demon of white supremacy tries to blind me from all the ways my life is made easier by accident of birth. And the truth is, the evil spirit that protects me every single day is the same one that allows for Philando Castile to be shot dead for nothing more than driving while black and further to be no legal ramifications for the man who shot him dead. And for this, I feel such powerlessness and shame. And I have no idea where the healing starts. — Nadia Bolz-Weber, from a sermon entitled Unclean Spirits and Healing Compassion
  • Empathy
  • while changing behavior might get us the effect we want, healing can only happen when there is transformation of love without judgement
  • We are more than just what we are struggle with
  • To make God believable here and now is to stand in the hot white center of the world’s pain. Not just to glance in the general direction of suffering and injustice, and then sidle away, but to dwell there. To identify ourselves wholly with those who are aching, weeping, and dying. — Debie Thomas, I am Sending You


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