Rev Dr Susan Jones - reflection on Pride and the Christchurch massacre

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[00:00:00] This program is brought to you by pride in After Friday, we all thinking new thoughts. We are all looking at ourselves in our country and a new way. May we see what it is that we can learn even from a tragedy such as we have experienced. [00:00:27] So maybe, [00:00:29] I mean, [00:00:33] so where do you start? Where do you begin to unravel the events of Christchurch 15th Of March 2019. At first I thought changing the reflection today lift out the very group whose festival is right now the rainbow community, whether it's variety of sexual orientations and gender identities and then I thought again, because What happened in Christchurch is just another facet of the difficulty we all have as human beings, relating to and embracing those who are other. to us. It's significant. I think that three particular closures I heard have requested by police in the past two or three days affect groups that suffer the same circumstance. And some way they are different from the majority, or the perceived norm. Obviously, mosques were requested to suspend the services. The Muslim community they're not inconsiderable in numbers, is a minority in this country. And on Saturdays so true was the Jewish synagogue asked not to meet [00:01:48] another religious minority. [00:01:51] And also the pride parade and the fear out of the park were canceled. So the Muslim the Jewish and the rainbow communities are all minorities within Western society. And that difference that minority status makes the rest of this society eg. And that's tragically obvious there that makes a group of white supremacists. And this weekend one men in particular, so edgy that they see the need to resort [00:02:21] to deadly force. [00:02:24] And that's a sad irony that we might feel more comfortable worshipping here today than at the mosque or the synagogue. Because the perpetrator on Friday was as much as we might hate to say it. [00:02:35] One of us [00:02:39] even though our Prime Minister has been a pains to point out that this is not New Zealand, in fact, we all have shadow side. We all have fears and anxieties that we have pushed back and and the way we have to do this to survive some The circumstances of our lives. And these fears lie deep down and keep us from being as open and free as we might be. We do not perhaps pick up a machine gun in fact I devoutly hope not. But whenever someone is around who is different from us, it tests and a fortitude to be open, welcoming and friendly and the same way that we are open and welcoming and friendly [00:03:31] to those who are like ourselves [00:03:35] and then applies in all groups. heterosexuals might be surprised to know that around them and some situations gays feel awkward and uneasy. We know now for sure that walking around New Zealand society for Muslims will not be as easy if it was easy before. And I think particularly of a Somalian woman that was on the TV one news special last night, dressed in a Yellow robe, too scared to go out of her own house. And it was pretty obvious she didn't have much English. So how is that woman in the future going to feel? How is she going to be able to reintegrate into society. And unfortunately, the Jewish community is frequently reminded that the Gentiles around them are not always friendly. I spent a year in the US in the late 1970s. It was a revelation how ordinary Americans could be. Up until the end, I had only known Americans as a group that were foreign to me. I was there during the Iranian hostage crisis. And it was very revealing to find myself in a creative dramatics class with American students, as well as some Iranian engineering students who were unable to go home for the December break because the President Jimmy Carter had frozen the family's assets You could have cut the air with a knife when the Iranian students identified themselves on the first day. I also discovered on that trip that there are several Americas within the USA. East Coast. As I mentioned, Philadelphia didn't understand the Kansas people I knew in the Midwest. And the Midwest didn't particularly care whether the East Coast or the West Coast approved of them. I can see now that's part of the deep divisions that we can see in that country. What we do is take all that fearful anxiety we have tucked away and projected onto those whom we do not know or understand or have not yet met. We feel uneasiness around them that's like the uneasiness we feel about our own fears and anxieties tucked away in our shadow side. So we put the two together. And the other way is for us. It's so much more comfortable if someone else can be to blame. And we know as a system more time because it's so extreme, Hitler became the repository of all the evil we could imagine. He certainly perpetrated evil acts. But often however, the person we create it with malign motors is just different. a different color, different six gender, race, culture, religion or theology, orientation, or identity. And the least we know personally about someone, the easier it is to pile upon them all we want to get rid of in ourselves. So into sender tells us this is not New Zealand. The unfortunate truth is that is really [00:06:48] we are not a pure white [00:06:50] or pure green nation, completely different from everyone else. We are fallible to where you can mistake someone Different for someone frightening or bed. And while this perpetrator deserves the punishment sit down and the law, it's not make him the scapegoat for the discomfort that we feel when the faces around us are increasingly different from ours, [00:07:17] or when the varieties of gender identity within the rainbow community proliferate beyond his real sexual understanding. We all need to manage our anxieties become aware of that which we are projecting onto others, which is really our own stuff. There's a never ending path of transformation and maturation, which we all need to be walking. That's the path that the gunman in Christchurch had obviously not taken. We heard in the story of David and Jonathan earlier, how two men because of their love for each other helped each other the spite having been cast on opposite sides of a tribal conflict, they both risked their lives. Jonathan in warning David and the servant and David in later life when he be friends and helps Jonathan's maimed, some officiates. Keeping the earth he swears and the passage you heard read. They love each other as they love themselves. Something Jesus and all the major religions are just to do to love first ourselves, and then to similarly love our neighbor. And we know from the story of the Good Samaritan that our neighbor is not only someone of our own race, they could even be a long term enemy. In the Gospel reading today, Jesus showed on the Sabbath in the synagogue that he is one who defies current understandings he exceeded Care for the human person beyond the current rules, he upsets the establishment by going beyond what is expected or allowed for. So may we do the same as we move around the world, always putting people before what is expected or before what has been traditionally demanded. May we learn from David gushy the contemporary reading was part of a speech that he made a gay conference. He now regrets the two decades he spent and denial and rejection of the gay community within the church. And now he and another scholar Matthew vine have given us different ways to interpret the various scriptures that have been claimed to exclude [00:09:46] gays from Christianity. [00:09:48] And you'll find reference to both of those men and the other reflection that was written for today. Briefly, what's happened in the Bible is that from medieval times, Contemporary fears and prejudices have been reared back into scripture, altering the original meaning of passengers and missing the faith that the behaviors that are condemned, specifically homosexual behaviors, but simply bad ways [00:10:16] to conduct relationships of any type. [00:10:20] All of us need help and the personal self control and self management that helps us to be good relationship partners, irrespective of our orientation or a gender identity. For our psychological and emotional health, all relationships need to be loving, non violent, mutual, faithful, and as long lasting as we can manage. Love your neighbor as you love yourself the golden rule, common to Christianity, and Islam and Judaism, as well as in other major world religions. all know we need to do this. But because of that shadow [00:11:03] side that we all have, [00:11:06] it takes effort and persistence and patience, and courage. [00:11:14] So this is the exercise that persistence [00:11:16] and patience and courage and so welcome with open arms, those who differ from us. Today we welcome the rainbow community was joy and delight appreciating [00:11:28] their [00:11:28] creativity and stamina, their courage and risk taking their persistence in the face of prejudice. And today especially we include in that welcome the Muslim community, many migrants to this country relieved to be away from war zones and discrimination and you are now afraid and [00:11:49] this country for a new reason. [00:11:55] So sisters and brothers, this is love one another Love is of God.

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