Facing the Fragility of Life with Gratitude

Saturday, December 3, 2016 - 5:30 am

Facing the Fragility of Life with Gratitude

I’m back home in North Dakota celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with my family and saying my final goodbyes to my grandmother, who is now in hospice care. During this special time of year, I encourage you to find your grandma or grandpa or exemplar elder and give them a kiss. Say, “I love you.” Thank them for their light before it goes dark.

We’ve given our columnists the week off, but I would like to share a short list of important commentaries that we hope you read and share with others.

Broderick Greer | Creating Our Own Tables
Discussions around exclusion too often assume that people are left out, table-less. But Broderick sees it differently. As a descendant of slaves, an Episcopal priest who grew up in the Black Baptist Church, and a gay man living in Memphis, he reminds us that the divine economy of enough is not impoverishment, but a chance to celebrate and gather together in one’s own backyard:

“People who have been excluded from others’ tables often do the work of creating their own. Which is why it can be misleading when we hear about exclusion from tables in our own day and time. Whether the exclusion is rooted in racism, sexism, white supremacy, transantagonism, heterosexism, or some other form of boundary-drawing, we often assume that if someone is excluded from our table, they aren’t eating at all.”

Broderick was kind enough to visit a studio so we could record two versions — one for radio and one for online. Take a listen, too.

Yolanda Pierce | A Fragile Hope Has Been Broken By My White Brothers and Sisters

So many good people have been trying to build bridges across racial and social divides. Dr. Pierce is one of them. In this important commentary, the African-American professor and clergywoman who has spent her life doing this work questions whether she can continue knowing that four out of five white Evangelical Christians voted for president-elect Trump:

“I do not know if I can continue to pay the cost of being a peacemaker and a bridge-builder with those who refuse to see how their actions have so deeply wounded minority communities. Something has been broken for me; a fragile hope that the work of racial and gender justice will be embraced by the larger church.”

Visual Stories from Oceti Sakowin Camp
While home, my wife and I visited one of the locations where people are assembling to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline project. There’s a growing tension and a mistrust between the protestors and many of the local citizens who don’t agree with their methods. There’s also a deep, spiritual component to this movement. Richard Tsong-Taatarii, a staff photographer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, is giving voice to it through his Instagram feed with portraits of indigenous people like He Crows Thomas, a member of the Oneida Nation and the American Indian Movement:

“I am here for praying. Teaching these young warriors the power of prayer. Prayer is the answer.”

Next week’s Letter from Loring Park will return to full length. In the meantime, feel free to contact me on Twitter (@trentgilliss) or via email at mail@onbeing.org.

May the wind always be at your back!

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is the cofounder of On Being and currently serves as publisher & editor-in-chief. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi” and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent’s reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

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