I did not watch the Michael Cohen hearings, I listened to them, on KPCC, on my commute to Studio City and all morning in my office. I laughed several times, listening to the high political theater. The divisiveness of our country in sharp relief. One of my favorite moments was when one of the Democrats ended with something like, “and Mr. Cohen, I think this is a story of redemption.” One side thinks he’s found the light of the holy and the other side throws verbal stones of discredit and condemnation.
Meanwhile I knew sweeping national gun legislation was occurring, and Trump was off to his North Korea summit, which he botched. Meanwhile, in the last few weeks, I’ve been reading for a three part history sermon series of our country, called First Journeys, and I’m beginning with those who didn’t journey here, but were already here, the First Nations of North America. Then I’ll look at the Middle Passage, and white pioneers.
Why focus on history in church? We value the truth as UUs and we cannot reckon with the truth of our present age unless we reckon with the truth of our past. It’s incredible what you learn there, when you hear sources that are told from the perspective of people you are trying to give a voice to, so they can be seen.
We’ve been taught by white culture to view Native Americans through various lenses that are defeating, and it’s important to set the record straight: that they actually managed to survive is a testament to their spirit, their strength, their warriorship.
It matters because they can be civic and spiritual models for us, for we all have to adapt to the changing tides of American cultures, economies, and politics. We all have to fortify our spirits through deep traditions and community ties, so we can survive modern life.
My favorite American hero is Crazy Horse, and I highly recommend the book, “Crazy Horse: The Lakota Warrior’s Life and Legacy.” This book, like others I’ll be talking about this Sunday, offers the history and story of Crazy Horse told by his family, from their perspective, not from a white man’s perspective.
I value the thought-ways of historic First Nations American leaders like Crazy Horse for their courage, perseverance, and humility. I study his life and the lives of those who were here first because it offers a world view so different than that of Cohen and our president’s refusal to reckon with what is at stake. Not that the Natives didn’t fight, because they did, and it was as bloody and barbaric as European slaughters. Natives are called warriors for a reason. They’ve seen it all.
It gives me inspiration to fight hard for what is right, too, maybe even be willing to die for it. They have been, and I want to fight for a country worth dying for.
What is this, American country? We’ll explore that the next three Sundays!
See you in church,