I am writing in regard to the shootings at Pulse nightclub (June 12, 2016), the shooting by police officers of young black men, and the shooting of police officers seen recently in the news. This communication is meant to inform, heal and, if necessary, make those of us who need it uncomfortable.
I am writing this as the senior minister and spiritual leader of Christ Church Unity, Orlando, Fla., to Christ Church Unity, to our city, state, nation and world. I am writing on behalf of every citizen of our world including the gay, straight, transgender, black, white, Native American, Muslim, Jew, Latino, Hispanic, Mexican, Asian, and every sexual orientation. I am writing to every creed, color, and nation.
What we are now seeing in terms of violence did not begin overnight. The violence has been building for some time through difficult societal situations. These situations include racism, poverty, socio-economic issues, and lack of power, complete misinformation and downright hatred of the “other.” In each of the cases we are seeing, fear is the culprit. When you combine fear with complete misinformation and lack of understanding and education, someone will feel the need to lash out to be “safe.” The thought is that “if we can just kill ‘the other’ we will be safe again.”
The question we are all asking is, “When will the killing stop?” As I see local and national leaders speak, there seems to be no answer from them about the how to stop it. The how is up to us. The how is simple but not easy necessarily. To solve our societal problems, we cannot legislate or police them from the outside. The change must come from within each soul and each community.
A Call to Each of Us
My call today is to all of us and especially our political and spiritual leaders. Many of us in authority continue to lead with fear and intimidation. We see politicians tearing each other apart verbally and are surprised when folks with little education or social status find other ways to tear people apart. We have ministers and spiritual leaders preaching hatred from the pulpit on a weekly basis and calling that “godly.” The only tools some people have to act out the hatred they are being fed are violence and guns.
As a collective people we are being asked now to live differently. We are being asked to open our hearts, homes and our spiritual communities to people who are different from us. I know this sounds simplistic. But change will come. It will just take time and the commitment of each person to be willing to live differently. Where we are today did not happen overnight. Where we need to be will not either. Change will come.
The violence and attitudes we are now seeing are not new, but they are bubbling up from the unconscious to be healed. This is wonderful news. It is difficult to see but now the issues cannot be denied. This is actually the chaos before tremendous creation. We are called to make a change by opening our hearts, minds and souls to the possibility of awakening. Change will come.
It is imperative that each of us, as spiritual souls, continues to look within. Any negativity and violence we see outside of us resides within us. It is a mature spiritual step to be able to recognize our places of darkness and be willing to illumine them with light. The great psychoanalyst Carl Jung said, “He who looks outside dreams. He who looks within awakens.” What we are seeing right now is a call to awakening.
At Christ Church Unity, we teach the basic fundamentals of human kindness as taught by Jesus Christ. Our first and most important value is love. Our next value is diversity. Our mission statement for the spiritual community is:
Christ Church Unity is a welcoming community, dedicated to transforming lives, celebrating diversity and supporting soul growth.
This is not only our mission. We do not just state it weekly; we strive to live it in the world. However, in general, each of us can do more to make a difference.
10 Things You Can Do
- Pray! Always go to God first in times of crisis. Always be asking this question, “What is mine to do?”
- Call a friend or co-worker who is different from you and tell them you care about what is happening and want to discuss ways to educate one another. Offer to listen to some of his/her concerns and hear their pain.
- Invite a friend over to your home and establish relationships with people who are different from you.
- Ask your minister to speak about civil rights from the pulpit.
- Invite a friend to church who looks different than you do—if you are white, invite a person of color and if you are black, invite a white person. If you are straight, invite a gay person and if you are gay, invite a straight person.
- Create dialog with your co-workers about what it is like for them in the world right now. Ask your boss to have discussions to raise awareness and gain more understanding. Have meetings that encourage diversity in the workplace or establish “diversity” training for employees.
- Attend your Sunday services and classes where you will be called to become more and more aware of your part of what is happening in the world.
- Attend meditation groups to raise your consciousness and look deeper within yourself.
- Remember how much you matter. When you hear the news, do your best not to feel helpless. You are not helpless. You are powerful. Use your innate, God-given power to make a difference!