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Posts Tagged ‘fccpomona’

Julie’s Jar – “Flight”

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Moises Castillo/AP/REX/Shutterstock (9939602c) Central American migrants walking to the U.S. start their day departing Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, . Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the border, about 5,000 Central American migrants resumed their advance toward the U.S. border early Sunday in southern Mexico. Their numbers swelled overnight and at first light they set out walking toward the Mexican town of Tapachula Central America Migrant Caravan, Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico - 21 Oct 2018

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Moises Castillo/AP/REX/Shutterstock (9939602c)
Central American migrants walking to the U.S. start their day departing Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, . Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the border, about 5,000 Central American migrants resumed their advance toward the U.S. border early Sunday in southern Mexico. Their numbers swelled overnight and at first light they set out walking toward the Mexican town of Tapachula
Central America Migrant Caravan, Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico – 21 Oct 2018

Southeast of downtown Los Angeles are five (now 6) small cities where blue collar/white collar middle class, mostly white families raised their children until the early 1970s. I grew up in this part of LA County. In a matter of one decade the neighborhoods changed due to countless sociological factors no one could anticipate or navigate.

A snapshot from that time might look something like this. Gangs had always been in the mix, but now they were connected to organized crime. Once they carried knives; now they had guns. Schools were among the best in the district; now they were overcrowded, students stuffed into non airconditioned, smelly bungalows for some classes. Drugs became more prevalent. One family I know left because a teenager was threatened after reporting drug activity in school. Violence inside schools was a daily occurrence. (I know; I was there.) Parents who thought they chose a safe place to raise their children feared for the children’s safety and moved out. Some moved to the Pacific Northwest; most moved 5 miles east to Downey.

Granted, racism played its part in the lack of capacity to address the real problems faced by all those cities. Fear of people “not like me” played its part. There was also genuine fear that the situation was beyond anyone’s ability to impact individually. The only sane option felt by many parents was to protect their children by leaving.

This is what I imagine approximates in some way what parents now fleeing Central American countries are feeling. When faced with daily violence, the violent death of family members, extortion by gangs, threats to their lives and their children’s lives, and so much more horror, the only sane option is to leave. Even if you don’t know if leaving will be better, flight is really the only sane option. It’s not much different from the moment a victim of domestic violence has when the realization comes, “If I don’t leave, I or my children will be killed.”

If you wonder why “those people” would come to the United States, perhaps you haven’t yet learned about the circumstances that would motivate them to walk thousands of uncertain miles in the company and safety of a large group of other motivated people to find sanctuary somewhere. The scale of their suffering and vulnerability is so much greater than what we experienced in southeast LA in the 1970s, but the genesis of both is the need to protect one’s children.

And now, a man has murdered 11 people in their house of worship for being Jews who welcomed the refugee. The man ranted on social media just before the attack about the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, an organization devoted to helping refugees of all faiths find their feet in a new country. One of the congregations meeting in the facility was a supporter of the refugee work.

There is a story told in the gospel of Matthew at the very beginning. Mary and Joseph were warned to not return home because the life of their child, Jesus, was in danger. They fled to Egypt becoming refugees in a foreign land. None of the other gospels tell this story. It makes me wonder who in Matthew’s community were refugees. Why would it be important for the community to whom Matthew told the Jesus story to know that their savior started life as a refugee?

The cause of God’s compassion in the world calls us to identify with people who are suffering. May we learn to follow this call on the way with Jesus.

Sermon Audio, Julie, 10.28.18 – What’s Around the River Bend?

What’s Around the River Bend?  A Sermon by Rev. Dr. Julie Roberts-Fronk

Scripture: Mark 8:34-38

 

 

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Sermon Audio, Werner, 10/21/2018 – Is Everyone In the Boat?

Here is Werner’s Sermon from October 21, 2018.

The Scripture References are found in Genesis 6:11-22; Galatians 3:23-29

 

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Sermon Audio, Rafael, 10/07/2018 – It Is Still Valuable to Have Jesus on the Boat

Here is Rafael’s Sermon from October 7, 2018.

The Scripture Reference is found in Mark 4:35-41

 

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Julie’s Jar, “I Did Not Learn That in California History”

The 14th amendment became law 150 years ago in July 1868 and over night, 4 million former slaves became citizens. Opposition to the new law became a broader campaign against the federal government. One of the states that resisted the most was California.

California was a free state but refused to ratify the amendment in the 1860s. It wasn’t until 1959 that the 14th amendment was ratified by California legislators. I did not know this until recently, that my home state took almost 100 years to say, “Yeah, we think it’s okay for former slaves to be citizens.”

When I hear people say things like, “Slavery was a long time ago; people should just get over it,” it is exceedingly revealing about them. Slavery ended in 1863, but Texas kept it from slaves being held until 1865: June 19th, 1865. Do we really think the end of slavery also ended generations of perception about black people and white people?

California was a free state and had a very small black population. Why was there so much resistance and lack of political will to say that black people could be citizens? Xenophobia, fear of the outsider, and white supremacy combined to be powerful instruments in the California political machine. Chinese immigrants were particularly vulnerable to violent attack. In 1871 a mob of 500 massacred 18 Chinese immigrants. Most of them weren’t charged and the handful that were served one year. If you weren’t white In California, you were considered an outsider and other.

It appears times have changed somewhat, but the legacy of slavery still lingers. Red lining, keeping people of color from purchasing property or renting in certain neighborhoods, has been a problem as recently as the 1970s and one could say it continues with something called “gentrification”.

The ministry of Reconciliation is a core value for Christians. Our own Reconciliation Ministry seeks to address the root causes of racism. Racism is a result of the lingering impact of slavery in our country. Compassion is at the heart of this ministry. Developing compassion for another person’s lived reality is a core value of the Christian faith. For those of us who walk through the world with white skin, our lived experience is very often very different from people we know who walk through the world with skin of color. History and even current events demonstrate that there are burdens associated with living when one is a person of color.

As followers of Jesus, it is incumbent on us to develop compassion for people whose lived reality is different from our own (see the story of the Good Samaritan) and seek to understand the daily hurts of people we know more than we seek to be understood.