Join us for service at:
Meadowbrook Country Club
2149 N. Green Bay Road
Racine, WI 53405

Sunday Service at 10 a.m.
in-person at Meadowbrook,
or via Zoom!

Sacred Journeys Spiritual Community on FacebookContact Sacred Journeys Spiritual CommunityDonate to Sacred Journeys Spiritual Community

Counter-Cultural Resistance

In the wake of the violence and riots in Kenosha that followed the death of George Floyd in August of 2020, the Sacred Journeys' board spent much time discussing a way to respond, what could be said, and who the response would be released to. This is perhaps the only time I can remember the board coming to a stalemate. Of course, we all agreed that what was happening was wrong and that as a community we needed to stand on the side of peace, equity, justice and non-violence. The struggle was how strongly to voice what we believed. I’ve long since lost the details of the conversations, but in the end, because we couldn’t agree on how to respond, we didn’t respond at all.

And so, we find ourselves confronted by Joan Chittester’s question: “Will we take up what we know is our moral and spiritual responsibility: to make the world a better place for all, to bring to life the fullness of Creation for all? To help bring about equality, safety, security, and compassion for all?”

Or will we only do it when it feels comfortable and not too risky?

The apostle Paul says to us in the book of Romans 12:2, “Don’t conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your minds, so that you can judge what God’s will is – what is good, pleasing and perfect.“

Honestly, it feels to me like the one thing we are all conforming to these days is fear. The injustices we experience on a daily basis, as I see it, are born out of fear. People are afraid of folks of a different color. People are afraid of folks of a different sexual orientation or identification. People are afraid of those who feel like they are in the wrong body. People are afraid of losing control. People are afraid of not having enough – money, power, stuff, jobs, food, resources, etc.

These fears lead to systemic injustices like racism, sexism, homophobia, and others, manifest in things like book banning, walls at the border, the recent Supreme Court decisions, bullying, mass shootings, profiling, hate crimes, jerrymandering, war, destruction of the earth and more. 

Fear also dictates how, or even if, we will respond to these issues and situations. Here are a few recent examples that have made the national news in the last couple of months.

Target has been a public supporter of LGBTQ persons and began stocking up for PRIDE month in May, displaying rainbow clothing, items supporting the trans community, and more. After they introduced this year’s line, there were threats issued impacting their employee’s sense of safety and well-being. Displays were knocked over in some stores, others angrily approached workers and posted threatening videos on social media from inside the store. Target’s response was to remove certain of the items from their stores and to move the displays to the back of the stores in many southern states.

According to the New York Post, Target CEO Brian Cornell, however, has defended the LBGTQ-friendly merchandise, saying selling them was “the right thing for society.”

Bud Light, seeking to expand market share in a new direction worked with trandgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. On April 1, Dylan posted a video of herself on her Instagram page cracking open a Bud Light. She showed off a can with her face on it that Bud Light sent her — one of many corporate freebies she gets and shares with her millions of followers. Three days after Mulvaney’s post, Kid Rock posted a video of himself shooting cases of Bud Light. The company’s stock temporarily plunged. Within weeks, Bud Light’s sales had dropped 21% and two marketing executives took a leave of absence.

These two companies tried to make a counter-cultural stand to help the country move past some of its fear of the LGBTQ+ community. Both experienced a violent backlash and backed off.  I get it. I do. And I don’t necessarily have a better answer, but I’m frustrated that we are ruled by fear on both sides. When does truth win out? When does love win out?

I think, at the end of the day, the reason Sacred Journeys didn’t issue a statement about the riots, violence and shootings in our very own backyard, is because we were afraid. Afraid of saying too much. Afraid of saying too little. Afraid of not saying the right things. Afraid of how the people of Sacred Journeys would respond to our statement. Afraid of what the larger community would think of us.

But, as Plato once said, “Silence gives consent.” Failing to speak out against injustice is tantamount to condoning it. Plato believed that individuals had a moral obligation to speak out against injustice and to work to make society a more just and equitable place. It is also a spiritual responsibility.

As spiritual people, we must fight against the power of fear to control our actions. We must not conform to this insidious cultural disease. We must strive only to be conformed to and transformed by LOVE. When Paul talks about God’s “will” – a word that triggers negative responses in some of us – I understand that to be God’s “love.” We must strive to be transformed by the renewal of our minds so that God’s love becomes our love, so that we remember that we are one with God and with all creation, that we “belong” to one another (as Paul says), not in order to control each other, but to lift each other up, to enable all of us to live as whole, healthy, sacred beings.

True love casts out fear.

When we’re transformed by true love, we see that love is love, regardless of who it is between.

When we’re transformed by true love, we see that skin color is skin deep; we are all human beings deserving of equality, access to health care and education, respect, safety, and peace.

When we’re transformed by true love, we seek to create systems that serve the greater good.

When we’re transformed  by true love, we seek to protect our earth, our animals, our air, our water, our resources.

When we’re transformed by true love, we seek to never speak or do harm.

And so, I challenge all of us to this difficult task of counter-cultural resistance. As we walk through our days, may we not be conformed by the fear of this age, but may our relationship with the divine transform and renew our minds so that we seek to be LOVE in every situation.

Love & Light!