Moving into the “dog days of summer”, I am thinking of the Victor Hugo quote: “nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” It’s been playing on repeat in my head since leaving TFAM’s Holy Convocation this past July. TFAM is an acronym for “The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries” and their convocation theme was “Fresh Wind”.
On the heels of that, Puerto Rico fueled a much-needed spark to ignite change that also delivered a blueprint which could conceivably be replicated here in the States. As a result of these events and Hugo’s quote, a question continuously percolates in my spirit. Albeit, neither immediately nor easily answerable, nonetheless the question, “What Is This?”, calls for open and thoughtful consideration.
Let’s start with the “Fresh Wind” of TFAM. The overriding purpose of TFAM, according to their website (www.radicallyinclusive.org), is “moving toward a theology of radical inclusivity” and this was evident in every aspect of the convening. Yet, it wasn’t just the conclave of “faith professing” LGBTQI and Allied believers who also happen to be both multi-racial and multi-faith. This, after all, is not so unusual in the year 2019. Rather, the Holy Convocation offered a glimpse of what could be envisioned as a metaphorical “New Jerusalem” that is spoken of in the New Testament Book of Revelations (Chapter 21).
What most ardently resonated throughout the convocation is that there was space to join in every learning, worship and social experience without feeling pressured to adopt any one side or perspective. Doubly, there was palpable evidence of freedom and acceptance to be present as “all that I am” and “in all that I am”. Subsequently, the grace of the TFAM experience was soon followed by the blessings of news about island wide protests in Puerto Rico.
Puerto Ricans demanded the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosselló and in due course he acquiesced. Their outrage was triggered by leaked private messages, mostly written by the governor himself, that were misogynistic, racist, homophobic, and filled with what is said to be details of corruption. Many believe the messages to have been the last straw for people of the island who have endured and are still struggling as a result of devastation caused by Hurricane Maria almost two years ago. Those protest actions were led by fearless young men and women who were joined by Puerto Ricans living in the States.
They have been called the “I Will Not Allow It” Generation and their myriad protest activities were unrelenting and empowering. The young people of Puerto Rico showed the rest of America how to topple divisions of “Empire”. And so, to the question, “What Is This?” spurred on by the quote, “nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come“, consideration most likely will be found in movement activities prompted by Ecclesiastes 3:1
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:”
In other words, “Time Has Come Today“. This urging is a throwback to a 1966 song that spoke to the young generation of that era. They too were fighting for civil rights, social justice as well as an end to a war. However, even though the song’s lyrics are a tad ambiguous, the constant repetition of the word “Time!” makes clear that the song was/is a call to action. In short, “Time Has Come Today” for us to make some noise here in the States that initiate steps towards constructing a “New Jerusalem” trying to answer to the question, “What Is This?”
Yours in the struggle….
Reverend Gale Jones, Executive Pastor