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Lynn Penney Lynn Penney
Lynn Penney is a lay leader and member of Union Church of Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, NY and leads Art & Prayer Workshops throughout the Northeast.

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Art & Prayer Workshops

Staying Awake

March 28, 2010

I feel that as a society, Americans are acting like Peter in Gethsemane.  We are too sleepy to turn our hearts toward God, and when the time calls for action, we slice the ear off the first enemy we see.   

I am deeply distressed by the depth of the political divide in our country, by the seeming insurmountable play to emotions in our media, by the refusal to see any wisdom in an opponent's view, by the self-satisfied desire to belittle who we disagree with.  These are the signs of souls that are asleep. How do we stay awake to the world and the Holy Spirit? 

To me, politics and media feel poisoned by self-interest and hate.  I still vote, call my local representatives, read the papers - I participate in these institutions but it is at arms distance and with mistrust.  We need of a new way to talk together in this country and our churches may be one place where this can happen.  What new dialogue needs to be born?  How can we give birth to that?

During Lent I read "Claiming the Beatitudes:  Nine Stories from a New Generation" by Anne Sutherland Howard who is the Director of the Beatitudes Society - a network of progressive seminarians.  In this book, I feel there is a model for progressives and conservatives alike.  The people in these stories show a respectful and dogged passion to their work that is grounded in prayer.  I felt awakened and changed by their stories.  And there are thousands of these types people, across the political spectrum, who are not attacking the supposed enemies, who are not in the media/political glare, and who work to respond from God's love to others.  I want to talk with these people.

In Gethsemane, Jesus grieved the lack of comfort from the disciples.  Jesus needed his disciples - I think we need each other.   What dialogues are occurring or can occur in our churches to help create rather than burn bridges between people in our society?  Don't you think that is needed? 

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