|#NoDAPL encampment at Standing Rock - December 3, 2016|
Having answered a call for clergy to go to Standing Rock, my friend Paul Benz, a seminarian at Pacific Lutheran School of Theology (PLTS) here in Berkeley, posted this on Facebook yesterday. With his permission, I share it. (Paul posted the image above after arriving at Standing Rock; I've added additional images that Paul has previously shared on Facebook.)
We left Pacific School of Religion at 10:15 last night after our classmates prayed over us. We reached Reno by 3 am headed for North Dakota. We are responding to the call for clergy to come and support the water protectors at Standing Rock. Why are the Five of us going?
Why am I going?
|Standing Rock: "You can't drink oil."|
Because Energy Transfer Partners first route for the pipeline was refused by people who had enough money (and white skin) to force them elsewhere and elsewhere happened to be under a lake where people with less money (and brown skin) draw there drinking water with little to no media coverage.
Because if Energy Transfer Partners and the Banks have the money and power to keep us from hearing about this they also have the money and power to put people to work on a new source of energy not a one time construction project that could break and contaminate the Missouri River... the Missouri runs right into the Mississippi River.
Because the Lakota people have a right to have their water source and sacred burial grounds protected and the media isn't saying much.
Because Jesus came to bring good news to the poor and the prophets before him consistently commanded those in power not to oppress the poor of the land and for too long the institutional church has harmed those it was called to lift up.
Because the children may ask me one day "where was I?" What did I do?
Because right defeated is better than wrong unchallenged.
Because the way address evil is not ignoring it.
|"Call your bank. Divest from the pipeline."|
Because if I receive call myself a follower of Christ who commanded me to love my neighbor and I turn my back on my neighbor when they are being blasted by water canons and tear gas then i am a liar.
Because going is a way I can do something. It's not the only way. Call sheriffs offices and demand they not spend taxpayer dollars sending officers to coral people at the behest of Energy Transfer Partners.
Call Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase and tell them to divest funds from DAPL.
Call the Governor of North Dakota and President Obama.
Because there's nothing worse than too late.
Because Advent is Action and Christ came for Love.
Because it's the right thing to do.
As kids across the US turn to making construction paper turkeys and learning the story of The First Thanksgiving, they will inevitably start asking questions.
(See Thanksgiving 2016 and #NoDAPL: 4 Questions)
Every time I've heard an ambulance in the past forty or so years, I've thought, "help is on the way."
(See Christmas: "Help is on the way . . . ")
I believe that once the Church comes out of the closet -- that is, once we start speaking quite openly about the difference between the world as we find it and the world as we believe God wishes it to be -- there is no way this old world will be able to stay the same.
(See Let the Church Out of the Closet )