Zoom Meeting Sermon June 19 2022

Topic: Juneteenth and Father’s Day 


Today we are celebrating two holidays: Juneteenth, the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and Father’s Day. We will be talking about both holidays because they are both significant to the practice of the Path. 

The Dark Tower series teaches us to remember the faces of our fathers, and I will never forget the face of mine. In honor of Father’s Day, I’d like to share some things about my own father and Patron Saint of the Path, Myles Aldous. My own spiritual journey was helped along a great deal by my father; he asked questions and encouraged discussions about faith and the collective construct that is the god of Abrahamic traditions. His observations and viewpoint helped to shape my own from a young age; I am who I am today in large part because of the lessons I learned from him. 

 

Although he never attended college, Daddy was extremely intelligent, and like most intelligent people, he liked to have somebody to share his thoughts and ideas with. He welcomed missionaries and home teachers into the house, even though he didn’t strictly believe in what they had to say. He and I would talk about everything from music to physics, and he never talked down to me or made me feel inferior in any way. 

 

He had a vivid imagination and loved to tell stories. I remember one summer we were visiting family in Salmon, Idaho, and Daddy and I were taking a walk along the Salmon River. He found a interestingly shaped rock, and proceeded to tell me a story about how, if you were just an eighth of an inch tall, you could climb the rock, using these handholds here, and taking a break on this ledge there, and finally reaching the top. Then he casually tossed the rock over his shoulder, and we resumed walking.  


Daddy was also something of a musical prodigy; he could hear a song once and play it on the keyboard practically note-for-note, although he never learned how to read music. His taste in music was as eclectic as his taste for movies, which he collected and loved to watch. Some of my favorite memories of my father involve listening to music or watching a film. 

 

One thing about my father that I will always remember is that he was nice to everyone he met, and he met people all the time, as he would talk to anyone. Even though some of his personal opinions were less than enlightened, you wouldn’t know it by the way he treated others no matter what their race or ethnicity.

  

My father’s personal policy of treating everyone with good humor and kindness was somewhat unusual for his generation and would have been unheard-of 157 years ago. Before that, people of color were considered no more than property, until June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas, when the last of the slaves in the Southern US were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. While the Proclamation wasn’t as all-encompassing as it should have been and didn’t apply to slaves in Delaware and Kentucky, it was the first step on the long road toward racial equality in this country. 


We’re not there yet, not by a long shot. There’s still plenty of racial tension and institutional racism in the US. From George Floyd, who couldn’t breathe, to Breonna Taylor, who was shot to death while sleeping in her own bed, our brothers and sisters of color are being murdered by the very people whose entire job description is supposed to be “To serve and protect.”  White supremacists are not shy about sharing their vitriolic views with anyone who will give them a platform. We have literal Nazis marching in the streets and posting their filth on social media. We have to have signs reminding people that Black Lives Matter. 


People of color face challenges that those of us fortunate enough to be born white will never have to deal with. Our own friend Courtney has shared with me some of the insulting and blatantly racist questions she has been asked during job interviews, and black women in America suffer the worst discrimination when it comes to health care, including mental health care. (I would like to point out that, even though they are more likely to suffer from an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness, black women are also the least likely to shoot up a school. Mass shootings are a macho power trip primarily for white men.) 


However, those of us invested in the dream of racial equality will never stop fighting for it. And it is getting better: The current generation is the most tolerant and accepting of those who are different. Racism is slowly dying out, while at the same time being challenged openly and loudly. Statues honoring treasonous Confederates are finally being taken down. It’s becoming less and less socially acceptable to hold and express racist ideas. Our job won’t be done until racism -along with the other “-isms” that need to go: sexism, fascism, classism, et cetera- is relegated to the history books; we must remember to teach our children the truth about the history of race relations in this country, so they will see and recognize their brothers and sisters of all colors as equals. 

 

Can you make a commitment to see and honor your brothers and sisters of color, and treat them with kindness and dignity?  

Do you have a favorite memory of your father that you would like to share? 


Namaste. 

Reverend CJ Carlin 

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