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Can You Believe?

Johan Maurer
On Perception (March 2023)
Healing the World

Excerpts from the blog by Johan Maurer

Johan Maurer is a member of Camas Friends Church in Washington State who has been publishing a blog called “Can You Believe?” since June 2004. He is also a member of Moscow Friends Meeting in Russia and is a recorded Friends minister. In his blog, which he produces virtually every Thursday, Maurer reflects frankly on religion, politics, philosophy, and more.

Mary Klein pulled the following excerpts from Maurer’s blog, with apologies for all the ellipses.

The Gospel According to Al Sharpton (2/2/2023) Yesterday, I watched much of Tyre Nichols’s funeral in Memphis. . . . [What] kept me from feeling an outsider/voyeur was that the funeral was, above all, a Christian celebration of life and faith. Therefore, I listened to Al Sharpton’s eulogy as a fellow minister. I wanted to follow his spiritual and scriptural grounding as well as his words of comfort to Tyre’s family. . . . 

Three central themes emerged in his sermon, all tied to Genesis 37, the story of Joseph left by his brothers to die in the pit: First, the sacrifices made by King and others to end segregation in Memphis. . . . Second, the desire of Tyre, of George Floyd, of perhaps all of us to “go home,” to be back in our mothers’ care, to be safe. . . . Third, the perspective of Martin Luther King’s last speech in Memphis, April 3, 1968, when King said he had been to the mountaintop. Sharpton called us all to be mountain climbers. “Don’t stop ‘til we get to the top.”

A New New Call to Peacemaking? (1/26/2023) Among today’s Quakers, does any institution, any group, have the reach and credibility to organize a . . . New Call to Peacemaking [for all Friends] ?   . . .

The first 22 years of this new century have been a butcher’s block of violent behavior by states and non-state actors alike. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the peace movement . . . seems practically asleep.

There’s a lot of publishing going on among Friends, but much of it (often for very good reasons) seems inward-looking, either critiquing or glorifying our history and identity. Do we have the capacity to add some urgent. . . attention to the violence and death worship being conducted in our name and with our taxes just beyond our peripheral vision? . . .

Quakers and other Christians have had fifty years of growing experience decolonizing biblical studies and theology. . . . [As] we envision a spiritual confrontation with those Powers . . . that continue to fool millions with the romance of violence, . . . [those] who’ve already had these confrontations first-hand have much to tell all of us.

Churches & Political Homogeneity (12/1/2022) Here’s my dilemma: on the one hand, I love that segment of the church market that doesn’t require everyone to have the same political orientation, because it’s my fantasy that the church is one of the few institutions that is (or ought to be) totally independent of political allegiances. . . .

On the other hand, what if a political bias is built into my discipleship? My whole concept of church is that we’re people who are learning what it means to live . . . the values of peace, simplicity, community.  . . . Why should I be surprised that some political positions might be more congenial than others to those of us who share this vision of discipleship?

Browse the full archive of Maurer’s blog posts here: https://blog.canyoubelieve.me/



anti-racism peace activism political division

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