Standing on Every Side

(I want to apologize to everyone.  I had a little snaffoo at the end of last week and couldn’t get out a couple of blog posts on Thursday and Friday.  Sorry about that).

Happy Thanksgiving week!

Today, I’m compelled by the actions of a dear colleague to speak out how we as campus ministers stand on every side of a university when  those campuses collapse into a non-violent protest and then spiral out of control.  To give you a little idea, I ask that you watch this video (the one at the bottom) of this page and then read the open piece written.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/11/20/142562402/video-after-pepper-spraying-a-powerfully-silent-protest-at-uc-davis

http://www.facebook.com/notes/kristin-stoneking/why-i-walked-chancellor-katehi-out-of-surge-ii-tonight/10150385444542928

Kristen is a friend of mine who works at UC Davis as the UMC campus minister and director of an interfaith center.

As campus ministers, our roles are never as easy as it seems.  We can not be on the side of the students, the side of the faculty, the side of the progressives or the conservatives.  We are the ones who when we carry our hats are the pastors, the ones in the middle, the ones who are called to bring about reconciliation and justice at all times.  I have watched this video at least 3 times over the past 12 hours and each times continue to feel compelled that we as campus ministers must learn and tell people how powerful our presence can be.  We work to grow these kinds of relationships with staff and faculty not because we are always seeking more students, but because this is our job.  When that phone rings, you have to answer.  And when a moment comes when someone feels threatened, may we be ready not only by having built that relationship but also by responding and saying, YES, I will stand with you even when it may not be popular with the students.  We are campus ministers, and we have a responsibility to all persons.

There is no more I need to say this morning.  Despite the fact that this story has been repeated over and over again, I believe we all need to see this.  And I would hope that you might have some thoughts on what we all might do in these kinds of situations.

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