“This image shows a photograph from the early 1920s, probably in Portland, in which robed and hooded Ku Klux Klan members share a stage with members of the Royal Riders of the Red Robe, a Klan auxiliary for foreign-born white Protestants. A large banner reading “Jesus Saves” occupies a prominent position on the wall at the rear of the stage and testifies to the strong role that Protestantism played in the KKK philosophy of “100 percent Americanism,” an ideology that developed during World War I as a reaction to the perceived threat to national unity posed by the influx of non-Protestant, non-English-speaking immigrants.”
While reading the Washington Post this morning I was accosted by this photo from the Oregon Historical Society. Although the story it tells about the Pacific Northwest is familiar to me, the stark truth of the paradox depicted shook me to the core. I read it as “Jesus Saves, but only white people.” I invite the photo to go viral as a warning to all that we are again confronted by the “KKK philosophy of ‘100% Americanism’.” Let the warning go out that espousing a warped brand of Americanism in the name of a warped brand of Christianity calls for an iconoclastic revolution. Perhaps Meister Eckhart’s most puzzling statement is, “I pray God that he may quit me of god.” This is the time to throw out all profane idols and embrace the real God devoid of all ego clammoring for power.
This poem from a few years ago speaks to this experience once again:
Photo Credit: https://oregonhistoryproject.org/articles/historical-records/portland-kkk/#.WT77sWjyvIW
Photo Credit: Nature’s Stained Glass Window overlay Lynn Scholar
I came upon this blessing in a moment of empathy for a friend who is enduring the death of her husband. A Gift for you, Mary Lou, and for all of us who grieve loss. I am reminded of a line from Call the Midwives, “We just go on living until we are alive again.” May we endure together.
The Art of Enduring
For Holy Saturday
Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me. —Psalm 31: 2
as long as you can.
began eons ago
and knows the art
witnessed the turning
weathered the spiraling
is in no rush.
will plant itself
by your door.
will keep vigil
and chant prayers.
will bring a friend
will pack a lunch
and a thermos
its sweet time
until it hears
of what had lain
dead within you
and is ready
Ann Richardson in Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings
That old familiar tune
Strikes up in the recesses of my soul
Heralding the familiar promenade of pretense.
I cast off layers of deceit
To the tattoo-tune of the Holy Stripper
And the raucous pleadings of my victims,
“Take it off! Take it all off!”
The bright white bones of truth
Step out of their camouflage
To dance La Cumparsita with wild abandonment
Until the familiar tune calls me back
To the stage of my humanity.
© Rita H Kowats June 3, 2017
Photo Credits: Dancing Skeletons http://www.mbird.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10dancing-skeleton.jpg