No Dinner Plans


The following is a statement that was made for the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Larger Fellowship upon the news of the “No Indictment” decision from the Grand Jury examining the case against Darren Wilson in the murder of Michael Brown.

The tragic irony of the grand jury decision from Ferguson, Missouri coming so close to the Thanksgiving holiday is inescapable. We should be preparing dinner, not a cultural war. In a metaphorical sense, we should be talking about how many more people we can put around the table, not how many more people will be turned away. This ongoing struggle between black and white is a global disgrace and the combination of this decision and the deluge of news that we sift through also highlights how we are asked to “choose” where we put our attentions for justice. You see, the media and the ignorant would have us believe that Ferguson and Immigration are separate issues; that voting rights and health care, are about different things; that environmental justice and marriage equality effect different populations. But no, they all impact one very specific group of people: The Other.

You see, it is “The Other” that is feared. It is “The Other” that is vilified. It is “The Other” that is left behind, left out, marginalized and shot in the street.

Yes, we should be preparing dinner…

You see, if we were preparing dinner, we would be asking ourselves, “what will feed the people coming to table?” “What will make them feel welcome and nourished?” “What can we share that will fill their needs?”

Instead, too much of our time is focused on getting and keeping stuff or defending our rights to stuff or creating more stuff…

…when we should all be enjoying the stuffing and stuffing ourselves full with an abundance of love.

Right now, we are seeing the product of setting a table for some instead of a table for all. The food is there; the finest dishes are set, the crystal and flatware polished; the linen is crisp and clean. But with only a few at the table, most of the food will go to waste, the place settings will collect dust and tarnish and the meal will be incomplete. Only one opinion will be expressed in a flat conversation and everyone will leave deeply unsatisfied.

So let this be a lesson to us moving forward. Black people are not the enemy; white people are not the enemy; Immigrants are not the enemy; Latinos are not the enemy; Asian people are not the enemy; Transgender people are not the enemy; Bisexual people are not the enemy. The only enemy is when any of us is treated like “The Other,” and turned away from a table that should be set first with love. And let’s not forget that even then the real enemy is not “The Other” but “The Us.”

Let’s start preparing dinner…a meal where we are all welcome and fed.

Sending a prayer to the family of Michael Brown, the people of Ferguson and to everyone else who is feeling utterly helpless at this moment to a “system” that is not a system, but a sickness.

13 thoughts on “No Dinner Plans

    1. Thank you, Michael – this is a beautiful message. I get so tired of people I know saying, “but he (Michael) was a thug.” It is WAY more complicated than that…this is part of White Privilege, which believes that all policemen are good as though we lived in a early Hollywood film. It is a denial of the fact that my White reality is not universal.

  1. Interesting how the initial statement mentions “murder,” since nobody was charged or convicted of murder. There was a killing, though. Perhaps a wording change is in order.

  2. A beautiful message.

    There is an enemy, however, in poverty, joblessness, minimal wages without benefits or medical coverage, and state and federal legislation designed to permit billions of profits to be funneled away from taxes and into the pockets of a few dozen.

  3. There was no murder; there was someone defending his life.

    There was no injustice; there was a group of peers examining how the facts of the incident fit the elements of a crime in accordance with the laws of our country.

    The only racism being expressed here is from people who refuse to hold someone accountable for their actions or be held their own.

    Equality and justice have become terms to be thrown around by people who need to be a victim so they don’t have to be responsible citizens.

    The enemy here is entitlement.

  4. People who make race the issue, and IGNORE the facts that he robbed a store, assaulted a police officer, and threatened that man’s life, make me ill. It is tragic that a man had to die. But for me its even worse that it this was a white 18 years old who was shot while assaulting a police officer, no one would be saying anything.

  5. You pretend not to take sides, but when you use the word, “murder,” you come down four-square on the side of the rioters.

  6. Well said, for sure. Always looking for people who get intersectionality to talk with about this stuff with.

    Tweeted the link and followed you (I’m @Sourcererbog) on Twitter. I am going to take a look at your about page now.

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