We offer a new video that shares the back story of how our Center got its start. In it, we show a number of protest posters such as this one, “Accept Diversity,” spotted in Seattle, WA on a warm summer day in 2009.
The sign was held by a very youthful and peaceful counter-protester, outside a little Catholic church. It was very confusing. At first glance, it appeared the group was there to protest that very church. But the moment was so much bigger than that! We hope you’ll take a few minutes, and allow us to share that very important moment with you:
About the Counter-Protesters
The teens had traveled for hundreds of miles, showing peaceful nonviolent resistance, a true spirit of nonharming, as they stood up to counter-protest the group of haters that had targeted Seattle for their vitriol. Here’s another one of their signs, a photo taken that very day. What a moment in time. Surely, it wasn’t just our own lives who were changed, that day in Seattle. Something positive likely happened in the lives of the young people who made a long trek to stand in solidarity with that little church, as well. Perhaps their self-definition changed, as they stood up for social justice. Perhaps they felt more empowered. They should, because they’re the real reason for this Center. Without them, it would have just been a bigot against a church, an ugly little scene that could have planted entirely different seeds, and this Center might never have taken root. No, it was the impassioned fire in the hearts of the teens – teens who would not allow their brothers and sisters to be “othered” by anyone – that created a firestorm experience for anyone who was present, that day.
Identifying The Reverse Bodhisattva
Consider the Buddhist concept of the Reverse Bodhisattva, one through whose negative actions raises you to a more enlightened state or helps you along your spiritual path. America recently lost one – the late founder of a group infamous for protesting at the graves of fallen soldiers or outside churches that aren’t hateful enough for their tastes (?!?!), and even at Mr. Rogers’ funeral. One such protest sparked a counter-protest that is discussed in our little film. God is so amazing to make all things – even unexpected things – even reverse Bodhisattvas – work together for our good. For, we truly believe, God is good, all the time!
After a forest fire, there arise “fire ephemerals” – flowers that use the very conditions of disturbance as a signal to bloom. Over five years have now passed since this Seattle counter-protest, and it will always remain a significant moment in time for us, because it was seen as a sign, pointing out the path of this ministry. And so it was that NHM Ministrants began to take root and grow.
Jesus loved us all, and admonished us not to cast stones unless we were sinless, ourselves. He taught us, “judge not, lest ye be judged,” and told us to worry more about the log in our own eye than someone else’s. Jesus came to minister to the sick, broken, and alone. That means us. So why shouldn’t we do likewise, with each other? When we welcome and cherish all God’s diverse people, setting no human barriers to God’s table, we follow Jesus’ example. When we welcome these teens to the table, we can call ourselves truly blessed. When we don’t, we remain broken. And when we wield spiritual power to cause psychological harm, and teens commit suicide as a result, that is the exact opposite of nonharming. Jesus admonishes “blessed are the meek” – meekness means keeping your strength under control. Those in positions of spiritual power must not use that power to bludgeon others. This Center stands in solidarity with the last, least, easily judged and marginalized and excluded… in short, all of those to whom Jesus would especially show love, healing and kinship.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit about the Center’s back story, and we thank you for spending time perusing our offerings. Thank you for all the positive ripples you make, in your realms of influence.