One More New Year's Resolution: a Reflection by Dr. Marvin A. McMickle

Dr. McMickle's latest essay appeared in the January 2, 2015 edition of the Rochester, NY Democrat and Chronicle's Unite Rochester blog. You may read it here:

In discussing the problem of war in the modern world where the just war theory no longer applies due to the destructive force of modern weapons and due to the fact that war’s destructive force now impacts more civilians than it does combatants, I am reminded of a troubling observation by the Swiss theologian Karl Barth written during the time of World War II. He said, “War means not only killing, but killing without dignity, without glory, without chivalry, without restraint, and without reserve. It also means to steal, to ransack, to burn, to lie, to deceive, to dishonor, and to fornicate.” This is certainly not true of every individual soldier. However, it is an apt description of what becomes of human nature once nations, tribes, or other opposing forces go marching off to war. These are precisely the things we see in The Ukraine, in Syria with ISIS, in Nigeria with the group known as Boko Haram, as well as in Pakistan and Afghanistan on both sides of what was the longest war in which American troops had ever been engaged. As we all consider the New Year’s resolutions that we may have already made, I invite those in power in nations across the world to add one more resolution that echoes the words of the 19th century African American spiritual that says, “I ain’t gonna study war no more.”

To view the post online or to add comments, please click on this link:

http://blogs.democratandchronicle.com/unite/2015/01/02/one-more-new-years-resolution/

To view Unite Rochester's Twitter feed, click here:  https://twitter.com/uniterochester

 

Peace on Earth Takes Many Forms: Dr. Marvin A. McMickle comments on the re-opening of U.S.-Cuba relations

Dr. McMickle recently wrote about the developments with Cuba in the Rochester, NY Democrat and Chronicle's Unite Rochester blog:

This morning I received a letter co-written by the National Council of Churches and the Cuban Council of Churches which began with a reference to a biblical verse that says: “Behold, I make all things new.” The letter was celebrating the new era of relationships between the United States of America and Cuba. For the last fifty-three years there has been an economic embargo and a break in diplomatic relations between our two countries. Much has happened during those 53 years. First of all, the other nations of the world ignored our embargo and continued to engage with Cuba. Next, the United States reopened diplomatic relations and trade relations with China when President Nixon traveled to Beijing. It must also be noted, for those who object to these changes on the grounds that Cuba is a communist nation ruled by a dictator, that we never broke off diplomatic relations with Russia even during the height of the Cold War. This was done under the assumption that you gain greater leverage through engagement than you do through estrangement. If we were to end diplomatic and trade relations with every nation governed by a dictator that denied democratic rights to their citizens, we would not be on speaking terms with half the nations in the world. Most of the people in Cuba and most Cuban-Americans want to see this “new thing” between our two countries, because they understand that more exposure to the freedoms enjoyed in other countries will result in those freedoms coming more quickly to their country as well. The embargo certainly did not work. If the chief objective of the embargo was to drive the Castro regime from power, then the embargo can only be deemed an absolute failure. It is time to try a “new thing.” This change in relations between our two countries did not occur without some effort on the part of many people. Negotiations involved the Canadian government, the Vatican and Pope Francis, and various members of the United States Senate, the State Department, and direct conversations between President Barack Obama and President Raoul Castro. That level of direct communication had not occurred since President Kennedy was in the White House. Their efforts have resulted in changes that greatly contribute to peace in our region of the world. Will Cuba be transformed over night into a beacon of liberty and freedom? Probably not! Will democratic principles and free trade agreements begin to take root almost immediately? Absolutely! There will undoubtedly be some grinches that would like to rob the world of this small bit of Christmas joy. The usual cast of characters, most of them in Florida are still viewing the world through the lens of the Cold War; a time in our nation’s history that most Americans including Cuban-Americans under 50, do not even remember. Let me see, we were bombed by the Japanese in 1941, but they are one of our closest allies today. We went to war with Germany in 1941, but they are our major European trading partner today. We fought a war in Viet Nam and lost 58,000 soldiers in the process, but today we have an embassy in Hanoi. Surely, in light of these precedents it is time to enter a new phase of diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba. Maybe the former Beatle, John Lennon said it best: “All we are saying is give peace a chance.”

To view the blog online or to share your comments, click here:

http://blogs.democratandchronicle.com/unite/2014/12/19/peace-on-earth-takes-many-forms/

CRCDS D.Min. student & Episcopal priest Deborah Duguid-May advocates for homeless

Deborah Duguid-May, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity school student and priest at Trinity Episcopal Church in Greece, NY, spoke out recently on the City of Rochester-ordered razing of tents occupied by the homeless last weekend.

The homeless community, dubbed "Sanctuary Village," is located under a bridge and housed up to 35 people, many of whom struggle with mental illness and drug addiction.

"This is just not OK," Duguid-May said, noting that people at her church on Sunday morning, many of whom learned of the city's actions through photos posted on social media, "were just horrified."

"We're the problem, the homeless aren't the problem," she said. "We're not taking care of our community. You don't bulldoze a human community."

To read more about this story, please click here:

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2014/12/21/homeless-clinging-encampment/20745835/

 

 

 

CRCDS Board of Trustees Chair Bishop Jack M. McKelvey and CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle on the decision not to indict in the death of Eric Garner

In the wake of the grand jury decision to not indict the police officer responsible for the death of Eric Garner in New York City, Chair of the CRCDS Board of Trustees Bishop Jack M. McKelvey and CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle shared their thoughts with the Rochester, NY Democrat and Chronicle.

Bishop McKelvey’s letter to the editor is available online through the link provided below. For your convenience, the actual text is provided as well.

Dr. McMickle’s editorial was taken from his most recent Unite Rochester blog posting. The link to Dr. McMickle’s piece is available below along with the complete text.
FROM BISHOP JACK M. MCKELVEY

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/opinion/letters/2014/12/06/letter-garner-case-shows-video-evidence-issue/19967697/
In the wake of the grand jury decision regarding the Eric Garner case in New York City, one could raise the question as to why we need expensive police cameras in order to get justice. What more do we need than a video of action taken by police, a medical examiner's report and the verbal sounds of the victim saying "I can't breathe" to have the situation taken before a jury of the perpetrators peers? Does it not seem obvious that the issue is not video evidence, but rather how we come to decisions which allow the courts of law to act and justice to be done?
JACK M. McKELVEY
ROCHESTER
The writer is a retired Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester.

FROM PRESIDENT MARVIN A. MCMICKLE
http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/unite/2014/12/03/here-we-go-again/19862537/
Here We Go Again

In his book, The Souls of Black Folk, written in 1903, W.E.B. Du Bois said "The problem of the twentieth century will be the problem of the color line." As it happens, the problem of the color line has followed us into the 21st century with a pattern of white police officers using deadly force against unarmed black males in cities across the United States.
While the nation is still reeling from the decision in Ferguson, Missouri not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, we have now heard that another white police officer in New York City will not be indicted in the death of Eric Garner.
The New York City Medical Examiner did an autopsy on his body and concluded that his death was "a homicide" caused by the use of an illegal choke hold that was banned by the New York City Police Department in 1993! This death played out on national TV for all the world to see. Eric Garner was unarmed. Eric Garner was suspected of selling loose cigarettes. Six police officers were involved in his take-down, and all six police officers doubtlessly heard Eric Garner say 11 times "I can't breathe."
No doubt some people will blame Eric Garner for this death, because they will say he was resisting arrest. Others will say he was guilty of selling loose cigarettes and not paying taxes. All of these issues could have been resolved if there had been an indictment that would have been followed by a trial where guilt or innocence could have been determined. Instead, the pattern continues of the death of unarmed black males being killed as a result of excessive force being used by white police officers.
For many black people, the words of Du Bois still seem relevant: The American problem is the problem of the color line. In the same book, Du Bois talked about his own feeling of "double consciousness" in which he felt the conflicts and limitations of being "an American and a Negro." That is the feeling that is spreading across black communities in this country with this string of deaths that are not even resulting in an indictment, much less a conviction.

We are, as always, grateful for the efforts of Bishop McKelvey and Dr. McMickle to elevate and inform public discourse, particularly on such a vitally important justice issue.

Dr. John R. Tyson, Professor of Church History and Director of United Methodist Studies, publishes book

wesleyDr. John R. Tyson, Professor of Church History and Director of Methodist Studies at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, announces the publication of his newest book, The Way of the Wesleys: A Short Introduction. The 212-page book offers an intriguing introduction to the main teachings and practices of both John and Charles Wesley and is available in the CRCDS bookstore. For more information, click here: http://www.crcds.edu/resources-for/the-crcds-bookstore/ or call (585)340-6601.

The Wesley brothers, John (1703–1791) and Charles (1707–1788), are famous as the co-founders of the Wesleyan tradition and the Methodist family of churches. The Way of the Wesleys takes readers through main theological points thematically and is the first book that details how Charles, the younger and lesser-known brother, contributed to Wesleyan theology.

Publisher Wm. B. Eerdmans calls the book "engaging and accessible" and says it shows why the Wesleys remain relevant to the faith journey of Christians today.

Dr. Tyson has authored more than 80 articles and conference papers, has edited or written eight books. His publications include: Charles Wesley on Sanctification (Zondervan, 1986), and Charles Wesley: A Reader (Oxford University Press, 1989), Invitation to Christian Spirituality (Oxford University Press, 1999), and Assist Me To Proclaim: The Life and Hymns of Charles Wesley (Eerdmans, 2007).