Started the morning feeling monkish, or something. Skipped eating breakfast, went down to do the laundry, chipped off a bit of the tome that is Charles Payne's I've Got the Light of Freedom -- proper start to the day.
We had a strategy session today, these are always amazing meetings. I've been writing a lot about this question lately, thinking about it. The movement, which really doesn't yet exist, needed to make a shift, and I think it took us all a few weeks to realize that. We finally started talking about what to do in the medium-term, build a grassroots movement for justice that will last. Not get rolled into a moderate democratic campaign just to have an alternative to Bush, but still to defeat him at all costs. But still, we talk about peace, we talk about a peace candidate, we still talk about ourselves as an anti-war movement, as a peace movement. This position I don't understand, peace is but one issue, there needs to be a large-scale justice movement.
The thing I love about the people I work with, though, is that as soon as I bring this point up, Howie starts talking about his SDS days. Apparently, when the anti-Vietnam War movement was starting to grow, SDS faced a similar decision (between broad-based justice movement and single-issue), decided to become more broad-based, and regretted the decision. Then Steve starts talking about his days back in Venezuela, and when they faced a similar choice, they regretted coming down on the single-issue side of the debate. The whole exchange got us absolutely nowhere, but I'm organizing the first step towards a large-scale on campus movement -- a social forum of progressive organizations; people seem to agree with me that its a good idea.
Afterwards, Liz and Adam and Margee and I head over to Durham for a gathering of African-American clergy to announce their opposition to the war with a prayer service. A small, but diverse, crowd, we walk over from the parking lot of a local shopping center to First Baptist Church. Some white students up front, whom I took to be church-goers, asked the minister to start up a song, and pretty soon we're all singing the old freedom songs. (Someday, I'll find something substantive to say about how white progressives of my generation are continually trying to relive the freedom struggle of the Civil Rights Era that, by skin color and birthdate, we missed out on).
The church service which follows is quite simply fucking amazing, filled with prayer and song and the kind of true, hardcore belief that so many Christians have forgotten about -- that I'd forgotten the power of. One minister gets up to preach the main sermon, and he begins with a quote from the Bible "which is so familiar to all of us, that we can recite it together now, John 3:16... For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him would not perish, but have eternal life." He preached, what would it be were God not still loving the world, were the world given up to the hands of sinful, flawed men. "No no no no, a thousand times no! God still loves the world!" And that the world which He loves is the entire world, that his love is not limited to the country in which we love. Standard beginning
But this man goes on to tie everything together, wrap it in a neat little box, and smash it to pieces. Why does it matter if it is unpatriotic to oppose war? It is not our duty to be patriotic. War, even when justified, " ... is evil. And people may call me naive for saying that, they may call me unrealistic, they may call me inexperienced. But I am a prophet of God, and I speak for the one who is reality."
It has been nearly a week, and this is still resonating with me. Something about going to this service, and then watching Matewan has revitalized my faith, and this is important enough to me that I figure I should record it at least for my future self, and for the people I know or don't know who happen across it. Apologies for the hasty style, y'all have no idea how much more I want to write but I can't find the things to say or the words to say them with.