I continue to be challenged by the ongoing need for reconstruction, for the building of a society not based on the evils of systemic racism and environmental degradation; it’s big, overdue work. I feel helpless and lost, I am not sure how to help. It’s a lot, and I am discouraged and overwhelmed. Yet, I am singing.
These days, my emotions are not a reliable source. They are up and down and back and forth and all over the place, telling me stories and lies and leading me down all sorts of rabbit holes. I don’t need emotional authenticity—I need something solid. I need a touchstone to ground me. I don’t need high-energy, emotional worship; I need liturgy.
The killing of black men by police is a relentless beating against the souls and the spirits of people who believe in justice and who operate in hope. But with each assault, those same spirits become more and more wounded.
There is nothing gratuitous about the arts right now. They are not added, they are essential—like spirituals in the hell of cotton fields, anti-war songs of the 60s, AIDS blankets and inner city murals and poetry that says what everybody’s tired souls are feeling.
In fact, it’s in the presence of difference that hospitality is often most needed.