Minister’s Blog

Dear Church,

Today the news brought word of a shooting at a 5/3 location in down town Cincinnati.  Right here in our city, some have been wounded and some have been killed.   

I know that some of you are shaken by violence so close to home. If your heart is troubled, you might want to call on your family, friends, or minister (that is me!) to talk it through. Just touching base with another person can be a balm to the spirit.

While information is still emerging, let us take a moment to be with our spirits and remember we are always part of a larger picture.

Though many of us feel at risk or unsafe, most of us will not be direct victims of gun violence.  That in no way is intended to obscure the fact that every day 96 people are killed in gun violence and 342 are shot. (http://www.bradycampaign.org/key-gun-violence-statistics)

Gun violence is a reality, but not one that we need to fear moment by moment.  The fact is, most of us will not be victimized at a mass shooting.  Domestic violence in is many forms much more common and has many more victims than mass shootings. And there is a connection between the two:  Many people who commit mass shootings have histories of violence within the home.  Our attention to creating a safer world will be more effective if we address interpersonal violence along with gun safety.

If you are experiencing violence within your relationship, you can call Women Helping Women at 513-381-5610.  For those who are concerned that they may be perpetuating violence, the YWCA has a  program called Transform.  You can find out more at 513-241-7090.

As people of faith, let us pursue peace in the heart even as we work for peace in the world.

For those of you who own guns, take a moment to make sure they are secured; perhaps, you could make securing your guns a regular event along with checking the smoke detectors.  Review with your children that if they find a gun, they should not touch it or pick it up, but tell an adult immediately.  Especially if you have children around your house, you might consider storing your gun and ammunition separately.  

For all of us who are interested in creating change that is sensible and effective, we might consider joining with other through groups like Moms Demand Action ( https://momsdemandaction.org/).

In the aftermath of violence, it is good to remember who we are and whose we are.  Even with all our diverse theologies and philosophies, we all belong to community.  Ours is the community of families and friends, church, city, nation and world.

Let us care for each other with kindness, patience, and love.

Let us care for each other with actions that promote safety and life-saving mutual respect.

With Love and Blessings,

Rev. Mitra

Structure, Authority, and the Middle Way

Everyone worth his or her salt was heart-broken by the administration’s separation of child from parent at the southern border of the United States.  We were likewise befuddled, given its swiftness and apparent decisiveness in removing children, at the same administration’s inability to reunite all … read more.

Now, they come again, for the children

Rev. Mitra Jafarzadeh’s prayer before silent meditation at St. John’s, June 17, 2018.

You may have heard that 2,000 children have been taken from their parents and placed in detention centers in the last 6 weeks. The total number of children in detention is now over … read more.

An Open Letter on Gun Control

On July 27, 2008 a gunman walked into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee and opened fire.  In a matter of minutes 2 people were killed and many others wounded.  On that day, the youth were performing a musical which included children … read more.

Reflection on Parkland, Florida

When I was a child in Oklahoma, we had tornado drills in case disaster struck. We would line up in the hall facing the wall, crouch on our knees, tuck our heads and lace our fingers over the back of our necks for protection from … read more.

Tulsa Time

Dear Church,

This week Alice and I will be in Tulsa, Oklahoma taking a class titled, “Multi-Racial Congregations as Faith Formation.”  It promises to be well worthwhile.

This trip means something else to me as well.

From the start of 5th grade until the end of 10th, my … read more.

Sabbatical

If I don’t say it enough, let me say it again, I love St. John’s! I find this church to be creative and engaged; willing to try new things while respectful of a unique and beautiful history; kind even while challenging the inequities in which … read more.

Sabbatical

If I don’t say it enough, let me say it again, I love St. John’s! I find this church to be creative and engaged; willing to try new things while respectful of a unique and beautiful history; kind even while challenging the inequities in which … read more.

World events are rarely so clear…

World events are rarely so clear as they were this past weekend.  The violence and hatred expressed and experienced in Charlottesville reminds us that evil exists.  We must name evil, condemn it, and dedicate ourselves to the great source of goodness that will always triumph … read more.