Sunday, November 06, 2005

Sitting down for what I believe in

This afternoon, after a moving testimony and plea from a First Nation survivor of United Church-run residential schools, an eager ministry student leapt up to respond with a "prayer". A component of his offering was that, if we were enraged enough, compassionate enough, and faithful enough, we would stand in solidarity with our "aboriginal brothers and sisters".

Lord knows I am in solidarity with them. Yet I had to stay seated, even as a multitude rose en masse. I could not allow myself to be guilted into a show of solidarity that was merely a show or be coerced into action. I did not want to be a prop to someone else's convictions. Let me express my beliefs in my way.

And, at the very least, I sat to remain in solidarity with those who could not physically stand, despite the repeated urgings we do so. With Stan McKay, First Nations former moderator beside me, I awkwardly sat on my can. I don't know how many noticed, but I felt many eyes on me.

Afterwards, some expressed their embarrassment that they stood and wished they had done like I had. It wasn't easy; but the right thing rarely is.

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