To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Monday, October 18, 2021


Hard Conversations



Sharon MartinDuring prayers on Sunday, the deacon asked us to pray for atheists and secularists who take away freedom of religion of Christians in this country. Fortunately, I had enough self-control to keep from yelling my favorite expletive during prayers.

How do you respond to people who believe that freedom of religion means that we all worship their way?

At the table on Sunday afternoon, a family member read a joke aloud from a Christian paper. “Extremist _______ want to cut off your head. Moderate _______ want extremist _______ to cut off your head.” I’ll let you fill in the blanks.

“That’s a lie,” I said.

“Yes,” she said, “but … ” And I swear, she repeated the joke.

So how do you respond to the extremists in your own family?

A former student of mine made this statement, justifying the shooting of Michael Brown: “If I saw a 300-pound, 6-foot, 4-inch black man, I’d be afraid for my life.”

How do you respond to hard-wired racism?

I think it is time for some hard conversations. If only I had the words to start. Perhaps, these:

Everything that is, is connected. For proof, see how the absence of wolves in Yellowstone altered the landscape there.

Whether God or chemical reaction, the creator that made me, made you.

There is more than one path to God, immortality, peace, to whatever it is that you are seeking.

We all love, eat, breath, drink, sleep, procreate. We cherish our young and mourn our dead.

Without maps, fences, and checkpoints, we wouldn’t know that boundaries exist.

So long as we respect each other and work together, there’s room for us all on this planet. Nature has a way of working these things out.

Since we’re all in this together, we need to listen to each other. Really listen.

Let’s sit down together, break bread, and talk.

Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.