The Long View of St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day allows us the chance to remember how, generations ago, the Irish were reviled and hated by many in this country. They were “Otherized” and made the secular scapegoat for all the ills of their society in that day.

other-no irish need applyBut this morning, the great-grandchildren of Protestants who spewed racial epithets at the Irish, left for school wearing green. Later today, scores more descendants of Irish-haters will hoist a green beer, and drunkenly wax about how “we’re all Irish.”

These are strange little social observations, to be sure. And it’s hard to call them victories for progress.
But they give me an odd sense of hope for the long view…

That one day, the great-grandchildren of border-guarding “Minute Men” will happily enjoy their Cinco de Mayo margaritas, while the descendants of Fred Phelps wear their rainbow colored tshirts to public schools on Pride Weekend.
It’s not exactly “the wolf lying down with lamb.” But maybe it’s as close as we get in this life.

So, cheers.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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