Sunday, February 27, 2011


xray of broken clavicle
xray of repaired shoulder
Over the past few days I learned some important lessons as my son underwent surgery for a fractured clavicle. Ethan is a normal, 15 year old kid who broke his collarbone skiing on February 13th.  On Monday, the 21st, it was determined that he would likely need surgery.  I spent much of the week working with our local Orthopedist to get him seen by Doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.   Pediatric Sports Orthopedist, Dr Amy McIntosh, agreed that surgery was needed and he was in Friday morning to get it repaired.  

 Friday afternoon following surgery, when the pain meds weren't doing their job, I set aside my burning desire to get home (so that I could sleep in my own bed), against his need to be stabilized as far as the pain and nausea were concerned - we ended up spending the night in the hospital, and I am glad we did!  We likely wouldn't have if I, as his parent and advocate, hadn't pressed the Dr and nurses - it seems amazing to me that they can just send someone home just a few hours after major surgery!  Likewise yesterday, after he admitted to some strange feelings from his pain meds (oxycodone) I advocated for a change back to Tylenol 3.  As a parent we are expected to advocate for our children because they are either too young or too inexperienced to have a voice.  

Madison, WI Capitol Bldg Rotunda
Peter Gorman
About 200 miles south and east of Rochester, Mn, in Madison, Wisconsin, there is a growing movement that is calling people from all walks of life together to advocate for public employees and their right to have union representation.  I have never been part of a union, and truth be told, even grew up a bit suspicious of unions.  However, the more I read about what is going on in Wisconsin, as well as other places across the country, it occurs to me that this is no longer 'their' problem - it is to the best interest of all of us to be better informed about our local and state public policies - as well as the jobs and benefits of those who are hired by our state and federal governments to provide much needed services.

As people of faith it is incumbent on us to actively seek justice for all of God's children.  As United Methodists we have a long standing tradition of standing alongside working folk: (from our Book of Discipline,

¶ 163 B) Collective Bargaining—We support the right of all public and private employees and employers to organize for collective bargaining into unions and other groups of their own choosing. Further, we support the right of both parties to protection in so doing and their responsibility to bargain in good faith within the framework of the public interest. 

In order that the rights of all members of the society may be maintained and promoted, we support innovative bargaining procedures that include representatives of the public interest in negotiation and settlement of labor-management contracts, including some that may lead to forms of judicial resolution of issues.

We reject the use of violence by either party during collective bargaining or any labor/management disagreement. We likewise reject the permanent replacement of a worker who engages in a lawful strike. 

While I will not likely march on Madison, I have stood up and advocated for change and accountability not long after I was appointed to serve my first full time appointment in Spirit Lake, Iowa.  While that was one of the most difficult processes that I have ever been a part of, it was also an education in how a handful of people can indeed make a difference in a community!

Tex Sample, UM pastor and scholar formerly with St Paul's School of Theology, said at the 2008 Iowa School for Ministry that we do not have much of a chance of making changes at the federal level - BUT, we can choose to make a difference at the grass roots level. His words resonate with me, and remind me that I need to more aware of ways that I may be an advocate and even an instrument of change here, closer to home.  Wouldn't the world be a better place if instead of looking out for our own self serving interests we chose to advocate for those who are less fortunate than us, who don't have a voice, or who have lost their voice?

Please join in me in praying for all of those who are being called to take a stand and advocate for the poor, the oppressed, the widows and the orphans and even for their own loved ones, young and old alike.  It is a sacred responsibility and one that we will all have the opportunity to do some time in our life.  The question isn't when, the question is; will you or won't you?

in Christ, together,

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