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BY MEGAN DOSHER HANSEN

November 21, 2019


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Kaepernick's iconic protest still sparks debate
Colin Kaepernick held his own workout last Saturday to show that he is still in shape and challenged the NFL to face the truth about why their teams aren’t picking him up - via ESPN.
The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” - John 4:11-15
For those of us who closely follow the news, these last few weeks have been pretty busy, culminating in an all-day marathon of impeachment hearings and the latest Democratic debate. There are words upon words upon words. Stories told over and over from every angle, and policies picked apart detail by detail. It can be hard to remember what is true and why we are so invested in this cascade of words tumbling out of our televisions, radios, computers and phones at all hours of the day.
 
On Sunday, I was talking with my confirmation class about stories in the news that troubled them, and where we might use our gifts and skills to bring change to those troubled areas of our world. One student mentioned athletes kneeling during the national anthem, which brought me up short – what did he mean by that? I, too, am troubled by people kneeling during the anthem because of the reasons they feel they have to kneel. But was this the same reason this youth had brought up this story?
 
As it turns out, he had brought it up because of his view of kneeling as a disrespectful act. So, instead of simply telling the class why people were kneeling, I asked questions. What did they know about the reasons people were kneeling? Who started it? Why were they kneeling at all? Did they know that Colin Kaepernick had started out by sitting down, and who suggested that he kneel instead?
 
I know the answers to all these questions, but it was fascinating to realize that these smart, thoughtful young people didn’t really have a good understanding of the issues at hand. I didn’t just ask them about the facts of the story, but I asked why people might feel the need to kneel during the national anthem and what kneeling might symbolize for the soldier who had suggested that action to Colin Kaepernick in the first place.
 
We were able to discover together the reality of this story, and it reminded me that not everyone follows the news as closely or carefully as I do. I cannot assume that those around me are always on the same page. Instead of getting frustrated, if we simply ask the right questions, we might have some deep and thoughtful conversations that bring truth to light. And that is what is sticking with me this week as all those words keep coming at us. Sometimes, like the woman at the well, you just have to ask a few questions.
Thanksgiving is next week, and it can be a time when many of these stories come up and cause conflict in families. We don’t need to be angry or confrontational, but by asking the right questions, we might get to better understandings of what is true. Don’t be afraid to ask a few questions when it seems like we are not on the same page, and see if we can get to the truth together.
God of all that is true and holy, help us find truth in the world. Help us ask the right questions to find the answers we seek. Give us the integrity to say when we are wrong, or to change our minds. Give us courage to challenge understanding not built on truth. Point the way toward better understanding amongst each other. Amen.
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