Conference Artist’s statement

Conference Artist's statement.

Click on the link above to hear Ted Lyddon Hatton's artist's statement about what a transformed world looks like. Why? The United Methodist Conference has been deeply divided over gender and sexuality issues, as have we all. Ted gently but passionately speaks to the spaces we need to create in order to love the person next to us, polar opposite though he or she or they may be to us. 

Why post this on a site devoted to social justice (specifically slavery)?

Because you cannot address human trafficking without peeling back its layers to find issues around gender and sexuality… and you cannot address issues of gender and sexuality without peeling back the layers to find issues of marginlazation, hope and hate, reason and wonder… and you cannot address those issues without peeling back the layers to find foundational beliefs, raw and real perceptions of those opposing us or standing with us – who we really are.

You cannot address human trafficking without facing the rest of the world around you and within you. You will be challenged not only with the buying and selling of people, but with your own preconceived notions of the way the world should be… and be mortified at how hard you have been working at creating that world, even at the expense and wounding of others.

Nothing in this world stands alone.

So if you try addressing slavery as such, believing it stands alone, you will find that it beats you every time.

The same is true for every 'issue' the body of Jesus Christ – our Living God: if you pick and choose what you will stand for with the myopic belief that you will not be transformed yourself in other areas, you do so at your peril. Is that dramatic enough for you?

What does a transformed world look like?

Like, Ted… I don't know. I know how I'd like it to be. I know I'd like the war within me to ceasefire so that shalom can reside rather than frustration… and hatred. Yes, even hatred. I know that the flurry of comments outside of myself can be deeply wounding, and yet if I am to believe God is as faithful a God as claimed, then there is indeed holy love emanating from my 'antipones' (watch the video). There is love even in those who I would encounter as enemies, and vice versa.

What does a transformed world look like?

Right now I can only say that I believe it looks like how we all want it to be. We have not made room for agreement or disagreement in love. Oh sure, we all claim the love of Jesus Christ, but we use it as a catchfall for ourselves to dish out what we believe are deserved remarks of doctrine. Yet these remarks bury the hatchets deep, not within the earth, but within the person next to us and we witness them bleeding out, believing it was the best thing for them. The love of Jesus Christ – Jesus AS Love-in-Person – is not a catchall for our own doctrines to smash people's heads upon the rocks, in order for them to receive our corner of the truth. That's misuse, no?

And yet we stand to free literal slaves from their chains.

What does a transformed world look like?

I don't know… but I know what it sounds like.

Chains — all manners of chains — snapping with loud chinks and exploding apart everywhere; and our weapons of all sorts falling to the ground with metallic thumps. This all followed by silence but for a gentle breeze.

Too dramatic for you?

Possibly.

Yet the dramatic reality today demands a dramatic transformation – loud and soft.

Amen

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