American Beams


Hey America,

Why do you, who claim to come in my ways, keep looking at what's in everyone else's eyes? All of you have been created in my image, so I hate to break it to you but Iran isn't just your fellow human, isn't just your fellow neighbor...they're your sibling.

And I see you keep pointing your finger at your sibling, like you don't have the same kinda problems, but I think you might need to find a mirror, cuz your eye's inflamed. Your right wing pundits are saying crazy things like Iran has radical muslims, Iran oppresses women, Iran oppresses queer folk and Iran fights proxy wars. Children, why is it the same tired arguments over & over again? It's like you're free basin' hypocrisy over there on Capital Hill. πŸ’‰

Let's take some inventory here:

Homophobic? 🀦🏽

Y'all have been homophobic. You are homophobic. Right now. Look at your churches. Look at your laws. Look at Matthew Shepard. Look at your bakers, you're fighting over cakes! Look at Harvey Milk. A Christian shot him in the head! Twice! Have you forgotten your story?

Anti-woman? πŸ€·πŸΏβ€β™€οΈ

Been paying attention to your own #metoo moment recently? How bout your #churchtoo moment with countless of rapes & assaults being reported in your largest Evangelical denomination - the Southern Baptist Church. How many female C-suite execs do your companies have? How many women get paid the same as their male counterparts? How long have women been voting? Did you miss what happened to Amy Butler? How bout how many rape allegations lead to conviction? How many female pastors (not 'directors') lead your megachurches? How about all the female presidents you've had? You say you aren't ready yet? By the way, Pakistan was. Ten years ago. Same for the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia & other non-Christian, non-Western nations you look down on. Heck, India had one before black people could even vote in your country!....sorry to bring that up btw, but, well, specks and logs.

Violence? πŸ™‰

Let's take a look at your life for a second. Y'all kill each other en masse on a monthly basis, and you worship your guns. For every one time a gun protects innocent lives (from another gun, mind you) you've got hundreds of more deaths at the hand of guns. Are you happy with ratios like that? Do they feel very Christian?

Proxy wars? πŸ™Š

You're kidding right. Do I really need to go there? I don't have enough ink. Noriega. Indochina Wars. Korean War. Iran-Contra Affair. Afghanistan. Iraq. Bay of Pigs. Your constant cosigning of Israel while they bulldoze Palestinian settlements, wall off cities and shoot unarmed citizens. THE 1953 IRANIAN COUP D-ETAT THAT IS DIRECTLY LINKED TO IRAN'S CURRENT DISTRUST OF AMERICA....just to name a few.

'Radical Islam'? πŸ™ˆ

You realize there are 1.8+ BILLION Muslims in the world and you are ascribing radical violence to all of them? That's some nerve. Let's put the shoe on the other foot: How about the radical, fundamentalist, imperialist Christianity America dumps all over the world? You're allegedly the premier Christian nation on earth & you've been at war 222 of 244 years of your existence! You're constantly invading, nation building, deposing and assassinating - and always the name of peace. And always in my name!

And I see you getting a little salty down there right so look, let me say: like ALL tribes, you have the potential for beauty. All children do....just like your other siblings: Iran, Russia & China included. Obviously the world is complex, made up of life-taking & life-creating acts. Most are done with good but misguided intentions & all are done with self-interest.

But I told you this already: my ways require you, child, to deal with YOUR OWN BEAMS...IN YOUR OWN EYES. That's enough work in itself, yet you're over here feelin' yourselves so much you've become blind to your own infection. Splinters everywhere: The slave trade, the genocide & erasure of 10s of millions of indigenous folk, the oppressive nature of your economic system, the Western culture you force on non-Westerners, all your military invasions, your droning, your prison system, your deporting, your bankrupting, your debt, your corporate greed, your insatiable appetites, your racism, your sexism, your locking (Christian) kids in cages.

Y'all have a lot of cosmetic work to do. And I'm here to do it with you. It's always easier to point the finger at your sibling, but all you're doing is kicking your own cans down the road, and wrecking your own moral compass in the meantime. Suck the poison of violence & conquering out of your own veins first, and when that's finished, I'll give you next steps.

Until then, one more thing: never, ever, no matter what, ever, resort to violence. Even & especially when you are struck first! Remember what I said to you about turning the other cheek? Even & especially when you know in advance that violence is coming your way. 'Pre-emptive strike' my ass. Think I didn't know my death was coming? Read the stories again. All four of them. And then note what I did. And then follow me. Rinse. repeat.

Stop the hypocrisy, your eyes are swollen. It's not a good look. No one's saying I'm cosigning Iran's nonsense. But assuredly, I say to you, my name is not on your missiles. Take the beam out of your own eye, and then perhaps you will see clearly enough to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.


God. In Matthew 7.

Chris Romine

Aside from some stints in Venezuela and California, Chris has spent most of his life in or around NYC. After college, he moved to the city for work and it's in that season that he grew curious about the power of community, and specifically the work of spiritual communities. Despite not having a religious background, this interest eventually led him to development & innovation in the religious orbit. Concerned with aligning his stances on race, sexuality & gender with matters of faith, he shifted careers and enrolled in divinity school. Compelled by organizing & community building, he returned to NYC to pilot a new community - which eventually became Common Ground. CG's emerged as space to practice belonging and pursue collective liberation, because none of us are free until all of us are free. He's animated by the community work of upending layers of supremacy culture that cause harm & trauma. He hopes CG can be a place committed to true belonging & radical community.