Harvey Weinstein is not why I knitted four beautiful hot pink pussy hats and marched in the Women’s March last spring. I didn’t know about him last spring. Donald Trump was not why I marched in the Women’s March, either, but he was part of it.

Bobby, the neighbor boy who climbed the rough bricks outside our bathroom to peep in when  I was seven to see what a girl looked like after I told him, “no” when he offered me a dime to show him—Bobby started it. And Mark, the high school choir friend who was pretty immature but nice enough to hang around in a group until I told him I didn’t want to go with him to prom and I didn’t want to date him at all, after which he began loudly taunting me across the cafeteria so badly I retreated to one of the music practice rooms to eat my lunch for the rest of the year, and who yelled his usual taunt, loudly enough to be heard across the Civic Auditorium as I crossed the stage to receive my diploma at graduation. Mark added another verse to the litany being written deep inside me.

Then there was the nice divorced man from the church who had joined while I was away for my sophomore year of college who started showing up at my work place just as I clocked out at eleven pm. He was older and I didn’t like him “like that.” But, if somebody went to my church, I trusted them, because well, they went to my church and I had always trusted the people in my church. “Let’s go to coffee,” he’d say. “Sure.” I’d say. I had “go to coffee buddies” at college, why not at home during the summer, too?  Except one night he said he needed to stop by his house, did I mind tagging along? It turns out, I minded. I was ashamed. I should have known better. I didn’t tell anyone. Litany verse three.

Verse four, later that summer at the city pool. Shaken, I decided to leave after a man cornered me and would not accept my pleas of “leave me alone.”

Verse five, on my twenty-first birthday, when on a boat on the Baltic Sea as part of an  overseas study program, I left our group to return to my cabin alone and was followed by a drunken fool who tried to force his way into my cabin after me.

Verse six, the date with an exchange student during my senior year of college that turned ugly fast.

Verse seven, the seminary professor and admissions counselor at a school I visited, who looked me in the eye not once, but stared at my chest the whole time he interviewed me.

Verses eight and nine the man who tried to trick me into following him into an old barn to see some things he said were being stored there that belonged to the church where I was the pastor, and the used condom I found on the seat of my car in the pastor’s parking space outside the church a couple of weeks after I’d rebuffed him.

Litany verses ten, eleven, twelve, they’re all just more of the same. More of the same old rotten thing. More of the same thing women just chalk up to “the way things are.” Unless there’s violence, unless there’s long lasting physical harm, most of the time we women just move on and try to be “smarter” the next time—because so far, there has always been a next time.

I never added up the verses of my very personal litany, I never brought them out to see the light of day. I left them, unremembered deep in the dusty file cabinet of my life’s forgettable moments until last November, when enough people were willing to excuse a self-admitted “pussy grabber” to elect him President of the United States of America.

I marched in the march for many reasons. I knit and wore my hat for one. It was a proud defiance against the litany of disrespect shown me and women throughout the ages.

Now, let me preach a moment with the fire-like passion of the prophets:

This is not the way God intended things to be.

“At last this is flesh of my flesh,” the cry of joy from Adam in meeting Eve is not a cry of domination, but of mutuality, of partnership, of communion, of shared respect and shared pleasure.

“This is my beloved and this is my friend,” the delighted words of the bride about her groom in the Song of Solomon is not about power and possession, but about the tenderness and equality of true partners, willing the very best for each other.

“Wives submit to your husbands, Husbands love your wives like Christ loves the church,” the letter to the Christians in Ephesus is not proscribing subservient women pleasing dominating men, but, in true poetic reciprocity, each loving and serving the other with self-giving love like Jesus.

How about we start a new litany? A litany with verses about respect and tenderness?

How about verses where we march to a deeply humane beat?

How about verses in which we no longer keep quiet?

How about verses where we sing the truth?

How about verses about love?

Simply love.

What a litany.

Damn that dark green sedan!

I had a recurring dream as a child. I was on my tricycle on the sidewalk in front of our house, the little light green house on North 49th Street where we lived until I was four and a half. I was on my red tricycle when a big dark green old-fashioned sedan came careening down the hill on the sidewalk. When I had the dream, I always woke up terrified and crying just before the car plowed over me.

Again and again I had that dream as a child. I was as powerless to stop the dream from recurring as I was powerless in the dream to either get away from the car, or to stop the car on its menacing dive toward my destruction.

Monday I awoke refreshed and happy from a good night’s sleep but taking my phone off its charger and sitting down in the easy chair in our bedroom I read the headlines of Sunday night’s massacre in Las Vegas. I felt the familiar feeling from childhood–the recurring dream in which I am utterly powerless, utterly unable to change the course of events around me. I wanted to scream, but instead I simply sat, stunned, sad, and suddenly weary as if I had not slept in years.

Why does this nightmare, this gun violence nightmare, this only in America nightmare, why does it keep coming, keep bearing down on us again and again and again?  When will we wake up? When will we claim our power to stop this from happening? When will we decide we are not scared little children waking from a bad dream, but full-grown adults fully capable of making this stop? When will we insist that just as cars don’t belong on the sidewalk where children ride their trikes, rapid fire weapons and hand guns have no legitimate place among us?

How long until we wake up, claim our power, and put a stop to this nightmare once and for all? Because, unlike my recurring childhood dream where I awakened shaken, but very much healthy and alive, in this national gun violence recurring nightmare– real children of God die, needlessly, violently,

Every. Single. Time.

In the name of God who said, “Do not kill” how about we wake up and collectively decide God probably got it right on that accord? How about we wake up? How about we make the nightmares stop? How about we claim our power? How about we do it, beginning now?

This nightmare needs to stop. Please, God, make it stop. Please, my fellow Americans, make it stop. Please.

I’ll do my part, and you do yours, I’ll contact my senators and representatives and I’ll be persistent and you contact yours and be persistent and dogged and unwavering and together we will make it stop.

And then, oh! and then, we will awaken, we will awaken, living the recurring dream, being refreshed and happy on each new day that the Lord has made for all of us to rejoice and be glad in.