Friday, August 7, 2015

Weekly Smorgasbord

Once again, some of this stuff is from a REALLY old news cycle. This was back around the time of the McKinney police incident and Charleston shooting, so that's where a lot of the quotes and images come from. Some of the links are from July, though, but I think I still have a few other June ones to share next time (they weren't linking correctly, so that's why I'm sharing these first). Hoping to get caught up soon!

On Faith:
Posted: 22 Jul 2015 09:17 PM PDT
"Most days, if you're aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-lady who just screamed at her little child in the checkout line — maybe she's not usually like this; maybe she's been up three straight nights holding the hand of her husband who's dying of bone cancer, or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the Motor Vehicles Dept. who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a nightmarish red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it's also not impossible — it just depends on what you want to consider. If you're automatically sure that you know what reality is and who and what is really important — if you want to operate on your default-setting — then you, like me, will not consider possibilities that aren't pointless and annoying. But if you've really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know you have other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, loud, slow, consumer-hell-type situation as not only meaningful but sacred, on fire with the same force that lit the stars — compassion, love, the sub-surface unity of all things."
Posted: 23 Jul 2015 04:00 PM PDT
"As people of faith, we may believe our options are limited: Polarize ourselves from each other by taking hard stances, or avoid the ugliness by insulating ourselves in personal safety. By taking hard stances we divide ourselves from others, instead of drawing each other into a Kingdom of love and grace. Conversely, by insulating ourselves, we risk surrender to apathy. What if there is another way? What if, when engaging the news in our context, we first create space to meet with God in the midst of a hurting world?"
On Marriage:
Posted: 22 Jul 2015 08:51 PM PDT
"I guess it's true, because what tore my heart out was this: Before the fifth and last time my husband had sex with another woman, trying to convince himself (and her) that he wouldn't go through with it, he said to her, "There's no place I'd rather be right now, but…."
On Parenting:
Posted: 15 Jul 2015 08:01 PM PDT
Graves was an awful baby for all the reasons people think makes a baby awful. Uh, he was the BEST baby. When people say "Is so and so a good baby?" my head starts to spin a little. This is quite possibly the dumbest question you can ask a new parent. Well no, he's a born sinner and also yes he's entirely perfect. Hahahaha. And yeah, he slept in our bed a good bit as an older infant and young toddler (basically when they should REALLY have things down). He's generally a pretty good sleeper now and dude, I take my my snuggles where I can get them and I don't let anybody shame me for it.

Posted: 18 Jul 2015 12:41 PM PDT
"Those whom we hope to shape and influence for Christ need more than information, they need spiritual formation, a process which requires time, attention, leaning in, making mistakes and then learning from the correction. I want to be someone who doesn't just speak of grace, but takes the time to work alongside others in sowing it in real time, with real sweat and tears. I want to be someone who doesn't just tell my children to forgive, but takes the time to train them by example: naming my faults, asking for their forgiveness, doing more than brushing off slights, but doing the hard work of acknowledgement and reconciliation before them."

Posted: 20 Jul 2015 03:54 PM PDT
"I hurry when I believe in the lie of "not enough." That I'm not enough, that I haven't done enough or that there is not enough time. Mark Buchanan also observes, "Most of us live afraid that we're almost out of time. But you and I, we're heirs of eternity. We're not short of days." This perspective allows me to stop hurrying and grants me permission to fully attend to whatever moment I'm presently in. It's only when I center myself in the truth that I am unconditionally loved and Jesus has already accomplished it all that I can receive the gift of rest. The deeper I am drawn into his love, the deeper I enter his rest. For at his heart IS rest. So these days, I'm learning to fully engage in each moment without rushing onto the next thing. I'm learning to make a cup of tea and drink it while it's hot. I'm learning to leave some things for tomorrow. I'm learning to pause and actually play."

On Life:
Posted: 23 Jul 2015 09:02 PM PDT
"SET GOOD BOUNDARIES. Choose whose feedback matters, and whose opinions don't. Protect your personal time and your personal space. Don't make yourself accessible to people you don't need to be accessible to."

So interesting.
On Education:
Posted: 15 Jul 2015 07:49 PM PDT
"Because these games are free from the constraints of school standards and traditional curriculum, they flourish, featuring rich cross-disciplinary and truly 21st century learning experiences."

Posted: 18 Jul 2015 12:41 PM PDT
I was talking to a friend about how Graves still struggles with read aloud time and she suggested some fidgets. I found these DIY hacks and I think we're going to try some!

On Literature:
Posted: 22 Jul 2015 09:02 PM PDT
"Instead, I think Watchman is best read as the first imagining of Mockingbird. It's the seed, but it's not anywhere close enough to be called a first draft. Watchman is heavily biographical, opening with a twenty-something girl returning to Alabama after a long absence in New York City—a journey Lee herself made, perhaps with similar results."

On Mission Trips:
Posted: 22 Jul 2015 08:41 PM PDT
"It became clearer to me over time that it is necessary for collegiate volunteers to re-prioritize and re-evaluate our approach to aid so that we use our resources to empower countries to develop themselves according to their own standards and not continue to hinder them with our own. The "mission trip model" has been praised for the individuals willing to sacrifice their time and money for impoverished communities, doing as Christ would. However, without knowledge of language, local culture, societal nuances, and the economical framework of the community, this type of "voluntourism" is sometimes wasteful at best, and possibly destructive to the community at worst."

On Saying Less:
Posted: 23 Jul 2015 09:12 PM PDT
"It's not easy to shut up. Saying less means surrendering my control. But the trade-off of control allows room for others to speak up. When I say less, I depend less on others to define and root me. In the silence, it is ok to be wrong, ok to be misunderstood, ok to be unfunny or irrelevant. I can keep more of myself by defending less of myself. I can walk away with glowing secrets in my pocket, words saved for later...Instead I breathe and hold my tongue, letting it wriggle and quake in my mouth, swallowing my words rather than my foot. I wait for the urge to pass and let pregnant pauses give birth to more than I could imagine or create on my own."

On Stress:
Posted: 18 Jul 2015 01:00 PM PDT
"My life is a landscape of summers; a soundtrack of flip-flops and fireworks, a language of flowers...The watermelon was a dud, but the blueberries are perfect and yes, I choose it. I choose bare feet tracking dirt across my floors, and I'll sweep them, I will. But I won't mop. The messes don't matter. There's big work to be done, but not today. Today, we rest. We play. We struggle into the mundane. We do it together, just like we did all those summers ago."

On Personality:
Posted: 20 Jul 2015 10:22 PM PDT
"And the more Cheek and his colleagues, including graduate students Jennifer Grimes and Courtney Brown, thought about it, and the more self-described introverts they interviewed, the less correct this one-size-fits-all definition seemed. There's not just one way to be an introvert, Cheek now argues — rather, there are four shades of introversion: social, thinking, anxious, and restrained. And many introverts are a mix of all four types, rather than demonstrating one type over the others."

On Funny Felines:
Posted: 20 Jul 2015 10:30 PM PDT
Hysterical.

Noteworthy Quotes from the Week(or Month):
"The McKinney video has me trembling. Words are failing me. Kids everywhere at a pool party. Only the black kids detained, cuffed, and thrown to the ground. When that tiny girl was thrown to the ground by her hair and kneeled on by that officer while she sobbed and cried for her mama, my heart shattered into a thousand pieces. I cannot believe not one adult stepped in to defend these children. Christ have mercy." -Jen Hatmaker 
"My heart is broken for my brothers and sisters who died in the Charleston church shooting. It is a painful reality our society still faces as we deal with problems of violence, hatred, and racism. Even though there is nothing to celebrate in the event, they were faithful witnesses in Jesus's name and faced persecution because of it. Just as we hear of the persecution of those who follow Christ overseas, we find it in a most painful way in the "land of the free." Come, Lord Jesus, come" -Owen Weddle
"The attack on Emanuel AME Church was an act of terrorism. Fellow Christians, nine were martyred while they were at prayer. They invited a stranger into their midst, ministered to him, and then he martyred them. If we stood for the 21, if we stand against ISIS, if we claim we do these things because brothers and sisters are being martyred for their faith, then let our stance begin here at home."In the heavenly kingdom rejoice the souls of the Blessed, who followed the footsteps of Christ their Master: and since for love of him they poured forth their lifeblood, therefore with Christ do they exult forever. Let the Saints be joyful with glory. Let them rejoice in their beds." — The Antiphon for the Common of Many Martyrs" -Preston Yancey
"It's probably safe to say that this Sunday there won't be a historically black church that won't talk about the act of terrorism carried out against their community yesterday. It's probably safe to say that this Sunday there won't be a historically black church that won't feel the cost of what it means to gather to worship, their lives at risk for no reason other than the color of skin. In our less diverse, or perhaps all white churches this Sunday, will we speak of these nine martyrs as simply and exclusively victims because they were Christians? Or, will we go into the troubled waters of racism, acknowledge this terrorist professed the intent to kill black people, to deny the humanity of black bodies? Will we reckon with what it means that in 2015 there are young adults whose culture still produces the vitriolic racism we pretend died decades ago? It's comfortable to pretend racism is over, but it's a comfort only afforded to those who declare the lie the loudest. Racism is evil. Racism has no place in the kingdom of God. In church we deal with sin. We deal with evil. We do not shy away from talking about these things. But out of fear, out of fear we'll lose members or we'll offend, we like to talk of the sins in far off lands and not in our own homes. No more. This Sunday, let us call out evil and sin in ourselves. Let us not be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which our martyred brothers and sisters now share in the riches of as they pray for us." -Preston Yancey
"Three years ago, when Trayvon Martin was killed, I remember being so amazed by the silence. No one asked me about it. No one mentioned his death to me. No one outside of my family raised the subject at all. Not at church. Not at work. Not in the grocery store. Not on the Christian radio stations I listened to at the time (which, for me, may have been the beginning of the end of listening to Christian radio).Yesterday, my phone kept buzzing with email messages, voxes, texts, and FB messages — all of them about the nine people murdered in a church in Charleston, SC. I have to believe three years of many people working to raise awareness of racism in America helped make it easier for people to reach out, this time. Sadly, I also believe the fact that these people were killed in a church broke the empathy barrier for a lot of Christians in the world. Suddenly (and, I dare say, finally), the people who were murdered are people with whom we feel we have something in common. So, here's something I'd like to say this morning, if you'll indulge me. One of the best analogies I've read for what it means to live as a person of color in America comes from Randy Alcorn, in his book, Deadline. In that book, the main character and his wife (girlfriend?) are white, and they are friends with a black couple. The two couples go out to dinner one night and the subject of race comes up. The black man says (I'm paraphrasing, because I don't have the book in front of me), "For black people, race is like a marinade. It is soaked into us, all of the time. We cannot escape it. It infuses everything we do. But, for white people, race is like a condiment, If you want to deal with, you can. But if you don't want to, you don't have to." Those words may not be pretty to read, but, in my experience, it's the truth. Yes. Acts of violence stem from our brokenness. All sin, left unchecked, leads to destruction. In this instance, however, racism is the sin that is at the heart of the matter. In this instance, the two go hand in hand. I haven't shared all of this to make anyone uncomfortable. If you are one of the people who reached out yesterday, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Silence probably would have pushed me right over the edge. I have shared this because you are a person of influence. If you're struggling with what to say, if to say, how to say, I'd like to extend an invitation to start with something like this: "I am stunned by the mass murder in Charleston, South Carolina. It was a sinful act, motivated by racism. We have a problem with racism in this country." With all due respect, let me also say this: As a rule, I don't delete comments. However, if you feel as if you'd like to type out in the comments something that sounds like, "This is not a race issue." Or, "This is heart issue." I need to tell you I will delete your comment. I've already stated this is a sin issue, and the sin, in this instance, is racism. Racism is the sin at the heart of the matter." -Deidra D. Riggs
"My children and I have a (great) grandfather who was a general on the side of the confederacy during the Civil War. He was, by all accounts, a great man. He was called "the Preacher General" by his men, and was kind and loving to all in his service and his family. He fought bravely and wisely. He founded a women's college after the war, and pushed hard for widely-available education, regardless of race. His sons and daughters went on to do great things, and all credited their parents with raising them in such a manner as to encourage public service. He and at least one daughter have their portraits hanging in the Old Capitol Museum here in Jackson. What is the appropriate way for us as a family and us as a state and nation to honor the great men and women who lived during the time of the confederacy and even fought on the side of the confederacy without affirming the cause of the confederacy? Said another way, what is the appropriate way for us to properly condemn the racist ideologies of our forefathers without vilifying the individual men and women, some of whom were bad and some of whom were good? My personal leaning is to rid ourselves of system/group honoring (confederate flags being of course a prime example) and allow for and encourage the honoring of individual people. We aren't stealing heritage by taking away its symbols; we will be if we vilify all of its people. There were good men in the German army during WWII, and their grandchildren should love and revere them. But, waiving a swastika isn't helpful or required to love and revere them, and it is harmful to reconciliation. This is not something specific to the south and racism - but applies to all sorts of people groups and sinful ideologies. I think it's a helpful distinction to make, and if we could get these categories a little more clarified, it would help discourse and healing. It's a difficult tension, but it's not going away, and so we need to learn to live in it." -Ann Lowrey Forster


Noteworthy Images from the Week (or Month):

On this day in 1966, civil rights activist James Meredith was shot during his solo March Against Fear from Memphis to Jackson, MS in efforts to encourage blacks to register to vote. Meredith recovered and continued the march, along with Dr. King and thousands of others.
This is a picture a student of mine drew today here in Charleston, SC. I am very proud of her and her mother clearly did an amazingly tender job of explaining a horrible act. I just thought it should be shared.



Hope you enjoyed them, laughed a little, and learned something new!

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