Category: Race

Interview: Austin Channing Brown, I’m Still Here

Austin Channing joins the podcast to be interviewed by Katelin Hansen about her new book, I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. Some of the topics covered include:

Background for the book (1:38)
Stories from Austin’s experiences in primarily white Christian spaces (4:25)
The intersection of Christianity and white supremacy (20:00)
The readership of the book being broader than anticipated and the pervasiveness of racism across different evolving systems over time (36:35)

(This interview was much more of a back and forth conversation naturally flowing from one idea to the next than most, so separating them into distinct topics was not nearly as easy)

http://media.blubrry.com/mennonerds_audio/p/podcasts.mennonerds.com/Interview-AustinChanningBrown--ImStillHere.mp3Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS

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What If

Yall. I havent written a blog post in a really long time. Are you all still reading these things called blog posts? I hope so because I want to share a thought thats forming in my heart. The world sucks. (You've probably noticed this.) And it feels like every day is an emotional battle. How much do you invest in the daily news? How much do we need to escape for our own sanity? How much do I give? How often do I volunteer? Should I go to the border, to the airports, to DC, to the march shutting down the highway? How do I balance everything else that life requires- my friends, my work, my family, my hobbies. How do I fight despair, apathy, bitterness? So many questions. Sigh. But here's the thing Ive been wondering. What if we were made for this? I dont mean that we are made to suffer, or that "God intended this" stuff. I mean. What if instead of longing for ease, we were made for more- made to advocate, made to dig in, made to speak out, made to dive into nuance, made for complexity, made for this moment. We are not the first generation to face hard things. Slavery. Genocide. Internment. Mass Incarceration. Segregation. Exclusion. Discrimination of all kinds. But throughout history people decided to rise up. Sometimes they reaped the fruit of their efforts; sometimes they didnt. What if we believed the fight for justice was worth it, regardless of whether or not we get to enjoy the benefits? We still have lots of hard questions to ask. When to rise up and when to take a nap, for example. But what if we believed in the core of our being that we are strong, that we are creative, that we here to participate in making a difference?What if we believed so deeply in our own capacity to rise to this occasion that getting to work wasnt a tiring chore, but a life-giving opportunity to invest in something larger than ourselves?What if   
Syndicated from Blog - Austin Channing Brown

BGWG 14: Farewell

Ebony and Steve return for one more episode of Black Gal, White Guy to say farewell to the show as they move on to focus on other things. Some of the topics include:

Steve’s recommendation: the podcast VS. (1:38)
Ebony’s recommendation: Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown (3:55)
Ebony and the Kinky Curly Theological Collective (8:20)
Steve and Village of Hope leaving Portland (14:45)
Ebony’s concerns (23:55)
Steve giving space for other voices (27:50)
Ebony’s parting words for listeners (31:25)
Steve’s parting words for listeners (35:15)

Note: they did actually record this a while ago and I (Ryan, the editor and distributor) did not realize it until recently – I had stopped regularly checking after they told me they were wrapping up, so I didn’t realize they had recorded one more episode a few weeks later. Oops.
http://media.blubrry.com/mennonerds_audio/p/podcasts.mennonerds.com/BGWG14-Farewell.mp3Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS

Somewhere to Be

I know I’m technically on a “blogging sabbatical,” but I decided to interrupt it to offer a few reflections and observations on a trip I’m presently on to Israel and Palestine. One of the things we consistently hear wherever we go in this conflicted area is, “Tell others what you have seen and heard with your own eyes and ears.” It’s a serious call, and one that I feel an obligation to respond to given the privilege that I have of being here. Here are some assorted stories and reflections from my first few days here.
At 5:30 yesterday morning we made our way to the main checkpoint that Palestinians must take to get from Bethlehem to Jerusalem. We were coming a bit later in the morning—most Palestians (men, mainly) arrive before 4:00 am in order to ensure that they can get through in time to get to work on the other side by 7:00 or so. After a briefing from a few humanitarian monitors of the checkpoint, we proceeded through a labyrinth of cages and turnstiles and barbed wire and metal detectors and soldiers. We wanted to get a sense of what it was like to be a Palestinian for whom this is a daily reality.
But of course we only got a tiny sense of what it was actually like. It was far emptier than earlier in the morning. We got to sleep in until 5:00 am to get there rather than waking as early as 1:00 am to travel from surrounding villages to arrive at the checkpoint by 4:00. We had no need to consider if our employer would be waiting for us on other side, no cause to worry about a medical appointment we might miss, no anxiety about whether we might be turned back once we finally got to the Israeli soldiers, often for reasons as simple as expired paperwork or the fact that there were reports of someone in our village who threw a stone at an Israeli vehicle. Or less. We didn’t have a hard day of labour in the hot sun to look ahead to once we made it through the lineup (which can take anywhere from half an hour to two hours, depending on how many metal detectors they decide to open at any given point of the day). We didn’t have any anxiety about whether we’d even have a job waiting for us on the other side nor did we have to struggle with the grim irony that surely must accompany the common reality of Palestinian day labourers building helping to build Jewish settlements on what is supposed to be their land. We didn’t have to think about doing it all over again tomorrow morning. And the morning after that. And the morning after that… We got through with barely a disinterested glance at our passports and made our way back to the hotel for hot coffee and breakfast.
At one point when we were walking along the long walkway that felt like a livestock chute, an older Palestinian man said to me, “Welcome to our checkpoint, what do you think?” I shook my head and mumbled something like, “I don’t quite know what to say when I see something like this… What do you think?” He just smiled and said, “Every day,” before hurrying off past me. I suppose he had somewhere to be.
We spent part of Sunday touring through the Old City of Jerusalem. At one point, my wife and I wandered down from the Al Aqsa mosque toward a lookout point that faces over toward the Kidron Valley and the Mount of Olives. There was a structure there and I offhandedly asked the guy beside me if he knew what it was. He proceeded to summon his Holy Land tour leader to come over and answer my question. What followed was some interesting theology.
“Well, you see, this is the East Gate but the Muslims have walled it off and built a cemetery on the other side… And of course we know that when Jesus returns he will touch down on the Mount of Olives and make his way over here to institute the new temple… But he can’t set foot in the Muslim cemetery, of course (of course?)… Luckily, it was recently discovered that there was a fault line on top of the Mount of Olives… And of course (of course?) we know that this fault line is designed by God to literally split the earth in half and pave the way for Jesus to triumphantly reenter Jerusalem. My face must have looked rather blank as I pondered this image of king Jesus parachuting down from heaven onto the Mount of Olives to be ushered via earthquake through the remains of a Muslim cemetery to reestablish a Jewish temple. An interesting eschatological path to take for the Prince of Peace. Jesus, too, apparently, has somewhere to be.
As I reflected upon these two experiences, I wondered what might happen if the Holy Land tour guide I met would walk through an Israeli checkpoint. I wonder if he might get a glimpse into the grinding, soul-crushing daily reality that his theological fervour feeds into for ordinary human beings. Would he pause to wonder if his need for the nation state of Israel and Jerusalem in particular to be a staging ground for his particular version of eschatological pyrotechnics legitimates the kind of struggle and suffering for ordinary people that is obvious at the checkpoint? Would he soften his position in any way? Would he think twice before mapping out Jesus’ triumphant (and violent) return to Jerusalem for eager tourists every day? Or would he only see tens of thousands of potential terrorists being daily herded like cattle through a maze of steel and barbed wire?
I don’t know the answer to these questions. Obviously. I don’t know the answer to very many questions when it comes to this part of the world. But I do know that if this land is ever going to turn into somewhere to be for both Jews and Palestinians, it is going to require a determination to imagine things from the perspective of the other and to at least try to see a human being where it’s so easy to see only an enemy. It’s going to require Jesus-y things like forgiving what seems impossible to forgive, in turning cheeks that have been stung too many times with violence. It’s going to require walking miles that we have little interest in walking to places we would rather not go because we’re convinced that there has to a better future around the bend.

Syndicated from Rumblings

The Errancy in End-Times Theology: Could It Just Be Racist?

The unfolding crisis in Gaza forces me to put to paper something that I have been wrestling with over the last month, though honestly, a period of years. As someone who grew up reading the Left Behind series almost as religiously as I read my Bible, I understand how Evangelical Christians are viewing the move … Continue reading The Errancy in End-Times Theology: Could It Just Be Racist?
Syndicated from Ebony Johanna

Let Us Remember: Slavery Built America

American slaves are just as much veterans as those who have served in the military.

Today is Memorial Day. A day where we celebrate our ‘victories’ and mourn our losses, while respecting those who have sacrificed. The past two years, I have written pieces regarding my frustrations and moral qualms with Memorial Day. While I could write further on the subject, this year I don’t want to be re-writing the same old thing. What I want to do, instead, is show how if we demand to participate in this day of remembering what our ‘freedom’ costs, we must remember the African slaves and anti-Black culture that dominates America. Without our racist practices, and without the free labor that slavery provided, our capitalist society, our war machine (and thereby war effort), and the ‘liberties’ we have today would be nonexistent and would have failed. Our heinous, evil practice of dehumanization is what got us to where we are today. Freedom costs us – it costs us our conscience. Which begs the question – are we really free?
Much ink has been spilled to show that without slavery, colonialism, and imperialism, the economic strength of America would be much more fragile. When one wants power, one must take it from someone else. Whether that be nationally, culturally, or individually. America is great at it.
Unfortunately, I do not have the time to put forth a well written piece, so my hope here is primarily to compile resources to show that we must remember that we are not the good guy. I repeat: WE. ARE. NOT. THE. GOOD. GUY. We have enslaved. We have pillaged. We have raped. We have destroyed. We have killed. All for our own selfish needs (don’t tell me we were justified in WWII. We refused to assist until we ourselves were bombed. We entered for selfish motive. I mean, let’s not forget we refused to help out the Jews seeking refuge while they were being burned alive.) – no questions asked. How dare we celebrate that? To do so is to spit in the face of Christ – The Suffering. The One who would rather die than kill. Who would rather carry a cross than a gun. But it is also to spit in the face of the 20 million Africans enslaved in the making of the American Empire. Without their forced free labor, without their lives being totally given to the American machine, without any say on their part, the American experiment would not have been nearly as successful as it is, economically speaking. Without the 200-300 years of slavery (slavery isn’t over. Don’t get me started on the subject of mass incarceration and unpaid/underpaid prison labor), we would not have had the resources to ‘win’ the wars we did. Oh the irony of a country that celebrates the “self-made man.” No such thing. If you’ve made it, you’ve made it because we have a history resting on a precedent of human bondage.
May God have mercy on us.
I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but in the broader narrative of American history, these black slaves, so dearly unappreciated, gave at least as much as veterans in the military. They gave the entirety of their existence. To this day, American culture is such that we have to consistently yell over the sea of white: Black Lives Matter. If we don’t, we forget. Heck, when we do, we’re deaf. Black people are the unsung heroes of this nation. They built it. We forced them to. They gave us our ‘victories.’ They are veterans. They deserve to be recognized. Celebrate Blackness this Memorial Day, not greed, not war, not murder!
As I always try to do, I want to be clear: I am not trying to de-value American veterans. While I think war is anti-Christ in nature, and to participate in killing is contrary to the message of Jesus Christ, I respect veterans. They are truly an underappreciated, disregarded piece of American culture. I appreciate that they have sacrificed their time, their energy, their limbs, their minds. They have given a lot. I would just argue, they did so for the wrong reasons. They did so for America, not for Christ. Christ has absolutely nothing to do with allegiance to a nation. That does not, however, diminish their importance as human beings. That does not mean Christ does not love them, nor does it mean I do not wish to try to myself, in my own frail way, of course. That does not mean when they come back home injured, bleeding, scared, alone, that we should discard them. We should care for them, help them along – welcome them with open arms. If you have served in the military, whether for this country, for North Korea, or the Nazi regime – you are beloved to Christ. But…so is the person you were sent to fight.
Below are some articles regarding how 300 years of slavery made our capitalist system possible, and therefore, our victories at war (given our economic abilities) possible. I encourage you to research, research, research. Ask questions. Seek to understand the world outside your own experience.
Peace be unto you.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/hbsworkingknowledge/2017/05/03/the-clear-connection-between-slavery-and-american-capitalism/#597eac097bd3
https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-slavery-gave-capitalism-its-start
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/24/slavery_n_4847105.html
https://www.chronicle.com/article/SlaveryCapitalism/150787
https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/slavery-and-rise-capitalism
https://isreview.org/issue/99/slavery-capitalism-and-imperialism
https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/18/how-slaves-built-american-capitalism/
http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/15556.html
 
 

Syndicated from Interdependently Independent

Thinking is Hard (Or, The Value of Squirming)

I’ve been reading Alan Jacobs’ little book How to Think over the last few days. It doesn’t contain anything particularly new, but it has been yet another reminder of just how bad at thinking we often are and are becoming, particularly in the digital age. Jacobs does not paint a flattering portrait. Reactionary ideological sloganeering easily and often replaces careful, nuanced thinking about difficult issues. More often than not, the things we think are determined less by actual investigation and weighing of evidence than by our need for social belonging and our desire to have an “other” to define ourselves in opposition to. We are yanked around by emotional reactions and impulses and then tell a rational story to reframe our views as the result of logical analysis. We are masters at lying to ourselves about why we think the things we do, at taking shortcuts when we can’t be bothered to deal with complexity, and at regurgitating platitudes in the confident expectation that this will be affirmed by the people we seek to impress and the groups we hope to belong to. All in all, according to Jacobs, we’re not nearly as good at thinking as we think we are.
A few recent experiences have me thinking about the way I think. First, I was out in Saskatchewan last week speaking to a group of high school students. Not surprisingly, all anyone wanted to talk about was the terrible accident involving the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team that claimed sixteen lives. It was like an open wound in that part of the province, as I wrote about in my previous post. On the last day I was there, many people were talking about a tweet that was making the rounds online that was saying something to the effect of, “Do you think there would have been the same outpouring of grief and solidarity (and money! I believe the GoFundMe page that started to support the victims’ families is now over $13 million) if the victims weren’t white, male, and hockey players?
The tweet was as predictable for our cultural moment (there is nothing that we seem incapable of reducing to a referendum on identity) as was the response (a great deal of unbridled anger). We talked about this a bit in the chapel I was leading. I confess that my initial response to the tweet was also anger. Why would you turn a province’s mourning into an opportunity to play identity politics?! But then I asked myself why I was having that reaction. I brought it up with the students as well. Some of them became visibly angry at the mention of the tweet. But if we all were to press pause on the emotional responses and actually think about it, we must surely acknowledge that there is at the very least a question worth asking there, right?
What if the bus was carrying not young white male hockey players but indigenous kids coming back from a pow-wow or, say, a Christian high school girl’s choir returning from a competition? Could we imagine the same response? Could we imagine $13 million in a GoFundMe account? It seems unlikely to me. This is to take nothing away from the horror of the crash and the devastating ways in which it affects those who lost family and friends. But do we have the intellectual and emotional bandwidth to at some point (perhaps not in the immediate aftermath of tragedy!) ask questions about the role that hockey (and sport, more generally) plays in our cultural imagination and whether this is a good thing? Can we think about even harder questions involving race and gender without losing our collective minds (on either side of the spectrum)?
The second experience involves the ongoing crisis in Syria. Recent news has been dominated by the alleged chemical weapons attack by the Assad government in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta. It has reignited public outcry and has led to military strikes by Western powers. This week, I have been having conversations with a Syrian Orthodox priest who has come from the besieged city of Homs to visit the families that our group of churches sponsored a few years ago. It has brought to the surface some political discussions that I mostly try to avoid with my Syrian friends. To put things bluntly, they do not have much use for the narrative of their country that we hear about in Western media. Syrian Orthodox Christians are mostly, although not exclusively, solidly in Assad’s camp. Where we see mostly honest reporting about Syria, they see a propaganda campaign against their president. Where many in the west see a courageous revolution against a brutal dictator, they see terrorists trying to overthrow a political regime that was stable and protective of their people.
This makes for some squirming on my part. The thought that people that I like and respect see someone like Assad as a hero is unsettling. But it also forces me to think a bit harder about why I think the way that I do. It has forced me to acknowledge that I am just as conditioned by the media that I consume as they are by theirs. It has led me to consider how I might feel if I was part of a 10% minority of Christians who had seen what happened in places like Libya when dictators are deposed and governments far less friendly to Christians moved in. It has given me pause to wonder how indebted I might feel to a government whose armed forces literally pulled my family out of the rubble of a war zone. Might I be inclined to see such a government differently? It feels more than a little silly (not to mention dangerously naïve) for someone who has never experienced war and who has only the most fragmentary understanding of the history and politics of the region to be pronouncing upon who the good guys and the bad guys really are. And it probably should.
These experiences have delivered to me a rather obvious and necessary reminder: there’s a lot that I don’t know. I try to read broadly and be reasonably well-informed, but there’s always another perspective to consider, always another experience to take on board, always another way in which my own self limits the views I’m prepared to consider and why. My thinking is profoundly constrained, often in ways I am barely aware of or willing to acknowledge. And so is yours. And so is the thinking of my Syrian friends and my grieving Saskatchewan neighbours and everyone else under the sun.
Thinking is hard.
Which is why I think that it a crucial starting point is self-awareness. We must look at the proverbial log in our own eye before presuming to straighten out the thinking of everyone else. We must be honest about all that we don’t know and about all the ways in which our thinking has very little to do with what we think and a lot to do with how we feel and what we would prefer to be the case and why.

Syndicated from Rumblings

BGWG 13: Kinky Curly Theological Collective

Ebony and Steve return for an episode of Black Gal, White Guy where they talk about Ebony’s recent work with the Kinky Curly Theological Collective. Topics today include:

Ebony’s recommendations: Black Panther (2018) and A Hidden Wholeness by Parker Palmer (0:54)
Steve’s recommendations: I Am Not Your Negro (2016) and A Time for Burning (1967) (3:21)
An update from Steve on the Village of Hope (6:27)
Introducing the Kinky Curly Theological Collective and why it is necessary (9:19)
Creating a context where women and people of color can safely speak up (18:51)
What about unity when only some voices are speaking in KCTC? (27:08)
The technology behind KCTC: face-to-face meetings in Minnesota (34:34)

http://media.blubrry.com/mennonerds_audio/p/podcasts.mennonerds.com/BGWG13-KinkyCurlyTheologicalCollective.mp3Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS

Bighearted Hospitality for Strangers

Please welcome my guest, Sarah Quezada, author of Love Undocumented, which brings together her personal story and experience of the U.S. immigration system with Scripture and her Christian faith. In this excerpt, she talks about bighearted hospitality which speaks to her U.S. context, to my Canadian context with its different immigration issues, and to anyone … Continue reading Bighearted Hospitality for Strangers
Syndicated from April Yamasaki

Interview: Dominique Gilliard, Rethinking Incarceration

MennoNerds member Dominique Gilliard joins the podcast to discuss his new book, Rethinking Incarceration. The book description says this (via Publishers Weekly):
In his debut, Gilliard, an Evangelical Covenant Church pastor, builds on the work of Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow), Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy), and Christopher D. Marshall (Compassionate Justice) to create a readable narrative history of racialized incarceration in the U.S. Gilliard depicts the modern incarceration culture as being so painful and brutal that “I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory/ When is it gonna get me?” He opens with the horrific murder of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in 2006 by Atlanta police officers who conspired to hide their crime, and then goes on to survey the history of mass incarceration, including “black codes” (restrictive laws passed in the late 19th century), convict leasing, and modern prison labor. First, he deconstructs American evangelicals’ fascination with “law and order” and theology of penal substitution. Second, building on fine biblical interpretation, he provides a theology that emphasizes restorative justice. He also takes the church to task for failing to “reckon with the reality that ever since black people were stolen from Africa and trafficked to this land, they have been dehumanized, abused, criminalized, incarcerated, exploited for profit, and governed in distinctively sinister ways.” This is an outstanding addition to this incredibly important conversation.
Some of the topics include:

Introducing Dominique (0:15)
How Rethinking Incarceration came about (3:07)
Impact on Dominique’s congregation as he pushed more into prison ministry (9:09)
Building off books like New Jim Crow to add a Scriptural approach to mass incarceration (11:50)
The church’s contribution to mass incarceration (18:21)
How penal substitution atonement theology encourages this punishment framework (23:03)
Getting stuck on talking about corporate sin without doing anything about it (30:09)
What restorative justice looks like and how churches can cast a greater vision of shalom (38:38)
How Jesus appears behind bars today (50:18)

Links
Englewood Review of Books: 30 Books for Christian Readers to Watch for in 2018 (page 6)
Facebook: DominiqueDGilliard
Twitter: @DDGilliard
Website: dominiquegilliard.com
Instagram: dominiquedgilliard
http://media.blubrry.com/mennonerds_audio/p/podcasts.mennonerds.com/Interview-DominiqueGilliard--RethinkingIncarceration.mp3Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS

The Kinky Curly Theological Collective

In the fall of 2017, I gathered a group of African and African American women to launch a ministry that have been pregnant with for years “The Kinky Curly Theological Collective.”  This collective affirms the experiences, wisdom, and expertise of black women, validating these experiences as a legitimate locus of theological pedagogy. We do this … Continue reading The Kinky Curly Theological Collective
Syndicated from Ebony Johanna

Kinda Like Family

I get defensive when I listen to episodes like the one that aired today on a special edition of The Current. I’m not particularly proud of my instinctive reaction, but there you go. The episode was called “In Care and In Crisis: Canada’s Indigenous Child Welfare Emergency.” It deals with the deeply troubling realities faced by indigenous kids across Canada who are removed from the care of their biological parents and placed into foster care. The word “crisis” is no overstatement for the present situation. If you have any doubt (and care bear the heart-rending sadness), read this piece from yesterday.
Yet, I still get defensive. The reasons are obvious enough. I am the white parent of indigenous kids which is sort of a troubling position occupy in our present cultural climate. Worse still, I am a white Christian, which immediately locates me in the odious category that has done indigenous people historical harm. Even worse yet (if this can be imagined), my indigenous kids are presently attending a Christian boarding school in Saskatchewan! Never mind that this was a choice that they made. Never mind that they will learn far more about their own history and culture and from a more nuanced perspective at this school than they would at public school. Never mind that my wife is beating a steady path to Saskatchewan and back nearly every other weekend to see them. I know very well that these are some suspicious optics. We might as well out ourselves as dirty colonialists. Come to think of it, I probably just have.
To top it all off, I have the temerity to imagine that we are doing something good in all this. When my wife and I decided to adopt way back around the turn of the century, we had to wrestle through all kinds of questions about nature and nurture and the relationship between the two. We imagined that the “success,” however defined, of a kid was probably mostly down to nurture. Yeah, nature played a part, but probably a small one. Nearly seventeen years into the journey, we’re probably a bit less naïve. I don’t know if it’s 50/50 or 60/40 or 70/30 or what, but we obviously realize that the whole tabula rasa thing is a myth. There’s no such thing as a blank slate, whether it’s mixed race adoptions like ours or raising your own biological kids. Nature and nurture are always mixing and mingling and interacting in ways that we can probably barely even understand or discern. So it goes. This is how human beings grow.
But I know and have seen enough about the situation that our kids would be facing if they were still with their biological parents to stubbornly believe that they are better off with us. I know that we are certainly better off with them. Even though they are not immersed in their history and culture, even though there are inevitably losses that come along with whatever gains have come their way by virtue of being a part of our family, even though there is a part of their story that will likely never take root and grow in the same way that it might otherwise have, I still think that we did the right thing for the right reasons and this was God’s will for our family. And I bristle when it is suggested that we are somehow part of the problem. A selfish response? Perhaps. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time…
The system in Canada is screwed up, without question. Real and devastating harm is done to indigenous kids in and by a foster system that too easily treats human beings as commodities to secure funding. And yes, there is a grim and guilty history that provides the dark backdrop and subtext to so many of these problems. But I get nervous when I see whole categories of people being written off as “destroyers of indigeneity” or agents of cultural genocide or some such thing. I have sat with parents from the “Sixties Scoop” generation. I have heard the stories of anguished foster parents. I have friends who are adoptive parents and are wrestling through these issues with the very best of intentions. Almost without exception, these people were trying to do something good in an awful situation. They loved, and in many cases continue to love these kids. Are there exceptions? Are there nasty stories out there? Sure. There always are. Do we give a free pass to everyone who has “good intentions” No, of course not. But neither do we consign those working for good within broken structures and painful histories to the outer ring of disdainful darkness because they cannot be or provide everything that a given child  might need to come to terms with their own story and to chart a better way forward.
Before pressing “publish” on this post, I spent some time rereading the article I linked to above. It made me weep. This poor girl, passed around from home to home, struggling to know who she was or where she belonged for nearly all of her fifteen years. But as I read, it occurred to me that it wasn’t her biological mother’s indigeneity whose absence this girl seemed to most keenly feel, it was her love, her care, her time. It was the normal rhythms and routines of daily life—watching videos together, laughing about something they saw on Facebook, the utterly ordinary events of coming and going and coming back again to something and someone stable.
This is by no means to suggest that culture is unimportant or disconnected from the reasons why such stability was absent in this girl’s life. But I am convinced that cultural and ethnic categories are not the ultimate categories when it comes to helping kids flourish. Love and care, stability and security are. At the very least, these can provide a healthy framework within which to work back from and consider questions of culture and ethnicity and belonging. So it seems to me, at any rate. But then, I would say that, wouldn’t I?
After taking my daughter to the doctor this morning, we dropped by the church to say hello at a seniors coffee hour. There, she was greeted by smiles and hugs and more cake than she would have cared for. She was conscripted to play piano in church on Sunday. She was fawned over by a wide array of embarrassingly white and Christian folks who love her dearly and who she loves in return. On the way home, she told me that one of the things she misses most while away at school is her family… and her church… “Which is kinda like family anyway, right?” I couldn’t help but smile.
Whatever else might be said about the word “Christian,” it seems to me that at the very least it points to a hope that transcends tribe and tongue, relegating these distinctives, important as they are, to the category of “penultimate” rather than “ultimate.” It locates us all in pretty much the same position: God’s adopted kids, dearly loved, honoured, and called to extend that love across every boundary that might occur to us or be placed in our way.
——-
The image above was painted by my daughter when she was twelve or so. It hangs just outside my home office. 

Syndicated from Rumblings

Podcast: What Should A Christian Do When A President Refers to Other Nations as S*#!hole Countries?

Greg engages supposed incendiary comments of President Trump. 
Send Questions To:
Dan: @thatdankent
Email: askgregboyd@gmail.com
Twitter: @reKnewOrg
http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0277.mp3
Subscribe:
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The post Podcast: What Should A Christian Do When A President Refers to Other Nations as S*#!hole Countries? appeared first on Greg Boyd - ReKnew.

Syndicated from Greg Boyd – ReKnew

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