Therefore, this week is a REALLY LONG post. But seriously, everything's awesome. Save it for your day off or when you need a brain break or something.
Obviously, this week's news is heavy on Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman/race/guns/etc. The whole situation is so horrifying I don't even really know where to begin. So instead I'll point you to just three things. One is a reflection on the sad reality of life for too many people. One is a reflection by a friend and fellow clergy woman, on the ways that white women (like both of us) play into this story. Otis Moss III is my secret (not anymore) preacher crush. That man can bring a word to just about any situation.
Meanwhile, there might be hope--if we can figure out how to let our kids grow up before we either kill them or ruin them:
While we're on the subject of race and class and opportunity and whatnot, you need tissues for this one. Read it AND watch the video. Seriously--it's worth your time. There aren't a lot of good news stories these days, so you need this.
"'Things like this don't happen to kids like us,' he cried on that unimaginable night, his face beaming bronze, his tears soaking into my shoulder. And he is right. Blind and legless kids from the ghettos don't get college educations and shiny accolades, but they should. And that is why I stayed. Because hope and love and rejoicing and redemption can happen to kids like them."And in case you were thinking "well, at least we got the women thing sorted out"...watch this. The title "what every woman already knows" is exactly right. There's more to the world than what those in power experience.
There's also more to our experience than we may have thought before. Turns out that some of the external factors of our lives influence our genes in ways that can be passed on to the next generation. So interesting to think about! (and gives new meaning to the business about our sins being visited on our children.)
While we're thinking about things that shape and form who we are, this is a beautiful reflection on church--one of the last places for multi-generational experience. How do we ensure that we are able to speak to multiple generations, formed by such different experiences, with the same gospel?
How do we minister with and to people whose lives and faith are shaped by this emerging new world, who need a form of faith that answers the questions that arise in this new world? How do we at the same time and within the same congregation minister with and to people shaped by a fading world, who respond to a form of faith that was shaped by that world? How do we do both without tearing ourselves or each other apart?One start would be to not be dismissive of either younger or older generations. While this is pretty snarky, it's also right on when it comes to the experience many of us are having. (says this member of the X-Millennial bridge) Please stop putting "young people" down. For starters: it doesn't make "us" want to listen or engage. Shaming never works, it just shuts people down.
And while we're at it, maybe we could contemplate ways to be an actual community full of kind compassionate people? Yes, we're human. That doesn't mean we have license to be mean to one another. If the church's purpose is to "exhibit the kingdom of heaven to the world" (as per the PCUSA Book of Order) then shouldn't we be trying harder to be that?
I firmly believe that by finally dragging our differences and petty arguments into the light of day, it will be a massive first step in breaking our mean habits. For far too long, while we have been waging a war within our own foxholes, the real enemy has had the run of the place. He has been unchallenged because Christ's army is too wounded from friendly fire to even crawl to the battlefield for the real fight. And an enemy who is unopposed is no longer your enemy. He has actually becomes your ruler.
One of the things I spend a lot of time thinking about is language: how do we use it, what's correct and what's emerging and where do those trajectories meet, what are we saying when we use particular words or phrases? This is one of the reasons I am a proponent of inclusive and expansive language. But the pesky English pronouns....
There's some really cool stuff going on in the world, in addition to all the drama and horror of life. Check this out--there could one day be streets that eat pollution! I just think that's worth more exclamation points. !!! Of course, the ideal is a world in which we're not producing pollution, because we've moved beyond fossil fuels. But one thing at a time, right?
Also, gorillas were observed learning and applying their knowledge in the wild. So cool. And I confess there's a part of me that wants to say something like "take that, evolution-deniers." But that's neither kind nor helpful, nor exactly accurate. But still. Cool.
For everyone who's forgotten, Egypt is still happening. While some days are promising and other days terrifying, this article (admittedly 10 days old now--what happens when I skip a week) is a pretty good meta-analysis. Thought-provoking too, about the consequences of approaching things this way. (As an aside: please remember that our own revolution took over a decade to solidify into a constitutional government, and we weren't even being watched every second on the internet. Why do we expect others to happen overnight?)
"The price Egypt has paid and will pay for the consequences of this decision are too high. It has created a generation of Islamists who genuinely believe that democracy does not include them. The post-June 30 fallout reaffirms this belief, especially with Islamist channels and newspapers closed down, as well as leaders detained and held incommunicado, apparently pursuant to an executive decision. For 30 years, Mubarak told them that due process is not for them, and a popular revolution is confirming that. It is Egyptian society that will pay the price of the grievances this causes, and the fact that, with a silenced media and no coverage from independent outlets, they have been left with virtually no channels to get their voice heard."
This column beautifully weaves together a typical day at the beach and a reflection on our calling and responsibility as people of God. Love it.
And, last but never least, a treat for those who made it to the end. Today is the anniversary of the opening of Disneyland! I heart Disneyland, and while I never see anyone dressed this way there anymore (how would you go on rides in those skirts???), it's fun to see how much is the same and how much has changed in nearly 60 years. Not to mention the celebrities. :-)