Monday, July 25, 2016

Just Another Day

I just started laughing out loud in our kitchen... all by myself...

Then I realized that what we take for granted, most of you don't know about at all, and so this post was formed.

My family hosted a pastor from India this past weekend; our children's offering supports his work with a dozen orphans in his city of Imphal, Manipur, India. He was an easy guest, very appreciative and gracious. On Saturday, before he left, 50+ people arrived to do mission work here on the Rez; about half are staying at our facility, in classrooms. The other half are staying at another church here in Dulce. They doing some work around each of the churches and parsonages, as well putting on a VBS (at the other church) and a basketball camp (at our church gym).

Well, except there is a funeral at our church today. And the funeral luncheon is in the gym. So the basketball camp is going to be held.... somewhere else. We have tried to secure another gym in the community without success. The decision-maker isn't available yet this morning. The visiting group's pastor and I made a back-up-back-up plan a few minutes ago.

Oh, and the church sewer line backed up this morning... with 25+ guests and a funeral. Thankfully, Tribal Maintenance was able to come and is snaking out the line. My husband has done this in the minutes before a previous funeral, though. Hopefully, snaking will fix the problem; with 100+ year old buildings we've had to dig up the sewer line to the house and replace it. I'd rather wait till we had no guests to replace the church line.

In the midst of this chaos, I opened the dishwasher in our kitchen...

to find it full of water that hadn't drained out from last night's dishes...

And that's when I laughed.

What a blessing it is that God brought us here to this place at a time in our lives when we've learned to let the little things go without stress and with humor. Thank you, God, for preparing us for this delightful, interesting, wonderful place!

Thursday, July 21, 2016


I am writing this for my White friends who deeply believe that racism is dead. I know I have them, and honestly, I'm glad I have them. I welcome people from all walks of life into my life, and I learn from each and every one of them.

So, to my friends who believe that racism is dead, that #BLM is unnecessary and divisive, I plead with you to read this entire post, to give it consideration, and to pray about the truth/non-truth of what I say.

The two pictures shown in this post are the same section of the same glass piece (Good, created several years ago). The experience of Black persons and White persons in our country are as different as these two photos of glass are different. They have some surface similarities, but the characteristics of the image are totally different. One is shiny, multi-colored, and reflective. The other is deeper, the light comes through it instead of reflecting, and shows completely different colors.

Both are true images of the glass panel, but if  you are looking at one of them and listening to someone describe the other one, you may think the other person is crazy!

I believe we can say the same thing about racism. Our personal perspective can be so very different from another's personal perspective that they seem crazy to us. Since I am speaking specifically to my White friends who believe racism is dead, I urge you to consider that the experiences of Black people who speak of racism are true, just as your personal experiences of non-racism are true. I have had some unique experiences that have allowed me to function on "both sides of the fence," and I can tell you that I do see the existence of racism today in America.

When I say that I see racism in America today, I include those folks who truly believe that Black people are worth less than White people. They are sick and wrong, and I'm sure most everyone would agree with that. But...

And here's the real difficulty...

But, I mean more than that. I mean that well-meaning police officers who truly want to do the right thing, who are out there protecting us in a dangerous job, who would never say they're out to get Blacks, that those police officers are more likely to react to a Black man with deadly force than to a White man in the exact same situation. That the assumption in our society is that Black men are more dangerous than White men. An assumption held by these good police officers, by the White woman who clutches her purse a little tighter when a Black man gets on the train, by the teachers who think that "those kids" (Kids of color, especially Black kids, especially boys) need a tighter discipline than White kids, by the shop owner who follows the Black children around, but not the White children...

THAT is what I mean by racism, in addition to the creeps who yelled out the N word to my six-year-old daughter as she walked on their sidewalk. Those racist creeps did not hurt my daughter nearly as much as the well-meaning folks who say they're "color-blind" and ignore the institutional racism that she faces every day.

Today, I awoke to a news story that sparked this post. Please, please take the time to read and watch this news story, as it is a reality that my Black friends and family face daily. It may be very different from your reality, but it is a true reality. There is no way to criticize what this Black man did, from everything I have seen and read. Perhaps something will come to light later, but even then... If a White man had been in this situation, he would not have been shot.

I pray that this country can move past this division and work together to create a better society, one in which all men are created equal.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Divided We Fall

Just after I posted yesterday about the police killings of two Black men, calling for people to pray, speak up for the oppressed, and listen to each other, four gunmen targeted, shot at least 12 uniformed police officers, and killed 5 of them. I am horrified. I am shaken. This morning my older daughter said, "It's like we're on the brink of a civil war!"

Civil. War.

That is what it feels like. And not just about this issue (police violence toward Black men), but across the board! The political scene is peopled by candidates that express only the very far Right and the very far Left positions. The statements being made by Donald Trump are hate-filled and inflammatory. Hilary Clinton supports late-term abortions, is being investigated by the State Department following an FBI investigation that brought evidence but no charges. And these are only a few of the objectionable characteristics that many people, even their supporters, find in each of these candidates. Social Media is filled with hateful statements on both sides of every issue. People aren't even civil in their disagreement... they don't even consider that the "other side" might have some truth in it.

Our nation is more divided than I have seen it in my lifetime. We can't even seem to agree on what the statistics are, let alone what the statistics say. Wealth is more concentrated than it has been for decades. (More information here.) Home ownership is down; rental rates are up. (More information here.)

So what?

Divided we fall.  That's what.

Abraham Lincoln and the book of Mark (3:25) agree on that. Divided we fall. Our country has stood strong for 240 years. The Civil War of 1861-1865 was fought to maintain unity, among other goals. We have joined the world fighting against oppression in two great wars. United we stand.

Divided we fall.

And so I risk angering people who support my stand against the oppression of minorities by calling the slaughter of police officers evil. I truly believe that the majority of Americans do not want violence of any kind. Not toward Blacks. Not toward Police Officers. Not toward the LGBT community. Not toward anyone.

It is morally outrageous for people to target the men and women in uniform who are doing their jobs. The Bible directs its followers to respect the authority of government (Romans 13:1). Some on the far Left would use Corrie ten Boom as an example of a time when it's appropriate to disrespect governing authority because it is immoral, but I believe that the institutional racism that has led to so many police shootings of Black men is not conscious. I truly cannot believe that it is stated government policy anywhere in the US to seek out Black men for assassination. Therefore, we must fight against racism, not against the police.

I believe in the American people's morality. If we can make the case that racism exists and is detrimental to persons of color in our society, the majority will support the change that is necessary. I understand this is slow and painstaking work, but I believe that it is essential.

If we rely on violence to "change things," all it will beget is more division... and...

Divided we fall.

I absolutely understand and share the anger of our citizens regarding violence toward Black men. I just as strongly and absolutely understand and share the anger of our citizens regarding violence toward Police Officers.
Americans, we are better than this. Let's UNITE against all forms of violence. Let's STAND for the oppressed, but without violence.

Again, I ask Christians to give serious consideration to the cause of American minorities. I ask you to pray for the victims of violence. I ask you to pray for the perpetrators of violence. I ask you to speak up in UNITY, not in DIVISION because

Divided we fall. All of us.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Close to Home

If you have read my blog posts over the years, you know that I have written about race several times (MLK, institutional racism, my own family, Trayvon Martin's death, and probably some I've forgotten about. I've been outraged by the deaths of many young Black men, the lack of punishment for their killers, and the institutional racism that causes these deaths.

Today, it got personal. I woke to the outrage on social media regarding Philando Castile's murder. I commented forcefully on a woman's reaction which totally negated the concern of a woman worrying about her Black son. I prayed for the families of the deceased men (Yesterday Alton Sterling was shot to death in Louisiana.), and I prayed for the police officers who shot them. These are my normal responses to this kind of news...

And then my phone rang.

It was my (Black) 29-year-old daughter. She was so distraught I couldn't understand her. After some time, I realized she was talking about Philando Castile and his girlfriend and baby: They are my daughter's friends.

My sweet, intelligent, capable daughter was sobbing over the senseless loss of her friend. She was terrified to be driving. She was afraid that her brother (also Black) would be killed by the police. My baby was shaken. And this mama bear was MAD.

MAD at a world which allows such injustice. MAD at White people who abase the concerns of Black people. MAD at a society which accepts that Black men are dangerous. Just plain MAD.

My nine-year-old daughter asked what I was upset about and got an earful. We've talked about these issues before, and she understands the concepts of White Privilege and institutional racism. She was mad too, but then she said, "Mom, do you remember Betsie ten Boom in The Hiding Place?"


She went on, "I think we need to pray for the people who believe that Black men are dangerous. We need to pray that God will work in their hearts, just like Betsie prayed for the Nazis." And she went on to lead a prayer for us.

Led by a babe.

My anger has been laid at the foot of the cross. By experience I know that it will return, and I will have to lay the burden down again and again.

This does not mean that I am at peace with the status quo. I am not. I will not be content with the situation until Black men and women can trust they will live through a traffic stop. I will not stop speaking out until my White friends and family understand that institutional racism is endemic in our society.

Christians, please open your hearts to the possibility that White privilege is real, that Black lives DO matter, that the oppression isn't imagined. And pray.

Pray for the victims and their families.

Pray for the police officers and their families.

Pray for those who are angered by the idea that racism still exists.

Pray for our Black children's and young adults' safety.

Pray. Try to understand. Speak up. Listen.