Inspiration

I wanted to share a couple of pieces that I wrote that really seem pertinent to my current work focus.
Multiculturalism
We rub
I on you
You on me
If we rub enough, we all will see what was hidden underneath
Exposed for those who choose to see
Oh the glory, the wonder, the riches unfold
For He is the one, our eyes will behold

 

Multicultural Trip
I had a whole week of class and I was very tired. I was angry with my teacher and my classmates and I was ready to go home.  When I got to the airport, I saw people from all over who talked to me and we laughed and we all valued our time together.  So I was very glad to catch my flight home to be with people who showed me respect and valued me and what I had to contribute.    Thank you God.  You knew just what I needed.

 

The first piece was from a trip I took to South Africa that really inspired in me the possibilities that we could truly and authentically be in relationships with people from different cultures.  Thus, the focus of my work on relationships and reconciliation.

 

The second piece was after class as a seminary student, where I did not feel included, valued or even welcomed by fellow Christians.  Thus, the focus of my work on Christians.

What is your work?  What has inspired you?

 

Repairing Community: From Talk to Action

For the title of this post, I modified the topic of my presentation that I gave in London the first week of July. It was entitled: Repairing Community: From Prayer to Action. However, we all know that too many people just talk about the issues without ever doing anything. So, this post is to encourage those already doing and to prompt those who are only talking. The last couple of months have been a whirlwind of activities where I have gained more information to further equip me to the task of being an advocate for diversity and reconciliation. I’ve gone to some local workshops and gatherings around race, some for my job and one overseas. All of these events provided me the following information that I felt I needed to share with you along with some personal reflections.

In reflection after one workshop, I developed the following:

Not the marches, singing, dogs and water hoses of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Not the ‘by any means necessary’ of Malcolm X.

But a combination – By extra means, it’s necessary

Political Force – voting, lobbying and holding politicians accountable

Monetary Force – leveraging resources, boycotting

Social Force – social media, community organizing

Intellectual Force – education, information sharing

Combined Force – other minorities, collaborating whites

No one will be safe; that is, no one who is perpetrating injustice, discrimination, exclusion, oppression, etc.

Snippets:

In the US in the 1930s, redlining maps were created to establish boundaries for being eligible for government backed home loans.

Green areas were 80% eligible

Blue areas were 60-80% eligible

Yellow areas were 15% eligible

Red areas were not eligible. African American neighborhoods were marked red, so home ownership was not possible.


Currently, there are 3-6 million KKK members, 537 known hate groups and 858 patriot groups

More than 1,000 black persons have been killed by police since January 2015


Rage is grief turned into aggression

Black progress – go from grief to aggression to mobilization

Moving white people from sympathy to solidarity so restructuring of society can occur

I would say – moving white people from complacency to sympathy to solidarity so restructuring of society can occur


We have heard lots of talk about reparations for Blacks in the US. However, in all the talks nothing has been said about psychological, physical, emotional and intellectual reparations. We have a lot of stress, anxiety, depression and other illnesses of the mind stemming from slavery, oppression and segregation. We also have a lot of medical issues that can also be traced to the systemic discrimination and oppression of Blacks in the US.

I wanted to share some of the information and history. Every time I hear something knew about our untold US history, the current situation of Blacks in America becomes clearer. I also feel the work of reconciliation and helping people to embrace ‘the other’ is definitely needed, especially given the chaos in the world today.

Action

Followers of Christ, it is way past time for us to come together; to be unified in our diversity and to care for the ‘least of these’ in our midst. There are several different options in Dallas. Below is just a few that I know of but I’m sure if you are interested and do a query, you will find others as well.

Dallas Faces Race

Faith in Texas

Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference

PICO (People Improving Communities through Organizing)

CEDD (Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities

Dallas Dinner Table

All of us can and should be about our father’s business and help to bring peace, healing and justice to this broken world.

God bless.

Our God Purpose

“God had to remove Jacob from all that was of comfort to him in order to reveal Himself to Jacob. What began as a crisis that forced him to be removed from his family and friends led to an encounter with the living God and a fresh vision of God’s purposes for his life.

God had to bring Jacob to a place of separation from his old life and remove all his worldly possessions. He was alone with God at Bethel; nothing else could distract him from an encounter that would change his life.”

TGIF, Today God Is First – Volume 1 Daily Devotionals are a service of Marketplace Leaders Ministries

 A friend sent me this devotional from TGIF Today God is First because she knew of my time in Minnesota. My experience at Bethel in MN follows this same pattern as Jacob.

1. I was removed from all my family and friends and used up all my resources to do so. I felt a pull for me to move to Minnesota for studies at Bethel Seminary. Even with my mom being in the hospital, I just knew I had to go although I was somewhat reluctant. I didn’t know anyone in Minnesota but I knew that was what I was supposed to do.  My family and friends all contributed to help me move.

2. I had a health crisis (tumor in head) that lead to an encounter with the living God and a fresh vision of God’s purposes for my life. I moved to Minnesota in December of 2005 and they found the tumor in March of 2006 and operated in May of 2006. I immediately knew that’s why I was called to Minnesota and that if I had not gone, I would have eventually dropped dead. I immediately signed up for the state health insurance (Texas would not have had this option.) that covered most of my bill. My new roommate had a magazine listing doctors who other doctors and nurses would go to and my main surgeon was the top one listed. The other surgeon (Ear, Nose and Throat – he removed my right ear to make room for the tumor removal) did not even send me a bill. I signed up for the hospital program and they eliminated all my debt to the hospital that the insurance didn’t pay for. I have no monetary indebtedness for all of this – 18 hour surgery, 7 days in hospital.

3. From my time in Minnesota, I became acutely aware of what I was purposed to do for God with my life. Minnesota equipped me, made me over and gave me a passion for bringing people together, especially Christians, and a passion to challenge people, especially Christians, to reconcile with others, especially those different from them.

As I am rushing around now preparing for a presentation in London, this is a good reminder not to be too stressed, not to worry so much and to trust God because I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. The process that I will be presenting was all given to me by God while showering or sleeping. Those are the two main places where thoughts, dreams and ideas come to me and so I must immediately jot them down.

Thank you God for reminding me. I needed the reminder.

If you know your purpose, walk in it boldly.

If you don’t know your purpose, be in prayer and discernment about it. Talk with those who know you and who you trust. Schedule to talk with me.  I’m more than willing to join with you in prayer and discernment, listen as you share and ask questions to help you solidify your calling.

In all things, praise God. I know I am.

Offer Gifts of Sacrifice

For the past couple of weeks I’ve had some words running through my head. They are from a song by Heart of the City Worship Band, a local group in Minnesota that is very diverse – White, Native American, Black, Hispanic, Asian and others. The only words I can remember, which began running through my head over and over are: “We will not offer you that which cost us nothing… so we bring a gift of sacrifice… we bring a gift of sacrifice… to you O Ancient of Days.”

It reminds me that God wants the best from us and he deserves nothing less. If we think about it, we sacrifice for things all the time. We sacrifice for money and more money, power, authority, position, prestige, etc… However, when we put money in the offering plates, when we go about our ‘Christian service,’ when we share with others, often there is no sacrifice involved. We give our left overs.

Keep these song lyrics in your head and begin to change what you are offering up. Don’t offer up your left overs. Offer up that which has cost you something. It doesn’t always have to be big sacrifices, but there should be some cost involved. Just think about the costs you make when you seek after money, cars, houses, a partner, clothes, power, prestige, etc. This will get you headed in the right direction.

We Will Not Offer You by Heart of the City Worship Band

We will not offer you that which cost us nothing

We will not give to you the least of what we have

For you forgave us and healed us with your suffering

And you are worthy of the best that we can give

So we bring a gift of sacrifice – The way in which we live

We bring a gift of sacrifice – The offering that we give

We bring a gift of sacrifice – Even in the darkest days

We bring a gift of sacrifice – The sacrifice of praise

Peace in Diversity

In San Diego for my first class (DMin in Global Leadership), I found out about the Self-Realization Gardens in Encinitas, CA.  Everywhere along the garden path you can turn your head and see the Pacific Ocean.  It was very peaceful.  I took pictures and put the text of the messages that I received from God as I walked through the gardens.  The very first message I received was peace, rest in God’s peace.  This was just what I needed to hear.  There can be peace in diversity.  There should be peace in diversity.  Click on the link below to see the pictures.

Blessings and Peace!

Self-Realization Garden Experience

The Ebola Crisis

The Ebola Crisis is a good case that shows 1) how we are all interconnected and 2) why we should care for our brothers and sisters.

1. We can pretend that we don’t know what’s going on or what’s happening to our brothers and sisters but it will eventually present itself at our doors. Our media had mentioned only a little about the Ebola crisis in Africa before it made it to the US. However, even with that little bit, we could have still rallied forth to do something to help. I’m sure there were probably some groups and organizations that tried to do something to help but by and large, the US did little to help. Some probably felt like, ‘Oh, it’s over there. What does that have to do with me?” You can keep telling yourself that only up until the moment you are faced with it directly, and then what…. So, if Ebola is over there then we don’t have to worry about it impacting our lives and we don’t even have to prepare for it.

You don’t even have to look overseas for examples. Right here in the US there are people being abused, mistreated, oppressed and yet we sit by and do nothing. “It’s not our problem.” “They brought it on themselves.” “They deserve it.” “I feel sorry for them but what can I do?” “It’s a shame they are doing that to those people.” Do any of these sound familiar? The time for burying our heads in the sand, or trying to isolate ourselves from the problems are over. It’s time for all people but in particular Christians to say enough! We are our brothers and sisters keepers. It does affect us. You don’t see the elevated crime rates? You don’t see the fluctuating state of our economy? You don’t see the children and young adults who feel as if they’ve been abandoned yet again. Well, keep ignoring the situation and you will.

2. Why should we care for our brothers and sisters? Why is that so important? The South African concept of Ubuntu, social unity and generosity of spirit, is widely known here in the US but only practiced sparingly. A society does better when it cares for its entire people. When all have the necessities, then everyone is contributing to the benefit and growth of society. We seem to think that if we spend money to help people, that it’s wasting our money. However, it’s actually the best way to spend money – investing in people. Otherwise, we will be investing in prisons, medicines, and other negative expenditures. Looking at the Ebola crisis, we see that when we don’t care for some and think it doesn’t matter to us, then we are living irrationally. To think that we can ever be isolated from the problems and woes of our brothers and sisters is ludicrous. It will impact our lives and families one way or another. However, if we collectively reach out to the hurting, sick, lost or oppressed, we can aide in their successes in life, which will ultimately help our own successes. Had we collectively reached out to Africa when Ebola was first found, then we could have worked together to minimize the deaths and spread of it. The thinking that one life is less important than another and therefore disposable goes against the whole concept of Ubuntu and, I believe, God.

So, with all this in mind and this model of the Ebola crisis:
Look anew at what’s going on in the world, Israel, Palestine, Middle East, Africa, Asia, etc.
Look anew at what’s going on in the US and all the senseless killings by police and other racists. Look anew at the attempts to suppress voters from exercising their right to vote
Look anew at how separated and disjointed our country has become, racially, economically, etc.
Look anew at the unequal education system, judicial system, housing system, etc.
Look anew and begin to talk with those in your community (whether they look like you or not, whether they think like you or not, whether they have as much as you or not, etc.) about possible things that can be done by you individually and you as part of a group.

A good place to start for resources, suggestions, etc. is your local place of faith – Christian, Muslim, Jewish, etc. They will typically have some working knowledge of who the organizers and workers are in the community on the different issues. You can also search the internet for nonprofits, community development groups, outreach and community centers, etc. I would not limit my online search to the local area because you can get great general information that can be applied locally.

I’d love to hear back from you about what you did and how you felt when doing it.

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