“I just called for help and you came and killed him”

 

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Source: npr

“I just called for help, and you came and killed him,” she said. “I told you guys he’s sick. You guys came and killed my brother.” – sister of Alfred Olango, a mentally ill, unarmed black man who was killed in California.

She called the police herself, because her brother was acting erratically and walking into traffic. “He’s mentally ill,” she told the police. “He’s unarmed, but he’s mentally ill, and I’m worried about him because he’s blocking traffic.”  Continue reading

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The first American missionary was black

I only learned about this a few weeks ago. For most people, you’re probably like, “I don’t even know what a missionary is, so what if the first one was black?” But when you’re a missionary kid like me who grew up in church hearing stories of missionaries all the time, the fact that this was unknown to you throughout your childhood is kind of a big deal.

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credit: ebay

I grew up hearing stories about Hudson Taylor and the Judsons (I distinctly remember two-tone flashcard pictures to go along with these Sunday school lessons) who were missionaries to Asia. My parents were always good about colouring the flannel-graph Jesus in a little bit darker to be more realistic for the Bible stories, but we didn’t do that with the missionary stories because, duh, they were all from England or America (or Sweden) and all very white.  Continue reading

Scariness and Suffering pt 2

The previous post talked about introducing your kids to scary topics, and helping them build resilience. This post will talk more about building compassion in the face of suffering and injustice.

While I grew up with a lot of childhood fear—and I think, did a pretty good job of battling against it—I’ve always had a pretty firm grasp of justice. I think most children do: “That’s not fair!” is heard in any house with a four year old. Of course, as we grow up we learn that life isn’t fair—but we don’t want to squelch that inner cry, to just tell children to suck it up and let the injustice slide by. Rather, we want to help kids channel that frustration they feel at personal injustices into compassion for those facing more serious injustice. Continue reading

Scariness and Suffering: Should I take my 5 year old to an anti-sex-trafficking event?

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Cambodia: from IJM’s website

Actually, this post is not going to outright answer whether you should take your five year old to an anti-sex-trafficking rally, but it is going to try and look at the underlying assumption: how sheltered should I keep my children? Should I be telling them about the harsh realities of life- slavery, racism, crime, war, rape, tsunamis ? Or, should I preserve the safe innocence of childhood as long as possible? Continue reading

Nation Building: Our country, not “this country”

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SAY.jpgI’ve been out of the loop on the #Zumamustfall campaigns that spread across South Africa at the end of last year calling for the removal of our corrupt president (protestors are pointing to things like Nkandla, the mansion Zuma built with tax payer money- protest chant is simply “Pay back the money!”) I’ve been out of the loop because I’m in America, and I’ve been out of the loop because the articles that my black South African friends are sharing on social media aren’t super supportive of the movement. Yes, many South Africans across racial lines want Zuma to be held accountable, agree that the ANC is becoming complacent with their power–using it for themselves (the few) rather than to benefit the many. But the biggest critique I’m hearing is that these protests are springing up because Zuma sacked the finance minister and that put the Rand in a downward spiral and the best way to get white South Africa to turn out to protest is mess with the economy. When poor people are out there protesting about the rising cost of food, but the Rand has stabilized, will white South Africa still be there? Continue reading

On the danger of standing ovations

<< If you haven’t read Go Set A Watchman this post is full of spoilers.>>

My introduction to To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee was sitting in a hot tenth-grade English class, in South Africa, while deep South dialect was read slowly, out loud, in English-South-African accents. We were doing The Cambridge System, which, if anything, is thorough. That means that instead of reading five books on your own and talking about the big ideas all together, you read one book, out loud, in class, and pick it apart line by line. I digress. Continue reading

Flight Behavior: On identity, climate change, and the evangelical tribe

Identity was the word of the year in 2015. Which I like, because I’m obsessed with thinking about how identity works in shaping our world. There’s people who think stuff happens in the social world primarily because people are rational and weighing the pros and cons and acting in their own self-interest. Then there’s people who still believe in altruism. And then there’s people who think people act not because of some rational thought, but because their actions line up with who they are. “I buy a Mac because I’m an Apple person.” “I’m a Twins fan because I’m a Minnesotan.” “I recycle because I’m a green millennial.” Continue reading

Glitter in my veins & Jesus in my heart: thoughts on texas

IMG_20160109_114329655So, people have been asking for stories about Texas. And oh, how I want to comply. I have stories. I have stories about going to a rodeo, and the culture shock of all the American flag-waving, horse-riding, gun-toting, public-place praying, Mexican-immigrant joking that went on. I’ve been told that the announcer with his off-color jokes was particularly bad, and I shouldn’t judge all rodeos based on that one encounter. So I’m trying not to. Really, I’m trying.

And then there’s the fact that Texas public schools say a pledge of allegiance to the American flag and then…wait for it… the TEXAS flag, too! I did not see that one coming. I had to mumble through it before a room full of critical second graders. It was traumatic. Continue reading

Prophets and Protestors: No Justice, No Peace

I’ve been thinking about prophets and protestors lately. Ever since reading Radical Reconciliation, I’ve been thinking about the role that followers of Jesus play in advocating for social justice. It’s Christmas. People are saying things about peace on earth and goodwill, and too often we equate peace with, “No one at the Christmas dinner table saying anything offensive, and Great Aunt Zoe refraining from ranting about politics for 30 minutes.” We think of peace as the avoidance of conflict.  Continue reading