I grew up privileged. There, I said it. Even though I have a mixed background from both my mom and dad’s side of the family, I grew up with a fair complexion. I passed as white my entire life. It has not been until recently that I have realized how deep that privilege is engrained into my identity. What I mean is that the color of my skin has never been the cause for the cops to pull me over. The color of my eyes and type of hair I have never caused a store owner to watch me suspiciously while I shop. I have never been told to go back to where I came from and I have never been told that I am less American than others. My privilege has allowed me to avoid much of the hatred slung at people of color, women, immigrants, etc. In her last post, my wife spoke of the need to continue the conversation about race. This is my effort to wrestle with my own privilege and bring awareness to the way people of color are treated in the United States. Read More »
I must be honest. I have been hesitant to write this post for many reasons. First of all, I am neither black nor white. So I was wary of entering into a conversation where my perspective and understanding of people’s experiences is rather limited. However, I came to realize that while the #blacklivesmatter movement has been the focal point of racial tension in the U.S. to day, the responsibility of learning how to better navigate race relations is on all of us. We (society as a whole) cannot reduce to simply a black issue or a police issue. It is a societal issue. And we must each take individual responsibility for how we shape the society and culture around us.
Every year, the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics play each other in what is known as “the Bay Bridge Series.” This series brings with it local bragging rights as well as great trash talking between both fan bases. I had the privilege of going to the last game of the series with three good friends. Two of these friends happened to be Giants fans, and I noticed something about the way we talked all throughout the game that made me think about how baseball seems to be more civilized than our political parties.
Theodore Roosevelt coined the term “Bully Pulpit” to describe how influential the White House could be in advocating a sociopolitical agenda. When he coined the term, however, the phrase “bully” had a different meaning than it does today. To call it a Bully Pulpit meant that it was a good platform to project an agenda. Remember the term “bully for you”? During the time of Roosevelt, it would have meant “good for you.” All that to say, when Theodore Roosevelt called the White House a “Bully Pulpit,” he meant it to be a positive thing to further ideas and agendas in American society. Read More »
In the past month or so, I have had the amazing opportunity to attend a couple of different lectures. One was on Violence in the Old Testament (a topic which I have often had trouble with) and the other on Using Privilege & Power for Justice. Both of these events triggered a side of me that I haven’t seen much of in the four years since I graduated from college. This surprised me for a couple of reasons. Not only is it hard for me to believe that it really has been four years since I graduated, but I was surprised by how fired up these lectures got me. I mean, really fired up. Sure, those who know me know that I love nerding out on a variety of topics (especially religion/theology in conjunction with social justice), but I feel like these two events triggered something else that I am still trying to process. Perhaps the best way to describe what I am feeling a is deep desire to dialogue.
I recently got done reading through Crazy Love by Francis Chan. The book itself was an excellent read because it made me wrestle with the idea that God is so crazy in love with humanity that he was willing to sacrifice His only son for our sakes. Now, that seems like the cheesy Sunday school answer, but hear me out.
Why it is so crazy is because it is hard for us to grasp how much love that God truly showed when Christ died on the cross. I’m sure you have heard the saying “people do crazy things when they are in love.” It is no different with God. God did something that was unprecedented, unexpected, and underserved to provide a way for reconciliation to happen. That reconciliation, provided a way for humanity, who had walked away from God, to find their way back to their creator.Read More »
To be completely honest, I wasn’t really feeling Easter this year. Perhaps it was just the busyness of the season (after all, I do work in a church office) or maybe it was more that I hadn’t really given myself time to prepare my heart and mind to embrace the joy of the resurrection. Whatever the case was, I have been struggling to figure out why instead of hope, I felt dread. Then I read this:
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Working with High School and College students, relationships (serious or not) are often a topic of conversation. I have seen great relationships that have flourished, but I have also seen relationships fall apart. It hurts me every time a pair of students break up, because it leaves the ones in the relationship thinking that there is something fundamentally wrong with them. In talking with these students, they often look to young married couples and say “they are so perfect, if only we could have been like them.” This is a dangerous assumption to make because it idolizes marriage as a cure to relationship struggles.
“If only we could be as cute as they are,” or “why can’t we have a relationship like theirs?” These are very dangerous ideas because it establishes an unrealistic expectation for marriage. It sets up the assumption that marriage will cure all possible struggles. It doesn’t solve your struggles, it amplifies them. Marriage doesn’t solve underlying issues of trust, communication or pride. If you go into marriage expecting everything to be wonderful and easy, you are going to be very disappointed.
The truth is, marriage is hard. Read More »
Lately, I’ve been feeling rather unsettled – or perhaps anxious is a better word for it. It’s like I haven’t been able to breathe deeply. In fact, there are moments when I catch myself unknowingly holding my breath, like I’ve forgotten how to breathe, just for a moment. It’s as if I’m anticipating something, but uncertain of what it is or if it’s good or bad or both. All I know is that I can feel change coming, or perhaps it’s already happening, and it terrifies me. It’s like when you’re standing on a beach near the shore with your feet sunk in the sand, waiting for the next wave to come and crash around your ankles, but you see the wave coming from a distance and it seems to be growing, and for a split second you consider running away because this wave looks like it’s going to be a lot bigger than the last one. So here I am, caught in that split second, holding my breath, anticipating the next wave of change and uncertainty to come crashing over me.
Part of me just wants to run away and hide. But another part of me knows that I must stay.
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When I was in high school, there was a girl in my youth group who seemed to have an odd way of praying. She and I weren’t necessarily close friends, more like acquaintances. Her and I had different circles of friends, went to different schools and were separated by three grades. Needless to say, the only way that her and I were connected was our youth group. Even though she and I were different in age, as well as groups of friends, I remember her specifically because she would always begin her prayers (when we prayed as a group) with the phrase “Hey God.” This always puzzled me. It was awkward, I hadn’t heard anyone prayer like that. Who was she to think that we could begin praying by a simple “Hey God?”
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