“One’s task is not to turn the world upside down, but to do what is necessary at the given place and with a due consideration of reality.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I love so much to watch TED videos.  If you aren’t familiar with them I think you must take some time to check them out.

“Let the groans of the prisoners come before you; according to your great power preserve those doomed to die.”  - Psalm 79:11

This video features Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative who is fighting poverty and challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system in America.  Stevenson shares about the power of identity as well as justice, poverty, racism and more.

In American today,13-year-old children can die in prison and they can spend their entire life in prison without parole. Did you know that we are the only country in the world that does that?  Some ask, do people deserve to die for crimes? The other way of thinking about it is to ask: do we deserve to kill?  For every nine people executed on death row, one has been exonerated as in they were Innocent.  The system is broken.

We think it’s not our problem.  But this is an issue of life.  Yes, I am pro-life, pro-human life and basic dignity.  We must have a vision of compassion and justice.  We must care about these difficult things; about the suffering, abuse, marginalization and degradation of the poor.

“We have a system of justice in that treats you much better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent. Wealth, not culpability, shapes outcomes.”  

Please take the next 20 mins to view this film.  This should have serious implications especially for Christians.

And from the NYT Black Students Face More Harsh Discipline, Data Shows, by Tamar Lewin.

Overall, African-American students were three and a half times more likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers.

You must read The Top 10 Most Startling Facts About People of Color and Criminal Justice in the United States.

This is a Look at the racial disparities inherent in our nation’s criminal-justice system from the Center for American Progress.

“Eliminating the racial disparities inherent to our nation’s criminal-justice policies and practices must be at the heart of a renewed, refocused, and reenergized movement for racial justice in America.”

Then, there was this.  Feminism’s final frontier? Religion.

An in the Washington Post, By .

“The battle of the sexes, waged this election season with fulsome fury in the public space, is being fought in a much more painful, private sphere as well. In churches (and synagogues and mosques) across the land, women are still treated as second-class citizens. And because women of faith are increasingly breadwinners, single moms and heads of households, that diminished status is beginning to rankle.  There are churches in America in which women aren’t allowed to speak out loud unless they get permission from a man first. There are churches (many of them) in which women aren’t permitted to preach from the pulpit. There are churches in America where a 13-year-old boy has more authority than his mother.

“At church I had to hide my thoughts, questions and life choices,” says Susan, a woman who works as a therapist in Seattle and, after a lifetime of following Jesus, left Christianity. “I didn’t think I could do anything by myself, because as a Christian woman I’d learned that I needed a man to get places.”

Susan’s story was published in January by a small Christian publishing house in the book “The Resignation of Eve.” In its pages, the author, an evangelical minister named Jim Henderson, argues that unless the male leaders of conservative Christian churches do some serious soul-searching — pronto — the women who have always sustained those churches with their time, sweat and cash will leave. In droves. And they won’t come back. Their children, traditionally brought to church by their mothers, will thus join the growing numbers of Americans who call themselves “un-churched.”  

Read the rest of the article here.

I reviewed Jim Henderson’s book here.

And lastly, an incredible article by Spectra Speaks about how important it is to tell our stories, especially those people who’s voices are silenced more often in the culture.

The challenge is to women especially to Write Yourself into History.

An excerpt:

And if positive-thinking doesn’t work for you, here are some other factors to consider:

  • Women are less likely to run for office in part because they don’t feel “qualified enough”
  • “Mommy Blogging” has gotten the attention of a $750 million blog marketing industry; companies want to know what moms—not “experts”—think before they spend a dime developing new products
  • The It Gets Better campaign—videos created by regular people—has dramatically increased awareness of issues facing LGBT youth
  • There are too many men who really shouldn’t be talking (Rush Limbaugh and David Bahati come to mind) writing and saying all kinds of things, and even worse influencing millions of people with their biased point of view—shouldn’t we at least join them?

See, the problem with women not telling their stories isn’t just an issue of “balance” (i.e. we need men and women’s voices in equal measure), but an issue of “influence.” 

I’ll leave you with a prayer from Oremus.

O God, make speed to save us;
O Lord, make haste to help us.
Religion that is pure and undefiled
before God, the Father, is this:
to care for orphans and widows in their distress,
and to keep oneself
unstained by the world. Let us worship God.

Glory to you, O Champion of all Loves,
who for our sake endured the cross,
encountered the enemy and tasted death.
Glory be to you, O King of all kings,
who for our salvation
wrestled with principalities and powers,
subdued the forces of hell
and won the greatest of all victories.
To you be all praise, all glory and all love;
now and for ever. Amen.

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”    Dietrich Bonhoeffer