Not to Speak is to Speak, Vol 4

“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

Not To Speak is to Speak: Volume 2

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: GOD will not hold us innocent. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”— Bonhoeffer

NOT TO SPEAK IS TO SPEAK :  VOLUME 2

This is my attempt to consolidate some of the things I find on the web.  Of course this is a drop in the bucket of what I read all week, but you have to focus sometimes.

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Several things on the UCLA Student’s recent YouTube Video.

A white student rants about Asians and it goes viral, drawing accusations of racism.

“Sadly, what she expressed isn’t that different from what a lot of Americans think, even if we’re not posting it on YouTube  …  In many ways this blonde-haired, exposed push-up bra wearing college student, embodies the popular and prolific image of entitled, image driven, individualistic “Americanness.””

You can read the rest here and see the video it its entirety there.  You should watch it if you are white.  If you’re not white, you’ve likely seen or heard of it already.  If you are white, I think you have a responsibility to SEE things like this.  Before you go there, thinking I’m “over reacting” I’ll acknowledge that I need to spend some time considering all this and being prayerful before God. But in the meantime, I can call racism what it is — wrong.

My initial thought is this.  Although I feel ashamed of being white, many many times.  Today, more than any day in a long time, while I watched this young lady’s strange, egocentric, racist, stupid and ignorant rant about the “hordes of Asians” at her university I was mortified for all of us.

Ching chong? Hordes of Asians? American manners?” A friend I have made because of the internet responds to the student’s video as a Mom and an American and one of the Asians that the young lady at UCLA refers to in her video.  In A Mother’s Rant About Racism & Reconciliation Kathy Khang shares a personal response.   I love her heart and learn so much from her every time she writes.

And still on the topic, here are some things White People with Power should consider.  That would be me.

“However difficult it is for many White Americans to hear, examples like this video clearly show that many (as in a large number, but certainly not all) Whites implicitly think there’s nothing wrong with invoking cultural stereotypes to portray an entire group of color. I have written about this dynamic many times before, but needless to say, this is certainly not the first time that Whites have tried to “make fun” of Asian Americans or other groups of color on college campuses and elsewhere in society…”

Lastly, an incredible response by the InterVarsity’s Asian Staff director, James Choung.  He is godly, kind and wise.  Once again, I learned a lot.  These are things that privileged white people need to hear.

A glimpse into the heart of an incarcerated father.

Dear Son: A Letter from an Incarcerated Father on how a believer behind bars might pass on his faith.  

Statistical studies tell us that roughly 90 percent of incarcerated parents are fathers. Their offspring, approximately 2 million strong, represent the textbook definition of “at risk” children. According to the Princeton University’s Center for Research on Child Wellbeing, the absence of a father—particularly due to incarceration—correlates with a plethora of family dysfunctions, including elevated rates of juvenile crime and incarceration.

Politics.

Congress Making Themselves and Friends Richer, While Everyone Else Struggles to Make Ends MeetIf you don’t read Jim Hightower you are missing out.

The great majority of Americans make about $30K a year. Incoming lawmakers, however? Extensive personal investments in Wall St. banks, oil giants and drug makers.Change is not the same thing as progress. In fact, change can be the exact opposite. It can be regressive, as we’re now learning from — where else? — Congress.

Feminist Reading.

100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader . Whether you’re already knee-deep in young adult literature or looking to reacquaint yourself with an old favorite we’ve put together a whopping 100 of our favorite young adult novels, featuring kick-ass teens and inspiring feminist themes. These stories will empower teenage and adult readers alike.

[I’m not recommending all of these books because I haven’t read them all.  Simply passing on the list.  Make your own wise choices.]

The Environment.

You have to watch this video by Allan Savory, a Zimbabwean biologist, farmer, soldier, exile, environmentalist.

Winner of the Banksia International Award 2003 and winner of the Buckminster Fuller Award 2010.  He is the originator of the Holistic Management concept that turn deserts into thriving grasslands, restores biodiversity, brings streams and rivers back to life, increases food production and security and stores carbon in ever deeper and healthier soils – all of this while reversing global climate change.

He won a TED award and that’s how I found him.  I’m in love. So sweet. So passionate.  So smart!

Next time perhaps.

Rob Bell.  What I’m learning from reading on feminism and women in the church.  And Libya, going to war? … and my current theological thoughts on Justice.

Here’s the last issue of Not to Speak is to Speak in case you missed it.