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.

“Why Do You Care So Much About LGBT Issues? Are YOU queer?”

It’s an honest question, I guess.  But the implication is that in caring for friends who are gay, lesbian or bi-, or any persecuted population, there must be some underlying story.  Let’s be truly honest, at least I will be, for a moment.   And I guess I’ll generalize dangerously, but I think I’m fairly close to the truth when I say …

Some Christians don’t know how to love people that they do not like or do not understand.

They are often the ones who avoid the discomfort of being in a setting with any group that makes them feel a minority.  That is if they even think about it.

They may wrap their beliefs up in a neat and tidy box, but the fact is they are unwilling to have a friend who is queer.  I dare you to step out of your comfort zone.  And I can promise that nothing untoward will happen.  And you just might learn something about yourself.

Let’s broaden the conversation and throw out an even broader generalization but I believe that most people, Christian or not, very rarely allow ourselves to be without our power.

Perhaps unintentionally, but it rare that white people put ourselves in places where we don’t hold that (white) power.    Yeah, I’m talking about white people because being white, we have power just because of the color of our skin.  And we might be complete wing nuts, but it will stay true. Also, being straight in today’s society holds power(Being a man holds power, but that’s not the subject here I just had to say it.)

Here is the real truth.  I have someone very close to me who is bi-sexual.  This is someone who I love.  Someone that I would like to come to know the Jesus I know,the way I know him.   Someone who rejects Jesus because of reputation of “the Church” and someone who considers it evidence of bigotry that Christian’s lack love for them…

The friends and acquaintances over the years that are queer — some out and some not, but I love them.  I hurt for them.  I heart aches over the rejection and disapproval that is shown to queer people mostly by Christians.  When I picture those friends in my mind  I have to acknowledge to myself that their lives are incredibly difficult and it is mostly because our culture is so bigoted and I want to love them, take them home and care of them.  It’s the Mother in me who would adopt all these “kids” so that they’d know unconditional love.

And as for being a minority within a dominant culture, well

the little I have learned is that I have all this power that I don’t even acknowledge most of the time.

And this power makes my life so much easier than those that are not white or straight.  Most people, other than whites,  face  the biases and prejudices of the dominant culture every single day.  My culture. My people.  My tribe does this and it hurts me.

And one of my new year’s resolutions (Go ahead, check.  I wrote them down here.) was to place myself in positions where I was a minority — Whether that is my lily whiteness — or my being straight — or my being  a Christian — I want to be with other people, without my power getting in the way, so that I can learn.  I’ll become the better person for it.

So why do I care so much about friends who are LGB or T — and People who are Homeless — and People of Color — and Women ….  And generally anyone who is persecuted for something that they are, because I hope I am a bridge person in between.

I believe that this is what Jesus would want me to do.

It is as complicated and as simple as that.

OCTOBER 8TH UPDATE: I JUST READ AN ARTICLE THAT MADE ME REALIZE HOW STUPID (REALLY JUST LAZY THINKING TO BE HONEST) IT WAS TO CALL MYSELF, AS A WOMAN, GAY.   HENCE THE CHANGE IN TITLE.

http://www.qideas.org/essays/project-love-restoring-a-bridge-with-the-gay-community.aspx?page=4

Questions, cause I’ve been thinking

I have a lot of questions right now because I’ve been  thinking.  And when I start thinking I find I end up with more questions.

diversity @ church.

One of my favorite writers, Philip Yancey, recently scoured his hometown churches to see what he might find.   His comment about diversity in a church stood out to me.

As I read accounts of the New Testament church, no characteristic stands out more sharply than this one. Beginning with Pentecost, the Christian church dismantled the barriers of gender, race, and social class that had marked Jewish congregations. Paul, who as a rabbi had given thanks daily that he was not born a woman, slave, or Gentile, marveled over the radical change: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Huh, diversity is Biblical.  ‘Nuf said.

MLK day was it ignored or forgotten? does it matter which.

Can I just say I love my church.  I have never grown in my spiritual life the way I have at this church.  It is amazing.

That said, yesterday I realized a stunning thing.   I attend one of those “mainly white mega-churches that don’t mention commemorating Martin Luther King Day.”   That made me sad.  They likely bumped it because of praying for Haiti and there are many challenges managing program time.  Still, I think it is important for a church to communicate from the platform that remembering and celebrating with our friends of color is significant to us all and valuable.   It’s a national holiday?  How are people going to spend it? Just made me wonder.

I’ve been writing on multi-ethnicity.

A friend asked me to reflect on Ecclesiastes 4:1-3, after reading these thoughts I wrote about my experience of going to a white church and my question of whether I should consider attending a multi-ethnic or even Black church.

Again, I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. ‘The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless.  So I concluded that the dead are better off than the living.  But most fortunate of all are those who are not yet born. For they have not seen all the evil that is done under the sun.  (New Living Translation)

From my post:

To live our lives based on that simple truth means our lives are built on self-sacrifice.  Every time we respond in love to someone else, we are laying down our lives for them.  “This is my commandment,that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another.” Strange how Jesus did not say to us, “these are my commandments.”  He said is as if it were one commandment.

To believe and love is one idea.

Believing in Christ means that we love one another.  Looking at it that way, there is a lot that I can do as a person with my affluence & power &  a voice for the cause of reconciliation in my city.  Things that have nothing to do with where I worship on Sunday.

What my friend Jimmy was gently saying (I think) is that people are living with oppression in our nation my city, in my kid’s schools.  And no one white people don’t seem to genuinely offer care and comfort.

I will do further study on the word: COMFORT.  And that will sooth my intellect.  But can I DO something.  What can I do?

That takes me back to my Advent Lament and prayer. Oh God, Tell me what you want me to do.

And from someone I am coming to read often, a cautionary quote to white people.

I can only speak anecdotally on this, but there seems to be a growing movement of white people—including Christians—who feel so victimized by political correctness (and how it’s robbing them of their rights) that they’ve hardened their hearts to any suggestion that racial injustice is a factor in our society today. And they’ve become cold to how their privileged words and actions might affect others. That defensive mindset and callousness could be the biggest obstacles to true reconciliation in our churches and nation. Ed Gilbreath, emphasis mine.

I believe God speaks and it is not random.

I believe that God challenges and moves people from within by breaking our hearts over injustice around us.  He is not random about this.  He leads us toward things.  And away from things.  Problematically I have been told  and I can affirm that I have the gift of mercy.   I pop open my laptop and the needs and issues all over the world, and in my community, flood toward me and it all hurts.   If I open myself up to it it’s crushing.  It makes me sad, and mad, and sometimes depressed.  Hopeless and sometimes despondent.  And I slam my laptop shut, but that’s just an excuse for doing nothing.

I challenge  myself to pray every day asking God to tell me how to respond to the OPPRESSED in my life and community.  Who are they?  How can I comfort?  Help me to know what it means to comfort the oppressed?

This means that I cannot be free until all men are free. And if in some distant future I am no longer oppressed because of blackness, then I must take upon myself whatever form of human oppression exists in the society, affirming my identity with the victims. The identity must be made with the victims not because of sympathy, but because my own humanity is involved in my brother’s degradation.  The Christian Century (15 September 1971)

what should I do with myself?

I continue to pray that I would know what God wants me to do with my time, work, contribution, opinions (*smirk*), and talents.

I’m still mulling on a conversation I had with one of my girlfriends (Someone I would trust with my life.)  We discussed what I am doing now.  I found myself saying this,

“I need a job.  I’m feeling like a kept woman.”

Why she asked? Laughing at me, if can you believe it.

“I need to make a contribution. I feel guilty that I don’t have a ‘job.’ The feminist in me is screaming that I should be carrying my weight… I was never going to be a stay-at-home mom..  And look at me, my kids are in elementary school.”

After leaving full-time work in 2001, I had no idea as it was happening that was beginning a long journey of “recovery” from being totally addicted to work — the rush, the sense of purpose, the affirmation (Oh, how I miss the affirmation!)  I came out of that detox a better person.  A stronger person.  Much better understanding that I am not what I do.  And I’m glad (mostly) that I have been able to be at home with my children for the last eight or is it nine years.  I feel okay about it, some days even good.  I can see every day why I am home when it comes to my kids.  Jacob’s need for an advocate for his learning disabilities is just one example.  On one level, I think I started Imagine Photography to dispel that feeling of being ‘a kept woman.’  Bring in a little income myself, but still have the at-home life.  But I haven’t taken off with that even though with my marketing background I know how to promote myself.  Something has held me back.

But I digress.

What Carol did was confront those ideas head on (yes, the voices in my head) that say I should be ‘making money.’  It freed me to consider any job or volunteer situation because  I was thinking about it only in terms of money not in terms of values and interests and calling and heart’s desires.

I just feel freed.  It was inconceivable to me at first that someone who manages to work and be a mom (my friend who I really respect and need) would not look down on me for not working.  She actually said, you do work.  Every day.  Well, we don’t need to have a debate about what I do all day and whether it’s work.  Her blessing (not that she represents all women) and her opinion is one of the more important to me.

But now,  I can pray and wait.  Listen.  Try things.  Explore.  I can give of myself without thinking about “earnings.”

Haiti

When it comes to Haiti I have more questions than answers.  This poem is a part of that conundrum.  Also, a post.

This week’s message @ church

I wanted to respond to the message this Sunday at my church.  But I don’t have the time or energy today.  But something new I am going to add to this blog, is a personal reflection on the talk.  I think it will force me to take it to the next level of integration into my life.

Be well.