life, Light

This Little Light of Mine…

There is so much to love on Momastery’s latest post.

This:

quiet-power

And this:

Sun-Earth

And this:

“These are men who believe in the power of downward mobility. They believe we do not serve, we love. They work with not for others. They believe in justice—not charity. They know that compassion can only exist between equals, so they make friends, not clients.”

My daughter works for a literacy program in an inner city school. Last week a local celebrity came to read to the kids, which was really nice and he did a really good job. There had been a radio contest and whoever donated the most to a certain cause got to choose which school would get the reading. All in all it was a good day.  But there were a couple of things that just didn’t sit right with my girl:

First, the program manager for that school made an embarrassingly big deal over the guest reader. “I mean,” Daughter asked, “shouldn’t ALL guests to the school, ALL volunteers be treated the same?”

“Yes,” I agreed, “and both Jesus and His brother, James, would agree, too.”

Second, after the celebrity read, the man whose donation won the reading got up to say a few words. He told the kids to learn to read. He told the kids that they won’t go anywhere in life unless they can read and write, fill out a job application, etc. On and on he went.

Look around you, Daughter thought. These kids are sitting IN A SCHOOL where they are LEARNING TO READ AND WRITE. Applaud them for that rather than admonishing them for being the potential dropouts your words assume they are. And have a little respect for the teachers, who are TEACHING THEM TO READ AND WRITE. They are here EVERY DAY, quietly shining the light of learning into their lives.  

Personally I don’t believe making one donation earns anyone the right to speak, but, if you must speak, then at least know your audience.

Clearly this man did not know his audience. The children to whom he was speaking have all written books through the literacy program’s publishing center. They CAN write. And all of them are reading at least at grade level.

Why do we have to view people as completely helpless before we will help them?  Or completely poor?

For several summers my daughter and I participated in a day camp in that city. For three weeks of every summer the campers receive academic enrichment in the mornings and Bible, worship and field trips in the afternoons. Teens from participating churches come as volunteer helpers. One summer two of the teens (and their mom, who was one of the paid workers) kept referring to the campers as “the poor kids”.  After several days of that, one of the campers whispered to me, “I’m not poor.  I live in a big house.”  Sweet, sweet boy.

Many of those campers knew their Bibles a lot better than their teen helpers did. And yet they were repeatedly spoken to as if they knew nothing.

After just one summer the affluent church, from which the aforementioned “helpers” came, withdrew their involvement from the camp because the campers were not needy enough.  (Praise God for that!)

I don’t want to judge that church, perhaps they were just trying to be good stewards of their wealth, but why not shore up a population that is trying? Why not help those who are only a little bit needy? Why does it have to be a big boost? What’s wrong with giving a little boost? What’s wrong with watering seeds that have already been planted? Maybe there’s not enough personal glory in that.

Why do we have to label those we help as poor and needy and even portray them as poorer and needier than they actually are in order to get funding?  And keep labeling them to keep the funding.  It’s like when I was a social worker and some of the foster moms would tell me month after month how horribly behaved the kids were in order to keep receiving their extra “special needs” allotment.  I wouldn’t get a true picture of their behavior until I would finally say, “Well, if his/her behavior hasn’t improved at all in all these months, then perhaps he/she is in the wrong home.”  Catch 22.

“Compassion between equals” because we are all equally loved by God and we are all crippled in one way or another.  Equals get to blossom and grow, the needy have to stay needy.

This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

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life

A Little Something for Your Abs

David and Dorothy Jenkin..., Creative Commons

David and Dorothy Jenkin…, Creative Commons

Want a quick and fun workout for your abs?  Read yesterday’s post from Momastery.

I’ll get you started:

My philosophy about sex talks with kids is to be open, honest and matter-of-fact, so they won’t sense that shame and sex are intertwined and so, when they do become interested in exploring their sexuality, they might be motivated by love instead of blind curiosity. I want them to take sex seriously enough to know it’s holy. Doesn’t that sound lovely?

My reality is that I AM STILL LEARNING THAT STUFF. This makes me a shaky-at-best sex teacher. So whenever my kids ask about sex- I panic and then just start saying crap. I just start saying all the things. Far too many things, Craig suggests. Last night I was sitting at dinner, minding my own business, when my middle child said the following words:

“So, how you get a baby is you pray for one, right?”

Craig’s fork froze mid-air and I looked at him and then at my girl and I just wanted to yell: WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, CHILD???  Don’t you remember when I said all the hard words like penis and vagina and union and consent to you???? PRAY? SWEET JESUS ON A BICYCLE — DOES NO ONE IN THIS DOMICILE HEAR THE WORDS THAT COME OUT OF MY MOUTH?????

But I did not say those things because I am an official, card-carrying Parenting Expert. And so I said:

– See more at: http://momastery.com/blog/2015/02/20/sex_is_tricky/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sex_is_tricky#sthash.HQLkN1kv.dpuf

utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sex_is_tricky

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life

Brutiful

kylesteed, Creative Commons

kylesteed, Creative Commons

I do some of my best thinking in the shower, or while I’m drying my hair or applying mascara.  During this morning’s shower I was thinking about brutiful. Brutiful is a word Glennon Doyle Melton used in her blog, Momastery.

My daughter introduced me to Momastery a few months ago, now I’d like to introduce it to you by way of excerpts from two of her posts.  If you have not already met:

From Life Is Freaking Brutiful:

I talk about my addictions because everything beautiful in my life right now came out of the ugliness back then. And still does. I talk about my Lyme disease because I didn’t become strong and peaceful until I learned to surrender to my weakness and mania. I talk about my intolerance and jealousy and sadness and neurosis because those things make me HUMAN and I think that being a messy hypocritical, busted up human is a brutiful honor.

I talk about my flailing marriage because ( and a year ago I’d have ripped your well-meaning head off if you’d predicted this to me) the truth is that my marriage had to be shattered before it could be pieced back together. My marriage was like a busted arm that The Doctor had to re-break before it could heal right. A year ago- it all fell apart. Yes it did. And I about died. But now. Just a year later – my marriage is excruciating and real and true and deep and GORGEOUS for the first time. For the very first time. It also still sucks.

…And so- when I talk about this stuff- this messy stuff in my life – I have a PURPOSE.  I’m not “wallowing in brokenness.” I’m trying to suggest that maybe THE BUSTED UP STUFF IS THE GOOD STUFF.  We resist that idea because we really, really suck at being judges of things. God didn’t ask us not to judge so we’d be nice people. God asks us not to judge for the same reason Craig asks me not to cook- because We just plain SUCK AT IT. So we should just leave that tree to God.

– See more at: http://momastery.com/blog/2013/10/02/life-freaking-brutiful/#sthash.UhGOsUnO.dpuf

It was this quote from How We Live A Life That’s Hard and Good, coupled with the picture of Craig giving his daughter a ponytail, that was on my mind as I showered:

Now we both have full time jobs outside the home again- and we both have full time jobs inside the home, too. So we are both “mom” and we are both “dad.” Craig cooks and grocery shops and I do the laundry and the dishes. Craig packs the lunches and I help with the homework. I get the oil changed and Craig does ponytails. It’s hard and good.

– See more at: http://momastery.com/blog/2014/09/18/how-we-live-a-life/#sthash.Ey7vfdou.dpuf

Fairytales, old movies and romantic comedies “taught” many of us to expect happily ever after – all happy, all the time.  All beautiful, all the time.  And when things don’t turn out to be all happy all the time we panic, fear something is terribly wrong and contemplate an escape.

Reality tv might be teaching this generation to expect fame, lots of tears, exploitation and manipulation.  Mostly brutal, most of the time.

But Glennon is teaching her many followers to expect and embrace brutiful.  And, this side of heaven, I think she’s right.

© The Reluctant Baptist, 2015

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Jesus, Light, love, restoration, Stories from the Island

Dancing With Grace

geraniums

To set the mood for our storytelling on that final night, I showed Glennon Doyle Melton’s “From My Cold Dead Hands.”  None of the women had seen it before.  Watching their faces in the soft light of the projector, I felt like I was on holy ground:  These beautiful former prisoners were about to drop some keys.

P.S. If you are new to my blog and you have no idea what I am talking about, you can catch up herehere and here.

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