Talk Justice

 

talkjustice

It’s been a long winter hasn’t it? So long. I’m excited for spring and the new hope it brings to our hearts. I’m also so happy to begin a new series called Talk Justice!

My friend Amy Sullivan, writer of the amazing When More is not Enough, sparked thoughts about talking justice with our kids a few months ago when we were having a phone date. In the right context walking beside children and teaching them about justice issues from a young age, shapes them to be people who understand, empathize, serve, and love others.

 

I tried to put it off.

if you find this letter

 

Then a little volume came to my mailbox to be reviewed. If you find this letter, by Hannah Brencher. She was featured in our Craft for a Cause Issuu magazine! As the founder of the World Needs More Love Letters, the book is a beautiful unfolding of her journey to crafting love letters to strangers and leaving them all over New York City. Her little dream grew into something so much bigger than herself, and millions have been touched by the love letter movement. Learn more at her website.

 

Hannah had this struggle I know well.

She longed for God to use her fully, but she didn’t feel good enough.

God used her anyway.

 

Do small things. On repeat. And think about other people. ~Hannah Brencher

 

That is what we are going to do each week.

 

I hope you will join me here on Mondays, for the next three months, to Talk Justice. Not just for ourselves, but for the generation we are raising up. They can handle proximity.

I’m really excited about so many things. (I’ll keep them a secret for now, but especially about Summer Serve Play Groups with the Citizen Kid Book Series given to About Proximity.)

 

Also, you are good enough. My love letter to you… I hope every time I write.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Dangerous Way to Live

giver

I watched the movie trailer of The Giver. I was confused.

Then I read the synopsis of the book on wikipedia. (I know, not the best source.) Still confused.

Eventually, I thought maybe I should just read the real actual book.

When in doubt, read the book.

 

Jonas lives in a ‘perfect’ community without war, pain, suffering, differences or choices. At age 12 he is chosen to take the place of The Giver, the memory keeper, who must transfer all the memories of humanity to Jonas.

When he feels love for the first time- “I can see that it was a dangerous way to live.”

Though the memories of suffering, pain, and loss are excruciating they change the course of Jonas life. The story is a beautiful parable of how we need to keep telling stories.

 

If the stories of the past are not in our proximity, we too easily forget.

If stories of present challenges are not in our proximity, we too easily ignore.

 

At the conclusion of the book, I read Lois Lowry’s Newberry Award acceptance speech. Best take away: We can’t live only us, only now. 

 

Live dangerously.

Draw up close.

Love.

 

What book has touched you with deeper meaning?

 

 

 

 

a wide world

little fellowOver break I watched The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

Although much of JRR Tolkien’s works have spiritual undertones, I was particularly struck by the imagery of this movie. Smaug the great dragon has been killed. The people of Laketown gather in need of shelter, food, and clothing. Thorin Oakenshield, once a great leader, inhabits Lonely Mountain unwilling to share even one piece of gold.

Dwalin:  “You sit here, in these vast halls, with a crown upon your head and yet you are lesser now than you have ever been.”

“You cannot see what you have become.” 

Kili: “I will not hide, when others fight our battles for us.”

Of course, he comes around to be the great leader we all knew he was, abandoning wealth and power. Redemption. 

 

And as Gandolf leaves Bilbo with the powerful ring… “You really are just a little fellow, in a wide world.” Perspective.

 

I don’t know if I was all to ready for this new year. Even so, I know who I want to be.

 

I want to be brave and not hide. 

I want to love in close proximity… to do that, I know I must be quieter, stiller, gentler. 

I want to kneel because I know I am just a little fellow in a wide world. I know I need God. 

In this new year, what do you hope for? 

 

 

 

 

 

listen

listen

Listening at the Margins.

I love this article from Do Justice.

Our best service comes when we listen.

A number of CRC agencies have come together to listen to stories from people who are marginalized in various ways, whether because they are disabled, Native American, refugees, undocumented immigrants, survivors of domestic violence, etc.

Sign up here, to receive an email story each day in November that positions us to listen.

Once a week over at Amelia Rhodes online home, you can follow her Pray A-Z Community Prayer Guide series. She’s getting practical by offering stories and prayer for needs in our communities.

I’m excited to be in proximity and to kneel.

How do you truly listen? 

I can’t. You can’t. We can’t.

aaa

I am fighting discouragement right now, as I know many others probably are too.

I spend five hours a week writing and making graphics for social media about immigration reform and the people it effects. In the last four months I have read half a dozen books, countless articles, and various positions. All the reading I do in my own time, because I want to understand. Then I draw out and create and share, and hope. I really hope… for change and for others to be moved.

 

In every message we share, words we speak and actions we take some are received and some are not. There is a lot competing for our attention. I understand that so much. There is a lot of disagreement, a lot of untruth, a lot of history.

Sometimes it feels like making a difference is too hard.

 

That verse:

Acts 17:26 He determined the times set for them and the exact places they should live.

It was the little breath that I needed to keep going this weekend.

If God sets people before us… how can we turn away, just because its hard?

 

To every story that we hear, every person we know there is so much more…

not just immigration reform, everything…. and everybody; the single Mom in the grocery story line with her Bridge card, the same-sex couple trying to find a church home, the newly released felon with no place to go. It’s hard.

I know its hard. I’m writing this slung over the couch in the dark of summer. I just ate six cookies. Sometimes I want to give up.

I can’t.

You can’t.

We can’t.

aaa1

I think it is what God created us for. I pray we can rise up and live into that calling.

How can I encourage you this week to keep going? What are you struggling to stick with? I know you all do beautiful things from advocating for human trafficking to changing diapers. 

 

 

The Gut Punch

gutpunch

Last week, I attended The Stranger Film premier in Grand Rapids. My husband works at CRC Justice and they have been advocating for immigration reform in the United States. For the past four months, I have also been doing freelance social media writing and graphics for the cause. I have learned so very much.

I want to share the words of one of the panelists who spoke on the issue after the film. He lives in West Michigan as a refugee from Pakistan, where he is a pastor. His wife and child still reside there. His immigration status is pending, and he will seek asylum for his family when he is able.

His words cut through the packed theater that after the stunned pause erupted into applause…

Americans live in their own world. They don’t know the challenges and difficulties the rest of the world is facing. They must know the privileges they have, so they can be a channel of blessing.

 

If you don’t know your neighbor or office mate how do you know what’s happening in the world? How can you relate to the global body of the church?

 

On the Pakistan/Afghanistan border there is a refugee territory. Those entering are welcomed, feed, sheltered, and protected. If a tribal people can do this why not a civilized America?

 

A total gut punch.

Proximity is important.

I am so excited for summer, but I intend not to get too comfortable.

I want to remember. I want to know. I want to encourage and make a difference.

What are your thoughts? Too harsh? Right on? 

Kneel

 

save

At calendar time in second grade we count the school days with tally marks. The end draws near, one day and half. September seems a lifetime ago.

And I am thankful.

 

Life is about proximity. I held it close. I know it made me more.

 

I am thankful for little people that-

Ask about homeland, kneel over their classmates to help with work so hard, sit patient when another cries, run to comfort, rejoice in another’s happy.

One held onto a piece of confetti. You are not my friend another hissed, claiming it was his. Moments later the confetti piece is placed in a hand. It is not as important as a friend.

How do they know when adults sometimes do not? They know to kneel.

 

I was a part of a servechat on twitter about reaching out to veterans Thursday night. The guest was a disabled combat veteran, now a national chef advocate for No Kid Hungry.

He wrote, 1 in 5 kids go to bed hungry every night. After my service, I found a new mission. It truly saved my life. 

 

I get it. How life is so hard. We need to kneel for rescue by rescuing. Proximity. Everything.