Important stuff to wrestle with.
Important stuff to wrestle with.
What I Need You to Say in Response to the Shooting in Charleston
"I almost wrote this post when there were riots in Ferguson and I almost wrote this post when protestors were holding up signs that read, “I can’t breathe”. This post was very nearly published when black women stood in the street topless, a prophetic picture of both the African American woman’s vulnerability in this broken world and her strength in the face of brutality. Then I saw Dejerria Becton, a black 15 years old wrestled and held to the ground by a white police officer, so I wept and sat at my computer with these words. And now, nine brothers and sisters lost their lives to racism in Charleston last night and I cannot ignore this post anymore." READ IT HERE
This is a repost (brought to my attention by a friend T.C. Moore) that I think covers my thoughts on the Dolezal NAACP scandal well.
From Dr. Brian Bantum, visit his blog: https://brianbantum.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/fake-black/
"Theorist Stuart Hall suggests identity is better understood as identification. That is, our identities are not fixed as essential realities whether gender, or race or nationality. We are always living into or out of the ideas and representations of what these things are.
Rachael Dolezal apparent presentation of herself as black shows this to an extent. She is living into a people with whom she has seemed to identify with. But this process requires point of departure and a point of entry. You identify from a particular place and a particular body, and this is part of the process of negotiating your identity.
To act as if you have no point of departure is to persist in a delusion and re-enact Americas fundamental racial sin – to pretend there was no history before you arrived, then co-opt the resources of the land for your benefit. Perhaps her life had deep resonances with aspects of the African American community. But to really understand that community, to understand their history also has to be an acknowledgement of what her white body signifies in that history. To even say that one is mixed must be to confess the complicated realities of mulatto identity and colorism in American racial history.
By simply calling herself black, she bypasses the complications of a white history, a white body and the questions that inevitably arise about why she understands herself as connected to that community. She did not want to negotiate these complications, she wanted to possess something that was not hers.
There are plenty of people who identify with a community that is not theirs. But when you lie in order to feign a deeper connection or gain credibility or attain a position, that is something else entirely.
I have wondered why this story bothered me so much today when there are so many other pressing realities in our country. But then I realized… this story is important right now because we cannot oversimplify the idea of race as “social construction.”
There are too many people dying who cannot turn around and say “don’t shoot, I’m white!” And expect to live. These systems of oppression are circulating around complicated networks of representation, economics, and national belonging that are difficult enough without someone claiming an ahistorical blackness.
What would be complicated is Dolezal living into her identification with the black community, but from her point of departure – a white women’s body. In the end, we need to imagine a possibility that our particular bodies can speak new words. But to do this we still need to acknowledge our old language."
Reposting from Bill Easum - Spark: Igniting a culture of Multiplication
Reading Spark filled my eyes with tears. Where was this book when I restarted my church? What a difference it might have made. Folks this is the first book of 2015 that will go on my classic list.
The author addressed both the problem and the solution when it comes to developing a culture of multiplication. Wilson asks, “Is your focus on how many people you can accumulate or how many people can you release and send?”
Every leader creates some kind of culture- either a culture of addition, subtraction, or multiplication. The key to creating a culture of multiplication is to change the way we think and act. Our thinking must be to add locally and multiply globally. Our strategy must be a synergy between a micro and macro approach to growth. Our micro culture is to add to our church; the macro culture is to send people out to grow the Kingdom.
The problem facing the church today is that most churches focus on attracting and accumulating rather than releasing and sending. There is too much focus on micro growth and not enough on macro growth. The reason- must churches start so small that they embed a culture of scarcity, which leads them to think, “If we can just add a few more people we will be viable.”
One story in the book explains it all. Pastor Brett Andrews early on in the plant was faced with a tipping point decision- do I buy land and build or do I plant a church? The decision was to let two of their three staff people go and plant another church. To date the church has planted more than 100 churches.
The only way to develop a macro of multiplication is simply to do it. Doing so results in tension: after devoting so much time to training this person do we dare send them out to plant a church?
Be forewarned- creating a culture of multiplication is a dangerous journey filled with many tensions. The authors conclude by sharing 18 life-changing tensions pastors interested in multiplication will experience.
Almost every year I pray during the season of Ramadan in Islam for my Muslim friends and neighbours. I invite you to join me!
There is a great prayer booklet resource at 30daysprayer.com you can buy the kids or adult versions. The adult version is also posted online each day of Ramadan with a pdf. .If your in the West End of Toronto I have about 20 booklets. So just let me know. Ramadan is June 18-July 17, 2015
I usually add in a local prayer emphasis as well in the churches I am serving. Consider what that night be for your church.
The booklets have some intro/explanation of some aspect of Islam or a people group along with prayer points. We have used this as a family devotion around our shared dinner meals. (Full disclosure this usually means a couple of them a week).
What legacy are you leaving?
It's been two years since my grandfather Boese fell asleep in the Lord. There are many things I wish I had asked him. Cherish moments with your loved ones. Been thinking about him lately....He lived a simple and yet engaged life - impacting more people than we will ever know. A fiery Mennonite-prophetic type who lived it well. Looking forward to seeing you again, grandpa.
Here is his obituary with some additions and a little bit of his recalling meeting with Martin Luther King Jr. after it.
SPRINGFIELD — Glen L. Boese of Springfield SD left this world to be with his heavenly father on May 18, 2012. Born November 28, 1928 to Gustav and Katy (Ries) Boese, he was raised in Turner County, SD. The family moved to Springfield in 1945, where he met Phyllis Thomas; they married August 18, 1951. Glen was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, farmer, teacher, mentor and missionary.
A graduate of Freeman Academy, Freeman Jr. College and Sioux Falls College, he received a Master’s degree from Mennonite Biblical Seminary (Chicago) in 1956. He was involved in an intentional interracial Mennonite church in Chicago at that time, did an early freedom ride, and got to meet with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy and Rosa Parks.
A year teaching at the Bon Homme Hutterite Colony between college years started a love for teaching he would later return to. In 1958 he moved the family back from Chicago to the farm his parents owned 6 miles northwest of Springfield, where he farmed and later taught school until 1984. Glen taught industrial arts at Freeman Academy and Jr. College, Springfield High School and Bon Homme High School. In 1982 he was recognized as the Outstanding SD Industrial Arts Instructor of the year. He loved learning and continued to take various postgraduate courses, seminars and workshops from 11 different schools of higher learning throughout his life.
Glen believed in the brotherhood of mankind and lived the principle of “live simply so that others may simply live.” His life-long desire for justice and equality for the less fortunate is evidenced by his work for the Salvation Army, and Voluntary Service in Gulfport MS with disadvantaged youth. He was active with Mennonite Disaster Service serving as the SD vice president for many years. After a career of farming and teaching, he served in missions: 8 1/2 years in Zaire, Africa and 4 1/2 years at the Hopi Mission School, Kykotsmovi, AZ.
Glen was an active long time member of Friedensberg Bible (Mennonite) Church, rural Avon SD, holding numerous positions including Sunday School teacher and church elder. His life-long hobbies were raising horses and carpentry including helping his parents and neighbors with their building projects. He enjoyed recycling machinery and building materials to “create something new out of the old.”
Glen passed away peacefully after a short stay at the North Central Heart Hospital (Sioux Falls). His last moments were spent surrounded by his wife, all of his children, and many of his grand children.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Robert Boese and sister Violet (Boese) Ruppelt. He is survived by his loving wife Phyllis, five children: Theodore (Cindy) Boese — Freeman, Thomas (Doreen) Boese — Rockford IL, Dorothy Regier — Imperial NE, Vincent Boese — Springfield SD, Steven (Jan) Boese — Ottawa KS, 14 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.
The family is planning a memorial service 2:00 PM June 2nd at the Friedensberg Bible Church; in lieu of flowers the family requests any memorials be sent to: Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission, P.O. Box 744, Goshen, IN 46527-0744."
Grandpa wrote this about the pre-bus freedom-ride he and several friends took in 1958, "When we got to Alabama we decided that we “shouldn’t be in Alabama without stopping to see if we could meet with Martin Luther King (then living in Montgomery). We called from Mobile, to give him a little notice, and Coretta answered the phone. She told us, “Well, he was stabbed (in Harlem by a mentally disturbed woman) of few weeks ago and he’s still recuperating and I’m not sure he can see you. But come on up and knock on our door, and I’ll see if he’s able to see you.”
“When she saw who we were (an interracial group), she said, “I bet my husband would love to see you.’ We spent a wonderful hour or hour-and-a-half with him. He wanted to know who we were and what we’d been doing.
He was a gracious host--he joked with us and asked us all about ourselves.
He told us: “You have my congratulations for getting this far alive.”
I have been thinking about beginnings lately. Everything I have done in ministry has been about beginnings. I started a new ministry in an established church as a volunteer- then they brought me on staff. I started a church from scratch. I started a site in a multi-site church. (Now of course I was only ONE piece - but an initiator for the first two for sure). One of the things I find that keeps people from volunteering or jumping into something new is the fear of looking like they are bumbling. Or in the early learning phase not realizing that "the fog" does clear off once they continue in it for a while.
However, we need to know that bumbling and "the fog" are part of all great new learning experiences, even if it feels discomforting.
Here is a great write up about this: http://storylineblog.com/2015/05/29/beginning/
Good stuff today from Donald Miller: http://storylineblog.com/2015/05/28/drama/