Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Subversive Jesus by Craig Greenfield

Loved this book! Here are my favorite quotes:
“A church that doesn’t provoke any crises, a gospel that doesn’t unsettle, a word of God that doesn’t get under anyone’s skin, a word of God that doesn’t touch the real sin of the society in which it is being proclaimed—what gospel is that?” Oscar Romero
“As we were faced with the reality of the poor each day, it was easy to examine our decisions in light of the lives of our impoverished friends, who might even ask us about those decisions, causing some awkward conversations. We could gain perspective simply by looking out the window or stepping through the door, because our well-being became tied to their well-being. We prayed that a local movement of Christians loving their poor neighbors might be raised up. We stumbled on an obscure Cambodian proverb: “It takes a spider to repair its own web.” Using this piece of cultural wisdom as our catchphrase, we began challenging young Cambodian Christians to take on one vulnerable child each. We dubbed the movement Alongsiders.”
“My friend Joyce Rees says that if you want to understand the good news that Jesus offers for the poor in a particular place, you first have to discover what the bad news looks like. During the excess of time Jason and I had to sit and contemplate, we learned that if the bad news of the inner city was rejection, isolation, and loneliness, the good news might look something like radical hospitality. We realized that Jesus would welcome these folks inside—not just into a drop-in center or shelter but into a family. 

“It’s no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.” St. Francis 

“Jesus begins with the resources already available in the community. He takes a handful of loaves and fish from a little boy, thus including the poor and what they have to offer as a central part of the solution. He prays, inviting God to work, to be central to the process, for it is only when we are open to the Spirit that we will be inspired to share and welcome. Then he asks his disciples to organize the people, forming temporary mini-communities so they can break bread together, relationally. And the rest is history. A beautiful miracle of sharing and abundance takes place that meets the immediate needs of the people and revolutionalizes the way the disciples understand community transformation. Jesus subvers the usual power structures. He undermines the status quo in a time when soup kitchens have replaced radical hospitality in our own homes. He neither leaves folks to fend for themselves individually nor allows his followers to engage in a one-way act of charity that would set them up as benefactors and beneficiaries. Instead, he asks them to share.” 
“Charity ‘wounds’ because it excuses the recipient from obligations to repay that are deeply embedded in both culture and psyche and fundamental to human social life.” Anthropologist Mary Douglas
“As followers of Jesus, we need to figure out what that good news looks like as we respond to those who are suffering because of poverty and oppression, whether a beggar on the corner or an orphaned child in a slum halfway around the world. God wants us to not only care for the well-being of his children, but also to see that they are central to his redemptive purposes for the world.” 
“It is only when a mosquito lands on your testicles that you realize there is ALWAYS a way to solve a problem without violence” –some jokester 

“We often fall into the trap of thinking that the solution to injustice is to gain power, hoping that once the roles of power have been reversed, the coercion will stop. But every bloody revolution in the history of the world shows that this does not work. The oppressed persons who seize control simply become the oppressors. When faced with oppression, Jesus tapped into the fruit of the Spirit and exerted self-control rather than using his power and privilege to control others.” 
“There’s something deeply unethical about using people’s poverty to force them to listen to our message. It is not the way of Christ, who comes gently to serve and offer freely and not to force his own agenda on people. More and more, our team was learning that one-way acts of charity would never bring freedom to our friends. We needed to not only learn their names but also to discover more of God’s purpose or their lives. “
“If we’re all busy running around raising money for charity or maintaining charitable organizations, who will be left to agitate for real change? Because most charitable word is donor driven, the entire system runs on money instead of relationships. Thus many donors demand tax receipts because they don’t want to give if they can’t receive some benefit.”
“I realized that whenever rich people like me want to follow Jesus, we are invited to sell our possessions and give to the poor.  Somewhere along the line, some of my great-great-great-great grandfathers got rich off the backs of those they exploited. And some of my ancestors traveled the world, plundering resources from Asia and Africa for their own gain. And some in my family were colonizers, who stole land from indigenous people and placated them with trinkets and liquor. Though our ties to ancestral connections may be remote, the wealth and privilege we have inherited remains in our hands in in our bank accounts. That wealth, both my family’s wealth and the wealth of my nation, is the foundation of my privilege, the head start I got in life. Though I didn’t steal it myself, I have some responsibility for it now. Like Zacchaeus, I come face-to-face with Jesus and am confronted by the realization of what my privilege has cost others.”
“Three phases of biblical justice: First, in SOLIDARITY, we tie our well-being to the well-being of those God leans toward—the poor. Next, we enter a season of RESISTANCE together, and as we are inspired by the Spirit, we speak truth to power and take symbolic actions to highlight injustice and ask for change. Finally, by God’s grace, we long to reach the place of LIBERATION, where both the oppressed and the oppressors are transformed when they open themselves to the work of God.”
“Through activism we confront the toxicity in our world, through contemplation we confront the toxicity in ourselves” Phileena Heuertz 

Thousand Choices Strong

Every time we roll to the middle
Every choice to be selfless
Every time you do the dishes
Every time I hold you close

Our love is made up of
A thousand choices strong
I can feel them bind together
And hold us up

My love for you was both
A choice and a chosen
As I stepped into it rationally
But it seized me without reason

The honeymoon ended long ago
But I still feel the sweetness sugar up my day
As you clean out the shower drain
And change that dirty diaper again

Our love is made up of
A thousand choices strong
I feel them bind up
And carry us along

If I lose my way
They are a rope to guide me
If I fall away
They are the net to catch me

And I will live my days with you
Making a thousand choices more
Of love strands that
Tie me to you

--To my husband

Sunday, March 26, 2017

End of March Sunday Funday

Here is our weekly vlog, just about life here and there:
Here are the videos this week we made for Living Stones:

Incredible drone footage

One moment changes everything

Reads from the Interwebs: 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

March Sunday Funday

For those of you who didn't know, we have lots of new plans, both happy and sad:
Caid turned 27, and Ana tried out sour Skittles:

Reads from the Interwebs: 
1. Daily Lent readings: this one I wrote:)
3. One of the few books I bought at full price: When God Made You
6. Daily Lent reads: LOVED this one! Truth spoken so well: my generation explained better than I've seen it in a long time. 
7. Anyone want to go to the Justice Conference with me???

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday Funday March

What a week! Hope you had a wonderful Women's Day:
Caid's niece helps us learn how to do Ana's hair:

I posted about my favorite quotes from Unoffendable, and also felt ready to share our sad news. We have been so blessed by an outpouring of love and care: thank you. 

Reads from the Interwebs: 
2. Continuing for Lent (SIGN UP to get these sent to your e-mail every day during this Lent!!!) Ignorance/Advocacy was my favorite this week! 
3. When I wanted a memory this week, this was the book I bought: it is so lovely! (Ana loves it!)

Friday, March 10, 2017

A Week of Grief

Note: This comes from a vulnerable place, and I am so grateful to have a community that cares and protects those places.  

Day 1:
I woke up with blood on my underwear
I went back to bed and rested
And googled
Bleeding is common in early pregnancy
So is miscarriage
If it is a miscarriage, it is a miscarriage
If not, then it isn't
As long as I am not losing a lot of blood and am not in pain, there is no reason to go to the doctor
There is nothing they could do anyway
I just wait
Wait to see if I will hurt more
Wait to see if I will bleed more
Wait to see if this will just all go away or if my pregnancy is over
I am scared to go to the bathroom
To see if it is worse
I have slight cramps: the kind that feel like they could go away at any minute, or get raging worse at any moment
So I lay here, waiting
I wait until I realize the bleeding isn't going to stop
I start to make choices
I attempt to put thoughts together and make words and try to express it but I fail miserably with my husband and just end up in tears
I don't think I am pregnant anymore
All I want is to take a bath and ignore everything
Most of all, ignore my body
Ignore what is leaving my body
I hate going to the bathroom
It tells me it is real
I go on auto-pilot: this is just a period
Just a period
Tomorrow you will be fine
But I won't
Tomorrow I will have to start telling people and hearing them say sorry and then not know what else to say
Do I assure them or do I assure myself?
I don't think I have the energy to do both
I tell those I need to tell and then we snuggle up around comfort food and old movies
I am loved

Day 2:
I can stop ignoring what is happening
I thank God it was early and without complications
I grieve my expected plans more than my baby, as it was all so new
I don’t know how to grieve for my baby yet
I find relief in knowing it was just natural body functions and not my fault
I fear someday they will link drinking lemon juice to miscarriage, or being vegetarian, or anything else I do or did
I can't be connected with blame
I just can't
I hold on to the truth that stuff just happens
It just does
It doesn't mean someone had to be wrong or sinning or to blame
My mind begins to replay through the days to see if I picked up anything too heavy
We won't play those games
It wasn't just a pregnancy
It was a whole life change
Now it means a whole different life
In the less than two weeks we knew of the pregnancy, we set up a lot of life
Now that will change
I set my mind to figuring out how
And I take another nap
Every step is undoing
Undo, pack up, or put away
I will do this quietly, carefully, and with love
Because that is how to grieve
That is how I slowly build my goodbye
Build my change
Build my habits for what happens when life changes
When people die
When what you fear comes true
You build grace, peace, and love

Day 3:
The pregnancy test says
I am not pregnant anymore
Just very tired
And it is so slow
Bit by bit I wipe away my baby
Why did God change the plan?
It was such a good plan

Day 4:
I am ready to share
But let me put it off until evening
I want to watch Youtube stories of other women
Who have survived
I want to see what this normal looks like
I have never been here before
I type up an e-mail, a text, a message
I let the words spread
I am not crying for this, and I don’t know why or why not
My tears control me more than I control them
But for the one I tell in person?
I cry before she even says hello

Day 5:
I must go shopping
The Internet tells me I am looking for a memento that a lost early pregnancy never gave me
I just want to spend money
I say no to the necklace or the figurine
I settle on buying a book
In deep grief, each first is an event:
The first meal AFTER
The first shower AFTER
The first night AFTER
The first “going out” AFTER
I put on comfortable clothes
I can do this
One step and then another
I feel good out of the house
I needed the fresh air
I felt so “old” normal
Like “new” normal hadn’t caught up to me yet

Day 6:
I set aside time just me and my daughter
I set aside time just me and my husband
I set aside time just me and myself
So many things that I do have
Physically: I am doing well
Spiritually: I am doing well
Emotionally: I keep finding little holes
Empty places in random spaces
They come up without warning
There is no timetable to when they will stop
I need music
I need nature
I need beauty
I need to cry

Day 7:
It was too soon to know if it was a he or a she
But a she is all I know and how my mind fills in the blanks
And in her honor we leave the name we picked for a girl
Only today can I say her name
I journal: “God is good. Life is beautiful. My community cares. I am alright. It doesn’t have to all fit right now. I live with no regrets.”
My friend said it best: “(our lost babies) remind us this is not our home and eternity is not too far off.”
I don’t know what happens to babies who die before they are born
I’d like to think they live a life perfect in heaven, never knowing pain
But this I do know: they are either in heaven, or they are something better that I can’t even imagine
God made my little Madelena
On March 2nd she went wherever lost babies go
She went to where she could never be lost again

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Unoffendable by Brant Hansen

My friend started reading this book and recommended it to me. I think this is really a needed subject at this (Facebook) time and age. Here are my favorite quotes from "Unoffendable" by Brant Hansen:
“Are we to cling to anger at their sin? God took out His wrath on Jesus for other people’s sin. And I believe Jesus suffered enough to pay for it, and my sin too. He will deal with others’ sin; it’s not my deal. And while I thought the idea of choosing to be “unoffendable” was ludicrous, I’ve tried it. And I’m not perfect at it, but I’m much better than I used to be. I just let stuff go. I go into situations thinking, I’m not going to be offended. No matter what.”

“We have no idea what is in someone else’s heart. We don’t know the backstory. We don’t know what’s happening in his mind. We don’t know how her brain works. We think we do, sure, but we don’t. so let’s review: God knows others’ private motives. We don’t. God knows our private motives. We don’t. we think we can judge others’ motives. We’re wrong.”

“I used to be scandalized by others’ moral behavior. I’m just not anymore. It frees up a lot of mental space, and we probably need more of that, to pause and reflect on what matters in life. It’s not that I think that potentially offensive behavior is “right” or “good.” Not even close. It’s just that it’s not about me. I’m not going to be threatened or scandalized by someone else’s immoral behavior. So what if—just dreaming out loud, here—Christians were known as the people you couldn’t offend?”

“Yes, we get angry. Can’t avoid it. But I know that anger can’t live here. I can’t keep it. I can’t try it on, can’t see how it looks. I’m not entitled to anger, because I am me. I can’t handle anger. I don’t have the strength of character to do it. Only God does.”
“War is not exceptional; peace is. Worry is not exceptional; trust is. Decay is not exceptional; restoration is. Anger is not exceptional; gratitude is. Selfishness is not exceptional; sacrifice is. Defensiveness is not exceptional; love is. Judgmentalism is not exceptional; grace is.”

“The world is broken, and selfishness is our default setting. But that’s all the more reason we get goose bumps when there’s a ray of light, and we can suddenly see the kingdom from here, where things are set right. When we recognize our unsurprising fallenness and keep our eyes joyfully open for the glorious exceptions, we’re much less offendable. Why? Because that’s the thing about gratitude and anger: they can’t coexist. It’s one or the other.” 

“I used to think that to be Christlike meant to be alienated and put off by the sin of others. But it is quite the opposite. Refusing to be alienated and put off by the sin of others is what allows me to be Christlike. Mike Yaconelli once wrote: “Christians do not condone unbiblical living; we redeem it.”

“No wonder we get so angry. We’re displeased with others because we’re convinced God is displeased with us. We “believe” God loves us, but we suspect it’s provisional, based on whether we ever get our act straightened out. That’s a lot to carry. And then we see other people not trying as hard as we are, and that’s downright enraging. We hope God will give them their comeuppance someday, because if He doesn’t, what the heck are we doing all this for?”

“To be in ministry means to choose to be unoffendable. Ask anyone in ministry to the homeless. Or families who open up homes and hearts to foster children. Or prison ministers. Or people serving troubled kids. Or anyone, anywhere, truly serving anyone. It’s not a side issue, not a secondary concern, not a strategy. Choosing to be unoffendable out of love for others is ministry. And real ministry forces us to abandon our relentless search for approval from others. That frees us to love beautifully and recklessly.” 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Lent Sunday Funday

So excited to have Pastor Ricardo in the USA for a couple of weeks! Don't miss a chance to see him on March 19th, around noon at Brookville Road Community Church (BRCC):
And our weekly life blog, with one really cute dancer:

Tuesday was the culmination of Carnaval for all my friends in Brazil, and thank God everyone was safe, and the kids from Cajueiro Claro had a wonderful time! 
Wednesday began Lent 2017. Here are some awesome ideas for you to join in on for Lent:

1. Reading through the Gospels: Neatly divided into daily readings--especially great for Holy week!
2. Special e-mail readings each day: Put together by my friend Em Bricker, each day has a special story by a different author of God working in their lives (My story is one of them!)
3. Lent print-out by Ann Voskamp: beautiful and insightful. 
4. I appreciated this read on Lent as well: Burying the Alleluias

Other reads from the Interwebs: 
2. Love's twin: fear. An important and powerful read about fear. 
3. I love this interview with an author as she runs through her process of writing a book
4. Sharing your culture: cookies (I use snickerdoodles)