Category Archives: Caring for the world

Feeling stupid not generalizing

So this week, I had 2 typical experiences in new settings in close enough time, that they shined light on each other….

  1. Darin went to day camp and got in lots of trouble the 1st day. Then I figured out he didn’t have 1-on-1 support, that was added, and he was able to continue with daycamp.
  2. We tried putting Darin in a class at church, so we could listen to the sermon, and he lasted 10 mins… and Joel missed the rest of the service sitting in the hall with him.

And it clicked for me:
Church is the only setting where we try to put him in a class without 1-on-1 support, pretending in that setting he is typical.
We don’t do it at school, or day camp, or VBS.
But week after week, we are shocked it goes terrible at church.

Unfortunately, this realization was not accompanied by a solution.

Interestingly, the sermon at the church we visited today was about Act 6:1-13, where the 1st church had to address unmet needs within the church.

I wish this didn’t feel like a unique need that not everyone shares. I don’t want to be the one with the need.

What are other special needs kids doing within small churches?

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Movie: 12 Years a Slave

Sometimes, it’s embarrassing to have white skin. Last night, watching 12 Years a Slave20131124-085003.jpg, I had this feeling again… The last time I remember feeling this shame was watching The Help.

Unlike The Help which was historical fiction, 12 Years a Slave was a true story from 1841, a terrible period of history when southern white Americans treated black people as property.

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This story was of a black American man who had experienced a life of freedom in the North, then was kidnapped, transported, and sold in the South. While his story held the element of hope that someone from his free life would come rescue him, it was devastating to realize that the others enslaved with him did not have anyone to turn to after due to multiple generations of slavery.

This movie reminded me of the pain I felt watching Schindler’s List and other holocaust films.

How did each culture become so desensitized to humanity that these atrocities could occur?

Are we doing this to ourselves again?

This is a terrible cycle we seem to repeat… from the Coliseum in Rome in the 1st century A.D., to slavery of Africans to build the “free” USA, to the genocide of Jews in Germany & Poland.

What are we watching, participating in, thinking that may allow us to go there again?

Are we the next observers of pain for pleasure?

Remember…
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Adoption in movies

One of my favorite thing in movies is seeing adoption as a subplot, not the focus.

I appreciate this since it normalizes adoption, decreasing the stigma that family is blood and adoption is weird.

Some of my favorites are:

But I recently saw a Facebook post by my friend Nancy that added another perspective to the adoption movie conversation:
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At first, I was confused. I also have an adopted child, and love Despicable Me.

But then I thought about Hannah’s experience of being in a orphanage.

I realized that while I love that society can see adoption stories in movie, parts of the stories may be too close to home for a child joining a new family.

Always good to gain perspective!

Book: Is There Anybody Out There?: A Journey from Despair to Hope

I happened upon a book in our Kindle app, Is There Anybody Out There?: A Journey from Despair to Hope by Mez McConnell…
I asked Joel about it and he didn’t even recall where it was from.

It ended up being a message to my weary soul.

This book is the life story of Mez, who grew up on the European version of ‘the projects’. It’s a little rough to read about his childhood… Abuse, neglect, invisibility.

But it was a slap in the face consistent with my current Precepts bible study of Romans. When Mez was introduced to the Gospel, the church he was introduced into was Law, not Grace. And as someone constantly evaluating how to be a church leader, it was a serious reminder what it feels like to enter a church culture that expects right behavior by flesh, without waiting for the Spirit to do a work.

Alive

There are many things I’m not sure what to say about our visit to a prospective church in Maine.
But there are a few things I would like to reflect on…

In 2009, when we closed Basilica, we returned to Kaleo and my role changed. I went from Joel’s co-churchplanter to one-of-four pastors wives. I was worn out from 3 years of ministry ups and downs & welcomed the lower level of expectation for me as a church leader.

But then 3 years swept by and I started feeling funny about my identity as a minister of the gospel. It’s so hard to get moving when you are sitting completely still… and I’ve been sitting still in terms of Kaleo. My only ministry involvement has been outside the church, with Redeemed Ministries.

I felt a little lost, like the part of me that I planned to rest after Basilica might have forgotten who it was.20130102-211150.jpg
Then we came to Maine.20130102-211030.jpg
Joel has been corresponding with this church about possibly being their pastor since last Spring. The church and our family need to see if we are a good fit… So he is preaching 2 Sundays in a row, with lots of fellowship in the middle. He preached last Sunday on Biblical Community.
Then the fellowship began. We have had the opportunity to be with small & large groups of church members on Sunday evening, Monday evening (New Year’s Eve), and Tuesday (New Year’s Day).20130102-211126.jpg
Each day, I felt like a part of me that I had missed was alive. My heart and mind felt like they had the ministerial vision of God that I have missed seeing through. I felt renewed. I am so excited to see that this time of Joel’s education at HBU has been a time of hibernation, not death.

The questions I want to ask you… (Book: In the Land of the Blue Burqas)

My preferred reading genre is autobiographical faith-journeys… I don’t really like to hear WHAT you believe out of context, but I love to hear how you got to your beliefs.

I also kinda stink at casual conversation, since I am really hoping to discuss something meaningful… but getting there is sometimes awkward, and often doesn’t happen.

I have been reading In the Land of the Blue Burqas, an amazing model by a Christian living in Afghanistan of living out her faith in Jesus, while at the same time asking meaningful questions of her neighbors.

Her chapter titles reveal the questions she is resolving in her book:

  • Whose example do we follow?
  • Who is God?
  • How do we respond to evil done to us?
  • Who can judge?
  • Who protects us from temptation?
  • How do we learn to live our faith?
  • How should we pray?
  • How should we fast?
  • How do we live with open hands?

I have been intrigued to see how carefully she resolves these questions Biblically, so that her example is informed by her teacher, Jesus Christ.

Her respectful examination of the Afghani worldview has been a great lesson.

Here is my most challenging, but favorite section so far:

The kingdom of God is like a farmer who plants seeds. He sleeps and wakes, and the seeds grow. He doesn’t know how they grow; he only knows they do. My confidence is in this: If the seed I planted was a good seed and the soil that received it was ready, the seed grew and that gentle lady found peace.

Sometimes we imagine that all this is good in God as revealed in Christ only belongs to those who’ve adopted a complete framework of theological beliefs. We imagine that until a person understands and confesses belief that Jesus is God, that He died on the cross for our sins and rose the third day, the teachings and blessings of God remain inaccessible.¬†We sometimes make the mistake of viewing ourselves and others as either in or out, as either wearing our team’s jersey or not wearing it.

How much better to remember that we are all on a journey. Each time we see or hear or in some way grasp a teaching or revelation of Christ, we are drawn out of an area of darkness within our lives into His light and truth, into His beautiful kingdom. He invites us to walk with Him, to learn from Him, and to find in Him the healing, love, joy, and peace that our souls desperately need.

Sometimes, this is a real confusion for me. I am confused about what hope I can offer someone who does not believe in Jesus as Lord.

This passage, and the examples given, are refreshing. Because I know the design of the Kingdom of God is best no matter what. Being generous, humble, kind, forgiving, faithful to your spouse all lead to a more peaceful life on earth.

I am very thankful for this book!

Why fight human trafficking? Why Redeemed Ministries?

Recently I’ve been asked several times why I’m involved with Redeemed Ministries & the fight against human trafficking…
And I discovered there’s not one reason, there are so many:

  1. because of Brent & Courtney Orrange, my beloved friends, who have spent 10+ educating & preparing to fight trafficking on foreign soil,
  2. & because I remember the B.C. version of me who looked just like a human trafficking victim in my heart & my choices,
  3. & because my heart longs to live the life of a missionary & my God has kept me in Houston, so I don’t need to raise support & be commissioned to give my whole life to His Work
  4. & because the children waiting to be adopted in foster care are the same adults we encounter in commercial sex, & as the Body of My Christ, I restore peace by sewing up the holes in the fabric of society with His Love, His Grace, His Hope,
  5. & because the best way to escape the rat race of this earth is to live like THE KINGDOM HAS COME & HIS WILL WILL BE DONE!