Weekly Ponderings

Here are some posts that made me think this week. Inclusion does mean I fully endorse everything written in each post. If you want to read the posts in their entirety click on the title beneath each excerpt. Anything in bold is something I chose to emphasize.

“The difference between these two types Christians is striking. The Flagellants gave allegiance to an angry god who was satisfied by suffering and people degrading themselves. Their god was nothing more than a projection of unhealthy self-loathing. This belief resulted in these Christians offering absolutely nothing to the world around them.

Alternatively, the Christians who lived during the Cyprian Plague embraced the reality that they were so deeply loved by God that they could give themselves away without needing anything in return. They were caught up in a love so great that it lifted them above their need for survival. These Christians were able to break themselves open and pour themselves out for the healing of the world, just as Jesus had done before them…”

I Desire Mercy, Not Masochism by Zach Christensen

Right now the one fragile reality we can hold onto is that every person believes he or she is good and right. No one ever genuinely imagines they are doing damage, that they are being hateful, and bad as someone might appear from across a table or across a Twitter exchange or across the aisle, no one ever thinks they are the bad guy. In a nation of 300 million people, there are exactly zero who believe they are wrong or hurtful—and this is at least a place we can find commonality

May this nation find a way to repair all that is broken among us and between us and within us.

Even if it follows a terrible noise or a long silence—may love still have the last, loudest word.”

Fixing Relationships This Election Has Broken by John Pavlovitz

“In fact, I’d say one of the defining characteristics of Christianity today is that it has a consent problem.

When God’s love is offered freely to everyone…unless they reject Him, at which He’ll subject them to violent, painful, and — oh yeah — eternal punishment, Christianity has a consent problem…

When Christians want to be free to live however they please, but also want to use the government to force the country to live under “biblical” laws, Christianity has a consent problem

When women are expected to give men a chance whether they want to or not,because men have more godly authority than women so we ought to trust them, Christianity has a consent problem

There are individual exceptions to this, of course. Certain groups within Christianity who are different, truly respectful and loving and inclusive…

…until Christianity as a whole takes a good look at its refusal to recognize or honor the boundaries of others and work to change their rampant tendency to control the lives of all they can in the name of God, consent be damned…Christianity is not a safe place for anyone. And more and more people like me will have to leave it to find any sort of freedom, respect, and dignity.”

I Belong to Me: Learning Agency & Consent Outside Christianity by Dani Kelly

And again, don’t get hung up on why people of color can say certain things and you can’t. The onus is not on marginalized groups to be inclusive of us. Or to be really blunt: it’s not the job of minorities to make white people feel normal and like we belong. In this country, we’ve always seen ourselves front and center…in movies, award shows, commercials, leadership positions, government, everywhere.

We’ve always known we belonged and were valued and held power and authority. That’s the basis of white privilege.

Our viewpoints and accomplishments have never been in danger of being overlooked and ignored, so we don’t need any special protections, recognition, or careful consideration for being white

Listen. Learn. Empathize. Relate.

If you are truly doing those things, a person of color talking about problematic experiences with white people or history will not feel like an attack on you…

It only feels like an attack when you are shut down, in denial, and not empathizing.

It’s not about the one joke or term. These are issues that affect generations and aren’t just things you can “get over” when they impact your daily life.

So instead, I’m just going to own it: Welp, I said something many times that was insensitive. It’s never my goal to be insulting or hurt people, so I’m going to be careful not to do that again.

The end. No defensiveness or denial. Owning it. Moving on…

My challenge to you today is to move beyond the conception of yourself as being colorblind or pro-diversity. Instead, start being anti-racism and do the work. Examine yourself and your biases. Know your blind spots.

Listen to people of color and teachers of color. Have the hard conversations even if you might not say exactly the right thing. Step up to fight the everyday racism you encounter. It’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be worth it.”

10 things every white teacher should know when talking about race by Angela Watson

“Many of us were shocked beyond words that this guy would ever say that he thought the reason for the silence was that there was simply nothing for those black folks to complain about…

Phil Robertson not only doesn’t understand privilege, but he also simply doesn’t understand the concept of “enthusiastic consent,” and neither do the toxic Christians who are likewise oblivious to the suffering of those they marginalize and the awful behavior they try to rationalize that causes the suffering of those around themselves…

typically, free will is not happening when there’s a huge threat looming in the background for anybody who makes the “wrong” choice. We call that forcing someone under duress, you know. Telling me that I’ll be shot if I don’t give my wallet to a mugger doesn’t mean I gave that person my wallet out of my own free will! Though to a Christian, that exact scenario with only minor rewording is just an average Sunday night revival service. But it lets the Christian throw his or her hands into the air and abdicate all responsibility for following a god who operates in such a beastly way: “Welp! Guess they decided out of their own free will to endure hopeless torture for eternity!”

When a group of people doesn’t care about consent, then all sorts of atrocities become perfectly acceptable and even pleasing to their god…

And a lot of this abuse happened because nobody spoke up while toxic Christians were getting rolling on their takeover of American culture. Nobody significant or in great enough numbers said anything. And so Christians decided that obviously meant that nobody minded what they were doing.

Are you seeing what I’m getting at here? Christianity has become a religion of asking forgiveness rather than permission. The ends always justify the means, and no action is too awful, too low, or too boorish if it accomplishes the goal. That is not a good way to live as people. It’s dishonest and unkind…

Imagine a Christianity where Christians asked before taking, checked in before trampling, and continued doing both throughout an interaction to make sure they weren’t accidentally marginalizing or ostracizing people around themselves. What would that even look like?

I know this is a difficult thing to imagine. It’d require Christians–like other privileged groups–to move out of their comfort zone and start caring about what non-privileged groups think of them. It’d mean accepting that other people have rights and opinions that might not mesh with their own. It’d most especially mean Christians would no longer be able to do whatever they want without worrying about others’ reactions…”

Silence, Happiness, and Enthusiastic Consent. by Captain Cassidy




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