"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

25 July 2020

A third sijo for Coronatide

Hot, humid, slow summer days. And the local pool is closed. I love the blazing hot sun, glancing from the cool of the water. Let's get a pool! Fresh glittering water. Up to my knees.

24 July 2020

A second sijo for quarantine

A perfect summer's day, my skirt floats gently on the breeze
As I walk down the tree-lined lane, to fetch the mail, how lovely!
Oh, the mail is late.  I am overdressed, for fetching these trash cans.

20 July 2020

A sijo for quarantine

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, one day leads into another
Silently, spring slips into Summer, Summer on to Fall. And then
Thursday, Friday, Today-I'm sorry, I have forgotten your name.

19 October 2019

Sijo for Isaiah

Will 'o the Wisp, of local lore, a spark flits among the trees-
And laughs.  Delighted with his prank, he calls again, and disappears.
Here and gone, a glimpse once more.  And then, heavenward flies.  - Isaiah

18 July 2019

Why 'Send her back' is the uncross-able line

Last night at a rally in North Carolina, the president's fan club chanted "send her back" in reference to a member of the United States Congress.

Let that sit for a moment.

Ilhan Omar is a naturalized US Citizen.   She came here as a child seeking asylum from an unmanageable and war-torn situation.  She was raised here.  This is the only country she really knows.  She has gone through the process and become one of us.

One of us to whom the First Amendment applies, the right of free speech.

She holds opinions which I do not, by and large, share.  If she were running in my district, I would not likely have voted for her.  But she holds those opinions as her right, she offers them according to her right.  If it is okay to chant "send her back" because of her opinions, then we are saying one thing loud and clear...

Naturalized US Citizens do not hold the same rights and natural-born US Citizens.  If we don't like them, send them back.  No expiration dates.

If Rep. Ilhan Omar, whose job as a member of Congress is to seek out problems and yes, tell the government how it should be run, cannot critique the United States, then no naturalized citizen can.  Every person at that rally who was pumping a fist and shouting "send her back" was telling every naturalized citizen of the USA, the First Amendment is not for you.

In the interest of full disclosure, my son is a naturalized US Citizen.   This is his country, since he was still in diapers.  He has his critiques of it, too, but it is his home.  Every person shouting at Ilhan Omar last night was shouting at my child.

If the First Amendment does not apply to all of us, it does not apply to any of us.  Donald Trump himself made that clear.  If you don't "love this country" in the way that he defines it, he says you're unAmerican.

UnAmerican.  Let that sit for a moment, too.

Those of us who know our history know how that word plays out.  How the McCarthy era sought out dissenters and those who were connected to them, in a spirit of paranoia this country has rarely matched, called them unAmerican and stripped them of their rights.  Trump is old enough to remember that.  How'd that work for us, Mr. Trump?

No mistake.  Every one of those attacks is an attack against me and my family.   Every one of those attacks is an attack against you and your First Amendment rights.

This is more than Trump's personal xenophobia.  This is an open attack on the heart of our nation.

America.  The ball's in our court.

25 June 2019

Stuff I love about Anglicanism

Okay, I admit it, I've been a bit put out with the Anglican Church of late.  Our current tenancy to seek after the new things (church plants, praise bands, godly but on trend spiritual practices) at the expense of the old and sacred (turn around churches, liturgy, and dare I say, tradition!) wears really thin really fast for me.  I came here for the old and sacred, the Church Fathers, the smells and bells, the Gospel in liturgical movement, the sometimes silly acts of deep piety.  Anything else makes me feel cheated.

So I didn't want to go to Provincial Assembly.  And really, I came home from Assembly annoyed with a lot of the claptrap I witnessed there.  But in the end, I did go, and the reason I went swallowed up my annoyance while I was there.

I went because a sister deacon, whom I'd never met face to face offered me a place to stay (no hotel and rental car budget), which made my surface objection (just getting back from Israel and therefore too much travel... more on Israel in another post) kind of silly. 

And I went because I was woefully lacking in the fellowship of my tribe.  Anglo-Catholics and deacons, these are my people.  How could I resist a few days in the company of my own kind? 

So I went.  I got hugged by bishops, had meals with old friends in other dioceses, wore my Ask Me About Nashotah House pin everywhere but to bed (and added a Trinity sticker and RES logo for good measure).  I kvetched with my people.  I laughed with them.  Schemed a little, too.   We talked deacons, the diaconate, liturgy, Jesus, and how Nashotah is (in my opinion) the ACNA's Iona, holding on to the sacred relics until the whole church realizes they need them.

In the end, I went, and realized why I stayed an Anglican.  We have a mission, albeit an uncomfortable one.

But it wasn't until I got home that I reflected enough to realize why I don't just *stay* an Anglican, but why I love being an Anglican.

I love being an Anglican because ARDF (Anglican Relief and Development Fund) seeks partnership, not paternalistic dominance over the ones they serve.  Bishops from all over the world came to our doorstep as brothers, in part because ARDF goes to their doorstep as servants.  I made friends with the Bishop of Matana Diocese, Burundi because ARDF was there being a friend first.   (And because we could speak French together!)

I love being an Anglican because other Anglicans I know are being intentional about healthy diversity in the Church (nod to the Anglican Multi-Ethnic Network) acknowledging that diversity, true diversity, involves all races and ethnicities.  Their table is pretty broad, and I'm honored by their narratives, ideas, hard work and vision.   Moreover, I trust them enough to be vulnerable before them, which as a white person is a very big deal.

I love being an Anglican because when I see a mission I am called, eager to support, I am doing so in lock-step with other Anglicans, many of whom I know.  I trust where my money is going when I donate to ARDF or the churches on the border ministering to immigrants and connected to the Anglican Immigrant Initiative. (Heck, I love that there is an Anglican Immigrant Initiative!)

I love that we work with our hands.  We don't expect the government to solve our problems.  We're not lobbyists.  We donate, motivate, roll up our sleeves and serve.  On the border, in the margins, abroad or next door.  And I love that our polity lets us welcome and serve all our brother and sister Christians regardless of their denominational labels.

Of course I love that Anglicans love Jesus.  That's not negotiable.  But the rest is what keeps me here, instead of some other Jesus-loving body.  So Anglicanism, you're stuck with me.  You're stuck with this gadfly for ontological thinking, fancy-schmancy liturgics, deep community... I was going to add biblical authority, but Anglcianism doesn't mind that much.  In short, you're stuck with this pre-enlightenment relic.  Its okay.  I think I'm stuck with you, too.

09 November 2018

Putting the pieces together.

Okay, maybe as a white person, I'm a little slow on the uptake, but the penny just dropped on this one, even though it took place twelve years ago.

I almost entitled this "Baby's first racism."  Maybe I just did.

When we brought our son into our family, he was ten months old.  It wasn't but a month or two later that we were at a friend's house for some party or another with some of our friend's other friends that we knew, but not well.  One of the women, looked at our son and said, "Aw.  I bet he's smart."

And smart is a positive thing, so it didn't seem like it was out of place to say about my baby.  Except that she clearly thought that he was smart because he's Korean.  After all, most of us see a baby and say "oh, he's so cute."  "I bet he's smart" is not really the first observation we make about babies, who given the opportunity will lick the dog and flush our keys down the toilet.    Still, smart is good, so I accepted her opinion as quaint and moved on.

Until I saw her again a couple of months later.  All she could say about my toddler was the same thing. "I bet he's smart."  A second time, the same comment.  This time it felt awkward, as it piled onto its predecessor and emphasized its racial bias.  But again, smart is a good thing, right?  I squelched my discomfort.

Let me repeat that.  I, a white person, squelched my discomfort for the sake of someone who was exhibiting racial bias to my face about my family.  Well, you don't see that every day.  Or I don't. But my non-white friends do.  As I said, the penny just dropped.

The third time I saw her and she said the same thing (all good stories happen in threes, don't they?) about my baby being smart, I squelched my discomfort again, but only slightly this time.  "What do you mean?"  "He must be smart.  Aren't all Asians smart?"

This time I could see what was happening, but again played the polite game my mama taught me.  The response I swallowed was "oh.  Well what races do you think are not smart?"  It was a party.  She was a friend of a friend.  But I kind of wish I had said it.

Some years later, my friend quoted her friend as being worried.  A children's program we were both in also included several Muslim families.  Friend-of-friend was worried because she did not want Muslims influencing her children.  I told my friend quickly that she should not discuss this with me but with her son who had lived a year among Muslims in Israel.  I assumed she understood me, as the conversation ended quickly.  Only it came back around again some months later.

That's when I lost my cool and told my dear friend that "your friend X is racist."

Oops.  Did I just let that word fall from my lips?

Honestly I was kind of stunned that my friend is still speaking to me.  Of course, she hasn't invited me to any parties with her other friend since.  No great loss.

As a white person is it my responsibility to squelch my discomfort?  Or is it my responsibility to vocalize what my brown child cannot, in "polite" company?

But the penny that dropped tonight is this: Racism can actually talk a good game.  Racism can say "these people are smart."  It can say "these people are athletic."  It can say "these people are superior."  It can say these things all in one breath because racism talks a good game.

But it is unbalanced.  For every "smart" race, you create in your mind a "dumb" one.  You jam little kids into one box or another without regard to their unique God-given personality and purpose. When I was young and skinny, my great aunt used to tell me "you should be a cheerleader" because she had an idea of cheerleaders.  I hated that because it had nothing to do with my idea of myself, and her insistence caused distance between us.  When you jam a person into a box based on your opinion of their externals, the distance is inevitable.

For what it is worth, my kid is smart.  He's athletic, too.  None of that has to do with the fact that he has brown skin (except he's less likely to sunburn on the soccer field than his fairer friends).  He has friends across the racial rainbow who are smart, athletic, talented, just like him.... except where they're not like him at all, because variety is the spice of life.