Leadership and Results–Naomi Part 2

Leadership is not just dominance or speaking loudly or extraverts

It doesn’t just roar like a lion, or yell like your boss

demanding results,

Rather, it looks more like the cross

in stepping into the muck,

stepping up to God’s call

to be in the hard places,

to encourage and love others,

to testify to his hope,

and give thanks in it all.

I learned that racism is still real and ugly,

raring it’s disfigured face but always wearing a mask,

spewing poison we taste as honey

until it has been exposed for what it is 

People think we’ve come a long way,

but let’s think about that..I say

the main type of change we see

is the way things shape and take form

Cause mass incarceration is the new Jim Crow

Instead of lynching at picnics

Into the jail we throw them

But at least we have the emancipation proclamation —

True, but that didn’t shut the door

Cause slavery remains too,

Slipped on a new skin

Yet bigger than it’s ever been before

In this country of wealth,

we sell sex, we sell lies,

we sell human beings,

devaluing lives and worshipping ecstasy

Thoughts on Being Changed by God– Part 1

by Naomi N

I am Naomi,

supposedly pleasant but naive,

homeschooled, with eyes yet to see

past the rose-tinted glass

my sheltered white life has afforded me

I am Naomi

I’ve been called by God to compel people to christ

by the same grace he enticed me with

A year past began this journey of learning

uncharacteristic of the world’s prescribed pattern

slowing down, one step at a time,

schooling that doesn’t come from a classroom

I am Naomi, a fallen girl who still struggles

to keep ears open,

hands up to receive,

my heart out to love,

Struggling but learning,

let me tell you what I’ve learned.

A Word from our Sponsor……

2 Corinthians 5: 17-20: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Naomi Introduces Naomi

If you missed yesterday’s post, go back and read it.   Naomi goes to the same church I do and she wrote and read a poem that moved me.    She has graciously given us the ability to read and share it here.

Without further interruptions, I hand the microphone to Naomi…….

Naomi N – A Heart for Justice

As a white city girl growing up in a conservative, homeschooled, and Christian home in a relatively white neighborhood, I never had a ton of exposure to the racial oppression that still exists in our country, even though I have attended a church that is committed to cultural and ethnic diversity and racial reconciliation  my entire life. As a white person, I never had to notice racial tension — because everything was great for me and all that racial inequality junk was dealt with decades and centuries ago in the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights Act…or was it?

My perfect white, colorblind world began to crumble about a year ago when I committed to participate in a year-long teen leadership program through my church. Their vision is to raise up Christ-like, cross-cultural, servant leaders in a communal environment. Together, we learned more about ourselves and how God has wired us, how to manage time, how to set goals and be accountable for them, about asset-based communities and about racism as an institution in our society.

This was the first time that my eyes were opened to all the injustice that is integrated in the systems of our country because we are a race-based society. Quite honestly, it devastated me. But it also impassioned me to continue to be an advocate for change in these areas.

The last assignment that we were given as students was something called a breakthrough plan — something to show what we had learned over the year, how we had progressed, and what our future goals were. My response was this poem below. More or less, it chronicles my journey over the past year, and now I would like to share it with you.

I am not sure quite how this will go because, until now, I have just read it out loud to audiences in a style characteristic of spoken word. My prayer is that you would read with an open mind and that no matter where you are on the scale of all things diverse — gender, culture, race, sexual orientation, age, or even a matter of opinion, that God would speak to you through my words.

My goal is to see blacks, whites and everything in between to come out of their whitetopian and blacktopian worlds to discuss and work together for reconciliation and healing in our society, to work for change in the system and in our hearts, and to embrace and love the differences between us because different is empowering and beautiful.

Make Room For God

I had a conversation earlier today that had one particular sentence that I kept hearing over and over in my brain all day.

“Make Room for God.”

“Make Room for God.”

(You get how it goes).

How often do we really truly make room for God?   Not nearly enough I’d say.

We pray, sure, we pray and we talk to God.

But how often do we really “make room for God?”

Make room for God – like Mary did when the Angel Gabriel came to tell her the news.

Make room for God – like Samuel did.   Like King David did.   The list goes on and on.

And there are many people who made room for God who we don’t even know about.   They do it with quiet dignity and serve and bless in ways that others never see.    But they make room for God and we’re all better off for it.

Tonight, I had the opportunity to have a phone conversation with someone who I respect deeply.   During that conversation, he shared with me some news that wasn’t what I was hoping for.   It  wasn’t earth shaking, it wasn’t life threatening, it just wasn’t the way I had expected and hoped things would go.

I got off the phone, sighed and then said to myself, “Okay, Tom, it’s time to make room for God.”  

What does this unexpected turn of events mean?   What and how do I need to make room for God as God prepares and shows me what it all means?

I don’t know.   

But I know that if I don’t make room for God, I won’t find out.

How about you?

Where do you need to make room for God?