A Trans-Racial Parent Speaks Out

That’s what we’re called.  Parents who have children who are of a different race than they are – whether it is through adoption or through interracial marriage, I don’t think it matters.  

It’s different.  It’s different because you straddle two worlds.  You are in one world, your child(ren) are often in another world.   Sometimes those worlds mesh together, often they don’t.   Sometimes people in the white world understand, more often they don’t.

Read what Katie Ganshert had to say on Ann Voskamp’s site today. 

Read the whole post at http://annvoskamp.com/2018/04/why-the-church-cant-keep-turning-away-from-our-race-issues-why-we-cant-put-the-past-behind-us-because-its-buried-in-us/

“The world is wrong. You can’t put the past behind you. It’s buried in you.” – Claudia Rankine

Slavery. Convict leasing. Over 4,000 lynchings. Jim Crow segregation. White flight and red-lining.

All of it is buried in us. All of it points to an appallingly racist past that has left a racist legacy that manifests itself in policies and systems that disadvantage and oppress specific people groups.

Like our education system, where black and brown students find themselves more segregated than they were in 1968—stuck in schools that are understaffed and under-resourced.

Or a criminal justice system that frisks 85% of blacks and Latinos stopped by police, but only 8% of whites. Those are just two examples of many—the tippity-top of a giant racial iceberg. Statistics I didn’t know until I started to listen.

I had no idea that Sunday remains the most segregated hour in America. I saw a handful of black people inside my church as proof that we were fine. I had no idea that many black evangelicals in predominately white churches report feeling unseen and unheard.

That wasn’t something I learned until I leaned closer.

But now I see.

I see it in the person who posts Galatians 3:28 on Facebook, then goes on a rant about how much they can’t stand Colin Kaepernick.

I see it in the way people love the pictures I post of my daughter, but get really quiet when I start talking about the issues that will directly impact her as a black woman in this country.

We want Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream Speech, not his letter from a Birmingham jail, where he calls out the white moderate, “who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”


What to Think, what to think……?

Easter

Facebook is literally covered with good well founded Easter celebration posts.

Much to be thankful for….

Jesus has died and rose from the dead and saved us eternally. 

Much to be thankful for……

But as I sit in church this morning,  I hear the pain.

The desire for wholeness.

The end to illness and racism and discrimination and poverty.

I sit in church a few rows up from a friend who is “celebrating” her first Easter as a widow and she’s younger than I am.

I walked out of church with my ears rining and my head pounding like I had been to a rock concert (and I hadn’t) – because of medical issues that aren’t resolving as quickly as we’d like – and I only heard of half of the music beccause some of the side effects aren’t going away – yet.

We go to Easter dinner at my Mom’s – 9 days after my Dad left this world and went to join Jesus in Heaven.

We talk about the blessings that my Dad was and the fact that he’s not here to enjoy Easter with us.   He’s enjoying Easter in a much better place.

Easter – it tells the end of the story.

But we’re not at the end yet. 

We know the final outcome.

But we struggle with the sadness and pain and loneliness in this world.

What to think?  How to deal with the struggles?

It’s hard to trust with all of the pain – but as we were told in church this morning, the truth is incontrovertible – ask C.S. Lewis or Lee Strobel – the resurrection is real.

And so, all of this pain and suffering and loneliness will come to an end.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come Quickly,

Tom


Social Justice Reading

A friend of mine made a comment that got me thinking,  “I wish there was a “list” where I could work my way through the list to learn more about social justice and the various parts of it.”

Hmmmm…….

So, I went through my contact list and reached out to people I know – ministers, missionaries, writers, adoptive parents, adoption speakers, orphan advocates, therapists and others.   I asked them to give me their “recommended” reading list for books on social justice.   It’s a wide range of books and I hope you find something in there that you’d like to read and that will get you thinking about how you can make a difference.

Go to http://tomvanderwell.net/social-justice-books/ and check them out.   If you think I’ve missed some, use the contact form on the right side to let me know.

TJV

Instructions for hard times…..


“I’ll pray for that.”

I had someone tell me that today.

At first I thought it a little odd, but the more I think about it, the more I like the phrase.

“I’ll pray for that.” (I won’t try to understand that I know what God’s got planned.)

“I’ll pray for that.” (I won’t try to understand that I know how to solve your struggles – but I will bring them to God on your behalf.)

“I’ll pray for that.” (I don’t have the answers. But I have a God who does have the answers.)

“I’ll pray for that.” (I haven’t walked in your shoes, but my God knows what you need way better than I do.)

“I’ll pray for that.” (And I will be the kind of friend who stays with you as you walk through the struggles.)

One of the many things I appreciate about our church (Madison Square Church in Grand Rapids) is that they have a practice of not saying, “I’ll pray for you.”

And then going on their way.

They actually stop, right then, right there and pray.

It doesn’t matter whether they are standing in a parking lot, the lobby at church, wherever.

There is a need, they stop and pray.

We don’t have the answers. In many ways, when we pray for specific answers without acknowledging God’s plans are bigger than ours, we’re being quite presumptuous.

So, may we all pray for more of “that.”

And then be prepared to watch what God’s up to.

Because it’s God’s “that” not ours.

TJV