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.”


Sleeping–Jesus Style

Ann Voskamp had a guest post on her blog – you can read the entire thing here…….

There was one sentence that hit me like a ton of bricks…..

I want to know the secret to sleeping in the boat.

You know the story, right?

Jesus and his disciples are crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat.   It’s late at night.   Jesus lays down and falls asleep.

And a storm comes up.

A really really big storm.

A “waves crashing over the boat” storm.

A “we used to fish for a living and we’re scared in this” storm.

A storm that totally freaked out the disciples – they thought they were going down.

And Jesus was sleeping.    Jesus didn’t have any worries that kept him awake.  

Jesus had the confidence that comes from knowing he was following his Father’s will.

Jesus slept through the storm.

I want to be able to sleep through the storm.

Not an oblivious, I didn’t even hear it kind of sleep.

The kind of sleep that comes from knowing that God’s got this.

Whatever “this” is.

However “this” turns out.

God’s got it.    And so I can rest in His calm even when the storms rage.

I want to learn how to sleep through the storm – like Jesus did.

It’s just one of many things I want to do like Jesus does……

TJV

Why I Won’t……

I’m going to go a little contrarian here.   Rather than doing one of the “10 Most……” blog posts or the “New Years Resolutions” blog posts, I’m going to tell you why I won’t.

I won’t be posting the 10 best things about 2014.

I won’t be posting the 10 “highest traffic”  blog posts of 2014.

I won’t be posting a list of my New Years Resolutions.

Why?  Or rather, why not?

Because they aren’t mine.   The 10 best things about 2014 are not things that I did.   Trust me, there are way too many things in 2014 that did NOT go the way I planned.

They are not things that I can brag about or things that I can say,  “I want to build on that this year.”

Because much of 2014 wasn’t about things or accomplishments.   It was about people.   It was about learning who I could trust, who I could help, who I could listen to.   Who, not what.

Because much of 2014 was about listening.   Listening to God.   Listening to Him say, “Be Still.”

“Be Still and Know.”

“Be Still and Know that I am God.”

Because much of 2014 involved grief.   Grief for a friend whose adopted daughter died in a car accident.   Grief for the patients and families my wife and daughter work with at the hospital.   Grief over dreams that have changed.   Grief over children who are damaged by experiences out of their control.   Grief with parents who are attempting to find healing for their children.  Grief with those who can’t find that healing.

Because much of 2014 involved learning that different things mattered than I thought mattered.    Priorities refocused.   New skills learned.   Family helped.

For me, that’s what matters.   It doesn’t matter which blog post got the most traffic.   It doesn’t matter what was best about 2014.    It doesn’t really matter that we’re sitting at the start of a new year and in many ways I’m in a significantly different place than I was 365 days ago.

What matters is God.

What matters is searching for His plans and following them.

What matters is love.   Love of God, love of my wife, love of my kids and sharing God’s love with others.

Others that look and believe like me AND others that don’t look and believe and act like me.    Gratitude for what God has done calls us into that love.

That’s what matters.

2015 is going to be a discovery.    A discovery of God, of more of God, of God’s plan and of your and my roles in His plan.

Will you join me?

Tom

Heavy Lifting

This morning, we had the privilege of hearing a sermon on Isaiah 40:1-12.   If I dare summarize the entire sermon into one sentence, it would be:

“God lays down the highway, he paves the road, he fills in the valleys, all you have to do is move part of the rocks.”

In other words, God does the hard work and we just have to be part of it.   And it doesn’t matter how big or small we think that part is.

We just have to do the part that God calls us to.

And then, we get home and after enjoying a wonderful roast with potatoes and carrots, we read the next one of Ann Voskamp’s devotionals from “Unwrapping Christmas.”

In it, she talked a lot today about John the Baptist – but there was one phrase that really hit me.

“Heavy-Lifting God.”

God does the heavy lifting.

God does the really really tough stuff.

He moves bigger mountains than we ever could.

We just need to let Him.

And then be part of what He’s doing.

God’s got the heavy lifting for us.

Join me in relaxing and enjoying that knowledge.

Tom

How are You Going To? How are You?

“Use the life you’ve been given to give others life.”   That’s a direct quote from Ann Voskamp’s book of Advent devotions called, “Unwrapping The Greatest Gift.”    I highly recommend it.

Today she tells the story of Esther.   You know Esther, the Jew who was queen – even though very few people knew she was Jewish.

And her Uncle Mordecai – the only family she had.   The Uncle on the outside looking in – helping her, praying for her, giving her advice.

But somehow Big Bad Mr. H has it in for Uncle Mordecai.   If you ask me, I think it’s because Uncle Mordecai made him feel guilty.   Guilty of a lot of things because Big Bad Mr. H was, well, big and bad……

As Ann continues to tell the story,  the Uncle tells Queen Esther,  “Who knows, but God may have put you here for such a time as this.”

Queen Esther had the chance to give others life.   She had the chance to give the entire Jewish population life.

Was she willing to give her life to give others life?

She was.

And she did.

Are we willing?    God’s not necessarily calling all of us to risk our lives the way that Esther did.   He might be.

But He might be calling in other ways.

He might be calling you to give up your nice career to do something that helps the underprivileged.  He might be calling you to step out of your comfort zone.  

He is calling you.    What is He calling you to?

How is that call going to give others life?   

Are you listening?

Really listening?

“Use the life you’ve been given to give others life.”

May it be so.

Tom