20 Responses

  1. Geoff Holsclaw (@geoffholsclaw)
    Geoff Holsclaw (@geoffholsclaw) March 11, 2013 at 8:47 PM |

    Christena,

    This is a great post. I hope this doesn’t distract from the purpose of your post, but I really see you as outlining what the posture of leadership in the church should be. All leaders, in whatever community, have priviledge by must not claim it as a right or expectation to be heard, but must always use that priviledge to lift others up.

    Thanks again. Geoff

  2. Jeff Heidkamp
    Jeff Heidkamp March 12, 2013 at 10:04 AM |

    This is really good, really challenging stuff. As a graduate of a state university, I just want you to know I’m feeling really oppressed by you right now. But seriously- this puts into words something I’ve been trying to articulate (mostly to myself) for a while. Thanks.

  3. Glenn
    Glenn March 12, 2013 at 10:24 AM |

    Excellent post, Christina. You may be interested to know of an immersion run by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Hawaii every summer called “Ho’olohe Pono” (Hawaiian for listen justly/rightly). Participants are led into a variety of experiences of listening to the Native Hawaiian community, and trained in the value of listening in cross-cultural situations. More info is at http://www.intervarsityhawaii.org/hoolohe-pono.html

    I work for InterVarsity’s national multimedia team, twentyonehundred productions–we produced a short documentary about the immersion with our Multiethnic Ministries department that you may be interested in: https://vimeo.com/32536030

  4. Glenn
    Glenn March 12, 2013 at 10:26 AM |

    Oh yeah…there’s also a “listening and discussion guide” available for the video at http://mem.intervarsity.org/mem/resources/ho%E2%80%98olohe-pono-listening-god-community

  5. Darren Beem
    Darren Beem March 19, 2013 at 11:02 AM |

    Dear Christina:
    I love the post. I think where it gets difficult is that as you intimate in your intro, many of us share positions of privilege and of oppression. Even people who come from privilege have experienced trauma and brokenness. If you’ve experienced hurt and pain, it can be a bitter pill if you find yourself being accused of being privileged.

    That said, I recognize how I am largely a person of privilege. Recognizing my privilege should allow me to give more to others, be more open and be less tight fisted. Conversely, recognizing my brokenness should allow me to be more empathetic towards all people.

    When I think of Philippians 2:5-8, it means that as someone who wants to follow Jesus I need to give up my rights both as someone who has experienced privilege and as someone who has experienced hurt.

    The challenge for me is to recognize all the ways I am privileged. The thing about privilege is as you say, we tend not to think about it. We just take it for granted.

  6. Willie Krischke
    Willie Krischke March 20, 2013 at 10:49 AM |

    Great post.

    As a person of privilege, one of the most challenging parts of my own journey has been thinking through where I have been privileged in my own life.

    I can imagine a Harvard grad bristling at this: “it’s the small price he pays for the privilege of attending such a prestigious school.” It takes hard work to get into Harvard, and even harder work to graduate. Such a sentence may seem to discount all that hard work, and to imply that they were handed their Harvard education on a silver platter.

    We can acknowledge the hard work and sacrifice it take to get into a place like Harvard (or get a certain job, or advanced degree, etc.) while still recognizing the privilege that makes such an opportunity possible. A stable family life makes it easier to focus on your studies, and not everyone has that advantage. Parents and/or extended family that can help pay for tutors, test prep, etc. make it possible to qualify for such a prestigious school, and not everyone has that advantage. The neighborhood you live in, the school you go to, the kind of childcare your family can afford, the education level of your parents, the kind of BREAKFAST you eat in the morning (especially in the early child development years…) all these things and more add up to privilege that I think most privileged people have never considered being a part of how they got to Harvard.

    This doesn’t discount the hard work you put in to get through Harvard. But it should level the playing field. The guy next door who went to state school may have had to work just as hard — or harder — to get his degree as you did to get yours. Just because state school would’ve been a breeze for you doesn’t mean it was for him. We make the mistake of judging other people based on the effort it would’ve taken us to do the same thing they did. I think that’s a big mistake, and hobbles a lot of conversations between people of different areas of privilege.

  7. Darlene Silversmith
    Darlene Silversmith March 20, 2013 at 5:32 PM |

    I heard a minister say “once you walk through that door, we are all equal”. God sees us equal. If someone of privilege or title walks through the church door I am tempted to turn on my lowly servant role and try not to offend. And some relish that. But I’ve come to realize its wrong. That’s what I observed growing up. It will continue in some spheres but now I can readily recognize it.

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  13. Brian LePort
    Brian LePort July 17, 2013 at 9:41 AM |

    Excellent. I’ve begun sharing your series with other people. I hope it is widely read.

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