27 Responses

  1. Loretta Saint-Louis
    Loretta Saint-Louis March 18, 2013 at 6:45 AM |

    Thanks so much for this post. I appreciate the reminder. The truth is that I often jump right into problem-solving mode no matter who I am dealing with, forgetting how alienating that can be — and dishonoring.

  2. Katelin
    Katelin March 18, 2013 at 8:51 AM |

    This is so well said. I’m really loving this series.

  3. Tommy L Moore Sr
    Tommy L Moore Sr March 18, 2013 at 9:30 AM |

    AMEN!!! Well said! Also as a person of color I would add that it’s not that we are not problem solvers, because we have been doing this for generations on end. We lack the same privileges that our privileges that our brothers and sisters in Christ have and this is why God is building a New Community of people who are under the authority of King Jesus. They love one another unconditionally!

  4. suzannah | the smitten word
    suzannah | the smitten word March 18, 2013 at 9:55 AM |

    this is powerful, applicable, and so timely. grateful for your wisdom, christena.

  5. Shane
    Shane March 18, 2013 at 2:36 PM |

    Spot on and convicting, Christena. I’ve definitely seen this in myself along the way (and some of it remaining, sadly). I’ve also noticed, as a family therapist, that one of the most pervasive contributors to corrosive conflict and emotional disengagement in families is family members’ attempts and needs to change or “fix” one another (along with the needs to be right and to convince the other person of such). It brings to mind something I relayed to one of my families a couple weeks back:

    “The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.” ~Thomas Merton

  6. Delaine Zody
    Delaine Zody March 20, 2013 at 7:59 PM |

    I have always been a problem-solver so this is a hard concept for me to get my head around. Just attended a conference where one of the workshops was on toxic charity, much like what you are talking about here. I guess when it comes to me twice in two different settings means that i should pay attention.

  7. Listening well as a person of privilege: Communicate on their terms, not your own

    [...] to the indirect communication that’s going on right in front of them.  I’ve written about privileged people’s fine-tuned critical-thinking skills. But in order to listen well as a person of privilege, privileged folks must also develop [...]

  8. Flower Patch Farmgirl
    Flower Patch Farmgirl March 25, 2013 at 10:16 PM |

    “I feel better when they are no longer suffering and I no longer have to stand with them in their suffering or think about their suffering.” So good, so true.WHY is it so hard to just stand there? I never saw myself as a “fixer”….but you’ve helped me see that I am.

  9. hillsideslide
    hillsideslide March 26, 2013 at 6:41 PM |

    Loved this, Christena. I was solidly hardwired to problem solve. It’s been my “go to” from the get go.

    I’ve been working on that. This was a good reminder and helped drive it home.

  10. ANNIE
    ANNIE April 15, 2013 at 3:26 PM |

    Oh my goodness, this is beautiful. I live in Africa currently and for the past 6 years have been a recipient of teams of people who come spend a week with our friends here and within hours of landing they have magnificient plans for how to fix every problem on this entire continent. Quite honestly, until recently I felt badly wondering why on earth my brain wasn’t working that way….. All I know is love and trusting God to do what He wants to do through that. I don’t have one single idea on how to solve the “problems” where I live, but I am happy to pull up a chair and sit right up in them alongside my friends here. I was so convicted by this — it is so easy to get in the mindset of looking for results and problems being solved and change coming. How much rather I need and want someone to stand beside me as I walk. Don’t give me fish, teach me how to fish — whatever. Maybe teach me how to fish while I teach you how to farm. I don’t know, I’m just rambling (it’s what I do) but just thanks for writing this! It will keep me thinking and praying and asking for more grace for a long time.

  11. oy vey! | double e.
    oy vey! | double e. April 22, 2013 at 5:50 PM |

    [...] THIS article had me both crying and feeling victorious. slowly but surely, by God’s grace, [...]

  12. What does the Bible say about race and the church–a resource guide. | Frankly put

    [...] on how to listen while being a person of privilege. There are some helpful reminders here. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part [...]

  13. Listening Well as a Person of Privilege – the complete series

    [...] Solidarity first, collaborative problem-solving later Privileged and oppressed folks can and should collaborate to solve problems… But [...]

  14. Brekke El (@WrdsandFlsh)
    Brekke El (@WrdsandFlsh) June 4, 2013 at 9:59 PM |

    This should be required reading for every person getting an M.Div. I appreciate your powerful words. I appreciate the love within the words. Thank you for reminding me of my own blindness – and for helping me to see again with new eyes.

  15. Becca
    Becca August 30, 2013 at 12:47 PM |

    Hey, I’ve been sent here from the shelovesmagazine.com, and really encouraged by what you’ve written. God has been teaching me just this week how trying to be the answer and solving people’s problems can actually deny them the wonder of God working in their lives. Standing with people, loving them and going to God together is a much more compassionate approach that brings me down a few levels and lifts others up. But it’s scary!

  16. Black to School: African-American Voices at Christian Colleges

    [...] And for all you problem-solvers — at the conclusion of the series, race, religion and higher education expert Julie Park will share tips and insights on what regular people (like students, faculty and staff) can do to address this issue at the institutional level. But solidarity first. [...]

  17. Slowing Down from a Know-It-All Attitude | What is owed as a wealthy white male?

    […] can play some role. But this is not the type of problem solving we are taught in schools, it is not the type that highly-educated people are accustomed to . There are no objective observers, no one is removed from these problems. We live through these […]

  18. Listening | bridginghope
    Listening | bridginghope September 17, 2013 at 7:53 AM |

    […] For the rest of the article, click here. […]

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