Reconciliation Replay (December 5, 2013)

highlighting the best reconciliation words around

CONNECT the dots between the incarnation and the fight for justice: "Dwelt Among Us" by Austin Brown

"But the Word didn't turn away. Didn't turn away from that ragtag group of disciples, passionate but often completely misunderstanding the mission. Didn't turn away from men or women. Didn't turn away from Jews or Gentiles, even those most unholy Samaritans or those oppressive Romans. Didn't turn away from the sick or the afflicted. Even the dead received an audience with the Divine. The Word crashed through social barriers, religious convention, and everyone's expectations...Read more"

START with war this Advent: "War and Peace, Peace and War" by Caryn Reeder

"On the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the season of waiting for the Prince of Peace, we pray for the grace to put on armor. And this uncomfortable (for me, anyway) conjunction of peace and war continues through Advent—as in the song of Zechariah in Luke 1, for instance, or the soldiers massacring babies in Matthew 2. Perhaps we should expect this mix; after all, according to Matt 10:34, Jesus didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword...Read more"

CONSIDER this: "Do Women Have An Elevated Standing Within the Christian Community?" by James Choung

"It seemed that Christian women enjoyed far more privileges and status than other women in the Greco-Roman world, which leads to a question:

Do Christian women today enjoy more privilege and status than women outside of our communities?

For if the answer isn’t in the positive, I wonder what that means for the health of the church. Because when women did, it helped a marginal sect become the dominant religious force in the Western world...Read more"

First, LISTEN to this firsthand account of poverty: "Your Brain on Poverty: Why Poor People Seem to Make Bad Decisions" by Derek Thompson

"Poverty is bleak and cuts off your long-term brain. It’s why you see people with four different babydaddies instead of one. You grab a bit of connection wherever you can to survive. You have no idea how strong the pull to feel worthwhile is. It’s more basic than food. You go to these people who make you feel lovely for an hour that one time, and that’s all you get. You’re probably not compatible with them for anything long-term, but right this minute they can make you feel powerful and valuable. It does not matter what will happen in a month. Whatever happens in a month is probably going to be just about as indifferent as whatever happened today or last week. None of it matters. We don’t plan long-term because if we do we’ll just get our hearts broken. It’s best not to hope. You just take what you can get as you spot it...Read more"

Then, STEP BEYOND your imagination: "When All We Give is to Our Imagined Poor" by Krista Dalton

"Our own religious rhetoric conflates the giving of charity with eternal and moral significance; when one gives to the poor beggar on the street, we have done a “good deed” or we are “good people,” shifting the gaze of charity upon the giver him/herself rather than the poor recipient.  Fruchtman summarized the flaw in religious rhetoric well stating, ”The goal of the rich man is treasure in heaven and not the decreased aggregate suffering of poor people now...Read more"

KEEP LOVING the single people in your church: "Do Unto Singles: Suggestions for the Church" by Leigh Kramer

"For every marriage stand alone sermon or series, preach on singleness as well. When making a marriage-specific application point, include an application point for singles.

Y'all. I don't even know how many marriage sermons I have sat through. I have yet to hear one on singleness. And I've attended churches with a sizable amount of singles. I even requested a pastor address this topic and passed along resources at his request- to no avail.

Tossing in "singles, this applies to you, too" during your marriage series does not count as addressing singles. If singles can listen to a sermon on marriage, surely married folks can listen to a sermon on singleness.

Address dating, celibacy, chastity, and sex. You can do it. We need these topics to be addressed. This is not an easy road to travel and we need the support of our church...Read more"

JUST READ THIS: "Why I Wouldn't See 12 Years A Slave with a White Person" by Enuma Okoro

"Very often, black people work to make white people at ease by layering away any unease we ourselves may feel. It is hard work to translate yourself daily to someone else who most likely lives life without ever being fully aware of how their very existence has been the basis for determining what is “normal” in America and much of the world. And yet this painful and ongoing work of translation is second nature to those of us who have always had to figure out ways to be seen and understood in a world where the white experience is assumed to be the default...Read more"

THINK critically about transracial adoption: "Where Did You Get the Idea You Could Raise a Black Child?" by Curtis Rogers

"It was pretty clear that our adoption of an African American child had social implications that we didn’t consider.  This lady in the grocery store wasn’t the first African American to express concern over our adoption of this child.  We figured the first few situations were just isolated opinions.  It was now clear that the opinions were not isolated. The questions the lady in the store asked had me confused.  She wasn’t just questioning our ability to parent an African American child, she was questioning our motives.  I shook off the urge to consider them rude and offensive.  That would have been easy.  Then I could just walk around being offended and not have to address the issues inside me that her questions triggered.  This was more important.  Why did we adopt an African American baby?...Read more"