Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Here are five awesome things I read this week, and you should read them too!
- One of The Atlantic’s feature stories, The Case for Reparations, is legitimately one of the most awesome things I have read this year. It was written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and you should check it out.
- Modest is Hottest? by Sarah Moon for No Shame Movement.
- This Slate piece has been making the rounds on social media so you may have already seen it, but if not it’s an interesting take on racism in the younger generations.
- In Southern Baptist Convention news updates (I know you are pumped to read something beginning with that introductory clause), a Muslim student has completed his first year of Ph.D work at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and people think that is weird. Because it is weird. The interesting part of this conversation, though, is this challenge that Seminary President Patterson’s defense of this decision shows that he (and/or his institution) values moral and social issue alignment (i.e. on women’s rights, homosexuality and marriage equality, abortion rights, etc.) over faith alignment (i.e. other Christians who have different positions on social issues than those espoused by the SBC).
- Finally, we’ve got this article at The Huffington Post that repeats the often-published truth that it is cheaper to provide homeless persons with housing than to continue treating their emergent needs through ER visits and prison stays. If you don’t know this already, you’re about ten years late to the party, but it is definitely worth repeating.
As an honorable mention, I was watching celebrities read mean tweets (Jimmy Kimmel) and it was cracking me up. So check this out if you need something funny to start your weekend right.
Okay, that’s it! What awesome things did you read this week? Share in the comments or link us up on twitter.
1. In a very timely discussion, given recent(ish) posts by Grace Biskie and Modern Mrs. Darcy on this topic in the world of religion, we have Sarah Milstein for the Harvard Business Review with Putting an End to Conferences Dominated by White Men. These are practical tips that you can use when speaking with any conference planners about this issue in the future. You can just send them this link.
2. How to Suppress the Apology Reflex, by Audrey S. Lee for the New York Times. I loved this personal essay on how a smart women learned to stop apologizing every time she spoke. AMEN, SISTER. You should not be sorry for taking up space or having opinions. I mean, seriously. [rant over, sorry NOT sorry.]
3. My friend Osheta’s compilation of posts on race and reconciliation in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. So many good words. Please do read them.
4. And on a similar note, this post at the Shriver Brief links you to just about everything you need to know about the relationship between race and poverty and our responses to them both.
5. Things I want to eat/drink right now this very second: these Grapefruit Mojitos, homemade Dulce de Leche (without condensed milk!), these lemon poppy-seed pancakes, these stuffed bell peppers, and clearly my sickness is showing through because I also really want this fancy-pants bowl full of vegetables.
(Yes, you heard that right! For my birthday, God gave me the croup. How lucky am I?! I’m sure H thinks this cough is incredibly attractive.)
The New York Times’ Invisible Child series that will blow your mind and have you running to volunteer at your local homeless shelter, and a response and personal story from one of the bloggers I have recently begun following which responds to the series by showcasing her own story of homelessness.
1. Invisible Child, Girl in the Shadows: Dasani’s Homeless Life, written by Andrea Elliot with photography by Ruth Fremson.
It is Dasani’s belief that she and her siblings are the cause of her mother’s ruin. It never occurs to her that, for Chanel, the children represent her only accomplishment.
[Can we just put a pin here, to talk about the layers in these two sentences? How children are a burden and a blessing, living in seemingly hopeless situations but also our only hope? Oh my goodness.]
2. Becca Rose at The Bookworm Beauty, with The Tent.
Years later, my dad would tell me,
“I’m so glad we went through that time, because it really taught you kids about faith and trusting God.”
What I wanted to say but didn’t was that no, it didn’t teach me about faith. It taught me what it feels like when God abandons you.
* * *
I constantly hear diatribes against food assistance, free health care, and other benefits that kept me alive as a child when I was homeless. I don’t think there’s a human face on the other end when people say things like this, because if they knew what it was like – if they knew how a child’s life would be affected when they vote to decrease funding for those things – I can’t believe they’d really do it. I can’t believe anyone is that heartless.
On Journaling as a Personal Practice
3. Claire de Boer at The Gift of Writing with Five Questions to Take to Your Journal (and life).
To stop, ask the question and either write the answer or ponder it throughout the day, has been the hearth to my cold wintry bones.
I’ve been trying many different journal writing techniques over the last few months—everything from writing letters, free-writing, dialoging and list-making, but to simply ask one of these five questions has been the most nourishing of all.
On Being Careful with our Words (and using our privilege and power wisely)
4. Brad Littlejohn at The Sword and the Ploughshare with The “All I Really Meant…” Syndrome.
None of this is to say that we always have to speak in carefully-measured, lifeless academese, with a footnote to define our every term so as to remove all cause for dispute. There is a place for provocation. But provocation must always be according to truth. “I’m playing the prophet!” is never an excuse for non sequiturs, or false generalizations that have no basis in reality, or for sloppy language that would confuse even a well-educated, well-intentioned reader. Moreover, even where it avoids these pitfalls, it must always be subjected to a cost-benefit analysis. Just because you might succeed in getting the attention of some that you otherwise might not get doesn’t mean it’s worth it. Not if you alienate many more whom you otherwise might have won, or sow division where you could have sown peace.
On Productive Meetings and Good Management
5. Amy Gallo for the Harvard Business Review’s Blog with The Seven Imperatives to Keeping Meetings on Track.
Valuable information regarding how to plan for meetings that are focused, productive, and positive experiences for your team. Emphasis on “planning,” because if you aren’t planning your meetings, chances are they will not be focused, productive, or positive experiences for anyone.
I have something exciting to share! If you’ll remember way back to my “What I learned” post in early December, I committed to a few goals for this space and for myself as a writer. It’s taken a little time, but I’ve hit one of those goals in a big way: I’ve engaged with an online community about something I care deeply about, and as a result I’ve written a guest post on the topic which is posted on a “real” blog. An issues blog, the kind of blog that is deep and moving and serious and the kind of things I want to write about when I “grow up” as a writer.
Seriously, I am so pumped about this and I would love for you to click this link to read it! The series is entitled “Questions of Travel,” and it’s a collection of experts who have gone into “othered” cultures (think: poverty, cultural differences, racial divides, the bad side of globalization, that scary part of town where you won’t go alone, etc.) and talk about the ethical and human rights aspects of this work in a very personal, revealing way. I’ve been learning a TON as I read through the different perspectives, including to be careful how I tell stories and to watch the way I may be “other”-ing people in my own life.
And as you guys know, I’m not an expert on any of these things. . . But I’m kind of an expert on feeling confused about what to do about these things [and other things, while we are at it]. And so that’s what my guest post is all about.
If you have a story to tell where you’ve experienced “other”-ing (on the giving or the receiving ends of this), or if you have ideas for the way we should be talking about these issues, feel free to leave a comment on that page or right here. Even if your vantage point for missional living is different from J.R.’s (or mine), I hope you share my belief that we are doing something right when we talk about respecting others as we try to better our world community.
Thanks for your support as I out myself with my “real” name and my open [often confused] heart.