Tuesday, June 30, 2015

On Racism ::: Gleanings

I listen for a living.  

I sit very still and try to discern the bewilderment or pain beneath the stories, the sadness or horror tucked behind words uttered.  I hold up a mirror, so to speak, and offer a safe haven so another can look deep into her own soul and unearth and examine what is swirling in the hidden places, what keeps her wounded or stuck or overwhelmed with emotions that are causing harm.

We go there so that the healing streams can flow, cleanse, revive, rebuild.

The most meaningful conversations are a fluid dance between those who speak freeland those who listen well.
  
Not everybody gets to talk at once.  The resulting cacophony is non-productive.  Disrespectful.  And hurtful to those who need someone's full undivided attention.

The hard truth is that the older I get, the less I know and the fewer answers I offer with confidence.

Fast forward to today.  I'm choosing to be still and quiet because I yearn to learn.  Instead of yammering away, I offer the gift of listening intently with heart wide open as others speak of the evils of racism.  Click on the title of each offering below to absorb every single word.

It's that important.  For there is a strong wisdom flowing from these pens.  And hope.  Yes, I discern hope ...




For Those Who Are New to the Conversation ~ Deidra Riggs
'People are talking.  And they are angry.  Their anger is justified.  Maybe you're angry, too?  It wouldn't surprise me, that's for sure.

Maybe the shooting in Charleston was the event that finally made you say, "Hey.  I think I'd better add my voice to this conversation because I'm finding I actually have some thoughts and words and I am sick and tired of this foolishness!"  Maybe your conviction has outwitted your fear of being called a racist, or saying the wrong thing, or finding yourself in the middle of a confrontation.  Good ...'


My Children Aren't Colorblind and Either Are Yours ~ Lauren Casper
'The other night I peeked in my daughter's room to see how the bedtime routine was going with Daddy and to give her one more kiss.  I found them both laying in her bed, nose to nose, chatting and laughing.  I approached, wanting to be a part of the special moment.  Arsema popped her head up from the pillow with a big smile and said, "Mommy your arm is white, too!  My arm is brown and Mareto's arm is brown and Daddy's arm is white!!"  We laughed with her because for some reason she thought this was a hilarious thing ...'


When We Need to Lament ~ Alia Joy
'The sheet breaks loose from the gurney and the plastic mattress lurches up like a belch when I curl myself fetal.  I struggle to position myself away from my body.  To push my synapses away from muscle and bone and receptors and find solace in the quiet hush of a body without pain.  But the agony lives in me ...'

How does one escape what hurts from the inside out ...'


When I Am Embarrassed to Be White ~ Lisa Burgess
'It was Saturday morning, only days after the Charleston shootings.  As part of the Huntsville Dream Center, believers from different churches were spreading out in the community to celebrate fathers in the housing project, to mow grass for elderly widows, to hand out quarters in laundromats.

And to visit the lonely in nursing homes.  That's where I found myself.  I walked into ...'


Give Me Grace: Stand Up ~ Lisha Epperson
'I've sat in the space of no words this week.  I've felt hopeless and frustrated.  Shut up in a room of questions and so little light, so little love.  I haven't felt compelled to make nice with pretty words and the collective cheek we keep turning is raw and bruised.  It hurts.

What do you say to repeated attacks on the humanity of a people?  Racism is a sin like any other, it's the product of evil in the world and we haven't wiped it out.  This fresh wave of ugly is subtle and layered and ...'


Repenting of 'Colorblindness' ~ Rachel Held Evans
'In her groundbreaking book, "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness," Michelle Alexander notes that "racial caste systems do not require racial hostility or overt bigotry to thrive.  They need only racial indifference ..."  Or, as Martin Luther King put it, they need only "sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

I ran headlong into my own "sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity" just two weeks ago when I gave a lecture for a writers conference ...'


'He has told you, O man, what is good; 
and what does the LORD require of you
 but to do justice, and to love kindness, 
and to walk humbly with your God?'
~ Micah 6:8 ~


May our conversation as we gather around this table be an uplifting, encouraging, experience.
  I reserve the right to not publish comments that do not strive to bless others.

29 comments:

  1. Wonderful post, Linda ! We all need to listen & think over what is being said!
    Blessings Dear Friend

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    1. Listening well is a dying art, isn't it.

      Let's revive it. Here. Now.

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  2. Oh my goodness! You weren't kidding when you said we are thinking alike today. God has our hearts and writing going in similar paths. I love this and I will be taking time to read these other posts. I read Deidra's and it was her beautiful words that spurred me onto writing what I did. I am blessed to be surrounded by so many beautiful writers with open hearts who call us to do more than be silent. Have a beautiful day!

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    1. Yep, I thought Deidra's post was one of her best ones ever, Mary. The woman has an incredibly deep heart and a powerful pen. I'm a great big admirer.

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  3. Awesome post, Linda! A lot to listen and reflect on here! I am praying that we can all get to a place where the color of our skin is irrelevant and instead we only look at the matters of one's heart. Thank you for sharing this! Peace and many blessings to you, Love! :-)

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    1. I so appreciate that you're here, Tai. It's been cool meeting you this morning over at Emily's. The girl sure throws the best parties, doesn't she?!

      ;-}

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  4. I must come back to read the different posts you've shared, Linda. I do much more listening (reading) instead of talking as it relates to this. But your words, as always, make me wish I could sit across from you as I'd love to do both listening and sharing with you . . . so very much. Love you. xoxo

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    1. Well, we might not be able to sit across from each other in the near future, but I'm starting to work on the possibility of 1-1 conversations over the phone / Skype with readers in the days ahead. I'll keep you posted, ok?

      And yes and amen to listening well right about now. I'm with you 100% on this.

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  5. Linda, it's amazing to think we thought we had all the answers, but with age we realize we're still the one needing to ask the questions. May we continue to listen with open hearts. : )

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    1. Yep, more and more of us realize we're simply recovering know-it-alls! And discovering a humble spirit can be sheer bliss ...

      ;-}

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  6. Hi Linda! This sad day has resonated all through blogs and social media. It really is time to stand up and stand for each other. It seems so impossible. How can hate still live this way in our world? But it surely does. It's up to me to make my life as clear as possible...God is love. So that's what we are called to be.

    Nice group of blog excerpts here! Like Beth, I'll have to return and read a bit.
    Tuesday blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. When we stand at heaven's gates, I can't help but believe that God will ask us about our personal relationship with Jesus Christ ... and then also inquire if we loved well.

      Faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.

      I see His grace and love in you, friend.

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  7. Thanks Linda , thank you for adding your voice.
    Blessings to you

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  8. I can't seem to get Corinthian's 16:14 out of my head, Let all that you do be done in love.
    As I walked through the mall yesterday I saw a woman walking with 2 children who were probably around 5 and 8 years old. They were holding hands, a boy and a girl, one black and one white.
    So there was a time when these horrible things that are happening today, these church burnings and murders would not have produced the outrage that they have today. Once upon a time people turned away from these kinds of things. Not today though. Today we are outraged and terribly, terribly saddened and ready to take action. This gives me hope.

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    1. Yes, there is a righteous anger that motivates us to respond in godly ways, isn't there. It has nothing to do with self-absorption or self-interest. It's about hating sin and responding by doing right, loving mercy, working toward justice.

      God is with us.

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  9. I think it's good to be talking about Charleston, but I have a concern with the blanket mea culpa that seems to be building.

    I didn't do this. Neither did you. Neither did "the white community", whatever that is...any more than "Arabs" were responsible for 9/11, or Sikhs were responsible for killing Indira Gandhi, or...well, the list could go on.

    The ability to commit mass murder is not predicated on racism, and we're forgetting that. This individual is a psychopath, and his complete lack of empathy would have found another outlet - his personal racism was just the one that happened to be convenient. He is like the kids in Santa Barbara who chose to kill a homeless an for fun a few years ago, or, going way back, like Leopold and Loeb.

    Meanwhile, to focus on racism as the root cause may be perpetuating the problem. Certainly, racism exists...along with anti-Semitism, sexism, and more recently among some Christian TV pastors, a loathing for Muslims, disguised as Biblically-based.

    But we're avoiding the real issue, and that is the almost complete lack of a competent mental-health assessment paradigm in this country. Racism is an easy explanation, but Dylan Root almost certainly could not have gone through life without leaving some pretty remarkable red flags, things that said he was going to kill someone one day.

    We ignore that. Last year a college student at UC Santa Barbara killed a number of young women, allegedly because he was frustrated that he couldn't get a date - but again, the desire to kill was paramount. The people around him knew, and the authorities were informed, but nothing was done.

    Same with Columbine. Same with Virginia Tech.

    And it's the same with the next one that is going to happen.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2015/06/your-dying-spouse-23-and-there-is-joy.html

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  10. As a postscript to my earlier comment - I do find it surprising that no one has drawn a correlation between the systematic dismantling of the public mental health infrastructure in the 80s, and the rise in mass shootings.

    It's not a matter of violence in media; violence was a problem in the 60s, and we had a turbulent, violent decade on the news every night. It's not a matter of the availability of firearms; guns were cheaper and far less controlled then than they are now. And the country was, if anything, far more racist, and sometimes in a very overt way.

    We wanted to have lower taxes, and mental health support was one way to cut spending without affecting major constituencies. I think perhaps we, as a society, were in error.

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    1. Evil, in all its many ugly presentations, can jumpstart us into moving out of our comfort zones, can't it.

      Individually we can't control politics, media, the mental health infrastructure, or the rampant spread of weapons. But each one of us can choose to respond to what we see around us that is just plain wrong.

      For each one of us that will be different because we're all shaped differently and have been given varying gifts and abilities. But the call is the same - to do justice and to love kindness and to have a humble spirit in the process that comes from having the heart of God planted deep within.

      Thanks for contributing to the conversation, Andrew ...

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  11. Oh why can't we be good listeners? We all have a story to tell and pain to share. If we would listen, we would see that we are all the same underneath.
    Thank you for penning and gathering on this topic!

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    1. Good question, Sarah. Maybe we're scared that we'll learn something that just might change our own status quo and force us into action?

      Or we're just too self-absorbed? Complacent? Busy?

      I just don't know ...

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  12. I feel honored to be included here, Linda. Thank you for compiling this list of reading. I've read many of the posts already and will go now to read the others. Listening is a beautiful gift we give each other. You give it so well. Blessings to you!

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    1. Lisa, you model faithful loving service to those who need love most! I admire your zeal and dedication, friend. I'm honored to share your heart-words in this place.

      Blessings ...

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  13. I haven't commented publicly much at all about all that is going on. It is heartbreaking, the tragedy, the aftermath, and everyone who is suffering from loss. But I still believe it is a small minority that wants to act out their hate and I also believe it is a small minority that is consumed with that type of hate. God help us as the Church to step up and do our part and especially be in prayer for those that were affected by the tragedy and need our support and prayers in the coming weeks, months and even years. Blessings for compiling these stories! ♥

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    1. You said it well, Nannette. It's time for us to step up and do our part. That will look different for each one of us and that's a good thing. But prayer? This we can all do.

      I'm glad you're here these days ...

      ;-}

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  14. Thanks for serving up some gems on the subject of racism and prejudice, Linda. I was aware of Deidra's post but not of the rest that you've hand picked for us. We do need to be informed and to respond. Maybe after reading some of these I will know better what that response looks like, but for now, I'm silent ... in prayer. I don't want to say anything, if it doesn't clearly communicate God's love and compassion. Such a crazy world we live in!

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    1. This you said --> ' I don't want to say anything, if it doesn't clearly communicate God's love and compassion.'

      Amen, amen, girl. If we all operated from that sacred place, life would be a whole lot different, wouldn't it.

      Thanks for always bringing your wisdom with you, my friend. I value you ...

      ;-}

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  15. Great to have many of the responses to gleam from, thanks for doing this. I, myself have chosen not to write anything yet because I am still sorting out my words. God knows I don't want to offend, I only want o encouraged. Each post kept me running back to Him for wisdom and insight into my own heart. Many of us who are not racist are paying for those who are by being misunderstood. In fact the fear of being called a racist keeps many of us silent. So I end with this as I have commenting on several post, I chose to run back to Jesus and the simple reason He came, to seek that which was lost. For in this world, all over the world are people of all color and race who do not know the Savior. Some would say I hide my head in the sand by this stand but I beg to differ...since Jesus did not hide His head...He went for the heart, the core of our being, the place where what we are shows on the outside, so as a man thinketh in his heart so he is.

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    1. Running back to Jesus. Oh Betty, yes.

      He who knows our hearts, He who died for our sins, He who gives victory over evil. He is very much a part of this discussion, He is the one who will give compassion and clarity of thought ... and everything we need for life and godliness.

      And that includes this very tender subject. May His gentle strength and His holy boldness equip each of us to live justice out in ways that impact others.

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Welcome to the table, friend!

This is where we gather and hang out. I'd love for you to pull up a chair and jump right into the conversation. Or simply say 'hello.'

l'll be dropping in to visit you sometime soon ...

Linda

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