Reblogging my daughter’s words…because they’re good, y’all.
Well, my Facebook news feed looks like the Fourth of July with all stars and stripes profile overlays, threats of boycotts and the occasional blast at Trump for inserting himself in the football fray. While I consider myself a proud U.S. citizen, I’m not changing my profile picture, because I think the whole NFL “take a knee” issue has been oversimplified to make it a patriotic issue. This should not be boiled down to an “America…love it or leave it” issue. This is an America…let’s love each other enough to give an ear and time to cut through the act of protest to get to the reason for the protest (which is quickly lost in a 140 character Presidential tweet). We can still appreciate all of those who have served our country, many of whom have given their lives to protect our freedoms and still respect the freedom of others to express views that are different than our own.
My daughter, Anna, speaks clearly about what OUR freedom allows us:
…you can worship (or not) as you please, without repercussions, and we won’t put you in a camp because of your genetic code, and we won’t make you flee your country on a boat in the ocean and you are safe here…
Please give it a read by clicking the link below!
You know what I spent my weekend doing? Catching up on the Mindy Project while my husband took my older kids to a college football game with his family. And then I binge read a library book (A Man Called Ove-two thumbs up) that was due to expire off my kindle at 1:30 yesterday afternoon. […]
Note: This is a copy of an email I sent to my church family following the viral picture of five Creston High School football players posing in a racially offensive manner.
Crest Baptist Church family and friends,
You have to have been totally disconnected from media and public engagement to not have heard about the picture that has circulated on local and international social, print and broadcast media of five Creston High School students with replicas of KKK hoods, a burning cross, Confederate flag and rifle. It is a shocking and embarrassing image, knowing that it originated in Creston. These are young men who serve as role models and representatives of their school and our community. The school has initiated disciplinary action against these young men and my prayer is that any further action (if necessary) will be appropriate and yet, understanding and merciful.
I spoke very pointedly to the church in the wake of the Charleston protests a few weeks ago and our response to racism (go to 5:34 for that relevant portion: Our Witness in a Hostile World (1 Peter 3:8-17)
Regarding the minors who posed for this photo, I would surmise that they had no idea of how inflammatory their action would be. Regarding the families of these young men that I know, they are upstanding community leaders, who do not espouse and encourage racism in their children. If any of us were to be honest with ourselves and others, we would admit that adolescence was a time of trying out new thoughts and activities that previously were off-limits due to the nature of parental oversight. Even as a kid growing up in a Christian home, I failed in ways that were not in keeping with my training and out of bounds with my upbringing as I navigated the path of adolescence in the 60s-70s. Some of my actions are embarrassing to think about today. I would hate to be trying to navigate the teen years in today’s culture. All of this is to say…yes, what was done was wrong, but we need to exercise love and mercy, knowing that many of us did stupid things, and “he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”
Let me address two sides of prejudice from my own family’s perspective. Most would say, “Pastor Chuck is not prejudiced.” Indeed, my daughter is married to an African-American, and I love my son-in-law and my two bi-racial grandchildren (and the one in heaven waiting to see Papa). However, because I grew up in the “dirty South,” I am amazed at how the observation of a black/white couple can resurrect feelings of prejudice and demeaning stereotypes. CRAZY! I did not have a family that taught me to be prejudice, but I grew up in a culture that was highly prejudicial. Some of that is still in me and raises its ugly head occasionally. I have to deal with that and confess that to God.
Secondly, those who have not been engaged in meaningful relationships with people from other cultures have no sensitivity to how it is to live as a Black, Asian, Hispanic, etc., in our culture. My son-in-law looks in the mirror everyday with the realization that he is a black man living in a white culture. I don’t think about my whiteness, but those of color feel racism explicitly and implicitly every day. My son-in-law is on staff at a private Texas university and working on his PhD. He is well-respected by his colleagues and is a sought after conference speaker. However, because of his minority status, it is not uncommon for white people on campus to ask if he is a student athlete. Now, a white man might think that is a great way to be identified. But, to my son-in-law it speaks of a system in which the first assumption is that the only reason a black man would be on such a elite campus is for his ability to perform before an audience of sports-crazed white people.
I write this first to say, keep your conversations loving and understanding. Don’t judge or condemn. Take the position of a peacemaker and not a flame thrower. Secondly, be in prayer! Pray for these young men (even if you don’t know their names). Pray for their emotional well-being as people take sides for and against them. Pray for their families to exercise continued wisdom and guidance. Pray for the school and community to know how to handle the topic of racism in our midst. Pray for yourself, knowing that even as much as we would deny it, there may be some resident prejudice that influences our interaction with those different than ourselves. Pray for our church, that we will be a beacon for racial harmony.
I love you, Crest family!
When people asks me how many grandchildren I have, I say, “Seven with one in heaven.” My first grandson, Silas (represented by the pewter hand in the picture*), was born prematurely in the sixth month of pregnancy with a profound birth defect (acrania) and lived a brief six minutes outside his mother, my middle daughter, Katie. He was also born on my birthday, June 6. He would have been three today!
His unexpected and untimely birth prevented my wife and me from being with our daughter and her husband at the delivery. While we traveled the 12 hours to be with our kids the next day it was only days later that we viewed Silas at the funeral home before he was cremated. There was no finger grasp photo which I’ve been able to capture with all my other grands. No time to hold him while he still had the warmth of life. We missed the opportunity to weep and share those immediate moments after Silas’ death with the grieving parents and our other daughters who live in the same city and were at the hospital to support their sister and her husband.
Even as I type this, I find myself grieving some things that I’ve never vocalized. And that’s the way grief is. It is unpredictable, coming in unexpected waves and catching you off guard. If you are fortunate, you aren’t knocked off your feet. There is a momentary, unbalanced stumble. Other times, however, you are swept into the ocean of despair in an undertow, and you wonder if you are going to make it back to the safety and normality of life as it was. The reality is that there is no “life as it was” and that’s okay. Healthy grief will cause growth and productivity, despite the pain and sorrow of loss. Lessons can be learned and shared. Help can be given to others. Comfort received can become comfort shared.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NASB)
Out of the experience of the loss of Silas, my youngest daughter, Laura, in collaboration with her sisters and some friends, have launched Silas Project, an online community to help parents who have suffered a pregnancy loss. Inspired by the challenges she observed her sister and brother-in-law go through in the death of Silas, as well as the challenge she experienced in understanding how best to help, Laura wanted a place that would:
- Connect parents through their stories and experiences.
- Encourage and foster healthy grief, healing and growth.
- Allow parents to experience the joy and pride of honoring these precious children
- AND to equip friends and family to walk through these seasons with tenderness and care.
So, if you have experienced a pregnancy loss, please check out this website and share it with others who have faced or are facing the potential loss of a child. Let your grief turn into something that brings growth and strength.
You will find Katie and Daren’s Written Story linked here. Their story is also in video format on the website. Below is Laura’s video giving the overview of the project.
*The collage needs to be updated to include our seventh grandchild, Finn, Katie and Daren’s third child and second son.
This is the third birthday of my first grandson, Silas, whose profound birth defect limited his life to only six minutes. Yet those six months of life in the womb and six minutes outside have had a profound effect on our family and motivated my youngest daughter to start a non-profit, online community to assist those who experience the grief of pregnancy loss. Silas Project launches today to be a place to: connect parents through their stories and experiences; encourage and foster healthy grief, healing and growth; experience the joy and pride of honoring these precious children; and, equip friends and family to walk through these seasons with tenderness and care.
Today is my nephew’s birthday.
Three years ago today, he was born, on my dad’s 58th birthday. After 6 quiet minutes in the arms of his dad, he remains in the arms of his Abba in Heaven, forever whole, forever healed.
We knew we’d lose him, though we prayed we wouldn’t. Diagnosed with a birth defect at his very first sonogram, our time with him was a mere 29 weeks-29 weeks of questions, prayers, heartbreak, confusion, joy, and even peace.*
Three years later, none of that has changed.
Silas: son, brother, nephew, grandson, friend.
Though we didn’t meet him eye to eye, we felt him through his mother’s skin, moving, kicking, being alive. Though he was but a breath, we love him, and think of him often. We will never forget him. He will always be my sister’s middle child. He will always be my first nephew, my buddy who…
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Cheri Lucas Rowlands suggests this week’s photo challenge: “Earth Day is near! This week, let’s celebrate this planet on which we live.”
From bird eggs to bunnies, the neighborhood is teeming with new life. Our flowering fruit trees are providing nourishment to travel battered Red Admiral butterflies. I love watching the beauty of spring and the evidence of God’s re-creation that brings Him glory.
Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” Genesis 1:20 (NASB)
This post is in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth
“It’s Not Easy Being Green” by highlighting a reptile, distantly related in the Tetrapoda classification. While visiting my daughter last week, a green anole came out to sun himself. I had seen the same lizard the previous day but it was in a “brown” state since it was on wicker furniture and has a chameleon-like ability to blend into its surroundings. We also were able to see it’s red throat fan as it encountered another lizard and again as it sensed I was a little to close.I chose to give homage to that affable amphibian, Kermit the Frog, who sang the song
“I’m green. It will do fine. It’s beautiful, and I think it’s what I want to be.”
This post is in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: It IS Easy Being Green.
*If you occasionally visit my blog, you may notice that the header changes with the changing of the seasons. My rural road is back to Spring!
“This week, share a photo of things that complement each other.” As spring approaches, the natural coupling of birds and animals begins to take place.
21 God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” Genesis 1:21-22 (NASB)
This post is in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: A Good Match.
I had driven two hours to a spot that is known for being a winter habitat for bald eagles. I’ve been before but on Tuesday afternoon, the eagles were just not being cooperative and close up. I was about to go home when I stopped back by the location at which I had first stopped and within five minutes I was rewarded with the shot below.
Here are a few pics of another eagle, Ring-billed gull and American white pelican, that came as a reward for my patience.
This post is in response to WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge: Against the Odds.
This may be a different take on this week’s subject, but I couldn’t resist sharing one of the biggest shadows in the sky tonight (2/10/17). The Snow Moon was in a penumbral eclipse and while not as spectacular as a full eclipse, you can definitely see that it was in the outer shadows of the earth.A penumbral lunar eclipse takes place when the Moon moves through the faint, outer part of Earth’s shadow. The left photo was the 96% full moon on 2/9/17, while the one on the left is tonight’s full moon. The same settings were used on both to get the same exposure.
This post is in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow.