Friday, March 21, 2008

I'm white & nerdy

Is it any coincidence that in a week peppered with race relations rhetoric, the boy comes home from school singing the chorus to Weird Al's I'm White and Nerdy. Well he is and I am, heck our whole family's white and nerdy. What's wrong with that? On the surface, nothing, but if we let the labels limit us and get us stuck then I think the possibility of problems are endless. So this week as I've viewed Jeremiah Wright's most controversial comments, I haven't felt offended, I've felt convicted. As I listened to Obama's "A More Perfect Union" speech, I felt my support for him solidify.

Clearly I also claim the labels of liberal, anti-racist and activist, but I'm finding there's a problem with those labels as well. Here's the crux of it, if I am so liberal and anti-racist and feel strongly about pursuing social justice, how come I can only count on one hand my peer to peer interaction with non-white people in any given week. I heard Robert Jensen, author of The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege, talking about race on NPR and something he said really struck me.
"We are the most affluent country in the history of the world, we're the most powerful country in the history of the world, if we wanted to erase racialized gaps in wealth and well-being that exist, we could do it, but we simply choose not to. I think it's fair to call the United States a white supremacist society."

Did part of my cultural upbringing contain subliminal racism training? What choices have I made and continue to make that shore up white supremacy instead of bridging the racial gap? Like Weird Al's parody, am I desperate for meaningful interaction with non-whites, but fail because I'm surrounded by my white stuff? What racial stereotypes am I still buying into?

"At 11am on Tuesday, a prominent politician spoke to Americans about race as though they were adults." - Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

White & Nerdy by Weird Al" Yankovic

Ridin' by Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone

Saturday, March 08, 2008

everything must change - part 2

Several factors conspired to keep me away from the everything must change tour, but I'm glad I made it - at least for today.
- the topics Brian covered, reinforced what I have thinking and feeling about Jesus & church
- the music & worship provided ideas for incorporating justice themes into liturgy
- I was challenged to think about ways we can become a green church
- I was encouraged to continue working with IMPACT, possibly with a little more joy ;)
- I was inspired by folks from The Church of The Saviour that are living the change through spiritual support groups: a new form of church.
They wanted "to explore new forms for church which would bring people together with their societal opposites - and embody the diversity and mutuality of the Kingdom. Out of this desire, the Spiritual Support Groups were born." Each group meets for an hour each week in an AA-like structure. They read a litany which admits addiction to culture, recognizes the need for a Saviour and a community of support, and commits to steps of recovery. A member of the group then provides a reflection on Scripture and poses a question related to recovery from dominant culture. The members that talked about the process were absolutely transformed and the 2 members I talked to during lunch were practically glowing. This has obviously been an amazing experience for them. It's not only providing a safe place to share their life experiences and connection to a diverse population, it's also encouraging groups to see the needs of group members as their own and one way they do this is through economic sharing.

The Church of The Saviour @
(excerpts from becoming the authentic church booklet available @
becoming the authentic church
the "givens" of being authentic church
- the authentic church is an outward expression of God, who is love
- the authentic church follows the authentic Jesus
- the authentic church is a place of extreme diversity
- the authentic church is serious about the work of reconciliation
- the authentic church shares its life with others outside its circle
- the authentic church seeks justice
what's stopping us?
- we are cultural addicts and we cannot break this addiction alone

everything must change - part 1

"Is it war we love or the rush we crave? The heroic action? The defining moment? The struggle that gives meaning? Something peace rarely provides." - Denise Levertov, Catastrophes from Oblique Prayers

we long for peace,
but it's the struggles that give meaning

we crave joy,
but it's pain that provokes life

we seek forgiveness,
but it's the mistakes that generate wisdom

we cling to hope,
but it's despair that reveals faith

we ache for love,
but it's hate that ignites passion

we are so human
as we are drawn to the divine

- me, from everything must change tour