Black Lives and White Voices

I’m confused and broken today, moved by a burden to speak while convinced that no words can speak what has not already been eloquently said. Black and white and brown voices in my community are crying out in grief and outrage, and- I notice- the voices from my home states are largely silent.

I reflect that not with judgement but with heaviness. A year ago, when headlines would briefly force “Black Lives Matter” into my consciousness, I met those words with confusion, and not a small amount of over-sensitivity and judgement on my part. And yet, it felt important- itchy and nagging in that uncomfortable way that means something really matters. It was an invitation to a conversation- many conversations- that I have just begun, hard conversations with brave persons who wear differently colored skin from me, and thus wear very different lives.

It’s work I’m only starting, but I know this: A black man should not be 9 times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police. Having a tail light out, reaching for a wallet, carrying a firearm in an open-carry state, or selling bootleg CD’s does not justify deadly force (force that is statistically 5 times less likely to be used on a white man of the same demographic.)

I used to believe, with values shaped by growing up in a place where right and wrong were clearly delineated and where I was automatically given the resources I needed in order to choose the former, that persons could avoid police brutality by avoiding behaviors that would require police intervention. Conversations around race, privilege, and the realities of oppression and systemic racism have challenged me to look deeper at that interpretation- to wonder and engage, and most of all to not stay silent.

Do not turn away. This is a hard conversation, and naming the racism and privilege implicit in our culture and in our own lives hurts… but it is good work and important work and work that Christ himself did when he wore flesh. Privilege means I can assume my life isn’t at stake in this conversation, but precisely because I, as a white woman, have the option to stay silent in this conversation when others created in God’s image have to shout for an end to racism daily and daily are ignored, I write.  I write knowing I will be misunderstood. I write knowing I will offend. I write knowing that cost is infinitely minuscule compared to the pain of one black mother burying a child who would not have died in the same circumstance if his skin was white.

And ask you to engage the difficult conversations, wonder what might be at work, talk with people who don’t look like you, be okay with discomfort, and listen, really listen… there are lives that depend on these conversations gaining momentum and turning to action which turns to change. This article, a sermon by John Metta, which I encountered last summer, was one of the first significant readings that began to engage my heart around this issue, and I share it hoping that if you aren’t already in the waters of racial reconciliation, it might be a invitation to curiosity about movement I pray will be the long awaited “mighty flood of justice” we who call ourselves Christians are called to in Amos 5:24

A Home in Hope


Hope is slippery and, in this heart, fickle. Like a kite soaring heights with one breath and plummeting to earth with the same velocity at the next breath, I find my hope in this season difficult to keep hold of.

I am bulimic in hope. Disordered, at best, I gorge myself on dreaming of life free from the confines I’ve constructed for myself, scratching and picking at longings hidden just below the surface, asking and listening to God about what reckless pursuit of Him might look like… and then I purge. As the internal tide turns, and even as I consciously witness the transition, I recoil from hope. Convinced of my own foolishness, convinced allowing others to hope with me is setting myself up for embarrassment, and certain in my orphan-heart’s belief that I alone hold the responsibility to protect my heart from the sting of disappointment, I run from hope.

“Perhaps we should set more reasonable expectations” says doubt. “Maybe if we binged on something else, the tension would not be so unpleasant.” it urges. “If you want to avoid humiliation,” it suggests, “You absolutely shouldn’t expose a vulnerable hope in things that might not work out.”  Often, I find myself miles down the path towards the extermination of hope before I recognize the signs that I am in enemy territory and turn back toward the the home kept for me in Hope.

I take comfort, at least, in knowing that in my struggle with hope I have good company. This morning, my reading including John 21:4-8. I was struck by how, just days after experiencing the presence and words of the resurrected Christ, we meet Peter again in a boat, again laboring in the hot sun with empty fishing nets, again experiencing the ebb of hope- convincing him to cast nets, meet his own needs, and return to a place he’d left years ago. I too wander, burn under the hot sun of despair, and labor in vain  in pursuits I’ve long been called away from in an attempt to insulate my heart from hope that feels too vulnerable.

And just like Peter, Christ finds me when tide of hope is at it’s lowest. Like Peter and the other disciples that day, He seeks me. He calls out to me. And He provides for me. He invites me to the battle to hope another day, with his promise that a hope anchored in Him is, though painful, holy.


Hope, Anticipation, and a God Willing to Disappoint.

I did not see it coming, though maybe I should have.

When the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2015, my heart was already a month ahead, waiting for the clock to catch up. The year began with a restless anticipation pulling me forward. I did not expect anticipation to color this season for me, but 2014 had birthed a deep, vibrant hope within me and I discovered, with some discomfort, that real hope seems to involve anticipation.

After spending years with a very domesticated, safe, and almost painless hope- my heart had seen hope redefined in 2014. Uncaged, hope became wild and my fear, that hope was dangerous, was confirmed. As I sat with hope swirling around and within me, I considered that the dangerous hope I’d avoided was possibly the only hope worth having. I considered the possibility that hope that lacks the threat of devastating disappointment isn’t hope at all- that maybe real hope- big hope- is more akin to faith- that thing which can create feelings of disappointment, but can never really fail us.

When late February arrived it ushered in a question: Was I willing to unleash this hope from the confines of my heart and into the reality of my day to day life?

I started a business at 22. It did not seem extraordinary. It did not seem unusual. Raised by workaholics, immersing myself in starting a company felt as natural as a generational alcoholic allowing themselves, sip by burning sip, to be lulled into a cloud of intoxication for the first time. On a steady diet of 60 to 80 hour work weeks my company became both my income and my identity.

11 years later, 2015 asked the question, “Would you give it up?”, the hope God had planted and fostered in the previous year said YES, and with the “yes” came a raging torrent of hope. Hope for how God might be writing the next chapters of my life very differently from the dry chapters in my past. Following just a step behind the hope, disappointment stalks and waits. Business deals are delicate creatures, never final till the ink is dry on the contract, so I sit now in a season of “maybe”, of being pregnant with possibilities, of my heart unwillingly re-familiarizing itself with “already/not yet” theology, knowing even now that while God often conceives in our heart the desires that he desires for us, sometimes His plan includes using the miscarriage of hope to realign our hearts and our hopes with His own.

With eyes open to this reality, I am choosing to hope. I am choosing to pray for God to give me a vision of his plan for me. I’m allowing my heart to dream of exploring far away places and of finding purpose and of vocation closer to home; to dream of a new chapter of work and vocation that nourishes my soul and His kingdom.

My hope may fail, but my God will not. If my hope fails, I will ride out the disappointment, bless him for the goodness of this season of dreaming, whisper to him that he is still good and still safe, and I will survive to hope a dangerous hope another day.







Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén