Category Archives: Faith

Catch Up

I should have been writing about his experience all along. But I kept psyching myself out. I kept thinking I had to wait to write until I had lots of time, energy and inspiration. I felt I had to write genius posts each day. But I realize now that I just need to share often and honestly. The rest will have to sort itself out. Things are moving too quickly for pauses.

So, I am writing a bunch of stuff this morning and chopping it into sections. Hopefully that will work and be followable.

FM Civil Rights Tour 2015

Someone from my church, Fellowship Monrovia, approached me a few weeks ago and asked if I would be interested in joining a small group of adults on a Civil Rights tour. I had heard about this trip from the two previous years when she took teenage students. I prayed and prayed and worked hard not to obsess about finding a way to insert myself. My husband told me not to frighten the students. And suddenly, just like that, I had been invited!!

I cannot express how surprised, honored, humbled, excited, honored, honored, and honored I feel to have been invited to be a part of this. What’s even more humbling is that the intention of the church with this trip is to invest in leadership that will spearhead the development of a racial reconciliation program/ministry (not sure what the right word will be until we create it).

The week before, I had approached the head of my son’s mostly white school to talk about their diversity efforts. From what I have observed in several different top private schools in the greater LA area, Chandler has been slower, but more effective in their efforts to increase diversity. When we interviewed at other schools, we asked, “How are we going to make sure our son will feel comfortable here since he is a dark skinned black child and the school is predominantly white?” The replies that came back were varied:

  • “We have affinity groups. Here is how it works…”
  • “There will be other black children in the class. Right now we have 2 black children and we put them in the same classroom.”
  • “I don’t see why that should be an issue.”
  • “The students have ‘buddies’ and we will make sure Luc has an African American buddy. But what do you think we should do?” This came from the head of Chandler. And I was immediately in love.

When touring schools, I found that the schools that my African American friends loved and sent their kids to made me nervous. I saw things at those schools that made me unwilling to send my son there. One of them even assumed that my son would be a trouble maker!!

Anyway, Chandler has been remarkably receptive to my requests for conversations. But! The next issue is that I have no idea what needs to change. If everyone in the U.S. summoned the courage to face the brutal truth, we would realize that none of us knows what to do next. Something needs to change in our society, but what is the root? And how do we change it? Nobody really knows yet. And we won’t know for sure until we are in the “promised land” looking back and examining the past.

Enter the FM Civil Rights Tour of 2015. Since receiving the invitation, I have watched every documentary, iTunes University, video, You Tube, etc I could get my hands on. And I’m learning. I’m learning.

Define Neighbor Please

Background: Our church Life Group meets at our house on Friday evenings. Right now, we are reading a book about racial reconciliation called “More Than Equals” by Spencer Perkins and Chris Rice. We are on Chapter 4, which focuses on knowing who your “neighbor” is as Jesus intended. It seems like an easier concept to grasp than it is. First of all, Jesus did not intend for us to show kindness only to people who are lovable. He noted that anyone can do that. Really allowing God to change our hearts enables us to love the unlovable.

A helicopter arrived and hovered over the house. Then sirens. More helicopters. I joked that I was having flashbacks to our days of living in Inglewood. We all laughed, and then spoke a little louder so that we could hear over the distracting noise. Our book paraphrased the biblical parable about the good Samaritan, and then suggested we read the actual story in the Bible. We did, and we began to debate who was and was not our neighbor. More helicopters arrived and hovered over the house. What about the the person I thought was my friend who stabbed me in the back? More sirens. What about the next door neighbor’s son who used really offensive terminology to inform us that a gay couple lives down the street? Helicopters still hovering loudly. What about Republicans? (Kidding.) My husband noticed a news truck parked at the entrance to our street. So anyway, was Jesus suggesting that we have to be kind and generous to someone after they hurt us or just that we be open minded to a group of people who tend to oppress?

My sister, visiting from GA, was working on some writing in another room. She came in with a worried look on her face. “I’m sorry to interrupt, but can we pray for whatever is going on out there? It sounds really serious.” “Oh! Yes! Of course!” we all replied as we suddenly realized the noise we were trying to talk over might actually be a call to prayer. It turned out that a drunk driver had been running from police, exited the hwy and while crossing a bridge near our house had smashed into another car. The damage was horrendous and everyone had to be cut out of their cars. Thankfully, nobody died.

We had been doing EXACTLY what Jesus was preaching against in our lesson! We were so focused on our curriculum and getting through the chapter in our book that we didn’t even think to notice the practical application LITERALLY just outside the door. Wow. Duh.

Who is my neighbor? My neighbor is anyone God tells me to embrace. Will I change my focus from my to do lists and agenda so that I can hear the nudge next time?

Book Question: What would the racial climate be like if we lived out unconditional forgiveness for others?

    Notes from group meeting:

  • Things we can learn from putting ourselves in situations and groups outside of our comfort zones: it’s possible, and we are stronger than we thought; we learn more about other perspectives; no group will ever be 100% what we want
  • In loving our “neighbor” as Jesus taught, what does that mean regarding people who are an immediate threat? Types of people who are probably a threat? People with belief systems we want to avoid?