The Cry of the (White) Kids

Yesterday there was a 4th of July party at my parents house. I walked in the door, hugged my mom, and willingly exiled myself to the kids room. The kids table, outside with the kids after dinner, the whole deal.

I am 23 and I have been working with kids for 7 years.

When I was in Chile, who did I miss? Right: kids.

I do not have my own kids and I do not want my own kids.

However, it is clear that I like kids. I want to be around them. I do not like them because they are small and say random things and I can boss them around and sound smart while telling them historic or scientific facts that everyone who has any sort of middle school education knows. No, actually, I like them because I respect them. I feel that by being the only ones here brave enough to be vulnerable and ignorant and small, they earn my respect. When I am in a room with adults my interior screams: WHY DONT WE ALL STOP FAKING IT. When I am with kids, well, it gets quieter.

The most shocking cultural behavior that has impacted me this year during my re-entry has undeniably been the way people in the U.S.A. treat their children. White kids, in particular, get my attention because I have only ever been one, and I know exactly how it feels to be a sensitive creature at the other end of that repremand, that painted smile, that flippant laugh.

Interactions in restaurants, at the gym, in the neighborhood–anywhere!–have exposed me anew to the egoistical disrespect with which children are treated. We have got to stop! If we do not acknowledge our children as humans, and being a human as intrinsically good, how will we love this world back to life?

The lie of badness is daily hammered into children, in all spheres of our culture. Home. School. Play. Good Lord, no wonder we are killing each other! I almost do not blame us. Except for all of the goodness I have seen, and have learned to see. There is so much goodness & we are truly all intrinsically good, accepted, loved, and valued. This darkness cannot last long. Our souls were made to be free, if not as children, then as adults.

I wrote the following piece after witnessing a particularly harrowing parenting episode in a restaurant. Parenting truly must be difficult, but I know it is not impossible to hear the cry of our children. I know it is possible for each adult in the U.S.A. to welcome their the truth of their goodness home into their deepest selves that they may pass it on. That the cry for love may be heard, and may heal the generations to come.

The Cry of the White Kid is a cry for respect & love. May we, as adults, receive the love and respect that is freely poured out on us from the Divine, and may our children absorb it and thrive.

The Cry of the White Kid

Mom, Dad,

Please dont look me in the face and tell me that I am bad.

Please dont teach me to see the patterns of my shadows–I need you to teach me to see the light that will lead me into and through that darkness.

Please dont smile at your friends and tell them how bad I am while I have tears streaming down my face.

Please dont laugh at the way I swim or only point out my weaknesses.

Please assume that I am right where I should be, instead of stressing constantly that I am behind the others.

Please dont use me to puff up your ego or make your decisions or shield you from your emotions.

Please dont always point out my imperfections–I already see them in full color. I need you to show me my perfection. No one else ever will.

Love unconditionally and with all my respect,

Future You in the World

 

Amen,

Lydia Nomad, a white kid ūüôā

 

P.S. Here is a Great Parenting Blog Post.

 

Tend-and-befriender

It is odd to tell a story as if it was a thing that happened and it has an end and tra la la. This story is a chapter, it is a leaf only recently flipped over, and I am not sure which parts of its’ green vines to write, and which to leave for later.

Yet today, here, now, all I have is cute little me and my inhospitable life story and path. Here, friends, is a part.

August 2015 I am in a restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama with my best friend Emily. She is chewing red and yellow tortilla chips in the magical way only she can, and I gaze at the shiny bottles of alcohol propped on and around the bar caddy-corner to us.

‚ÄúI‚Äôm just afraid that I will marry him and go to be with him and then hate it and not want to be there,‚ÄĚ I say. Emily and I do not talk about everything but we talk about most things and all the deep things, yet somehow there is a unique heaviness to the fear I share in this moment. Emily nods like the sane, level-headed being she is, and validates my concern with restraint.

Sadly, utter heaviness was no stranger to my experience of life then, and still maintains a fairly reliable presence (always forward, always healing, always hopeful). At that point I was back from an emotionally stressful overseas trip, and had returned with a new tend-and-befriender. What is that, you ask? Using language from Teresa B. Pasquale’s book Sacred Wounds, tend-and-befriend is a defense mechanism used by someone in survival mode or trauma response. It is associated with the bonding hormone, oxytocin, that serves humans by helping us feel connected to others. It becomes nefarious, however, when a person is stuck in a trauma response and feels dependent emotionally on (often potentially hurtful) people or communities.

At the age of 21, I had spent the majority of my life (read: every second) moving from a stress response. The emotional and religious trauma of my developmental years left me stuck in frozen distress (things can get reeeeeally hairy there is distress-arctica, let me tell ya), and there I was, about two months after the difficult trip, feeling a deep obligation to return to be with someone in a foreign country who had helped me through a VERY rough 13 days. I felt that I owed him something, and that to return and live the life I assumed he wanted from or with me was the undeniable right thing to do.

I felt it not on a spiritual level, nor on a level of dutifulness, nor on an intellectual level. It was deeper than those parts of me, and now I know that when I feel that deep, guttural obligation it is coming from my very evolution. Those stress responses are a part of me because I am a part of an evolving body of humanity; sounds beautiful, sure, but in that moment, I was very stuck. Living in this kind of stress response is like trying to breath with air that is only 0.09% oxygen. It is having your insides in the fetal position when you need them to open and flourish and say things and be responsive to people. It is a jack-hammer in your mind that leaves you vulnerable to re-experiencing the abuse combined with a sense of badness that stings and prods like horse flies on the beach. It is no sleep and avoidance of every love-light ray that comes near your personal darkness.

The religious trauma compounded with this process has continually led me to my knees, trying to bargain with push-and-pull gods off in the cosmos who made me, so must want me, but also must not want me since here I am in this turmoil again.

Thankfully, the kind man who helped me when I was overseas, lived, yes, overseas. After 5+ months in contact with him, I suddenly cut all conversation–text, calls, video. He offered advice and was kind and looking back I think he must have sensed the turmoil I was in though he did not understand it either, and I said goodbye.

January 2016 I am at my part-time cleaning job the day after cutting off the relationship and the air is back to 20% oxygen. Sweet, sweet clear oxygen filling my shriveled lungs. I lift my Pledge-covered rag over my head and dance; I feel elated, happy, for the first time in months. I am happy because I see that I am mine. As the jack-hammer lifts off my mind, I am thinking over and over: this is my life. I clean this house. This is my heart. I feel these things. The fetus my insides had become is suddenly a seed of new life, rather than a posture of protection. I am mine again, independent, and my muchness is slipping back into the ghost of myself that has been living misguided and drained for the past months.

I still wonder if people without an over-active stress response system feel that elated all the time. I wonder how many times I will have to survive a response like that again until my Holy Trinity (body, mind, soul) can look a stressful situation in the face and know that I am enough, and that it is going to be okay and I am going to make it regardless of what goes down.

I never should have accessed this place of stress and trauma. I certainly never should have gotten stuck in it for so long. But this is my life. MY super unique and immense life, people. I am grateful that I get to live it, know it, figure it out. This life is path and path is where my insides and outsides come together and I experience joy and love and laughter. Here, on path, I take the hands of my loved-ones with my own, even when I feel that my hands are not worthy to be inside of someone else’s.

Last week someone I love very much was angry and I could see the anger that she was trying to protect me from as I stroked her black hair.

I could see. I have lived. It has hurt. I can see.

Live free, live inside of the Big Love.

Namaste, nomads.

 

LN

 

 

 

 

Arise

Friends!

I find myself back in the United States, far north of Chile, and feeling closer to the North Star, my Jesus, my Guide to freedom. Home but not really home (I am a nomad, you see, a life time wanderer).

Below are three poems and 4 passages of Holy Scripture. Please embrace the figurative language of my pieces. I do not make attacks or write with intention of polarizing, I tell my story.

May you find your story in mine.

Lydia Nomad

 

Jesus: Does no one condemn you?

No, Master.

Jesus: Neither do I. Go on your way. From now on, dont sin.

 

My Experience of Being White

 

To be white is to be told you are bad

to believe you are bad

to know you are bad

to protect your badness

to project your badness.

 

To be white is to bleed the same color as the sunset

to die like leaves in autumn

to be crushed and ground into the earth

to provide nourishment for new life.

 

To be white is to live again though you have died.

 

Lord, if you will, make me clean.

Jesus: I will; be clean.

 

Life

My life is short

but I am very good

so its okay.

 

Jesus: Your sins are forgiven you. Rise and walk.

 

Gospel?

‚ÄúYour sins are forgiven‚ÄĚ is enough to be Gospel

when its the closest youve come to ‚ÄúYou are good‚ÄĚ.

 

Then God looked over all (S)he had made, and (S)he saw that it was very good!

 

 

 

Poem Full of Hope

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She carries her cross, terrified and fully aware of surrounding and indwelling dissonance;

she knows she was made for more, a more she knows nothing of, which makes her ache with hope and agony.

 

Terrified, she treads deeper into the forest landscaped with fear and uncertainty.

She carries her cross because she needs more to live for.

 

Children who have yet to see the forest edge, for them she carries her cross.

While they can’t muster hope she, terrified, touches one more toe down.

 

She carries her cross, brown-eyed and unstable.

Terrified, the woman is Jesus, come back to lift the poor from the hopeless heaps we’ve put them in.

 

 

Me For Me

These words are about the healing and growth I am undergoing and what that is bringing about in my life. Next post will be about how exactly the 31 days of Her Voice has intensified this process. Enjoy ūüôā

 

Everything is different now that I get to have me, and

see¬†through the eyes¬†I¬†was¬†born¬†with, no one else’s.

 

A world of invitation and delight orbits just outside my domain,

without whisper of exclusion.

 

Having me is eating and tasting food for the first time,

it’s looking in the mirror and knowing that I am that.

 

It’s dancing wildly without a thought for who is around,

it’s being with loved ones and then being completely alone.

 

It’s one boat leaving the dock and another pulling up alongside

It’s a journey I can’t un-take

 

 

Who is she?

This wild woman with Tarzan arms that have climbed trees in Puerto Rico, held children, cooked Indian curries,

shook hands, written essays, braided hair, drafted budgets, wrapped around the body they’re attached to.

The wild woman who holds herself and stands on no feet but her own.

Who creates spaces where others can breath, where long-dormant hearts can beat again.

 

Once you see you can’t unsee.

Once you feel you can’t unfeel.

 

There are magical children around me. Some are adults but most are young, not so long out of the womb that they have forgotten the Spark they sprang from.

When I ride in the car with these kids, climb rocks with them, blow bubbles with them, read books with them, something extraordinary happens.

Over time a space is created. I imagine wind drawing a circle between us, its gusts creating a vortex of safety, peace, love, and acceptance.

Some kids hear the whisper quicker than others but it is there for all: Everything you are has a place. And by sheer Heaven-wizardry that message brings out hearts and puts smiles on faces. It’s like camels just come to an oasis.

Hearts start to show like turtle heads peeking out from under shells. Words I can’t yet voice, about things I haven’t begun to comprehend,

do their life-giving work in this space. All that I feel I cannot do for the children starts to do its work.

With me, but also without me.

 

In me something is happening.

My interior is a wide expanse with hay that sways in the breeze rather than the barren land it once was.

As restoration roots within me it creates a sacred spin around me; rearranging the souls that I overlap with, gentle licks of ocean against sand.

I sense that it is less an hour glass and more the mysterious layer of cinnamon particles carried by winds that, over time, shape the sand dunes.

 

There is no sense to be made of what goes on in and around me. To put language to it is a fun, sometimes useful, challenge.

To enjoy it in all its delicious mystery is the only mandate. It’s more of an invitation.

 

Do you believe in an endless love?

31 Days of Her Voice

If I could put one word to my 2016 journey so far I would choose sight. Recently I changed my Instagram bio (what else marks transcendent realizations about ones’ path?), now it reads: Born blind. By poetry I see.

I have been shedding old, restricting ways of seeing and gaining new eyes. Maybe it is that my two eyes are becoming one in Faith as I explore contemplation and a more unified soul. I’m not sure exactly, but it has become an unraveling process. As I have begun to see in new ways,¬† I am seeing much that I have previously neglected to see. The interweaving of liberation ideals and personal experience is churning within me. I feel that the underbelly of things is emerging in my consciousness and my what lovelies are creeping out of the corners.

“All the liberating prophetic visions must be deepened and transformed to include what was not included: women.”~Sexism and God-Talk, page 32

Thanks to some great voices (see this post ) I am coming to see women.

Because I have come to see myself, I cannot stop seeing women.

Because I long to love the girls around me, patriarchy’s lies are losing their grip in me.

“…what does promote the full humanity of women is of the Holy, it does reflect relation to the divine, it is the true nature of things, the authentic message of redemption and the mission of redemptive community.”~ Sexism and God-Talk, Ruether page 19

In my life today, promoting the full humanity of women looks like a 31 day challenge. (Challenges are often catalysts for growth in my life, as this blog has testified for years). For the next 30 days (starting yesterday) my media in-take will be strictly female voices. Books, podcasts, music, blogs. Those are the only types I consume on a regular basis and this is a pretty radical change for me, as I receive e-mails and devotions from men as well as subscribe to podcasts dominated by masculine voices. I love those men and their voices. They have blessed me deeply. To hear something different is my path today.

I’m excited! How much am I not seeing that I will develop eyes for in the days to come? What will I find the collective female voice saying?

Further in, friends! Tales (and no doubt music/book recommendations) from the challenge trail to come.

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Glory & Guts

I’m singing out: YOUR LOVE LEAD ME!

 

There’s nothing that I have need of

There’s nothing you haven’t done

You make my soul alive

You put your life inside

There’s nothing that I have need of

There’s nothing you haven’t done

 

You make my soul alive

You put your life inside

 

You put your love inside

 

I’m giving you everything

 

~United Pursuit, Simple Gospel album

 

March toward freedom. Run when you’re unable to even stand. Use what could be your last breath (maybe feels like it IS the last breath of your soul) to hurl yourself toward light. Set your heels deeper in the mud and when they sink, keep pushing. You’re slaves but you don’t have to be. Stomp your foot in the face of that slavery. Sing out: there is a BEYOND for me. There is much to move towards. Restoration is a prize worth struggling unto death for. You may not know if anything good is true, but hope is essential. You have to believe it until it is true. You have to grind your teeth together and clench your fists until your fingernails draw blood. You have to wrestle the selfishness & despair within until you stand with your foot on its’ neck. There is more to be, more to believe, more life & abundance for the taking than you could ever imagine. You have access to all the strength that you need. The One who made you wants you back. Do you hear the song of love that the trees and waves and woodpeckers and thunder claps sing for you? The cry of Love’s broken heart: come back. Come back to the One from whom you came. You exist. You are. As surely as you are, you are loved. Newness is around the corner for you, powerful one. Nothing can limit your potential, your love, your light, your purpose. You were made to change & to change this planet. Whatever broken down places there are in you, they are redeemable. Whatever has been done to you can be undone. Whatever has been undone in you can be remade. There is no such thing as irreparable. There is no such thing as hopeless or helpless.

 

There¬†is¬†no¬†such¬†thing¬†as¬†a¬†gift¬†without¬†price.¬†This¬†battle¬†costs¬†everything.¬†It¬†asks¬†surrender¬†of¬†you.¬†It¬†asks¬†devotion¬†of¬†you.¬†But¬†first,¬†all¬†it¬†asks¬†is¬†belief.¬†One¬†movement¬†(and¬†a¬†hundred¬†more¬†every¬†day¬†to¬†follow)¬†in¬†the¬†direction¬†of¬†‚Äúyes‚ÄĚ to power beyond you¬†will¬†hurtle¬†you¬†into¬†an¬†extraordinary¬†journey.¬†An¬†extraordinarily¬†difficult¬†journey.¬†Every¬†step¬†requires¬†a¬†loss,¬†and¬†the¬†losses¬†will¬†set¬†you¬†free.¬†They‚Äôll¬†feel¬†like¬†betrayal.¬†You¬†will¬†lose¬†the¬†only¬†you¬†you¬†thought¬†there¬†was.¬†You¬†will¬†find¬†innumerable¬†lies¬†lodged¬†in¬†the¬†foundation¬†of¬†your¬†being¬†and¬†you¬†will¬†have¬†to¬†decide¬†to¬†let¬†it¬†crumble.¬†In¬†darkness¬†the¬†Enemy¬†will¬†whisper¬†that¬†you¬†don‚Äôt¬†love¬†your¬†family.¬†In¬†darkness¬†the¬†Enemy¬†will¬†accuse¬†you¬†of¬†pride,¬†of¬†indulgence,¬†of¬†selfishness,¬†of¬†irresponsibility.¬†In¬†victorious¬†moments¬†all¬†you¬†will¬†feel¬†is¬†struggle¬†and¬†doubt.¬†Then¬†you¬†will¬†look¬†back¬†&¬†make¬†an¬†idol¬†of¬†the¬†victory¬†instead¬†of¬†the¬†One¬†from¬†whom¬†it¬†came.¬†In¬†the¬†hardest¬†moments¬†you¬†will¬†wonder¬†why¬†and¬†how¬†and¬†your¬†brow¬†will¬†be¬†so¬†tight¬†that¬†you¬†get¬†a¬†headache.¬†You¬†will¬†forget¬†how¬†hellish¬†the¬†slavery¬†is¬†and¬†you¬†will¬†follow¬†your¬†flesh¬†back¬†to¬†rock¬†bottom.¬†You¬†will¬†progress¬†and¬†you¬†will¬†regress.¬†You¬†will¬†doubt¬†and¬†question¬†and¬†experience¬†greater¬†pain¬†than¬†you¬†knew¬†you¬†had¬†the¬†capacity¬†for.¬†People¬†won‚Äôt¬†understand.¬†People¬†will¬†throw¬†darts.¬†People¬†will¬†mock¬†and¬†people¬†will¬†wonder.¬†They¬†will¬†worship¬†you¬†and¬†that¬†will¬†hurt¬†worse¬†than¬†anything¬†else.

 

You won’t fit the mold anymore.

 

Your love changes everything.~United Pursuit

 

You¬†will¬†slowly¬†lose¬†your¬†linear¬†eyes.¬†You¬†will¬†regain¬†a¬†poetic¬†perspective¬†and¬†you¬†will¬†see¬†beauty¬†where¬†no¬†one¬†else¬†can.¬†You¬†will¬†grow¬†up¬†and¬†you¬†will¬†become¬†a¬†child again.¬†The¬†strong¬†hands¬†of¬†your¬†cravings¬†won’t steer the boat anymore.¬†You¬†won‚Äôt¬†be¬†controlled by nerves,¬†fear,¬†or¬†timidity.¬†You¬†won‚Äôt¬†be¬†running¬†ragged¬†and¬†unsatisfied.¬†You¬†won‚Äôt¬†hate¬†the¬†words¬†coming¬†out¬†of¬†your¬†mouth;¬†raw¬†joy¬†will¬†take¬†their¬†place.¬†You¬†will¬†run¬†with¬†hell¬†at¬†your¬†heels¬†towards¬†one¬†Being¬†only¬†&¬†find¬†that¬†every¬†other¬†relationship¬†can¬†be¬†fueled¬†by¬†the¬†overflow¬†from¬†moment-by-moment¬†encounters¬†with¬†Jesus.¬†You¬†will¬†discover¬†what¬†you¬†were¬†made¬†to¬†do.¬†Your¬†skin¬†will¬†crawl¬†and¬†you¬†won‚Äôt¬†be¬†able¬†to¬†live¬†with¬†that¬†being¬†the¬†way¬†it¬†is¬†anymore.¬†You¬†will¬†see¬†miracles¬†&¬†you¬†will¬†pedal¬†and¬†walk¬†and¬†run¬†and¬†jump¬†and¬†limp¬†and¬†crawl¬†until¬†the¬†skin¬†on¬†your¬†hands¬†is¬†calloused, your knees are knotty,¬†and¬†the¬†cavern¬†of¬†your¬†heart¬†swollen.¬†You¬†will¬†learn¬†not¬†to¬†trust¬†in¬†life¬†stages¬†or¬†relationship¬†status¬†but¬†in¬†an¬†unchanging¬†force¬†whose¬†tide¬†is¬†steady.¬†You¬†will¬†eat¬†less¬†and¬†sleep¬†harder¬†and¬†dream¬†bigger.

You¬†will¬†lose¬†the¬†ability¬†to¬†hate¬†and¬†have¬†enemies.¬†You¬†will¬†ache¬†for¬†someone¬†besides¬†yourself¬†and¬†you¬†will¬†offer¬†that¬†ache¬†back¬†to¬†the¬†One.¬†Your¬†soul¬†will¬†swell¬†with¬†joy¬†&¬†your¬†time¬†alone¬†will¬†be¬†precious,¬†full¬†of¬†laughter¬†and¬†dancing.¬†Your¬†fears¬†will¬†fall¬†off¬†your¬†face¬†in¬†silver¬†tears¬†and¬†the¬†moon¬†will¬†replace¬†them¬†with¬†determination¬†and¬†a¬†fierce¬†desire¬†for¬†home.¬†Your¬†need¬†for¬†admiration¬†or¬†adoration¬†from¬†your¬†friends¬†will¬†turn¬†into¬†gratitude¬†for¬†the¬†‚Äúamens‚Ä̬†they¬†speak¬†over¬†your¬†life.¬†People¬†won‚Äôt¬†make¬†your¬†decisions¬†for¬†you.¬†People¬†won‚Äôt¬†disappoint¬†and¬†limit¬†you.¬†People¬†won‚Äôt¬†have¬†the¬†last¬†word.¬†People¬†will¬†speak¬†curses¬†and¬†blessings¬†over¬†your¬†head¬†and what isn’t true just¬†won‚Äôt¬†matter.¬†

I saw your soul without the skin attached
You’ve got the guts of a coyote pack
We’ve been kissed, we’ve been cut
But we do what needs the doing
We’re just rainbows dreaming we’re human
~Cloud Cult

You will discover true glory. That hidden glory, familiar and sweet, will chase away the memories of every violation you have perpetrated against your soul and the souls of your neighbors. The glory will erase your shame and you will be baptized into forgiveness so often you lose count of the times you’ve come back up.

 

You were born as a spark.

Re-gain the spark that’s been pinched between the index finger and thumb of your life.

Give your spark space to breath.

Show it to no one but the warm wind of spring.

Protect it with your everything and beg the God of hope to let it grow.

Kneel in the wild and trust the small fire you have become to the flame of origin.

Accept no limitations.

Fight harder, win bigger.

Hunger for the Holy One more than for food.

Let Him/Her take you beyond.

The goodness is unending.

Dare to believe it.

Bet your vaporous life on it.

Everything changes.

I Can’t Hate the Church

In her book Searching for Sunday, Rachel Held Evans asks the question what is it the man Jesus’ (diverse) followers all shared? She says,

“It wasn’t shared social status or ethnicity….No, if there is one thing that connected all these dissimilar people together it was a shared sense of need: a hunger, a thirst, a longing. It was the certainty that, when Jesus said he came for the sick, this meant Jesus came for me.” (p. 92)

I am thankful God brought this book into my hands right now. At the end of the hardest year of my life (so far!). After a year of stripping away; of feeling more alive than ever before & yet abandoned & confused deeper than I knew possible. A year of ultimatums & threats & old relationships turned sour & new ones (budding in dusty parts of the soul) riding the mysterious current of the River of Life.

In January I started going to a church–a communion of these Jesus followers–that I could (finally) listen to without being offended. I started hearing the Bible taught in a way that made my heart burn with passion for justice & equality & truth. Truth that linked my heart to God’s more closely. I started leaving church full-ish instead of empty. I’m thankful for the 7 months I had at Mosaic Church, and that though sometimes I felt too preached to, and (more annoyingly) too advertised to, the hugs & prayers & celebration & meals & gifts & sacraments kept me there.

Church of God in Christ. Church of Jesus Christ. Crosslife. Cornerstone. Community. Grace Bible. Why do all those names still make me throw up a little? Jesus Christ is my dearest friend; how can I have such a strong reaction against his name?

His name has been taken in vain so often, even by ones truly trying to honor who he is (myself included!). A cardboard cut out representing someone else’s Jesus has been set up with its shadow cast over the very ones he loves best. The outcasts. The marginalized. The ones who smoke weed. The homeless. The ones whose sexuality isn’t quite what culture says it should be. The murderers. Rapists. Porn addicts. Teen mothers. People with no money. The lie has been sown by the ones who claim Jesus’ name that his burden is heavy. That they have to leave behind their families & cultures & identities in order to come.

Some days I hate the church. Psalm 8:1 says, “O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth.” I really get the feeling on certain days that “church” makes his name un-majestic. That the big screens & the insincere liturgies & the campaigns against abortion remove the mystery & wonder of a God with a humble earthly story, a God who spoke to Moses with a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12). A God who invites us to munch bits of bread together & remember the united existence his death has made possible.

But I can’t hate the church. I can’t because the church is my best friends. The church is my eternal family. The church is the ones around me who know they are sick. The ones who hold my hand during a panic attack. Who go with me to get new tattoos. It is friends who don’t hesitate to affirm me while acknowledging the darkness in all of us. Who put coconut milk shampoo with the golden lid (I never would have considered myself worthy of) in my Christmas stocking. Who put together a picnic for friends of a friend. Who fail & recognize their failure but refuse to believe that anything can jeopardize their place as Children of the King. Who teach me what it is like to receive a gift–no strings attached. God’s people do this. God’s people show up & open up old scars to one another, knowing that encouragement & hope will be ministered freely. God’s people have laughed with me & danced with me through this most harrowing of years (2015).

Even a Christian pastor (the scariest kind of Christian!)  has the joyful confidence to say:

“I have to believe that God can put anything–anyone–back together. I have to believe that the God Jesus invites us to trust is as good as he says he is.

Loving.

Forgiving.

Merciful.

Full of grace.” (Rob Bell in his book Sex God)

Mutual hunger. Shared thirst. Shattered hearts & disappointing relationships. It’s all giving birth to unimaginable wholeness. I’m watching it in my own life & in the lives of those I love. The moments we feel of unity: during communion, at the corner of campus where people share cigarettes, through the bridge of Hillsong’s latest haunting melody, when girls have talent shows without mocking laughter or competition….those are the lasting reality. Those are whispers of a season where isolation will be no more. A season of depth & health & glory. God’s church emerging from all the shadows she has cast. The eunuchs. The women. The martyrs. The children. All who know their need & drop fat tears on the feet of humble Jesus.

She is the Bride Jesus longs to show off in the Heavens, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

And she will answer, “Worthy. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.”

We will answer.

We will answer now–eyes on the Lamb–amidst world war, poverty, mental illness, divorce, and life’s messiest messes:

Worthy. Worthy is the Lamb we love. 12248635_1238736879476513_990288516_n

 

 

Rebelde

Rebelde

A poem

 

Where is justice?

Roars the tiger inside

 

Dare they push economic, political refugees

Across the planet, homeless as veterans on American streets?

 

Licking and sticking stamps onto envelopes with empty bellies

Food money suddenly sliced by sixty percent

 

Inability to understand black life matters

White lies passing lips over crystal glass

 

Brown life matters, running from terror

Towards abyss laced with trauma, thin veil of hope

 

Deep discontent with matters of white life

No one is less yet the lies leap logic

 

 

Father God where is justice as I cry in the bathroom,

Scratchy towel strands against my bare skin

 

Physical vulnerability drawing pictures in my head

The wounds young soul received

 

Barbed-wire scratching age-lines in fabric

Old before her time, supple not sour

 

Gasping for air, head just out of water,

Tigress down stream of pain

 

He lay, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe

Choke hold of injustice closing throat forever

 

Never shot, police; never chased, border patrol

The injustice is personal, mi alma, my soul.

 

 

 
….she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy…. ~John 16:21b

 

 

 

Wonderprints

It is truly no wonder that the God of the universe’s Isaiah 45 mantra is:
…none besides me; I am the Lord and there is no other…
What a God. Mid my (“training wheel fast”) restricted diet, I pant desperately for Him, & He subtly lets me know He is near. Gracious & merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast LOVE, my Lord leaves fingerprints: a bread-crumb trail for me to follow (into His arms).
Thank you, God, for the pre-class conversation when my friend of 2 years asks if I party, asks about my faith. (God hears my prayers, He wants to give me opportunities to share Him; to point up there! up there!)
Thank you, God, for the moon hanging, like an egg yolk against deep navy felt, low behind me that I barely caught a glimpse of in the rear-view. It said to me, He is here.
Thank you, God, for the dimple your fingerprints left on this sin-crashed world in the shape of that North star, once leading brothers & sisters towards the hope of free lives. (Let us never stop hoping in free lives!)
Thank you, God, that when Your Spirit prompts me to pray over one Pei Wei employee, & I OBEY, we are blessed & hugs are exchanged.
Thank you, God, for the breath-taking stillness of moonlight against an ice manna carpet, muffled snow sounds, and crisp air that paints my exhales stark before my face.

Thank you, God, for your sublime ((Southern)) seasons that remind us how imminent winter-death is, and how utterly essential it is that we find spring-LIFE by seeking You now.