Friday, September 28, 2007

Moms' National Anthem

This is hilarious. For those of us with little ones...there's so much to look forward to.

And a big hug and thanks to my mom and my mother-in-law for everything!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Justice for All?

A few weeks ago, a member of our church submitted a prayer request on her attendance card. "Justice for the Jena 6," she wrote. I wasn't sure who the Jena 6 were or what the situation was, so the next time I saw her in person I asked her. "You don't know?" she responded, incredulous. Then she explained to me the story of a small town in Louisiana where on the grounds at the local high school there was a tree where white students liked to hang out. When some of the black students asked school officials if they could sit there too, the response was "sit wherever you want." So the next day, some of the black students sat under the tree. The following day there were nooses hung from the branches of the tree. School officials recommended that the students who hung the nooses be expelled, but the school board dismissed it as a prank. Racial tensions increased and soon fights broke out--white versus black, black versus white. When one white student was injured in one of these confrontations, six black young men were arrested. They were in prison for months as their families tried to pay their bail. So far, one young man, Mychal Bell, has been convicted (by and all white jury) and could go to jail for 22 years. The others still await trials. (You can read more here.)

Most of us have by now probably heard about the Jena 6 because yesterday people from all over the country travelled to Jena, Louisiana, for a large protest. There were analogies being made to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's, and the anger and outrage that galvanized people into action. I heard one news report in which they interviewed a (white) pastor in Jena, who said that he didn't understand why his community was coming under so much condemnation. "Many of the places that these buses are driving through have just as much racism and injustice as Jena, LA," he said. He's got a point, but it was still pretty powerful to see so many people gathered together to make the statement that racial injustice must end.

I don't consider myself an expert on racial issues, nor do I think that I am completely free from all racial bias (although I work on it all the time). But it saddens and angers me that this kind of blatant, institutional racism--as well as more subtle forms of racism and prejudice--still exist in our country. Having grown up in a pretty homogeneous small town in the south, I feel so blessed to now live in a community that is racially and ethnically diverse, and to pastor a church that also reflects that diversity.

My prayers are with the Jena 6 and their families. But also with the whole community of Jena--and especially with all those confused and angry young people at that high school. And with our country as we still seek healing from the sins of racism--past and present. Christ have mercy.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bad Mommy/ Bad Pastor Day

Ever have one of those days when you wish you could get a do-over?

Today I was a bad mommy AND a bad pastor, too. I spoke too quickly, judged too harshly, over reacted. I talked more than I listened. I regretted my behavior almost immediately, but felt too hurt and angry to ask for forgiveness or make amends.

So, I'm human, right? I was tired and fed up, and I have bad days like everyone else. But it still doesn't feel good.

A couple of weeks ago in my pregnancy yoga class one of the women confessed that her biggest anxiety about having a baby was whether or not she would be a good parent. I told her, "some days you won't be a good parent. But many other days you will. And your child will forgive you." Another woman in the class likened it to being a teacher (which they both were) and that sometimes you have good teacher days--other days not so good. But the kids get over it.

Everyone has those days when they need a little extra grace. Today was one of those days for me. Thank God for grace and forgiveness.