Like so many of us, whenever I get to the end of a calendar year, I am always surprised how quickly the year has gone by. I am not a big journaler of the pen and paper variety, but I have been known to tweet, blog and Facebook on occasion, so these three platforms are my de facto journal and scrapbook for the year. As I come to the end of 2011, I am taking some time to look back at these three platforms in order to remember the journey, introduce myself to new connections and keep some important conversations going. Each list will include 1o’ish offerings that evoked some meaningful memories for me.
I think most folks have a sense of the general beliefs of a “liberal” Christian. As with “conservative” Christians who are seeking the will of God and the mind of Christ, most liberals have a common perspective with which faith is lived: Homosexuality is not a sin, but a gift; approach Scripture with a lens of Spirit of the law v. letter of the law; affirm reproductive options, etc. There is no “platform” per se, but there is a general openness and freedom with which faith is lived.
I can hear my mother’s gentle reprimand echoing as I type this. Throughout my life whenever her children would talk bad about someone with undue toxicity. Be it politics, sports or pop culture, she would say, “You know, even ______ has a mother who loves him.” Eyes would roll and we would go on our way, but we would stop.
Honorable Mention: A Letter About Love to my Daughters on Valentine’s Day - February Posts
As I walked down the hallway towards the hospital room, I knew the next few moments would be difficult. It was not the fact that I was there to say goodbye to my grandmother who was laboring through her final hours on this Earth, for she had lived a good life that was flavored with grace and strength. It wasn’t the familiarity of the hospital, as I had been there to say goodbye to many others before and I understand the grace and grief of death. Nope, it was the fact that “he” would be there, my step-father, D., would be there playing the role of diligent son as he waited for his mother to pass away.
I am not talking about taking away the men’s breakfast or canceling the Easter Egg hunt . . . as I would never encourage anyone to invite the wrath of a disappointed, empty-basket-holding toddler. Some of the special things that we do around this time are just lovely. What I would challenge us to think about is doing something radically different for our Easter worship services by not really doing anything radically different for our Easter worship service.
Creating these boundaries are often difficult to maintain, especially when the pastor stays in the area. Most of us have heard of many a pastors have an unhealthy influence on a congregation after their time is as pastor is done. With the best of intentions and love, many pastors who can’t let go can end up doing harm to the very community that are trying to help. Usually geography helps to build separation, but in this day and age of social media, geography no longer can be assumed to be a determining factor in creating healthy space between the pastor and the congregation.
Honorable Mention: Bobby Jindal, Birth Certificates and the Politics of Race - May Posts
We often treat our own ability to see people as complex and created human beings as some kind of commodity that is doled out based on merit and/or availability furthering the idea that if am going treat this person with a generous spirit, then I must have to take something away from someone. And even worse, we fall into the destructive trap of believing that if I see someone else being treated with a generous spirit, then obviously something is being taken away from me.
Now I understand that any restrictions or regulations voluntary or otherwise, make some people cringe, but honestly, these seem like pretty reasonable practices and would not be that difficult to enact. Not only would I think any firearms dealer who adopts these would create better relationships with the community, but would also be able to rent knowing that they are helping to prevent death.
AUGUST – A Dog’s Letter to Her New Family
As I have learned, the “We want a dog!” PAC made up of the three smaller girl humans has been diligently working on Mom and Dad for quite awhile. Thank you for proving to Mom and Dad that you were ready. I know you had to dog-sit for a month, be on good behavior and basically prove that you could be responsible for me. You all are awesome! But at the same time, don’t let them fool you or milk it too much as I think they are pretty excited to have me too.
SEPTEMBER - Words of Advice for Soccer Parents
At some point we can push our kids too far. Yes, we all want our kids to thrive and sometimes they do need to be challenged to keep moving forward, but knowing the difference between parenting that sucks the joy from an activity and parenting that helps them improve in ways to unlock new experiences is crucial. I know far too many adults who, as children, enjoyed playing an instrument or participating in an activity only to lose all enjoyment because of parental pressures to succeed. Sometime, our kids just need to do things because it’s a fun thing to do.
Honorable Mention: Applauding Executions Might be American, but it is Not Christian - September Posts
OCTOBER - Reflections on Glee’s Asian-F Episode
So yes, this was cliché and everything was tied up in a cute red ribbon at the end of the show, but sue me, I was moved by seeing a new generation get pushed on the realities of some - NOT ALL – Asian Americans today. Sure there is always a danger that now every Asian American must now claim Team Tina or Team Mike, but I think there were some great subtleties that were present that deserve notice.
There is something profound about the nature of land and space in movements that have taken place across the generations. From being able to sit at a lunch counter of one’s own choosing to the owning of ones farming land, generation after generation across the world have found land and space crucial to the impact of any movement for social change. Today, just as in Biblical times, controlling land and space operates as a measure and statement of power.
At some point, the very people whom we have been warning about the evils of beer party picture posting will be in charge of the very hiring practices that so many of us are weary of today. I suspect as this transition happens, potential employers will not be looking for a complete absence of party pictures, but will be more likely to give an understanding “pass” for what they may see because, well, they remember doing the same thing and will not hold it against the applicant.
Honorable Mention: Dear God, I Would Like My Presbyterian Church (USA) Back - December Posts
For the future, all of my posts appear with some being reposted on various other blogging sites: The Huffington Post, SF Gate, Patheos, Day1 and others. Thanks to all who have commented and read over the past year, thanks for hanging out in 2011 and I can’t wait to see what 2012 offers!