I have become convinced that white, American evangelical Christians have a major blind spot. I say this as a member of this community, reflecting on my own people.
Very often, we evangelicals do not see power. We are blind to power dynamics in the world and blind to them in the Scriptures. We cannot assess whether power is being used ethically and justly because we do not notice it is being used, at all.
Here’s one way to test the teaching you’ve received and the lenses you’ve been given: were you taught that David’s sin with Bathsheba was primarily sexual? Or were you taught that his sin was the way he abused his power?
The President of Michigan State University, Lou Anna Simon, resigned from her position yesterday. She was pressured to do so by those who have watched Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse victims give statements on what they suffered at MSU and other gymnastic facilities. The leadership of USA Gymnastics is under similar pressure, as it should be.
Simon submitted a six paragraph letter of resignation to the MSU Board of Trustees. After stating that “[t]he survivors’ accounts are horrific….tragic, heartbreaking, and personally gut-wrenching,” she goes on to say,
As Nassar’s legal journey to prison was drawing to a close, more and more negative attention was focused on Michigan State University, and on me. I am pleased that statements have been made by Mr. Fitzgerald and Board members about my integrity and the fact that there is no cover-up….As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable. As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger. I understand, and that is why I have limited my personal statements. Throughout my career, I have worked very hard to put Team MSU first. Throughout my career, I have consistently and persistently spoken and worked on behalf of Team MSU. I have tried to make it not about me.
Is she still thinking about such things? Has she given up veering wildly from the weighty to the frivolous?
My faithful readers may be wondering this since it has been 42 days since I published a post. And that was a short, frothy one.
Rest calmly, dear ones. I am still frolicking in the frivolous and seeking wisdom for the weighty. Truthfully, my days are bulging with both laughter and lament. As I imagine yours are, too.
I have needed to devote most of my words, imagination, and hours to church leading and to parenting this fall. That’s where my best wisdom and deepest prayers are most needed right now. It has been hard but satisfying work.
So, for the foreseeable future, this blog will remain a bit quieter, though not entirely silent, I hope.
If you find yourself craving my quips, tales of imaginative children, or lacklusterfair-to-middling dazzling photos, your best bet is to follow me on Instagram. I post photos and short paragraphs there several times a week. I realize that many of you, dear readers, are not on Instagram, but I’d like to gently whisper that perhaps it’s time to join the cool kids.
Rick and I celebrated our 15th anniversary last week.
Here’s what it looked like: the dog and I were driving home from dropping the kids off at school when I spotted a familiar figure walking down the street. Remembering the date, I pulled over and wished him a Happy Anniversary. He came over to the driver-side window and gave me a kiss. Then I went home and re-financed the mortgage.
Fifteen years is a long time in a life and in the world. When we were married in 2002, wedding invitations were always white or cream, George W. Bush was president, and no one had ever heard the terms “social media” or ISIS. Half the country still had landlines. Everyone else had flip phones.
We ourselves have changed, too, in these years. Here are a few things I’ve learned:
Goetsch is not, in fact, a lateral move from Carlson.
I had just turned 22 when the Monica Lewinsky story broke. I remember a phone conversation with my dad at that time in which we disagreed on the relative guilt of the parties—he argued, if I remember correctly, that the preponderance belonged to President Clinton. I argued that Lewinsky and Clinton shared near equal culpability. After a bit, my dad concluded the conversation by saying, “Laura, I think you may be too young to understand.”
He was right.
I was too young, too inexperienced in the world. Here’s what I did not understand: power.
Controversy erupted over the weekend as NFL players joined Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner. The President tweeted repeatedly in response and railed against these actions at a rally in Alabama.
North America is being racked by disasters. Harvey, Irma, Maria, José, and now an earthquake, for crying out loud. Which I am. North Korea is firing missiles. The President of the United States is firing ill-advised tweets. White supremacists are gathering force.
The speed and variety of calamities bewilders both heart and mind. Where to focus? How to grieve? How to understand? Where to serve? What to give whom?
These are not easy questions, but they press on us. We must lean into them, discerning our individual calls in the midst of the suffering and the destruction.
For some, the temptation is to withdraw. To shut your ears, hunker down, pretend all is fine. We cannot do this. Too many are suffering and too much is at stake.
We also cannot neglect daily living and go into survival mode. At least those of us outside the disaster zones cannot. We must face our small lives and the large questions with equal tenacity. This is a tricky balance, a dance we must do day-by-day. Continue reading “Choosing to live and love (puppies)”→