On Brock Turner, consequences, and purple crayons

Once a month, I meet with an ecumenical group of moms from our elementary school to pray. We pray for the district, the school, the staff, and our kids. We pray for everything we can think of. I always pray that if my kids do something bad that they will get caught. 

This may seem counter-intuitive. Why would I want to get a call from the school that my child has misbehaved? Wouldn’t it be easier if they just got away with it? Continue reading “On Brock Turner, consequences, and purple crayons”

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On Justice and Lament

In my early twenties, I had a room-mate who was a PhD student in Space Science. Kandis-Lea was an unexpected mix of folksy and scholarly. She would return from her lab late at night and unwind by watching Touched by an Angel; when I rolled my eyes, she would just giggle. Her research was on the moon of Jupiter called Io, and though I attended her dissertation defense, I could not have told you one thing about it, even an hour later. It all flew straight over my head. To this day, Kandis-Lea closes all her emails to me with “Love you dearly.” We have not lived together since 2001, but she is one my most loyal friends. Should I ever be in grave danger, I am confident the Holy Spirit would alert her and she would throw herself into praying for me. Continue reading “On Justice and Lament”

Telling the truth about our different heritages

My daughter’s 4th grade class recently did “heritage projects.” The kids spent several weeks researching their family histories, choosing one country in their family background to focus on. They presented what they learned at a culminating “heritage lunch” where the parents brought in food from the country their child chose, and we enjoyed eating together and listening to the students’ reports.

It was a great assignment as the students began learning how to research, to present information, and to understand culture. My daughter chose Sweden, focusing on my dad’s family. I can confidently say that she now knows more about it than I do. (“No, Mom, Sweden is between Norway and Finland, not Denmark!”) Continue reading “Telling the truth about our different heritages”

What I would say to student activists (Mizzou, pt. 2)

UPDATE:

I believe that that there are appropriate ways and times to say things and inappropriate ones. It does not matter only if what you are saying is true, but also how you say it and when.

After I published this post, I heard from a friend who questioned the helpfulness of my writing an “open letter” like this addressed to black student activists. This friend (who is white) recently spent a week with black activists, and has a much firmer grasp than I do on the backgrounds and goals of the Black Lives Matter movement and the campus protests. She wrote the following to me:

Our brothers and sisters do need our dialogue and our teamwork. But writing a public post that critiques them isn’t dialogue or teamwork, just like complaining about your husband on Facebook isn’t dialogue or teamwork, and isn’t exactly helpful in bringing about marital unity or reconciliation.

My friend makes an excellent point. Continue reading “What I would say to student activists (Mizzou, pt. 2)”

What I would say to conservatives regarding the recent campus protests (Mizzou, part 1)

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Multi-day student protest at Mizzou

Last week, stories of student protests against campus racism took over our news (at least until ISIS struck Paris). Independent protests began at the University of Missouri and Yale. Students of color from colleges around the country then followed suit and staged protests on their own campuses. Many lauded this strategic student activism that brought immediate change to campuses. Others, particularly conservative commentators, decried the strident tone of the activists and a campus culture that seeks to silence those with unpopular opinions.

I’d like to look at both of these responses, in turn. I am going to boldly wade into this discussion because there are two points I have not seen made. In this post, I will examine conservative reactions to last week’s campus protests. In a follow-up post, I will explore the strategies of the student protestors and then boldly make one suggestion.

Many conservative commentators have suggested that the student protests were simply the whining of an entitled generation whose members think they should never get their feelings hurt. Continue reading “What I would say to conservatives regarding the recent campus protests (Mizzou, part 1)”

Who is truly pro-life?

Recently, this cartoon showed up in my Facebook feed:

http://cdn.someecards.com/someecards/usercards/MjAxMi0yYjIzOThhMDI0NGYzYmY5.png

This is a popular axiom, this idea that the 44% of Americans who identify as pro-life care little about life after birth. So, let me ask: is it true that pro-life supporters are heartless prudes who are concerned only with fetuses but not with the lives of children in poverty, struggling single mothers, and other vulnerable members of society?

In my experience, this is far from true.

Let’s begin with the assumption — invariably held by those who post this type of cartoon — that government action is the only way to care for human life. Continue reading “Who is truly pro-life?”

Let’s talk about white privilege

The term white privilege seems to be popping up everywhere these days — online, in the media, and in college classrooms.  In the midst of all this talk, though, I have noticed that the term is frequently misunderstood, particularly by people who find it offensive.  Many, many times, I have heard rebuttals of the idea of white privilege that go something like this,

“Just because I am white does not mean I am wealthy. I came from a poor family, and I have worked hard to get where I am today. It makes me angry when people assume that all white people have money and that life has been easy for us.”

I understand how a white person raised in poverty or in the working class would be annoyed by assumptions that they were raised with money and that life has been easy for them.  Here’s the thing, though – that is not what white privilege means. Not at all. Continue reading “Let’s talk about white privilege”