Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thank you, Lord, for the signs that confirm you are indeed sovereign and your kingdom will always prevail. May these signs encourage us to persevere in working toward justice for all who have reason to question its possibility in this world. Amen.
-Common Prayer

Thursday, November 29, 2012


More and more I'm practicing and seeing the necessity of thankfulness- especially in lean times. And since Thanksgiving was just last week, its a pertinent topic. It's not my natural bent- thankfulness- but sometimes lately I've surprised myself by the times my mind just wanders towards thankfulness. That is truly God's grace, people, because (as I mentioned) it is not my natural bent. I'm still working on it though!

Here is what I'm thankful for right now:
-good friends that take time to invest in me
-God's continued mercy in dad's health
-a healthy body
-uplifting music
-the fact that I have life options
-my brothers
-the spiritual leaders and directors God has put in my life
-watching sports and the fact that they are not filled with drama

Thats just what I can think of right now. There's definitely more!

What are you thankful for? Share in the comments of this post!

Self Awareness

"There is no deep knowing of God without a deep knowing of self, and no deep knowing of self without a deep knowing of God."
- John Calvin

Lately (as in the last couple years) I have been learning A LOT about self awareness. Before I thought I was self aware, but now I realize I really had only scratched the surface.
So much of what I have been reading and hearing has been how self awareness precedes God awareness (even from John Calvin, which I wouldn't really anticipate coming from him). I even gave a talk on it at a conference last February, but I'm still on the journey and I definitely have not mastered it.
Here's some of what I've learned:
I'm learning that you can't really love well without self-awareness.
That you can't really have compassion on others without seeing how God sees you.
That suppressing negative emotions or parts of yourself ends up suppressing the good parts of yourself as well. Apparently God wants the real me, not the idealized or "should be" me. And it definitely hurts my human relationships as well.
That self awareness is hard work, but worth it. You also begin to see those around you who are not self aware, and the negative affect it has.
That self awareness is both humbling and empowering.
That I both enjoy being different from others, but am fatigued by too much difference.
That I am both unique but also a part of a variety of collectives- and am growing to very much dislike seeing only through the lens of individualism.
That I am an EXTREMELY high feeler.
That I am full of contradictions, and I am learning to see the world beyond black and white- and live in the gray areas.

There is much more, but thats what comes up first for me. I'm still on the journey!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Words to Build a Life On

I heard this song for the first time this past weekend at Convergence church in west Oakland, and I really loved it. It challenges me and inspires me to really take Jesus' words to heart, and how that can radically change how I look at the people and the world around me.

"Words to Build a Life On"
by Mike Crawford

These are words to build a life on
These are Your words how can they be mine
These are words to build a life on
These are Your words I want them to be mine
Blessed are the poor
Blessed are the weak
Blessed are the ones
Who can barely speak
Blessed in your hurt
Blessed in your pain
Blessed when your teardrops
Are falling down like rain
Blessed when you’re broken
Blessed when you’re blind
Blessed when you’re fragile
When you have lost your mind
Blessed when you’re desperate
Blessed when you’re scared
Blessed when you’re lonely
Blessed when you’ve failed
Blessed when you’re beat up
Blessed when you’re bruised
Blessed when you’re tore down
Blessed when you’re used
These are words to build a life on
These are Your words how can they be mine
These are words to build a life on
These are Your words I want them to be mine
Blessed when you’re heartbroke
Blessed when you’re fired
Blessed when you’re choked up
Blessed when you’re tired
Blessed when the plans
That you so carefully laid
End up in the junkyard
With all the trash you made
Blessed when you feel like
Giving up the ghost
Blessed when your loved ones
Are the ones who hurt you most
Blessed when you lose your
Own identity
Then blessed when you find it
And it has been redeemed
Blessed when you see what
Your friends can never be
Blessed with your eyes closed
Then blessed you see Me
These are words to build a life on
These are Your words how can they be mine
These are words to build a life on
These are Your words I want them to be mine
Blessed when you’re hungry
Blessed when you thirst
Cause that’s when you will eat of
The bread that matters most
Blessed when you’re put down
Because of me you’re dissed
Because of me you’re kicked out
They take you off their list
You know you’re on the mark
You know you’ve got it right
You are to be my salt
You are to be my light
So bring out all the flavor
In the feast of this My world
And light up all the colors
Let the banner be unfurled
Shout it from the rooftops
Let the trumpets ring
Sing your freaking lungs out
Jesus Christ is King!
Jesus is my Savior
Jesus is divine
Jesus is my answer
Jesus is my life
These are words to build a life on
These are Your words how can they be mine
These are words to build a life on
These are Your words I want them to be mine
Give us ears that we may hear them
voice that we may sing them
life that we may live them
hope that we may give them
hearts that we can feel them
eyes that we can see them
thoughts that we may think them
tongues that we may speak Your words

Monday, July 30, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

On Being OK with Going with the Flow

Something you learn quickly when engaging in the inner city: time runs differently here than in corporate and suburban America. Things like quick changes of plan, lack of plan, lateness, and waiting and uncertainty are commonplace- and that is not the world that most of the students here at FUI and myself interact with in our normal lives.
My personality (I'm borderline P & J on the Myers Briggs, so I don't usually freak out about no plans- although I do from time to time) as well as being accustomed to things like CP Time (people of color time- dad always loved to talk about that :) makes me a little less likely to freak out at the way things are here, but it has made me a little nervous from time to time. But you just gotta learn to go with it.

One of my favorite things about this summer has been going to the every other Saturday gatherings of On Ramps Covenant Church in Dickie Park. Pastors Phil and Rici Skei started this church in the Lowell Neighborhood where they live in October, and they have been having church in the park on every other Saturday night since then. Rici said "We don't have a building, and we aren't planning on getting one anytime soon." There is worship at the beginning with fun music and flags for the kids, and people just stop by because its fun and loud and intriguing. Every time I walk in I can just feel the Holy Spirit there in the park, and it makes me tear up. People of all ages and all walks of life are there, and you kind of never know what people will do, but Phil and Rici know how to go with the flow.
Worship in the park (led by Rici)
Pastor Phil administering baptisms in a blow up pool
Last Saturday 7 people from the church were baptized, and they are always open to adding more to the list of people they meet in the park or anywhere else in the neighborhood. There is always a short teaching by someone from the leadership team while the kids play on a blow up waterslide, and I was blown away by how powerful and relevant the teaching was for the people listening- and for me too! Pray is available for anyone anytime throughout the evening, and they always give food to anyone who wants it. It has been so good for me and the FUI students to see, we are so blessed each time we go. You never know what will happen- but God always moves.

The past 2 days I have been helping with Vacation Bible School that is a partnership between First Presbyterian (whose facilities and curriculum we use- well, a modified curriculum), On Ramps, and Bethany Inner City Churches. We basically canvased the neighborhood and invited any one and everyone to come, because at this VBS there is a class for moms, which is so incredible I can barely stand it. I got to go out and knock on doors and invite people to come last week with Angie, a member of On Ramps, and also is the teacher for the 7th and 8th grade girls, the group myself and FUI staff Lauren are helping with. 
Angie, Lauren and me

Angie is a perfect example of what it looks like to go with the flow here. She has quite the testimony and background which she is always free to share about her gang affiliated and drug use past, and how God has saved her from all that. Lauren and I went to a couple of the planning meetings the past couple weeks (which definitely were examples of culture clash- very interesting) and last week we talked about meeting up with Angie to plan for what we would teach. Angie didn't seem too worried, and she didn't show up the day we planned to meet. She said "I'm not really the planning type person, we'll just see what comes up". I thought this was kind of funny actually, and Lauren was freaking out a little bit, but we just were gonna try to go with the flow.
And go with the flow it has been! We're supposed to be following a schedule about when to go to games and skits and snacks. Angie's not too worried about following it. There are supposed to be memory verses that the lessons are based on, but Angie has mostly been sharing her testimony and having an opportunity for the girls to share. She'll decide to change something in the moment, and say whatever comes up for her, but it is totally just who she is. Me and Lauren were a little nervous because we felt like there was some missed opportunity with not focusing on the lesson more, but we're learning to give up control. And anyways, the girls can totally relate to her story, as most of them have heartbreaking stories of their own. God is doing work I believe, and none of it has come from a planned curriculum. And I love working with Angie too- being around her and her speaking her mind and her quirks and genuine-ness, she's hard not to love.
I have also loved getting to know the girls better as we make duct tape wallets (why, I'm not sure, Angie wanted to- and the girls love it) and talk about whatever.
Angie sharing as we make duct tape wallets

Lauren and I with most of the 7th and 8th grade girls
FUI interns Danielle and David are working with 5th and 6th graders and with crafts at VBS this week, and they are definitely learning about going with the flow as well, and it has been fun to process it all with them. There are over 100 kids from the neighborhood and about 25 moms (today the moms class did hair and facials and makeovers, and then they talked about caring for your body as a temple on the inside and on the outside- so fantastic), being loved on and hearing God's word together- and it is definitely an inner city, go with the flow VBS. Its a beautiful thing.
kids at VBS (YFC staff Gabe is in the foreground,
Danielle and I have loved working with him this summer)

Monday, July 16, 2012


Being in the inner city brings up all kinds of things in my soul- and in the souls of the students. The most prominent experience that I've had at FUI is DISSONANCE. Especially this summer- or maybe I'm just more self aware of when I'm feeling it now than I have in the past.

DISSONANCE: any feeling of discomfort, or basically any kind of negative internal reaction

The realities of the inner city as well as the reality of living in a house with 21 other broken-but-made-in-God's-image people brings up many, many opportunities for dissonance. And add in that we are all taking Urban Ministry classes twice a week that are designed to press into the realities and needs of the inner city. And another big one for me is that we read this crazy little book called Theirs is the Kingdom that stirs up all kinds of internal struggles, because the author is speaking truth not only about the connection between the Gospel and the needs of inner cities, but really about what it means to truly follow Jesus, and not just believe in Him. All of these things combined together means that God stirs up things that are hidden deep in my soul that tend to stay buried when I live in the comforts of non-urban life in the privacy of my own world. And God is definitely doing the same among the students. I am always blown away by how much God stirs up in students when they come to FUI.

But it's good. We need it.

Here's some of my dissonance:

I'm working with junior high and high school age youth (mostly boys) at Youth for Christ, and I feel frustrated and unsure of how to respond when they don't listen or are rude to each other or to me. I know there is chaos for them at home, and responding this way to others is the only way they know how, but I often feel like I'm powerless to both be their friend and be authoritative. DISSONANCE.

My process group went out to lunch after church one week at Lola's, the greatest place for us to eat on our $35 a week budget (2 tacos for $1.50!). A homeless man who clearly had a mental handicap forcefully asked us for money, and after we got our food and sat down, asked Nathan if he could have a bite of his torta. Then he asked me for my food. I responded in a way that basically was an attempt to meet his need and get him to stop bothering us. DISSONANCE. But we had just read in Theirs is the Kingdom so many vignettes about how Jesus calls us to connect with "the least of these" and to even give reckless without thinking about whether or not those we are giving to are "truly worthy poor".

A woman who looked like she may have had some drug issues came in with about 5 kids to YFC one very hot day when we were watching a movie to escape the heat. Gabe, the YFC staff, had to tell them the woman and her kids couldn't come back, because the YFC higher-ups said kids under 10 were a liability. But I knew they were going home to a home with partying and drugs, and it didn't sit right with me that an organization had to make calls like that, even though I knew there were valid reasons why. DISSONANCE.

I've got my own insecurities, but I'm called to love the students first and I know I can't put my own social needs or preferences first. I'm staff and not a student, but this summer I have felt the separation and distance between myself and the students more than before. Hanging out takes more effort and initiative on my part. DISSONANCE.

Issues of race and ethnicity always come up a lot for me- especially being biracial. An African-American man who I met at a church service came to hang out at the Pink House, and after a short interaction, he had to ask me what my ethnicity was. Then up came my biracial insecurities and frustration with feeling I have to prove my blackness. DISSONANCE.

There are more, but I know that Jesus is right there in every feeling of dissonance, and has things that He wants to show me through them. I continue to see God use me even in the midst of my dissonance to help pastor students through their own dissonance. I'm always learning.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Over the Past Month...

O what a month it has been! My brother Jared donated a kidney to my dad on June 13, which needless to say was a ridiculously huge deal. It required the support of our whole family, many praying and present friends, and some amazing surgeons, nurses, and social workers at Stanford (don't believe what they tell you about surgeons being rude and unsociable, at least the Stanford ones aren't, they were incredible to us). The surgeries were long but we are grateful that the kidney started working on the operating table, and the fact that my brother's kidney is working in my dad is something I will never understand.

Jared (left), Jordan and dad post surgery. Don't be fooled, Jared is not as
disgusted as he looks

I have never spent so much time in a hospital, and even though Stanford is probably one of the best, it is a difficult place to spend a long period of time in. Jared commented (and I agree) that it would have been much too hard to do without our whole family there, and we definitely saw people in the hospital alone. It was hard to see.
My mom was caretaker for my dad and they had to stay in the Bay Area, and I was caretaker for Jared (Jordan was helpful too, he just had to go to the Bay Area Urban Project, so he was busy going to change the world) and we went home to Pacific Grove to recover, which seriously felt like we went to a retreat center. It was so nice and relaxing, and even the weather was beautiful for us. Jared recovered quickly, even though he was tired most of the time and he didn't feel great, he got better every day. We watched a lot of soccer and Sherlock Holmes, and were fed by some amazing friends from Mayflower Church. Jared's community from Servant Partners in Oakland were so supportive, and a bunch of them came to visit and bought lots of love and food. Jared felt so good by then that we went to Big Sur (Deetjen's breakfast= crazy delicious, Carmolite Hermitage = crazy beautiful and an awesome bookstore) although he avoided hiking.
Jared, Katye, and Alex at the Carmolite Hermitage
On June 25 I left Jared to deal with our dog Max and drove to Fresno for the Fresno Urban Internship. 16 college students from 3 states arrived on Wednesday, and we started with 5 days of whirlwind orientation, part of which I got to teach on how we can better interact with those who are different from us by realizing that we all have our own Frame's of Reference. It included Serge Ibaka and CP Time... you can ask me more later :) We helped tear town a house with FUND Inc, studied Nehemiah 1 and Luke 9, took a driving tour of Fresno, and ate pho, pupusas, and soul food (AKA deliciousness).
I've slowly been getting to know the 16 interns, and I've really gotten to know Danielle from Fresno State, who I work with at Youth For Christ.
Danielle (center) with junior high students (including Brian, who is crazy)
selling cookies and flower barrettes to raise money to go to camp
Danielle and I spend our weekdays hanging out with kids at YFC- playing ping pong, baking cookies, talking about Justin Bieber, and getting into their lives. Highlight for me was getting to hold a 2 month old baby :)
We've started our Urban Ministry classes this past week (learning about shalom and racial inequalities so far), and spent a whole lot of time getting to know each other in the Pink House. 4th of July was incredibly fun- we had a 2 hour long water fight, a barbeque, a dance party, and fireworks at the Fulton Mall.
FUI-ers during our epic 4th of July water battle
That is a very brief overview, and there is much more that has happened and is happening, but there will be more updates to come!
Thank you all for your prayers and support through everything, I very much appreciate it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Welcome Prayer

I feel like all I've been doing lately has been posting prayers, but my brother showed me this one and it has been just what I've needed, although it is not easy!

The Welcoming Prayer (by Father Thomas Keating)
                                                  Welcome, welcome, welcome.
I welcome everything that comes to me today
because I know it's for my healing.
I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions, persons, situations, and conditions.
I let go of my desire for power and control.
I let go of my desire for affection, esteem,approval and pleasure.
I let go of my desire for survival and security.
I let go of my desire to change any situation,condition, person or myself.
I open to the love and presence of God and God's action within. Amen.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer Motto (At Least!)

God, give us discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that instead we may live deep within our hearts. Grant us anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of -people, so that we may wish for justice, freedom, and peace. Bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in this world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Scripture Encouragement for the day

I read this today and it very much encouraged me and is what I need to hear in this season:

Luke 6:20-26

20 Looking at his disciples, he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
    for yours is the kingdom of God. 
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
    for you will be satisfied. 
Blessed are you who weep now,
    for you will laugh. 
22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
    when they exclude you and insult you 
    and reject your name as evil,
        because of the Son of Man.
23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
24 “But woe to you who are rich, 
    for you have already received your comfort. 
25 Woe to you who are well fed now,
    for you will go hungry. 
Woe to you who laugh now,
    for you will mourn and weep. 
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
    for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Addendum to My Last Post...

So upon further review (and my friend Lawrence who said he is 6000000 percent sure I'm an INFP), it turns out that I'm pretty sure my personality type is actually still INFP, not ISFJ. Its funny though, I'm pretty sure that in taking the test again a few weeks ago, I was answering out of what my job pushes me towards. I am more of an N personality, which focuses more on big picture rather than small details, but in my job I am often forced to look at details. I am also more of a P, but as my job often forces me to be more timely and organized, professionally I am forced to be a J. Also, American culture tends to be more S and J, and so culture also presses me towards those types rather than what I truly am as an individual. Obviously it is all very nuanced and each type is on a spectrum, and I'm definitely on the border of P and J.
But I have always thought of myself as a strong N, so it was surprising to me to see when I took the test a few weeks ago that I was an S. I am definitely a big picture person, I'm not very good with details. Although I do think that the descriptions of ISFJ fit me fairly well, I think INFP fits me a little better.

About INFP's (me!):

Generally thoughtful and considerate, INFPs are good listeners and put people at ease. Although they may be reserved in expressing emotion, they have a very deep well of caring and are genuinely interested in understanding people. This sincerity is sensed by others, making the INFP a valued friend and confidante. An INFP can be quite warm with people he or she knows well.
INFPs do not like conflict, and go to great lengths to avoid it. If they must face it, they will always approach it from the perspective of their feelings. In conflict situations, INFPs place little importance on who is right and who is wrong. They focus on the way that the conflict makes them feel, and indeed don't really care whether or not they're right. They don't want to feel badly. This trait sometimes makes them appear irrational and illogical in conflict situations. On the other hand, INFPs make very good mediators, and are typically good at solving other people's conflicts, because they intuitively understand people's perspectives and feelings, and genuinely want to help them.
INFPs are flexible and laid-back, until one of their values is violated. In the face of their value system being threatened, INFPs can become aggressive defenders, fighting passionately for their cause. When an INFP has adopted a project or job which they're interested in, it usually becomes a "cause" for them. Although they are not detail-oriented individuals, they will cover every possible detail with determination and vigor when working for their "cause".

I don't know why I so much love the Myers-Briggs, but I think it is fascinating and very helpful in understanding myself and others.

Friday, April 27, 2012

My New Personality

For the past 5 years I have lived my life thinking that my Myers-Briggs Personality Type was INFP. Thats Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving. I really like the Myers-Briggs, and I think it pretty accurately gives a framework for understanding who you are, particularly in relation to other people. I was pretty happy about that type, and I felt like it fit me. But then yesterday, just out of curiosity, I retook the test online (you can take it here: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp) and I found out I'm an ISFJ! Whaaaat! But then I was reading the description of an ISFJ, and it seemed like me as well. Or perhaps the new me, because its pretty fair to say that I've probably changed in the last 5 years.
Ali's paraphrase of ISFJ'S description:
ISFJ's have a strong desire to serve others, but dislike conflict and controversy so they tend to focus on personal rather than large corporate forms of care. They have a huge value for loyalty and quality work, but tend to keep a low profile, which causes a tendency for them to be under appreciated. They don't like being doormats, but they dislike tooting their own horns more, and all of this can lead to a tendency towards being overworked. They prefer small groups and one on ones, and are very patient and sympathetic when dealing with others. Family is very important, and they are very warm and caring towards those they care about, and can be possessive about their loved ones. They like a few close friends, and are ready to provide practical and emotional support at a moments notice. They hate confrontation, and tend to have difficulty hiding or articulating any distress they may be feeling, and therefore need those who are close to them to initiate when they see warning signs, such as moodiness.
I feel like that is a fairly accurate description of me, but I am a little confused about my switch from Intuitive to Sensing, as that is the one personality description that I have the hardest time understanding, and I always thought of myself as highly intuitive. I must learn more about this! I'll ask my friend Lawrence, as he is a Myers-Briggs expert.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Read This Today...

I started reading a book called "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. A little girl is taken in by a foster family, and I loved this description of her foster father:
"Trust was accumulated quickly, due primarily to the brute strength of the man's gentleness, his thereness. The girl knew from the outset that Hans Hubernmann would always appear midscream, and he would not leave."

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Deep Prophetic Word

From March 6-9 I joined 400 other InterVarsity Staff in Long Beach, CA for the Multi-Ethnic Staff Conference. Normally this conference happens every 3 years, but due to changes in upper-level leadership it hasn't happened in 5 years. I am certainly glad it happened while I'm on staff!
I was somehow asked to join the prayer team, not knowing I would be walking in to a room of older InterVarsity big shots who are very, very spiritual. I was very, very intimidated. But as usual God used it to bless and challenge me.

The theme of the Conference was Continuing the Journey: Recharting our Course for Multiethnicity in Mission- and God did a lot of stirring up new things in me and I believe in the other participants- and not all of it was very fun. But I am so thankful that multi-ethnicity is a value for InterVarsity, and that InterVarsity as a movement is willing to go into new and uncharted places.

Here is a video from the last night of the conference- and it is deeply prophetic. Lisa Espinelli Chinn calls out our need for dissonance and how it points us to Jesus, and Scott Bessenecker totally calls out our old wineskins in the West and in InterVarsity. It is completely prophetic. Just watch it, seriously.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Love the Foreigner as Yourself

During Lent this year, directors of LaFe, InterVarsity's Latino student fellowship, presented the opportunity for staff to pray and fast for undocumented students. This is a significant and growing population of students, and the director's brought to my attention the sadness, loneliness, and lack of opportunity felt by undocumented students- many of whom discover their undocumented status for the first time when applying to college. I have interacted with students and others who are undocumented, and know a little bit of the struggle they endure, but there is always more to learn if God has anything to do with it.
Obviously immigration is a very politically charged issue, but what is most important is what God's heart is for the people involved. The LaFe directors have sent out weekly devotionals for those of us who have chosen to fast and pray, and what has been most eye opening for me has been the Scriptures they have had us read and the guided prayers they wrote.
Especially in the first five books of the Bible there are quite a few verses where God repeats "Care for the foreigner who lives among you". Today I was reading Leviticus 19:9-34, and I was kind of bracing myself for some weird and rigid laws (I guess in my mind that is the on the surface connotation Leviticus has...there it is, full disclosure). But, as I have been most of this week as I've been preparing to teach the second half of Mark at Spring Break Camp, I find myself saying "Dang God- that is deep!" God has a habit of blowing my mind when I don't expect it. Throughout the Leviticus passage, God is backing up the people that no one else is backing up: the poor, the foreigner, hired workers, female slaves, women in general, the elderly, foreigners again. He also talks a lot about loving your neighbor in general, and being fair towards them. He ends a lot of these laws with "I am the Lord your God", like He's saying "I, God take this seriously, so why shouldn't you?"
 I was hit especially by verses 15, 17 and 18, and 33 and 34.
15, because God says to not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the rich. The part about the rich kind of took me aback, because I didn't expect to be reminded that the rich can't be ignored either. I think I tend to lean towards partiality towards the poor, but God wants to love and do work in rich people as well. It just seems like sometimes its a little more difficult for Him to get into the hearts of the rich. But Jesus doesn't ignore the rich. One part of Mark that I was prepping for this week was about the rich young ruler who Jesus tells to sell all he has and give to the poor. I don't think Jesus told him to do that because Jesus didn't want him to be rich, but because Jesus knew what was in his heart, and what was in the way of the man following Him. Money tends to do that, I guess.
17 and 18, because God is pointing out what hatred and grudges do to the one who holds them. Dang God.
33 and 34, probably because it brought to mind how much we in America are not doing what God is asking. The foreigners among us are definitely not treated as those who are native born. The stigma and poverty surrounding most undocumented immigrants makes that clear. Way to go us. But I can't go blaming other people before looking at myself and the ways that I might not be loving the foreigners around me, the ways that I am a contributor. For that I need to pray these prayers:

God of the Disenfranchised, guide me today in empowering the powerless so they might know their salvation in You.

Lord, give me a place to call home, in the deepest sense. Teach me to offer my "home" generously, especially to those who are pushed into unfamiliar places.

(Helpful articles also found here: http://undocumented.tv/)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lenten Encouragement

I realize that pretty much everything I've been posting has been quoting someone else, but at this point in my journey I feel that encouragement from others (books included) has been what has kept me going. For Lent I borrowed a daily devotional from my dad by Henri Nouwen called "From Fear to Love", and it challenges and speaks to me every day. Today's was especially encouraging.

"Everything I Have is Yours"
Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. -Psalm 138:8

"So often people grow resentful and bitter as they grow older. With time their image of an ideal life is disturbed because painful historical, political, personal, family, or financial realities break through.
Your pain, seen in the light of a spiritual journey, can be interpreted. The great art is to gradually trust that life's interruptions are the places where you are being molded into the person you are called to be. Interruptions are not disruptions of your way to holiness, but rather are places where you are being molded and formed into the person God calls you to be. You know you are living a grateful life when whatever happens is received as an invitation to deepen your heart, to strengthen your love, and to broaden your hope. You are living a grateful life when something is taken away from you that you thought was so important and you find yourself willing to say, "Maybe I'm being invited to a deeper way of living.
-Father, I trust that you are molding me into my truest, best self. Help me to accept the changes in my life."

I know that God always leads me to deeper and wider places, and I am learning what it looks like to keep holding tightly to His hand.

Monday, January 16, 2012

In Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day


To a great man in the great cloud of witnesses, who never ceases to challenge us and whisper to us the words of God, even from the past.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Most Beautiful Thing I've Heard in a While

Contemporary American author Frederick Buechner has written,
“A Christian is one who points at Christ and says, ‘I can’t prove a thing,
but there’s something about his eyes and his voice. There’s something
about the way he carries his head, his hands, the way he carries his cross ​— ​
the way he carries me.’ ”