Coffee Talk: Wake Up Everybody!

As we begin to prepare our hearts and minds for The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor discussion in a few short days, I thought it best to regularly share different perspectives to expand our worldview and enlighten our understanding of those things we may not see or experience every day. Throughout the book, Mark Labberton will challenge us to see others through the eyes of Jesus. Before we can reach that goal, we must first deal with our own misperceptions and the injustices of our own heart. How do we see God? How do we see ourselves? How do we see other people?

We must all replace our assumptions about what we think we know, with a more accurate picture of what we can actually know. We must invest time in entering conversations with people who do not “see” or “think” like we do. We need to read, listen, and then begin a dialog. Let’s talk about our perceptions. These are some conversations worth having with other Christian friends this week.

How Do We View Young People?

Rachel Held Evans article, “Why Millennials Are Leaving the Church” has sparked quite an online debate this week. Her comments echoes everything I had read and heard over the past couple years. By-and-large millennials are missing from the pews in my church. And they are missing from the pews (I guess we are using more chairs now) in many evangelical churches across America. I look around my church and it is quite evident that “this” (the culture of our congregation) is not for millennials. This is a major problem. In my opinion, the Church only has two responses to this crisis: 1.) continue doing business as usual and lose a generation of young people, or 2.) change. Is this an issue in your church? What are you doing? What is your church doing to share the gospel and grow disciples from the millennial generation?

How Do We Take A Stand Against Injustices?

All it took was for Prince William and Kate to have a royal baby and much of the news media has moved on from the Trayvon Martin verdict, but “Black America” is still paying attention and we are still talking. As a matter of fact, a group of young people of color known as the Dream Defenders are peacefully protesting and demanding a correction to the stand your ground law. this week. The Dream Defenders want to you know that:

SINCE TUESDAY, JULY 16, WE HAVE BEEN CONDUCTING A SIT-IN OF GOV. RICK SCOTT’S OFFICE IN THE STATE CAPITOL. WE ARE CALLING ON THE GOVERNOR TO CONVENE A SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE TO ENACT THE TRAYVON’S LAW TO REPEAL STAND YOUR GROUND, BAN RACIAL PROFILING, AND END THE SCHOOL-TO-PRISON PIPELINE.

Right now, they are drafting ‘Trayvon’s Law” legislation from the falls of Florida’s state capital. Let’s keep our eyes on the ball. Why do we need advocacy? What has the history of advocacy taught us in this country? What doe appropriate activism look like right now?

What About Our “Invisible” Native American Sisters and Brothers?

The Root online magazine has a very interesting article titled, “Native American Journalists on Trayvon Martin.” In response to the George Zimmerman Verdict, a Native American journalist, Tim Giago, Oglala Lakota, writes, “Welcome to my world. Native Americans receive unequal justice all the time…We have our own system of injustice and we’ve been living it for over 100 years.” Ronnie Washines of the Yakama Nation Review wrote, “On my reservation alone there have been almost a dozen unsolved murders and missing women cases.” Scary, right? But real.

How Do You See God? How Far Do You Look Out Into the World? What Makes You Angry?

It was a pleasure for me to meet and spend time with Whitney Wilson while attending The Justice Conference in February. She is currently completing an internship with the International Justice Mission in Manila, Philippines. She begins this week’s blog post with the haunting words: “You will forget that God loves you in Manila.” In addition to wrestling with the heart issues that burden all of us who care about God, people, and justice is the world, Whitney is also experiencing what it is like to be “different.” She writes, “Being White in Manila is like wearing a sequin-covered spandex suit with built-in speakers that play Rick Astely and Shania Twain back-to-back on repeat.  I do not go unnoticed.  And I can never tell if people are amused by me or want to punch me.” Read more about Whitney’s experiences, prayer request, and support needed.

Blessings, Natasha

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