Wakanda, Blackness, and the Kingdom of God

Black Panther poster

Like so many others, black people in particular, I have waited for the “Black Panther” movie for a long time. I was not a comic book reader as a kid, but the Marvel universe and its heroes have grown on me. Regarding this particular hero and story, my recent trips to Africa gave me a desire to see more of the continent’s beauty brought to the big screen for all the world to see. Additionally, I am a fan of many of the all-star cast’s bodies of work. The line-up included Academy Award winners Forest Whitaker and Lupita Nyong’o, Academy nominees Daniel Kaluuya and (my favorite) Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, and break-out performances by Letitia Wright and Danai Gurira.

I love that this movie allows the world to see and celebrate a world where a community’s black identity is good all by itself. And I love how this movie gives us glimpses of our forgotten church history, including the present and future kingdom of God.

In Wakanda, Black Identity is “Very Good”

Upon my first viewing of the film, I thought, “This is what some white people in America are afraid of…”

Continue reading at Missio Alliance.

 

 

Woman to Woman Rwanda

Thursdays are our Coffee Talk days at “A Sista’s Journey.” I’m not a coffee drinker but on Thursdays I write about the things we would talk about if I were with you drinking coffee. I actually do quite a bit of talking with my friends, and don’t blog on Thursdays as frequently as I would like.

There are a lot of things I want to share with you but for today and right now, let me tell you more about my upcoming trip to Rwanda, and introduce the other women who will be joining me on the trip. I’m so excited!

Rwanda Photo_Africa New Life credit

Hope. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think about my upcoming trip to Rwanda, and my first trip to the continent of Africa. This summer, I have the opportunity to participate in a learning exchange and humanitarian effort called “Woman to Woman Rwanda” in partnership with Africa New Life. This is the first trip I know of its kind where an all African American team of women are going to partner with, listen and learn from Rwandan women.

About Rwanda

Like many of you, my first introduction to the daily life of Rwanda was from the atrocities of the 1994 genocide. I read Immaculée Ilibagiza’s story of redemption in her riveting memoir, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust. As a part of the Tutsis tribe, she lost most of her family to the genocide where “more than one million people were murdered in roughly 100 days.” Most of this history was told with the 2004 movie release titled “Hotel Rwanda.” However, death and murder is not the entirety of Rwanda’s story. It is only a snapshot of the history of colonization and oppression that crippled the Rwandan people, and nearly destroyed the country.

In the later part of the nineteenth century, Rwanda was colonialized by Germany. During this period of approximately 15 years, Germans elevated the Tutsi tribe (as being more Caucasian) by giving them the best education and jobs, while causing a class-system and rift between the native Tutsi and Hutu people groups. At the end of World War II, the country was given to Belgium who continued to exploit this division and govern Rwanda for approximately 40 years before the Rwandans kicked them out.

Rwanda became an independent nation in 1962, but the relational damage had already been done among the nation’s first people groups, the uncertainty about the country’s future, and the struggle for power is what climaxed in the 1994 genocide. This genocide began with Rwandans, and because of the lack of international involvement, it ended with Rwandans.

Over the past 22 years, Rwandans have led their country, instituted a democracy, charted their path to economic freedom, and have pursued reconciliation and justice. Rwanda is now a country led by Rwandans, and Africa New Life is a ministry led by Rwandans.

Continue reading at Missio Alliance.

Letter to Your Younger Self

A portion of the Greatest Commandment is for us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. If we read the statement again, we will see that the assumption Jesus is making is that we already love ourselves. On some level that is most certainly true for each of us. On another level, however, we can observe when people don’t love themselves well. This is evident when a person can’t cultivate or maintain healthy or long-lasting relationships, or if they struggle with honesty. It may be observed by a person who is a gossiper, or someone who constantly compares themselves to others. If we canvas the world of entertainment and celebrity, this self-loathing is apparent when people are constantly changing, monitoring their appearance, or getting surgeries to make themselves be something they are not. And there we observe. We cannot love what we don’t see, and we must learn to see beyond the physical or what is only evident on the outside.

If we really want to love ourselves, we must regularly take inventory of our inner person—what is happening in the innermost parts of our minds and hearts, and how God is shaping and changing us through time and space. Self-reflection is an important leadership practice. It is also a means of monitoring our course—whether or not we maintain focus and continue in the pursuit of our lives’ purpose. Personal reflection is a discipline to cultivate because it also brings us to a place of thanksgiving and causes us to glorify God.

Continue reading “Letter to Your Younger Self”