There is a Crisis Happening at our Border

I am a black mother of a black child in America, and that means that I carry an abnormal desire not only to ensure my child’s safety but to actively pursue and defend it. I learned this from my ancestors. From the time I was a child, I’ve been made aware of this burden.

 

Harlem Renaissance poet, Langston Hughes, informed us in his poem, “Mother to Son,”

 

Well, son, I’ll tell you:

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

It’s had tacks in it,

And splinters,

And boards torn up,

And places with no carpet on the floor—

Bare,

But all the time

I’se been a-climbin’ on,

And reachin’ landin’s,

And turnin’ corners,

And sometimes goinn’ in the dark

Where there ain’t been no light.[1]

 

This is a narrative of a woman who is not wanted in her country, and yet she wants the best for her son. She tells him that in spite of her reality and the ever-present darkness in her life, he must keep going, he must not turn back, he must not fall, and he must continue to climb higher.

 

She keeps climbing because she wants a better life for herself and her son. That’s what all decent humans want for their offspring, a better life and the opportunity to keep climbing in spite of the darkness.

biracial children

As I reflect on this artistic work, I am reminded of the human need and desire to survive. I am also heartbroken by the mothers who have similar words to say to their children, but maybe now they are saying it with a little less hope or maybe their children can no longer hear their voices at all because they have been separated.

Continue reading at Missio Alliance.

[1] Langston Hughes, “Mother to Son” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by The Estate of Langston Hughes. Poetry Foundation. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47559/mother-to-son

Cultural Competence in the Church

I am so excited to continue my three-part mini-series at Missio Alliance discussing topics that are trending in the church! In today’s piece, I address the issue of cultural competence.

Cultural Competence and the Church

In this three part mini-series, we are considering this question: Is the Church leading the world, or is the world leading the Church? We are also confronting some of the distractions and inward fighting that prevents the whole church from being effective leaders in a culture and world that is dying. Part I of this mini-series confronted the theological and practical challenges we face regarding women and leadership. Today, we turn our attention to consider what it means to be the people of God in our diverse American cultural context.

Most would affirm that “good Christian folks” are not racist—that they do not hate people who are of a different race or ethnicity than them. Whether or not we show partiality, blindness, or indifference to the privilege, threats, or challenges of those who are culturally different than us is another consideration entirely. Since our political, economic, and social loyalties are most evident during times of heightened tension, it is these crucial moments that truly reveal the nature of our hearts and the credibility of the gospel. Can the church lead the world to a better place of cultural competence and understanding?

That’s what was on my mind as I sat in my pastor’s office a few years ago to interview him for a seminary assignment. He is white and old enough to be my dad. During the course of our conversation he asked: “Do you think racism still exists in our country?” As an African-American woman, I responded, “I don’t think. I know it does.”

Continue Reading at Missio Alliance.

 

HOT TOPIC: Immigration Reform: What Christians Need to Know

IMMIGRATION

With media sound bites, misinformed conversations, and sometimes inappropriate preached rhetoric, it is imperative that Christians educate themselves on the immigration reform debate.

And I charged your judges at that time: Hear the disputes between your brothers and judge fairly, whether the case is between brother Israelites or between one of them and an alien. Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Deut 1:16-17a NIV

In July, President Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion to confront the issue of unaccompanied children crossing the border into Texas from Central America. World Relief predicts that 60,000 unaccompanied children are expected to cross the border this year alone. That is just the latest news concerning “illegal” immigration in our country.

Over the past few decades, immigration and immigration reform have been one of the most challenging political issues. With the media sound bites, our misinformed table conversations, and sometimes inappropriate rhetoric that we hear from the pulpit, it is imperative that all professing Christians become more educated on this critical humanitarian issue. Together, we must determine how the Bible might call us to respond to this issue not only as citizens of America, but rather as citizens of God’s kingdom.

At first glance, it may appear that immigration reform is simply a question of border crossings and national security. However, a closer look reveals that it is also a conversation about extreme poverty, greed (including exploitation and economic injustice), violence, a broken judicial system (at least concerning this issue), and human trafficking. In spite of this reality, immigration reform has stalled in this Congress, and therefore, will be a highly contested issue of the next political elections.

Continue reading at UrbanFaith.