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

Is Learning from Women Essential for Pastoral Competence?

Woman teacher

Like so many others, I’ve listened to Pastor John Piper’s statement that women should not be allowed to teach at seminaries because they would assume a pastoral position of authority above men who are being trained to pastor. Buried within his response is the statement,

The issue, as always, is not the competence of women teachers or intelligence or knowledge or pedagogical skill. It’s never competence!

I believe that competence is an important issue of consideration in the home, church, and seminary leadership. For that wisdom, we need to look to our most competent head of the church, the pastor and high priest, Jesus, who models the seminary teaching office for everyone.

Continue reading at Missio Alliance.

What Does Church Hospitality Look Like?

There is an old cereal commercial that begins by panning across a field of tall stalks of golden wheat. The viewers then see an image of a large family house and an intimate group of people running through the wheat fields to the home. Before the commercial ends, the narrator reminds us, “If you feed them, they will come.”

I have thought about this commercial many times. As I survey the Gospels, I am constantly reminded of the various ways that Jesus shared food, broke bread and simply was hospitable to those in need of compassion and companionship. This is the mark of Christianity. Indeed, this is what it looks like to make disciples of Jesus. You welcome people to a table, to be present with you and the Father. You break bread together, and you eat the Word of God.

Our suffering servant Jesus goes beyond the miraculous work of feeding the 4,000 and the 5,000, plus more of their companions. Yes, he can create something out of nothing. Yes, he can fill us until we are all satisfied. And yes, there can still be so much more left to give.

Hospitality

Continue Reading at Outreach Magazine.

I am so honored to serve as a regular contributor to Outreach Magazine. They are an invaluable resource to pastors and church leaders. You can read and subscribe at their official website.