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Listening to the Marginalized

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I’m super excited to share my latest post with you all because it is has to do with a topic I’m passionate about. Not only do I love listening to people share their stories and their lives (I do this for a living as a coach), but I love encouraging others to listen. During my time at Jacob’s Well I had the privilege of listening to a lot of different voices and am so thankful for them all. This is a great opportunity for all of us to listen at the margins.  The following is an introduction to a post that is on Momentum (a blog I regularly write for), as well as, a blog that I’m so glad I discovered: Do Justice.

As people, we naturally gravitate toward those similar to ourselves. It’s simple, easy and it’s comfortable. We gain friendship, empathy and encouragement from such relationships but a problem ensues when we solely hang around those similar to us – we end up only listening to like-minded voices.

We often don’t realize how enveloped we are in like-mindedness until our beliefs are challenged in an abrupt fashion. Perhaps we see a tweet that jars us or a guest preacher stirs something up at church. “What? People believe that!” or “I have never heard scripture interpreted that way!” We are forced to deal with the dissonance that sometimes comes with new ideas.

Keep reading here or here (triple post!)

 

 

A Better Way to Dialogue

Event

I’m excited to announce that I am hosting a workshop put on by New Direction (no, not One Direction you teeny boppers!).  New Direction Ministries is an organization out of Ontario whose mission is: Nurturing safe and spacious places for sexual minority persons to explore and grow in faith in Jesus Christ.

The workshop is called Generous Spaciousness.  Wendy Gritter, the Executive Director of New Direction and the leader of the workshop. The following few paragraphs are her own description of the workshop:  Generous Spaciousness cultivates a posture of dialogue centered around the core values of humility, hospitality, mutuality and justice.  Generous spaciousness is a way of being together that helps followers of Christ navigate contentious issues on which we have diverse perspectives.

Questions around the appropriate path of discipleship for sexual minority persons is one such matter that Christians are divided on – and one that invites us to work together to experience a sense of unity in our diversity.

The introduction of generous spaciousness into these conversations helps us to prioritize our love for one another, our commitment to honour one another’s consciences, and our concern for a life-giving witness in our contexts.

More details:  We will be led through a Christ-centered calling into generous spaciousness.  There will be a time for Q & R and then the opportunity for dialogue where we can listen deeply to one another and share our stories, experiences, and reflections to move forward with hope-filled commitment to Christ and to each other.

Full disclosure from ME:  I need to go to this because I need to learn how to be more gracious with people who have differing opinions from me (which is probably most of my own church). When I first heard about New Direction my honest reaction was HURRY UP! We don’t have time for this discussion – the way the church is responding to the LGBT community is RUINING the church and any hope of welcoming anyone new  – straight, gay and everyone in between. We need to wake up, be more Christ-like and welcome ALL people in! Then I went to one of Wendy’s workshops for church leaders a few years ago and saw the fruitfulness of this kind of discussion.  For me it is was a great place to start and a harsh reality check about where (most of) the church is today. It is a way for me to learn to have the conversation with people who I deeply disagree with (and who deeply disagree with me). I want to be more gracious in my discussions around this very difficult topic and New Direction has taught me a lot about this. Regardless of your views, you are welcome to attend.

Please join us!

Wednesday Oct 30th 7-9pm

Grandview Calvary Baptist Church 1803 East First Ave Vancouver, BC.

You can even add it to your calendar here: invite

Will You Walk With Us?

Blog

Here in Vancouver it is hard not to think about the history of Residential Schools in Canada this week. Without attempting to recap the history in a short blog post as I will share the 2 facts that can’t escape my mind:

*Over 150,000 children (as young as 4 years old) attended the schools, most were taken away from their families and housed apart from their siblings.

*The last Residential School did not close until 1996.  Yes, you read that correctly, 1996.

Like so many historic atrocities, we can barely look back because we feel so hopeless and helpless. What can we do now? “I didn’t have anything to do with the schools!” is a common and easy way to respond. Right, yes, most of us didn’t. But we canacknowledge and confess the sins of humanity, of the church and of our ancestors. We can lament the tragedy. We can all out to God on behalf of the thousands that still hurt as a result of those schools. We can learn today what we should have been taught for years and we can teach our own children what we now know.

On our walk home from church last week my 5 year old told me that “sometimes you have to say sorry even if you didn’t do anything wrong.” He learned that in a Sunday School lesson during Reconciliation Week. I was so thankful that our church is not ignoring or avoiding such a hard topic, especially one that so deeply (and negatively) involves the church and its people. Of course we are not perfect but teaching our kids about reconciliation through the stories of Residential schools is a powerful place to start.

We can further that lesson by teaching our children how we are often benefitting from the oppression of others and how we can take steps to live in ways that don’t harm others. We can teach them to fight for justice and stand with those who are oppressed.

What else can we do to ensure they will learn? Kids learn by doing. My kids will be walking in the New Way Forward: Walk for Reconciliation with my husband and I and many of our friends this Sunday. My prayer is that when my kids see friends from church, school, t-ball, and from the neighbourhood walking with their families they will remember that day.  My prayer is that when we arrive with thousands and thousands of others, something will stick. My prayer is that we will all remember. A day when we heard the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. address us; a day when we walked together in solidarity and in remembrance; a day when we said sorry; a day when we acknowledged the pains of the past and our hope for the future. Will you walk with us?

There are events all week long here and here.

For more resources for learning you can go here.

For a Reconciliation Week Art Show by Cree Artist Ovide Bighetty please stop by First Christian Reformed Church Wednesdays 6:30-8:30pm or Sundays 1145-1:45pm through Sept 23. Below is Bighetty’s painting, “Because He Lives.”