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How I learned to stop worrying and love discussing race by Jay Smooth.

(TedxTalk) “We deal with race and prejudice with this all or nothing, good person/bad person binary in which either you are racist or you are not racist. As if everyone is either batting a thousand or striking out every at bat. And this puts us in a situation where we’re striving to meet an impossible standard. It means any suggestion that you’ve made a mistake, any suggestion that you’ve been less than perfect, is a suggestion that you’re a bad person.”

What white people need to learn by Mary Alice Daniel.

“Whiteness was never about skin color or a natural inclination to stand on one’s own; it was designed to racialize power and conveniently dehumanize outsiders and the enslaved. It has always been a calculated game with very real economic motivations and benefits.”

To the (Probably White) person who says it shouldn’t be about race by Jelani Greenidge.

“When you say you don’t want to talk about race, you are, intentionally or not, implying that this history is irrelevant to the current state of affairs. This is not only logically inconsistent, but from my vantage point, personally offensive.”

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Why I don’t go to church very often, a follow up blog by Donald Miller.

“I’d say half of the most impactful people I know, who love Jesus and tear up at the mention of His name, who reach out to the poor and lonely and are fundamentally sound in their theology, who create institutions that feed hundreds of thousands, do not attend a traditional church service. Many of them even speak at churches, but they have no home church and don’t long for one. They aren’t wired to be intimate with God by attending a lecture and hearing singing (which there is NOTHING wrong with) they are wired to experience God by working with Him.”

One-dimensional stories by Marilyn Gardner.  

“The one-dimensional stories consolidated into 140 characters and labeled #SochiProblems display a troubling ethnocentrism, failing to give valid critique and thoughtful response to a city and an entire country.”

Omaha! Omaha? by Kyle.

“A tale of two cities. I found myself momentarily perplexed after reading two separate articles about the same city. Omaha, NE was featured in an International Business Times online newspaper as, “…The Most Dangerous Place in America To Be Black“…  Strangely, as I was thinking about this article my wife brought to my attention another article about Omaha, Nebraska. The following article written by David Cross of Movoto. The article is entitled, “The 10 Best Cities to Raise a Family in America“. This was going to be interesting…  It is important to remember that there are human beings dying on the streets of mid western and east coast cities. The problem with Omaha is that both articles are true. We simply need to determine whose reality are we talking about.”

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Anchorman Christianity by Erik Parker.

“I have seen many churches trying anything to get people to stay, to come back, to be seen. These efforts have resulted in a trend that I have been trying to name, and I have finally come up with something: Anchorman Christianity.”

I hate when I look racist by Nathan Roberts.

“I hate when I say or do something racist. I hate even looking like a racist. I hate it when I use a hurtful pronoun to describe a minority group….I hate it when my ignorance shows through….And I hate when I freeze because I don’t know what to do when other white people say something racist.”

Shit happens and other theological bumper stickers by Kelsey Munger.

“Why do bad things happen? I used to be the girl with all the one-line answers, but now the honest truth is that I don’t know. And I suspect the answers are more complex and messier than we might like them to be.”

Am I a bad mother or did Africa run out of shoes? by Rachel Pieh Jones.

“But may I never make the conceited choice of masking my parenting weaknesses behind living in the developing world, may I never make the selfish choice of blaming my failure to do something for my family on my expatriate status. May I never choose to say ‘Africa has run out of shoes’ so that I will look like a better mother. And maybe, if I learn to speak more wisely and accurately, I can help begin a small trickle of change. Maybe people will begin to see Africa not as a continent of lack but of beauty and strength and power and growth.”

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Interracial Relationships that made History by PBS Black Culture Connection.

America’s Growing Religious Diversity by Emily Fetcsh.

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Dear ‘Merica: A Lament.

“These days, I lament how frequently I hear this story of us vs. them – a story that says everyone needs to be just-like-us-or-get-the-hell-out; a story that forgets that most of us were immigrants-learning-English ourselves not too long ago; a story that demonizes the other side without ever actually getting to know them.”

Why toys need to reflect racial diversity (Here’s lookin’ at you, Lego!).

“As we’ve raised biracial children, we’ve searched long and hard for toys and books that reflect a wide variety of experiences, backgrounds and perspectives. It hasn’t always been an easy or successful effort, but it’s been an important way we affirm this piece of our children’s identity. As a result, while a few may view such a petition as ‘silly’, I view it as yet another small step toward leveling the playing field in our broken racial history, and an opportunity to tell a new story to our children.”

4.5 tips to help white people talk about race

“One of the most common reasons I hear white people say they don’t talk about race is fear of saying the wrong thing. I know many, many people who don’t want to be offensive, but who also simply have no idea how to have a conversation on race because they’ve never had one. They may care deeply, but without experience or understanding of race in their own lives, they bumble through such conversations, hoping for the best but not really knowing if they’re helping or hurting.”

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The-best-ones-in-January

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Explaining white privilege to a broke white person by Gina Crossly-Corcoran.  “So when that feminist told me I had ‘white privilege,’ I told her that my skin didn’t do shit to prevent me from experiencing poverty.  Then, like any good, educated feminist, she directed me to Peggy McIntosh’s 1988 now-famous piece, “White privilege: unpacking the invisible knapsack.”

The ugly, fascinating history of the word racism by Gene Denby.  “Racism remains a force of enormous consequence in American life, yet no one can be accused of perpetrating it without a kicking up a grand fight. No one ever says, “Yeah, I was a little bit racist. I’m sorry.” That’s in part because racists, in our cultural conversations, have become inhuman. They’re fairy-tale villains, and thus can’t be real.”

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Ten reasons parents should read multicultural books to kids by Meera Sriram.  “Yet none of the books on display mirrored this heterogeneity around me. I stood there and wished books for children were much more eclectic and flavorful. I wished more books had stories in which I saw someone like the woman at the train table. Most of all, I wished these books were mainstream—powerful, influential and easily accessible.”

An open letter to my nieces by a laugh of recognition.  “There are so many things I want to tell you now, but you’re only 2 and almost 4, and we all know that the only things you want to hear from me right now are:  1) Yes, you can eat macaroni and cheese for every meal, chased with chocolate milk and ice cream for dessert. 2) Of course you can have as many puppies as you want. And they can sleep in bed with you.”

Growing up between worlds: Who am I? by Christie Wilkin.  “When my husband and I made the decision to move our family of six from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Melbourne four years ago, it never occurred to us that our biggest dilemma would ultimately prove to be moving them all back home again.”

The things teenagers leave behind by Rachel Pieh Jones.  “My teenagers don’t live at home anymore and every time they go back to boarding school, every time they check-in under the Kenya Airways sign at the airport, I think, “How can something that is so good for them hurt me so deeply I can’t breathe?””

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Outlawed grief, a curse disguised by Jonathan Trotter.  “Living abroad is an amazing adventure, but it comes with some baggage. And sometimes, the baggage fees are hidden, catching you by surprise, costing more than you planned. You thought you had it all weighed out, you could handle this, squeeze right under the limit. But then it got heavy.”

The Fortress by Rachel Held Evans. “Sometimes I think we are less afraid of a powerful God than a vulnerable one.”

Evangelical drama needs mainline experience by Erik Parker.  “All Christians in North America, if they are paying attention, are forced to watch the Evangelical tribe as it rumbles and quakes about whatever is the issue of the day is. And I cannot help but see it all as some grandiose high school drama.”

Do it afraid by Tara Livesay.  “Fear. The real F word. Keeps us from trusting. Keeps us from risking. Keeps us from healing. Keeps us trapped. Keeps us from doing. It tells us lies: You are not good enough. It will be too hard for you. You will fail. It will be too painful. You cannot do it. You are alone.”

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How I rediscovered faith by Malcolm Gladwell.  “Their daughter was murdered. And the first thing the Derksens did was to stand up at the press conference and talk about the path to forgiveness. “We would like to know who the person or persons are so we could share, hopefully, a love that seems to be missing in these people’s lives.”

How to get through the dark places by Anne Voskamp.  “The accepted way professional runners approached the race was to run 18 hours, sleep 6, for 7 days straight. But Cliff Young didn’t know that. He didn’t know the accepted way. He only knew what he did regularly back home, the way he had always done it: You run through the dark.”

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Airplane travel gives me gas by Rachel Pieh Jones.  “This is a post about air travel and gas, like stomach gas. And about air travel and crusty boogers. Air travel and stinky socks. Air travel and morning breath all day long. Air travel and a face so greasy-shiny my forehead is practically a mirror.”

It’s enough to make you cancel your reservations: Actual complaints from Thomas Cook clients.  “8. “No-one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared.”

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The names they gave me by Tasbeeh Herwees.  “When I say my name, it feels like redemption. I have never said it this way before. Tasbeeh. He repeats it back to me several times until he’s got it. It is difficult for his American tongue. His has none of the strength, none of the force of my mother’s. But he gets it, eventually, and it sounds beautiful. I have never heard it sound so beautiful. I have never felt so deserving of a name. My name feels like a crown.”

These 14 response to hatred show that humans sometimes do get it right.  “Whether based on religion, race, nationality or sexuality, overcoming the made-up rivalries society thrusts upon us takes people with strong will, especially in the face of peer and societal pressures. And yet, humans are always capable of surprising us. In these cases, they rose above the prejudice and the hate and decided that some things are just wrong.”

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4 reasons white people need to talk about race.  “This cannot be a discussion of tit-for-tat, of accusations and defensives, and as members of the dominant majority, we need to lead the conversation first with humility and compassion.  We can not let go until we know what it is that we’re holding onto.”

4 reasons white people don’t talk about race.  “We can’t simply will ignorance away. If we want to increase our understanding, we have to do something about it.”

9 ways to help children develop global awareness.  “Since my husband spent half of his childhood in a developing country at war and the majority of his family still lives there, we were especially keen to help our children growing up amidst privilege understand these realities more deeply. We’ve made attempts at this in a variety of ways, hoping that a few of them will stick.”

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Top-posts-of-2013

Here’s a recap of the most popular posts on Between Worlds this year…

10.  Intercultural marriage: A model of reconciliation

9.  What my grandpa knew

8.  When even Jesus is white

7.  What I do wrong with race: Confessions from a white woman

6.  That time when white people talked about being white

5.  Iceberg Concept of Culture

4.  Dear white man:

3.  10 reasons I’m reading Harry Potter to my children

2.  Bridge building

1.  When white people don’t know they’re being white

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While these posts weren’t as widely read, they reflect some of my personal favorite moments of 2014:

Wishing you all the meaningful and joyous New Year,

Jody

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Dear kids: What you need to know about Duck Dynasty, Justine Sacco, and Christmas by Ann Voskamp. “Whoever said sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you? Was dead wrong. Ask a bearded guy from Louisiana or a tweeting PR exec en route to Africa to comment on that. Don’t ever forget it, kids: There is nothing more explosive than words.”

Me and the oldborn king by John Blase.  A beautiful poem about the steady pursuit of God.

Rethinking the nativity by Rachel Pieh Jones.  “We want to make the birth of Jesus as hard as possible, as cold and lonely and desperate and painful as possible. Why? Is it because we can’t grasp the infinite coldness, loneliness, desperation, and pain of what the incarnation truly meant? We wrap it up in dirty clothes and stinking animals, in physical loneliness and fear. Is our feeble attempt at re-imagining the Christmas story our way of trying to understand, to put images and emotions to something so powerfully and deeply beyond our comprehension? To bring the miracle of God-made-flesh into our realm of understanding?”

Christmas is cross-cultural by Christena Cleveland. “Our Christmas celebrations often turn us culturally-inward. We focus on our biological/cultural families, our traditions, and exchanging gifts with those inside our social circles. These things are great! But if we truly want to commemorate the Incarnation, we must turn culturally-outward. We must follow our great High Mentor – and leave our cultural enclaves in order to inhabit each other’s stories this Christmas.”

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Oh, Honey! Come Here, I think your privilege is showing by Osheta Moore.  “Since I wrote last on racism, privilege, and diversity, I’ve had several white bloggers, most of them happen to live or come from the South say to me, “I really want to talk about this but I don’t think I have the right to, I mean…I’m white”. To which I say, because you’re white, you need to talk about it.”

Father’s heartbreaking journey after losing his wife post childbirth.  “”I wanted to take this thing that happened to me, this really, really awful moment in my life, and turn it into something beautiful so that [Maddy] could look back and see the love story of my time with her mom. And my love story with her,” Matt says. “There’s two different love stories there.”

Guy brings his white girlfriend to a barber shop and gets hated on by eBaum’s World.  Watch this remarkable video on how people respond to racist statements about an interracial couple.

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America’s longest-married couple to celebrate 81st anniversary.  Their secret?  “We have watched the world change together,” said John Betar. “The key is to always agree with your wife.”

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Dear Mandela, the only way I know how to walk now is long and free by Idelette McVicker.  “I can be, because Mandela has been. Strong, proud, wise, graciously forgiving, tenacious for freedom.”

On Nelson Mandela, Jesus, and Our Sanitized Stories by Hannah Heinzekehr.  “Nelson Mandela was a great man and a great leader. This is true. But as I watched all the coverage surrounding his life and death, something struck me. I was struck by how quickly we humans can tend to sanctify and sanitize a person and their story. I was not alone in this observation. Shortly after his death, The Daily Beast ran an article entitled, “Don’t Sanitize Nelson Mandela: He’s Honored Now, But Was Hated Then.”

10 Human Rights Activists who made 2013 a better year for humanity.  “Our beloved Nelson Mandela once said that, “A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination.” As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Human Rights Day today, let’s celebrate 10 individuals around the world who are living by Mandela’s words and helped make 2013 a better year for humanity.”

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Fox news host Megyn Kelly tells Kids: Jesus and Santa are both white guys.  No wonder my daughter thought even Jesus was white…too much Fox news for her? 😉

Call Jesus white? Expect a big fight by Edward J. Blum.  “All the chatter about Jesus being white (or not) shows how much America has changed. There used to be “whites’ only” restaurants and schoolrooms. Now, even Jesus cannot be called white without repercussions.”

Insisting Jesus was white is bad history and bad theology by Jonathan Merritt.  “If the Bible is silent on the matter of Jesus’ skin color, does it really matter that Megyn Kelly says Jesus is white? Yes, actually.”

Jon Stewart’s reaction = priceless.

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When even Jesus is white.  “Those blasted colonialist publishers who had to go and make Jesus look just like them – they were fully responsible for my child feeling on the outs.”

Dealing with anger in race relations. “I have often heard people of color express a similar anger toward the inequitable system that keeps racism alive and kicking, but living with my non-white family in a majority white setting made my experience with anger and race take a new turn. The longer we lived there, the harder it was for me to assume good-intentions when the bad-actions were so obvious. Over time, I grew angry with white-people myself.”

Iceberg concept of culture.  “In intercultural relationships, simply talking about some of the rules guiding the unspoken and unconscious rules of culture brings a new level of awareness in understanding how to relate to one another.”

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Living well where you don’t belong by Joann Pitman. “View everything as a privilege, not an entitlement. The American sense of entitlement is strong, and often not helpful when living cross-culturally.”

Identifying leaders who are culturally different than you by Christina Cleveland.  “It’s helpful to acknowledge that we all have preferences that can easily turn into biases that lead us to identify “greatness” in similar others and prevent us from seeing “greatness” in culturally different others.”

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That day a black girl saved a KKK member from an angry mob by Sarah Cunningham.  “Then a woman with a megaphone shouted, “There’s a Klansman in the crowd.”  They turned around to see a white, middle-aged man wearing a Confederate flag T-shirt. He tried to walk away from them, but the protesters, including Thomas, followed, “just to chase him out”. So the teenager, then still at high school, threw herself on top of a man she did not know and shielded him from the blows.

An open letter to my sisters in the suburbs by Osheta Moore.  “I’m so sorry for the social justice snobbery of my urban tribe that says, unless you put some “skin in the game” you’re not worthy to battle alongside us. Baby, I’ve seen your skinned knees when you pray for us. I’ve seen you crucifying excess and comfort to give to urban organizations. I’ve watched you wrestle with Jesus then hobble away with a softer heart and new name.”

On protecting the hole in your heart.  Video interviewing Sandy Hook parents.  Just go watch it – you may never forget their words.

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16 Things People couldn’t believe about American until they moved here by Michael Koh.  A few of my favorites:

  • A lot of couples adopt children, sometimes in spite of having their own, and treat them exactly like their own. (To me, this alone is a marker of a great people)
  • A name as common and as easy to pronounce as mine is almost invariably incomprehensible to most Americans.
  • My Russian in-laws were shocked when they found out that we get packages left on our doorstep and no one steals them.  They were also shocked by buffets. My father-in-law told everyone back in Moscow, “No, really! You just pay to enter!”
  • I … remember a Nigerian friend expounding on this by asking me, “If I woke you up in the middle of the night and asked you to come with me, what would you say?”  “I’d ask what was going on…”  “You see,” he said. “My friends from my village would come with me, and on the way would ask, ‘Ade, where are we going?’”

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Where did you get the idea you could raise a black child? by Curtis Rogers.  “This lady in the grocery store wasn’t the first African American to express concern over our adoption of this child.  We figured the first few situations were just isolated opinions.  It was now clear that the opinions were not isolated. The questions the lady in the store asked had me confused.  She wasn’t just questioning our ability to parent an African American child, she was questioning our motives.  I shook off the urge to consider them rude and offensive.  That would have been easy.  Then I could just walk around being offended and not have to address the issues inside me that her questions triggered.  This was more important.”

Why I wouldn’t see 12 years a slave with a white person by Enuma Okoro.  “I have good, healthy friendships with a range of people, but I could not think of one white person where I live with whom I would feel emotionally safe enough to see this particular movie about slavery. I did not want to have to entertain any of the likely responses from anyone who could not see themselves in the skin of the enslaved men and women on the screen. I had no desire to dissect the film politically and theologically, engage in well-meaning social commentary, marvel at the history conveyed through the movie, or grieve over what was done to black people.”

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Studying Chinese to reach his parents by Patrick Marion Bradley.  “Daniel was born in Brooklyn to Chinese immigrant parents. When he was a toddler, his parents sent him to China to live with his grandparents as the young couple tried to settle into stable working conditions stateside. Neither his grandparents nor his parents spoke any English and — to this day — they still really don’t.”

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How Mr. Rogers said farewell by Elephant Journal.  “I like you just the way you are.”  Also read these great facts about Mr. Rogers.

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When white people don’t know they’re being white.  “We want to say that everything that happens in church is about Jesus, but it’s simply not.  There’s a whole lot of culture and power and history and social structure in there as well.  Until we acknowledge how these realities shape our thinking, we’re going nowhere.”

10 Reasons I’m reading Harry Potter to my children.  “#3. It inspires wonder. Let’s face it, flying on broomsticks playing quidditch outside a magical castle is pretty awe-inspiring to modern kids who ride around in mini-vans and play soccer all day. I don’t want my children limited to the confines of suburban cookie-cutter worlds – I want them to forge creativity, to imagine possibilities beyond their wildest hopes and dreams, to believe in something bigger than what they can actually see. This is how we grow better societies, and in the end, how we also find God.”

Recovering from graduate school atrophy.  “By the time he finished, his mind had grown large, but the rest of his body could barely keep itself upright. We drug ourselves to the finish line and when it was over, just sat there staring at each other for awhile. We didn’t even have the energy to cheer we were so tired. It was, in all senses, a paradox of atrophy and growth. While we grew strong in some areas, we weakened in others. Most days were push-through-and-make-it-out-alive instead of breathe-deep-and-relish-the-moment.”

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Sometimes I wish I were white by Osheta Moore.  “When I was a little girl and couldn’t fall asleep, I would play an imaginary game where I’d have one wish, any wish granted by a magical elf. On those nights, I’d lay in my bed feeling invisible under the cloak of darkness, and whisper, “I wish were I white.”

Hidden assumptions and minorities burdens by Sam Tsang.  “The surprising number of close friends who did not talk to me but quietly left the friendship circle is shocking. Whatever the reason for an abrupt breakage of friendship, they had preferred to side with their sub-group (privileged whites) over our journey as friends together. No matter what their intention is, their action showed that identity with a subgroup is more important than long-term individual relationship.”

The Asian-American Awakening: That moment when you realize you’re not white by Connie Zhou.  “Being Asian-American has always been a difficult part of me. I was (and am) proud of my heritage and how far my parents have come, but I had a hard time feeling as if I belonged somewhere. Experiencing first hand segregation and racism has made me despise my race for many years. I was trapped between two worlds.”

Westbank garden of teargas cannisters in pictures.  “The Palestinian residents of Bilin have come up with a novel use for the teargas canisters left over from clashes with Israeli soldiers.”

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MamaHope’s video campaign to Stop the pity and unlock the potential of those living in poverty.  “Build the future, not a stereotype.”

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Open letter to the evangelical church: I am not your punchline by Kathy Khang.  “When the Church uses bits and pieces of “my” culture – the way my parents speak English (or the way majority culture people interpret the way my parents speak English) or the way I look (or the way the majority culture would reproduce what they think I look like) – for laughs and giggles, it’s not simply a weak attempt at humor. It’s wrong. It’s hurtful.”

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How to land your kid in therapy by Lori Gottlieb.  “underlying all this parental angst is the hopeful belief that if we just make the right choices, that if we just do things a certain way, our kids will turn out to be not just happy adults, but adults that make us happy.”

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In which identity can’t be found in the accusations – or the accolades by Sarah Bessey.  “Here is the thing about standing up: some people would rather if you sat back down. People prefer status quo. Boat-rockers make us nervous. Just like people in the wilderness wearing camel hair coats and eating locusts with a side of honey disrupt us, people who think Jesus actually meant all that stuff he said don’t fit in anywhere. But I won’t sit down. I won’t back down. I won’t be silenced simply because I’m not perfect. My only prayer now is that my weakness shows the strength of Christ and his Kingdom.”

When rich westerners don’t know they’re being rich westerners by Rachel Pieh Jones.  “I am not surprised by, but continue to be disappointed in, the western attitude toward the developing world. It is an attitude I see often, though not exclusively, among Christians. It is an attitude of superiority, a god-complex. An attitude that communicates an underlying assumption, intentionally or not, that the rich westerner is the one with power and authority and agency. As this is communicated, of course the opposite is communicated as well. The local person is weak, a victim, and helpless. The rich westerner must charge in to fix things, build things, challenge the status quo.”

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“Don’t try to win over the haters.  You are not a jackass whisperer.” – Brene Brown.

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10 marriage reality checks by Rachel Held Evans.  “Myth #2:  Never go to bed angry. Reality Check: 3 a.m. is not the best time to sort out your feelings.”

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Christopher Columbus was awful (this other guy was not) by The Oatmeal.  “Christopher Columbus was awful.  He discovered the New World much like a meteorite discovered the dinosaurs. And good ole’ Christopher Columbus, sex slaver, mass murdered, and champion of sociopathic imperialism has his own federal holiday.”

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Malcolm Gladwell on his return to faith while writing ‘David and Goliath’ by Sarah Pulliam Bailey.  “The theme of the book is that much of what is beautiful and powerful in the world comes from adversity and struggle. The other theme is that people who appear to have no material advantage are much more powerful than they appear.”

Replacing Sunday Mornings: Where we went when we stopped going to church, and why we came back by Addie Zimmerman.  “So we started sleeping in on Sunday mornings. We went to the farmers market and bought good things straight from the earth. We drank our morning coffee at small café tables outside, and people walked by with their dogs at a slow, Sunday-morning pace. It felt more like rest to us than those chaotic church mornings, when we moved through the loud small talk of the church foyer and felt invisible.”

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Ann Voskamp, Tim Challies, Beth Moore: Dinner and a Defense of Earnestness by Micha Boyett.  “While many bloggers (myself included) tweeted angrily about Challies’s dismissive judgment of the entire Roman Catholic Church, Voskamp responded with a post of her own, defending her book and its biblical foundation. She did not back down and still she wrote with kindness and a grateful spirit. And then she sent Challies an e-mail inviting his family to dinner.”

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1.  When white people don’t know they’re being white

This is sometimes called the “white savior” mentality; and it is far too prevalent and accepted in the American evangelical church. Without words, it communicates that the white people are better, smarter, more capable to hold the power strings.  It is one of the tragedies built by the empire of colonialism that none of us want to face.

We didn’t do it, right?  

That’s not our story.  

My family didn’t own slaves.

But we still benefit.  The system is set up for us, and gives us power without us even having to ask for it.  

We can be white without even knowing we’re white.  

2.  Dear White man:

Sometimes, I say things that might make you squirm a little.  And other times, they seem to make you downright angry. Yours is a story of dominance, of disrespecting and denying others’ rights and conquering those who are inconvenient to you.   I know you well, and imagine that it can’t be easy to carry such a heavy load on your shoulders.  You are not alone in your burden.  Indeed, others from a variety of cultures and races and histories have told this story sometimes even more brutally than you.

3.  10 Reasons I’m reading Harry Potter to my children

At first, I was a bit hesitant, wondering if the evil, the battle, the fear that rages in the story of good vs. evil would be too much for them.  But as we read, I grew more convinced that this was more than an entertaining story, it was food for their souls.

Here was a way we could dialog over issues of evil, of injustice, of fear.  Here we could explore the complex realities of relationships, emotional scars, power structures, and even political systems in ways that they could actually understand.  Mention the United Nation’s peace efforts and their eyes cross, but bring up Umbridge taking over Hogwarts and they’re suddenly rabid activists for peace and justice.

Comments were so prolific this month that they get their own section.  Thanks, readers, for thoughtful and engaging discussion!

The-comment-that-felt-like-a-big-ole-hug

“As a 40-something black woman, I just plain get pissed when white people dismiss me and treat me in the ways that they think they hide so well (ya’ll don’t, I’m just saying)…

I am Martin and I am Malcolm. There is a dichotomy in me – I am patient, kind, loving and willing to spend a few days in jail and write some letters to prove a point. There’s also the “By Any Means Necessary” Black American Patriot who expects white folks to live up to the best of American ideals- liberty, justice, freedom- and won’t accept anything less.

Ya’ll ain’t ready for me so you need to listen to her. Seriously.” – thatdeborahgirl

The-comment-with-the-best-insight

“I noticed something was missing, though, and it’s something important… when humility does bring up statements such as “I’m so sorry this hurts you. How can I walk alongside you in this?”, one thing that needs to be considered is that humility also prepares you for when those folks asked that question dont want to answer or dont want you present… THEY have that agency, so we’ve gotta prepare ourselves to be OK with them trying to tell us we may not be welcome in their space/they may not feel like educating us/we may be perceived by them as intruders, and that it’s OK for them to feel that way.

You give a fantastic sense of hope in this article, but without that key piece MUCH good work could be undone if people were to reach out and not understand why they may feel rebuffed at times, or if they were to react poorly should their question be answered in an unexpected way. We need to remember that while we can strive to understand, we dont have an inherent right to understand their sense of agency nor override their agency or voice in our own struggle to know where it comes from.” – Bonzafe Bon Oungan

The-comment-that-repeats-itself-incessantly

“I am tired of this guilty conscience mentality that people are trying to push onto “white” people.” – Joseph

The-comment-that-made-me-want-to-put-my-head-through-the-wall

“Part of the problem, I think (in America, at least), is the willingness of the minorities to KEEP themselves segregated.” – Chris Pavona

The-comment-that-responded-to-this-more-patiently-than-I-had-the-strength-to-muster

Why don’t blacks integrate?
I do think that there are some black people who prefer to integrate, usually the older generation that grew up in the segregated south. Historically it was white people not black people that created this voluntary segregation (look up White Flight). I myself grew up in a neighborhood which in the late 70s was a white area but when I was growing up in the 90s was black. The segregation was caused by whites moving out in the 80s as blacks moved in, and it has continued to be a black area. A lot of blacks move into my neighborhood as its the cheapest out of the DC suburbs, and many whites prefer to pay more to live in more white areas. Personally, I sadly think this is still the racist mentality that whites are good and blacks are bad, so for a black family that moves to a white neighborhood they see as moving up but for a white family to move to a black neighborhood means that there downgrading. Then when more than one black family moved into the neighborhood, the neighborhood is going down all white people move out.

Why do we maintain HBCs? We don’t have any HWCs…
We do have HWCs we just don’t call them that, in fact that was why HBCs were created so that Blacks would be able to go college. Now if you’re next question is about the lack of diversity of HBCs, its just a common myth that you have to be black to attend one, its open to all races. I believe there are about 2 HBCs that have a predominantly white enrollment and even at the most famous HBCs (Howard, Hampton) they do have some non-black enrollment (mostly international, though). by Whitney

The-comment-that-showed-a-lot-of-humility

“Being a hipster white male in his late twenties, I can totally relate to this article. It is well put. Thank you for raising the flag…

In my youthful days though, I had concluded in my White-Christian mind that all those (passive-) aggressive Indonesians and blacks needed to repent from their anger and that me quietly ‘forgiving’ them was the way to balance out the evil in the world. I would look at my WWJD bracelet and smile, all self-indulged.

It has been not too long ago that I feel that I need to take ownership of this white heritage and your article inspired me again. Thanks.” by Jobke

The-comment-that-disagreed-with-civility

“I, personally, have no problem with [the video] for two reasons: the first is that he is the man who wrote the song, and the second is that “white males” have, as you’ve specifically mentioned, been in a dominant cultural position in the United States. Therefore, by being a white male and also the man who is currently singing the song, he is representing our own dominant cultural group, as everyone else who is singing is also doing. (I also have a feeling that they’re not looking only for males, but I can’t say more than that on the male/female matter) Plus, if he weren’t leading the song, I have a feeling that a majority of the people listening to the song wouldn’t be able to connect with what was being said due to a language barrier. (I wouldn’t want them to make the individuals present speak in English, because that would exert cultural dominance over them.) I, personally, think this great video is a good example of “white humility”, because it acknowledges that other cultures are out there, interesting, important to us, and that we are concerned for their well-being.” – Jared McMillan