Untangling Gnarled Roots: Recognizing My White Privilege

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The conversation around race is hard. To have it each of us has to be willing to challenge our own assumptions about the world, to see life through another's eyes. The beautiful thing about Jesus is that he is always asking us to challenge our own assumptions, to see the world with the eyes of mercy and justice and compassion. Jesus always asks us to be uncomfortable, to hurt with those who hurt.

This is a story I've always been intimidated to write about before, but it's time. Today I'm over at Off the Page, sharing how I came to a place of acknowledging my own white privilege, how my eyes were opened to racism's long, hairy roots.

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Molly and I sat at the round laminate table that had been my great-grandmother’s in the eighties. I’d been home from my month-long trip to Kenya and South Africa for one day, and we were doing what we always did in that year post-college: eating our feelings in burritos. She was my best friend in the world.

I’d collected a thousand thoughts for her in my journal, prepared to explain each story, to tell her each wild idea of God I’d consumed in my graduate African Cultures and Religions class, and share the names of the people I’d met in South Africa whose faith had given them courage to fight for justice, to put an end to Apartheid.

But I was mostly silent. We stuck chips in guacamole.

She stared at me across the table. “You seem older,” she said. “Sadder.” And I knew it was true—forever. I could never go back.


Read the rest over at Off the Page today. I'd love to see you there!

On Feeding Imperfectly: Hard-earned Hospitality and Motherhood

Two posts in one week! I know, right? Today I'm over at Grace Table sharing about my long-journey into the kitchen and how--though I am not a natural cook--feeding my children has become a liturgy of grace in my life. Not all the good things we spend are lives doing come easy. In fact, plenty of them don't.

And still, on my son's "Top 10 Reasons I Love My Mom" list, my willingness to make him dinner was listed twice!

Here's a little preview.

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The Friday before Mother’s Day my second grader came home with a “Top 10 Reasons Why I Love My Mom” note in his hand, one he couldn’t wait until Sunday to give me.

This was one of those fill-in-the-blank, extra generic worksheets with cartoon illustrated smiling kids at the top, one of those pages of homework that will go into his bin of saved second-grade pictures and stories, one that serve as an artifact of a moment in time, when the child I’m raising wrote about the mother he knew more deeply than any other human on this earth, but only the me at this moment. Only the me who mothers him.

Some answers he got just right, exactly as I hope he’ll remember me. “I love my mom because she reads me Lord of the Rings,” number 10 says.  (I love myself for that, too.)

“I love my mom because she taught me how to read.” (Yes!)

“I love to hear my mom sing ReptillSong” (also known as “Reptile Song,” my own invention, thank you very much.)

And then there are the other answers. “I know my mom is smart because she knows multiplication.” (Ha! Of all the things that *might* make me smart, my math skills are not among them!)

“I know my mom cares because she makes dinner for me.”

“I love my mom because she works so hard at dinner.”

I'd love for you to read the rest at Grace Table. 

Reflections for Maundy Thursday

Descending Theology: The Garden

by Mary Karr

We know he was a man because, once doomed, he begged for reprieve. See him grieving on his rock under olive trees, his companions asleep on the hard ground around him wrapped in old hides. Not one stayed awake as he’d asked. That went through him like a sword. He wished with all his being to stay but gave up bargaining at the sky. He knew it was all mercy anyhow, unearned as breath. The Father couldn’t intervene, though that gaze was never not rapt, a mantle around him. This was our doing, our death. The dark prince had poured the vial of poison into the betrayer’s ear, and it was done. Around the oasis where Jesus wept, the cracked earth radiated out for miles. In the green center, Jesus prayed for the pardon of Judas, who was approaching with soldiers, glancing up–as Christ was–into the punctured sky till his neck bones ached. Here is his tear-riven face come to press a kiss on his brother.

-Mary Karr, , HarperCollins, 2006


Untitled (An ancient Celtic prayer for sleep)

O Jesu without sin, King of the poor, Who were sorely subdued Under the ban of the wicked, Shield Thou me this night From Judas.

My soul on Thine own arm, O Christ, Thou the King of the City of Heaven, Thou it was who bought'st my soul O Jesu, Thou it was who didst sacrifice Thy life for me.

Protect Thou me because of my sorrow, For the sake of Thy passion, Thy wounds, and Thy blood, And take me in safety to-night Near to the City of God.

From by Esther de Waal, Doubleday, 1997.


For more from Jan Richardson, visit her website.