Reality of Justice

” Injustice anywhere is a threat to Justice anywhere.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Letter From a Birghinham Jail

This is one of my favorite quotes from Doctor King. If you haven’t read the letter in full, please take a few moments to do so here. I can get caught up in the visceral notion of what Justice should look like, righting wrongs.

Growing up, I believed that everyone in jail were all bad guys and deserved to be there. I believed all law enforcement were for the good of all.

Then I grew up and started to learn that this wasn’t always true. I began to understand that often people are lead less by altruism for others and more so for their own gain. Or defense of what they believed needs to be protected.

This week the Memorial for Peace and Justice opened in Alabama. It honors those who suffered at the hands of being lynched. A type of “justice ” served up to punish those who were convicted not of crimes breaking the laws per se. But the reality often was ( and is) the breaking of social morays. This memorial is necessary to highlight past injustices and current ones. To address the reality of our past and present.

This memorial is a place of reckoning. A small piece of justice but one that can be fully more so if the gravity of this place is fully embraced.

Justice is often more emotional than is admitted. We want to believe that justice is blind, where the facts of the case carefully weighed. Instead what often happens is the opposite. Emotion rules over facts.

Justice is something we will never get right. Human nature will always mess it up. Desire to be right or to push “undesirables” out of view will be around.

But we can do better. By being willing to learn and listen is a start. It’s the place I started. By asking the hard questions and leaning into the often hard answers.

Trusting in what God is doing is another place I’ve leaned into. In the end, true restorative and healing justice lies with God. Trusting Him, loving God and learning is the start of true justice.

Injustices must be called out, those previously dismissed listened to and given space to speak. We must examine our hearts about what we choose to look past because of the truth being too hard. It has to be hard.

Justice begins by learning, taking time to read, listen and absorb. I have much to learn yet but this is where I am today. Developing a better awareness and understanding in order to do better.

There is the possibility of true justice but I believe that it’s possible to do better, to have hope in that.

Two books that I reccomend reading

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

White Trash by Nancy Isenberg

I suggest Truths Table podcast and finding voices on Twitter follow as well.

Typewriter

Finding the Right Words

When I relaunched this blog I came up with the tag line, finding my words. Writing is hard, keeping up a blog in a world of so many has been tough. I question the need for yet another blog in an already crowded field. Not to mention the constant death nil made about the state of blogging.

Which is why I took a break, allowing the website to gather dust. The truth was I had become overwhelmed with my self imposed blogging schedule. More often than not it feels like my words are flung into the great void called the internet.

Does it matter if I write in the greater scheme of things? Who would care if I find my words or not?

As I began to blog again, I found that it’s important to me. Writing, blogging these past few years has helped me to learn how to think through a topic. Believe me there have been many a blog post either deleted or sent to the draft file.

Finding my words mean also finding the right words. I have to own what I say on here, asking myself if what I’m writing will be helpful or show care for others. Too often words are simply flung out there. Not to mention how long things live out despite deleting anything.

Note how past social media posts can be used against someone? That something a person once believed can never change and therefore they should never change or grow? This often makes me think twice about posting much of anything lately to be honest.

I want to be real but also careful with the words I put out there. Regardless if they are read. I know what I’m putting out here and the effect of what I say can have on others.

With a less stringent blogging schedule, I found greater freedom in writing blogs . I’m not struggling to come up with a post. Instead I post as I like to, aiming for at least once a week. If I don’t have anything to say, I don’t post.

My words, whether spoken, texted, posted on social media or in a blog post matter. They come from my heart and therefore I must write with care. I hope for people to come away from reading a post having gained something. Some hope or encouragement or thought provoking.

A New Year, A New Word

It’s hard to believe but 2017 is about to end. 365 days that have been good, great, sad or bad culminate in a countdown breathlessly screamed out. What is it about the end of one year and the start of another?

It’s the clean slate idea. All that happened in these last 365 days is over and done. As the new year comes upon us all, we all have the chance to be different. This is the year of (insert declaration here)!

Then the list of resolutions begin to accumulate. This year I will do this instead of that. In years past I too made a list of resolutions. A list I would soon forget or walk away from altogether.

About five years ago I discovered One Word 365 while reading through my favorite blogs. The concept appealed to me, choose a word in which to live through as a lens for the next year. That’s it. Nothing else is required but to meditate, lean into and grow into this word.

Sounds weird right?

I mean we’ve been conditioned to make those lists! And that you can only do this at the start of the new year. Lies! By focusing on a word for the year, I find I’m more apt to accomplish goals. That as I lean into the word, it’s meaning only begins to evolve and expand.

I hadn’t given much thought to my word for 2018. In fact I completely forgot about it. Life had become busy with work and preparing to move. Until that is ,I began to journal the other night. Then there it was, written several times over in my entry. My word for 2018 had chosen me.

The word that repeated itself was Hope.

Hope

HOPE

HOPE

HOPE

Hope in the impossible, hope in good, hope in love, hope in all circumstances. Because I confess I have lacked hope at times. Because I don’t always trust what can happen. I’ve even stopped hoping for certain things because it’s too painful. Hoping means caring and caring means there is disappointment.

I have at times pushed aside the true hope I have in Christ. Because the lie(s) know how to whisper to me in just the right ways. I have chosen to not hope because it hurts. When what is hoped for doesn’t come to fruition, it leaves me bruised and untrusting.

Outside of myself, there is much need for Hope throughout the world. Hope that only Christ can deliver. If one is willing to believe that good can come from trial.

I don’t think this will be an easy word to lean into. I long to walk through the beckoning doorway to have a greater understanding of Hope.

2018 is the year of HOPE.

Making Do, Making It Through

A few months back our dryer broke. For the time it was broken we made do. Washing at home and drying either at a nearby laundromat or hanging things up in the house. Both ways got the job done, clothes were clean and dry. However it just was not the same.

There was a subtle difference between using the dryer and not using it. In making do, we can get used to anything. We learn to do without because there is no other choice.

In life there are times where making do means getting through the day. It’s not that we don’t what it is to not have it. But it means we know how to get along without it.

After a few months the dryer was fixed. Being able to use the machine again felt great. I had forgotten how nice it was to use it. The convience of using it, I had missed the warmth from a just finished load. I had even missed cleaning out the lint trap.

Why is cleaning out the lint trap so satisfying?

In making it, getting through the day we can forget so much. Putting one foot in front of the other can take so much out of us. Just thinking about how awesome what we once had is painful. Hoping to have it again can physically hurt.

Instead we focus on what is before us. It is what allows us to even make it through the day. Until the money comes through to repair the dryer. Then its safe to hope, to believe, to remember once again.

Why NetFlix Had To Go

I did not expect it to be so hard for me to cancel my NetFlix account. I kept going back and forth on doing it. I argued with myself that the amount I was paying was not really that important. But it was a needed sacrifice.

In embracing the word Plans for this year, means I actually have to make them. To look ahead and think about how I would hope for this year to look. Part of that is to become financially stable.

My relationship with money has often been tenuous. My stubbornness in not taking heed my father attempted to teach me has affected much of my adult life. As money comes it, it goes right out.

I just haven’t thought of money as something to care for, just as something that existed to provide for me.When in truth money is a means for me to worship God. When I don’t budget or plan wisely, I am really being sinful. I’m saying I choose to not honor God with what he gives me to steward.

That my trust lies elsewhere. Dealing with money is emotional, personal and often a symptom of larger heart issues. Money is mentioned in the Bible numerous times.

This means I need to take a hard look at my finances. An unflinching look. To see where the money goes, how to make better decisions. My hope at the end of this year is to be in a better place than I am now.

By canceling my NetFlix account I am taking a step forward. I also realized that my viewing and binge watching was also eating into my reading and writing time.

 

How To Pray For Singles

This is a repost

Lately, something has been bugging me about praying for the marriages in our churches. Not just because it is yet another reminder of my singleness. A question formed in my mind, Why aren’t singles in the church as specifically prayed for? I don’t believe that this is because we are thought of as less than marrieds. This may have more to do with the mentality towards singleness. Even from those of us in the midst of it. That somehow our lives and struggles are not as important as those who are married. Or that this state of being is more private to be prayed about so publicly.

It is of course important to pray for marriage. It is hard, challenging, full of trials and blessings.  It is a beautiful example of Christ’s love for us.

But so is singleness. Being a single in the church today is more of the norm than not. A pew poll from 2012 found that this group is in fact growing. For a number of reasons people are waiting longer to get married. Or are recovering from past relationships. Or like me have never been in a relationship.

In fact most churches are having to adjust how to minister to us.

Which is why it is just as important to remember to pray for us. Singleness can be challenging, full of trials and blessings. Pray not only for our potential, future marriages but also for our lives right now.

The majority of us are searching for our spouse. Pray that we be discerning in pursuing a spouse .  Pray for us as we try online dating and get to know new people. Pray for us as we pursue our dreams and establish ourselves. Keep in mind too not necessarily all of us are looking for that in our lives. Marriage, like college may not be for everyone.

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Hope in the Midst of Grief

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My mother died when I was thirteen. I
remember thinking that I should be crying but no tears came. Those came later, during the funeral and later during the burial. So began my journey in grieving.

My grandfather died a few years later after a battle with thyroid cancer. Then at sixteen my estranged birth father succumbed to lung cancer.

I walled myself off emotionally, physically numbing my pain with food.

I did not know God. To be honest, I did not want to know Him. I was too busy finding comfort in being angry. And listening to my Cranberries CD over and over. This was the nineties and their music spoke to my soul. In fact I still have those songs seared into my brain.

I was lost in a world of pain and grief.
Then I started to get to know God. I began to unravel all those years of pain and grief.

This year has been tough. I have personally been to at least three funerals. The difference between grieving now and back then is simply hope. I have have hope in a Savior who makes all things whole.

Hope as we hurt.
Hope as we question.
Hope as we learn.

I have had the privilege to witness God working in this with members of my church. First to see them fully trust in what God has in store. Not their plans but trusting in His. Second Glorifying our Lord in the midst of their pain. Of being willing to allow our church family to gather around them, instead of folding inward.

To mourn together.
To rejoice in the promise of the Resurrection as a family.

Grief will always be a part of my life. But what has changed is my hope and trust in my Lord and Savior. To understand the greater story beyond my own plans and desires. That in the midst of such pain can also be such Joy.

This scripture at the top keeps coming to mind in this season. His plans are greater than my own.