You are currently browsing lorihtursue’s articles.

Trying to do social media on my phone is a bit of a nightmare so I have to admit that when we leave town I leave it all behind. Facebook?  Twitter?  Yeah, my phone isn’t cooperating.

So I was a little surprised when I got home and everyone was griping about Nike.  Burning their gear.  Cutting off the swoosh logo.

As a hardcore introvert, people often baffle me and I assumed that that was the issue.  People are just kind of odd, you know?

It probably took me two days to connect Collin Kaepernick to the whole thing.  Seriously, when I’m clueless, I don’t mess around.

Now that I’ve caught on, I almost feel compelled to go out and buy a pair of shoes.  What’s stopping me?  I hate shopping.  And I don’t need a pair of shoes.  And I’ve never worn Nike, but that may change.

Because I really respect Kaepernick.  I respect him for having the nerve to risk a multi-million dollar contract over a stance.  I respect him for the stance he chose – I’m kind of nutty about freedom.  And I respect him for sticking with it even when things heated up.

But Kaepernick took a knee for people who aren’t heard and seen as they should be because he knew he could be heard. He stood up for the least of these.

As much as I hate shopping, I may have to make a stop.

–SueBE

 

Advertisements

Social media is a funny thing.  It gives us the illusion that we have the right to weigh-in on other people’s lives which might be okay if we limited ourselves to the action they wrote up in a post.

My friend Anne was pregnant with her second child when she lost her first to cancer.  Their family has a sweet little ritual they do whenever they visit someplace new.  It is their way of still including their lost child in their lives.  Note, he’s been gone less than 18 months.

She tweeted about this and got a scathing comment about what an awful parent she is because she never posts about her living child. Clearly he gets none of her attention.

Really?  Is it clear?  So far today, I have posted about the class I am teaching, a photo of a baby rhino and the above quote.  I have also eaten breakfast, gotten dressed, made my bed, taken the boy to school, gone to get the boy, and picked up in the kitchen. If someone was to post that my family is suffering because I focus on baby animals?  They would be wrong.

Why is it when we see something we don’t like, we think whatever has offended us is all there is to this person?  I’m not innocent here.  People post things that annoy me, but I don’t comment.  I try not to judge and even when I fail and do it, I do not let myself post.

Sure, God knows I had the uncharitable thought but I don’t have to toss it out there for all of the rest of you to see.

–SueBE

About a month ago, I had to spend a couple of days with one of those people.  Patient though I try to be, she will eventually set me free. This time it revolved around a recognition plaque given to my dad.  “Help me hang it and we can take a photo for him.”  Dad couldn’t go so she was given the plaque for him.  The part that really stung?  We would have been there if she had told us but this ‘help me hang it’ was the first I had heard of it.

As soon as we left, I started griping.  How self-centered can a single human being be?

Finally my husband spoke up.  “I don’t think she did this to spite you.  I think you were right.  She’s just that self-centered.  She never thought of us at all.  So why are we spending so much time focused on her?”

What?  Whoa.

But he was right.  I can’t make other people be thoughtful or kind.  And while I can’t change anyone’s behavior, no matter how lovely that would be, I have some control over who occupies my thoughts.  It isn’t like I can keep them out completely, but I can take a deep breath and, as I exhale, let them drift away.

As Christians, we don’t often discuss mindfulness.  But if I focus on someone who is unfair and selfish, it makes me angry.  If instead I focus on someone inspirational that God has put in my path?  I am more inclined to look for ways to be kind and loving to others.  If I want to share God’s love with others, I can’t give too much head space to certain people.

–SueBE

A number of my friends are librarians and one of them recently told a story on herself.  No surprise, dealing with difficult library patrons is annoying.  She can’t just give them to another librarian.  She can’t find something to do in the back.  And she has to keep them from impacting how she deals with the next person.

While they are griping, she takes a deep breath and says to herself, “This is a child of God.  Remember that – child of God.”  It may not change how this person behaves, but it does change how she views them.  She says that she has actually felt the tension draining from her shoulders.

So many of us seem to embrace the aggravation and the anger that people bring into our lives.  We post about it online.  We retell the story again and again.  How different might our outlook, and our days, become if instead we said this small, high-impact prayer?

“This is a child of God.  Remember that – child of God.”

–SueBE

This past week, my family and I took a trip to Gatlinburg, TN.  I jokingly referred to the trip as the Edwards Extravaganza because all four siblings ,their kids and the grandparents were along.  Needless to say, we didn’t do everything together.  Something about trying to coordinate sixteen people.  We met up for dinner and games each evening but spent the days out and about.

My husband, son and I trekked over the mountain to Cherokee, NC.  As treks go, it was tame since we were in our Jeep as we drove through the pass and onto the reservation.  It was more than a touch surreal.  Shop signs were in English but street signs?  Cherokee first, English second.

Near the TN/NC border.

Our destination was the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.  Before I made my way through the exhibits, I thought I knew something about Cherokee history.  The truth of the matter was that I knew the history we learn in Missouri – the Oklahoma history.  In this museum, I learned about the prehistory, the move to live more like whites, the debate about moving to Oklahoma, Andrew Jackson, the Trail of Tears, and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee.

The removal of the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears split a people in half.  In spite of this, the museum was marvelously even-handed.  Facts about the Cherokee and the other Civilized Tribes were simply presented.  No one was vilified – not Jackson, not the Cherokee who favored the move. The story of the Cherokee people was told in all it’s complexity.

Yet when I tell people here in Missouri where I went and all I learned, people are more than willing to assign blame. I have to understand why Jackson did what he did; he was from North Carolina.  That one really confuses me since the Cherokee were also from North Carolina. Those Cherokee need to get off the reservation so their children can have a good life. If the Cherokee would work to be more like the mainstream culture, things would be better for them. The Cherokee and other civilized tribes farmed and lived like the dominant culture but were still forced onto the Trail of Tears.  A veneer of white-ness didn’t save them or their homes.

What does it mean to be an American?  It is to be part of a society with a complex history. Do you walk among others as a brother or sister? Or do you expect the fish to fly and the birds to swim?  This museum was definitely something I needed to see and I thank God for putting me on this path.

–SueBE

 

People are a strange.  It seems like one moment they are ignoring ugly realities and the next they are dwelling on the negative.

But when we face fact, hope can make a huge difference.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading the past few weeks about various animal species and the environment.  I can already hear your groaning but stop.  Seriously.  Knock it off.  Because there are stories of hope.

At one point the Bald Eagle was endangered but when we faced the damage that DDT was doing and banned it that was the beginning.  Eagles have made a comeback and I occasionally see one soaring over our church.

The American alligator is another success story.  This one was endangered because of habitat destruction and hunting.  People conserved habitat and hunting was banned.  Alligators are no longer endangered.

Reality and hope.  Working to make a better world.  God gave us inquiring minds as well as drive.  We just need to apply them.

–SueBE

As is the case with many denominations, the PC USA is facing drops in membership, older facilities and new kids (churches) on the block.  But there are also exciting new events.  Saturday my husband and I were at the Presbytery meeting and a new church of Kenyan immigrants was chartered.

In the 1960s when many of the churches in our area grew and flourished, there was no question about chartering a church of African immigrants. But today?  Today they are a vital addition to our church.  Yes, our area is changing but change isn’t always bad especially when it means new brothers and sisters in Christ joining the family.

–SueBE

 

Sitting on my bedside table is a copy of Waking Up White by Debby Irving.  If you haven’t read it, Waking Up White is a memoir about race in which Irving discusses her own early misconceptions and how she eventually woke up.  As I was reading last night, it brought to mind the above quote from Lewis.

Race is a tricky thing.  It can take a long time to realize this if you’re white because you may not realize that your own race is baseline normal.  This means that anyone who isn’t white, or white enough, is abnormal. I can’t think of anyone who isn’t white who fails to understand this most likely because it is daily reality.

But if you’re white?  You can stumble along oblivious.

That almost makes it sound like I think races are separate and isolated but they aren’t.  How we see race is a function of different peoples bumping up against each other just like the rooms in a house.  Most houses have multiple rooms – kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms.  Together they make a building a house. Our racial issues are not the problems of black people, Asians or First Nations.  They took all of us, white people included, to come into being.

If you haven’t read Waking Up White, I recommend it.  I’m sure some of you have already come fully awake but if you have the book also contains talking points to help initiate discussions.

–SueBE

 

 

My son and I had an interesting discussion yesterday at lunch. The main topic was how one generation shapes the next and often not in the ways that they expect.  Often children, instead of following in the footsteps of their elders, react and pull back from some belief or practice.  Do children follow us or react to us?

I can’t say that I have a lot of answers here.  But that thought alone is a good reason, in my mind, to treat people with respect.  Otherwise, anti-male feminism might give rise to something we don’t like.  That’s my son’s theory anyway.  Maybe he’s just sick of people told that all men are rapists and all white men repress. When we choose our path, it is important to consider how it will impact others.

These may not be the only topics we discuss at lunch but he is a new college student.  His professors tell them that they will be the next generation to shape the world. And these professors are not subtle.  It will be up to them to solve the problems earlier generations have created.  As his engineering professor put it, “It’s your choice which future you face, Mad Max or Star Trek.”

–SueBE

 

I don’t tend to see myself as a self-limiting person but sometimes it seems that I am.  On January 1st, The Boys came over to cook some epic chili.  They watched a video of a recipe they wanted to duplicate, more or less, and I tried not to cringe.  pepperoni?  Bacon?  In chili?

But I managed to keep my mouth shut.  As long as they didn’t find the package of bacon I had hidden in the deli drawer in the fridge, I could make us all bacon and eggs if need be.  While I went to visit my Dad and do our shopping, they did their own and got to work.  The result?  Wow.  I never in a million years would have chosen this recipe but it was so good.   So good.

There’s a reason that God sends bold, brassy teens into our lives. They are there to remind us to see beyond the limitations we’ve place on ourselves.

–SueBE

Have a Mary Little Christmas

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: