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I’d love to be thinner.  And my house.  I want it to be neat.  Social justice?  The environment?  Yeah, I hope things get better there too.

But the problem is that I realize that change require more than hope.  It requires action and we just can’t act to fix everything.  It just isn’t possible.

So what does change really require?  Desire.  Drive.  Determination.  If we have these things, we will work to make change happen.

This means that my house will probably stay messy but I’ll keep working for social justice.  One of the things that I’m doing is reading a book – Waking Up White by Debby Irving.  As a start to facing racism head on, our presbytery has asked everyone to read this book. And each church needs to host a conversation of some kind.

What kind of event will we host?  I don’t know.  We haven’t gotten that far but we are determined to do something and four of us have started planning our event.  Desire.  We’ve definitely got that.  Fortunately with four of us working together we’ll keep each other moving forward.  We think we can.

Where are your desire, drive, and determination focused?

–SueBE

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Sometimes we need to hear something more than once for the point to be made.  Today, I watched a TED Talk featuring Teresa Njoroge titled “What I Learned Serving Time for a Crime I Didn’t Commit.” (I’ve imbedded it below.)

Teresa started her talk by telling her story.  She worked in Kenya’s financial district in a job she loved.  She had studied hard to make it in this booming sector.  Then one day she was told that she had participated in a fraudulent transaction.  She was scared, but she hadn’t done anything.  By the time she was sent to prison, she has been asked several times to pay out large sums of money to make the problem “go away.” She didn’t so, in spite of her innocence, she went to prison for a year.  Her 3-month old daughter went with her.

In prison, she heard the stories of women.  Women with no educations.  Women from the poorest backgrounds.  Women who couldn’t pay bribes even if they didn’t trust the system.

By the time her one year sentence had been served, Teresa was determined to help women like these make better decisions and also have the resources needed to defend themselves from false accusations.  She founded Clean Start Kenya.

Teresa has since been exonerated of all charges.  She has also worked in the incarceration capital of the world – Louisiana, USA.

Yes.  The incarceration capital of the world is in the US.  Not North Korea.  Not Iraq or Afghanistan.  The US.

Thank God for Teresa Njoroge who refused to pay the bribe, who refused to write off her fellow prisoners.  This forest needs more trees like Teresa.

–SueBE

“Man, I just wish she would stop doing that.”

“Why can’t it be like X instead of Y?”

“Why doesn’t someone do something about this?”

We’ve all said things like this whether we were talking about DACA, global warming, social justice, or the items on your kid’s school supply list.  We say these things looking outward.  Why?  Because it is a whole lot easier than looking where change needs to start.

Whether it is an attitude or behavior, something personal or societal, change begins with you.  God will give you the tools you need.  The first one may very well be the awareness that something needs to change.

–SueBE

I had to laugh when I saw this was the next image in my queue.  Yes, I create them.  But I save them in batches to post one by one.  So it isn’t like I planned this for Labor Day, but how appropriate.

The problems we face as a society can be addressed on the small-scale.  Food drives.  Fund raising walks.  Fill a truck with . . . household goods or diapers or whatever the current need might be.

Or they can be addressed with laws and organization.

What needs do you see that may require a spike to create a long-term solution?

–SueBE

We human beings only have so much energy, so much focus, so much time.  And, at least with me, there is so much that I want to do.  No way I can do it all, so I have to pick and choose.

My office?  Disaster.  But I’ve written three books this year.

My garden?  Needs weeding but I volunteered at every swim meet except one.  This was my son’s last swim season so that was a big deal for me.

I feel the same way about causes.  My own focuses tend to be on social justice and the environment.

It isn’t easy and progress may not even be constant, but that’s okay.  It is totally worth the effort.

–SueBE

 

 

 

Yes, social justice has been in my mind a lot lately.

Righting wrongs is never easy.  You have to change the old ways.  You have to establish new ways.  And you have to keep at it until the new ways become common place.

But social justice is so worth the effort.

Start with a small goal.  Take the love of God into the situation.  Rinse and repeat at needed.

–SueBE

 

 

The world is spiraling out of control. We are not evolving, but de-evolving. Every day things become more vicious, more divisive, more hopeless.

Here’s where you’re expecting me to say, “Have hope! God is with us!” I am not going to say that.

I’m growing increasingly tired of hearing, “hope and pray that things will improve.” I’m not sure that’s enough. It feels to me as if God is pushing our buttons lately, with a very intentional agenda in mind: What will it take?

What will it take for you to call your senator? What will it take for us to understand that we are all human beings and need to take care of one another? What will it take to stop blaming and start working on solutions? What will it take for us to wake up?

It is all very well and good to hope and pray. In fact, prayer can be powerful action. But there is more to be done, and it starts with making our actions congruent with our beliefs. Do you claim to be a Christian yet don’t care about (or actively work against) the welfare of the poor, the immigrant, those standing on the margins (like the LGBTQ community)? You might want to re-evaluate. Do you hate liberals? Conservatives? Hating is not a Christian value. Spewing that hatred, whether online or at a “rally” is not a Christian activity.

Which is not to say that Christians have a corner on morality; we don’t. And part of God’s wake-up call to us is recognizing that we, in our diversity of faith traditions, are more alike than different, that Sharia law doesn’t hurt me any more than someone keeping kosher does — just follow your own beliefs and be considerate of others’ beliefs. Religion isn’t the enemy; it’s people who misconstrue and misinterpret religion, who forget that God is love — above all else.

I firmly believe that Jesus was a radical. He didn’t come to soothe anybody’s spirits; he came to shake things up. And that’s what God is doing now. God is shaking and shaking us, trying to make us declare exactly who and what we are and what we believe is right and just.

So…are you ready to stand up? If not, what will it take?

One of the trickiest paths to walk as a Christian is that of the social justice movement.  At least it seems that way to me. Christ called on us to address the needs of the prisoner, the orphan and the widow.  Unfortunately injustice is often wrapped up in racism and intolerance.  It may not be comfortable, but don’t assume that those demanding justice are “rewriting” history.  Take a deep breath.  Take a look at events.  Read up on both sides.  And pray.

–SueBE

I love reading all of the PC USA updates on social justice.  Alone, I can only do so much, but working together?  We can do great things all in the name of Him who Loves us all.

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