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Already and Not Yet

Reflect on our role in God's restorative work, and recognize both renewal and continued brokenness. Be encouraged by stories of challenges and successes in the pursuit of shalom.

The Cry of the Future: A Groaning Creation

As we embark into this new year, the new journey, the new decade it is with a sense of urgency that the people of God are awakened. In our world today we there are wars and rumors of wars, calamities happening across the land; Australian fires, earthquakes, floods, and the likes. Hatred and bigotry spewing like never before; children and adults locked in cages bound by walls, young black women being kidnapped by the droves, with no explanation as to where they have gone, sex and human trafficking at an all-time high, and what is our response?

Waiting in the Time Between

I will stand at my watch
    and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
    and what answer I am to give to this complaint. - Habakkuk 2:1 (NIV)

I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord. - Psalm 27:13-14 (NIV)

Stable Hospitality

In the fall, we gifted our outgoing Board Chair with a snow globe featuring the nativity scene with Mary, Joseph and Jesus. As the present was unwrapped, someone around the table – reflecting on the nature of our work to address the lack of safe, specialized and supportive housing for trafficked survivors –  commented,“They didn’t have anywhere to go either.”

"Eid Mubarak"

During the first of my three years in Jordan, and every year after, I was overwhelmed by the love and hospitality shown to me by my Muslim neighbors during traditional Christian holidays. Each year at Christmas, Palm Sunday, and Easter, my friends and colleagues wished me “eid mubarak” or “blessed feast/festival.” Normally, I heard this phrase around Eid Al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, two Islamic holidays. But, it was also used, to my surprise and delight, to wish me a Merry Christmas or Happy Easter.

Baptism and the Fear of Uncertainty

I recall a conversation with a friend from my Calvin Seminary days. He was a Calvin College student. I went over the college since I was one of two African Americans at the seminary in the late 1980’s. My friend was a biracial child, who along with his sister adopted into a wonderful white Christian Reformed family in Grand Rapids. He shared with me the struggles his parents encountered when they wanted to baptize both children into the faith at their church.

Where does climate science fit in the biblical story?

Last month at the annual Synod of the CRCNA, an overture was advanced concerning a decision made at Synod 2012 about climate change. In 2012, Synod adopted the CRCNA’s Creation Stewardship Task Force’s recommendations on the issue which in-part concluded a “near-consensus … that climate change is occurring and is very likely due to human activity and that human-made climate change poses a threat to the world” (Acts of Synod 2012, p. 803).

Woman Enough

Nothing is more beautiful than a woman who is brave, strong, and emboldened because of who Christ is in her. - Project Inspired 
 
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Does Our Strength Lie in Isolation?

When I started attending a Christian Reformed church in 1973, my only interest in the church was it had a basketball court inside the building. Over time, I found the pastors were gracious and kind. The interracial congregation felt its mission was that all African American lives would flourish on the west side of Chicago.

You May Have More Power than You Think

There’s one exercise I distinctly remember from a regional gathering of ministry interns and supervisors. We were asked to place ourselves on a line in relation to what power we felt we held in that room.

I placed myself at the lowest end of the line.

I placed myself at the lowest end of the line. I was not yet ordained and hadn’t yet finished my education, was fairly low income, was the one learning in that room and not teaching, and I was one of the youngest women, who also lives with a physical disability (Cerebral Palsy).

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Grounded in Grace

“Grace is bad arithmetic”--famous words from my pastor Dave Vroege in a sermon just over a year ago. He continued, explaining how grace is nonsense.

“Grace is bad arithmetic.”

Nonsense! Why? Because it is given to us regardless of whether we want it or not.

I’ve always understood grace to be an action word. An invitation on how to behave and act. It’s the absence of anger and the presence of love and peacefulness.

Hard words to hold when one is full of rage.

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