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God's Great Reversal

This year for Lent, my local congregation planned an overall theme titled, “God's Great Reversal.” In that spirit I chose to reflect on a subtext of reversal that I have experienced from emptiness to fullness… or how I have called it, glass half emptiness to an ongoing process of filling.

God’s great reversal in my life of late has been a time that is challenging me to confront my own position in life and culture, and to be open to loss, discomfort and letting go. It is a time when I have been more keenly made aware that I am living out my privilege as a white straight male. I will not live into the fullness of a kin-dom here on earth if I do not see, listen and live with the humble truth that I have contributed to patriarchal white supremacy. And if I am not careful, I may not be a positive influence towards gender equality and justice.

I am possibly even blurring that line now by being a voice in this post… but I am getting to that great reversal part and I am trying hard to live it out. The gentle convicting voice of the Great Spirit started nudging me during covid lockdowns; while learning about the injustices of BIPOC people and especially the women and marginalized within those communities. So, I made a commitment that I would only read authors who were people of color or women. 

On a side note, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with Bible readings because English translations are largely white male driven but… Jesus was a brown guy. Anyways, I found some translations by black author Clarence Jordan and a Bible version called the Slave Bible, so I explored those as part of my time of reversal.

It helps us to be a more complete body of Christ followers. 

It has been a stretching and growing season of filling up that half empty cup, in my exploration of hearing the voices of women and people of color. Two regular podcasts I have been listening to are Reclaiming my Theology, by Brandi Miller and The Freedom Road Podcast, by Lisa Sharon Harper. They have helped me explore topics of white supremacy, patriarchy, black history and even purity culture. 

Novelist and historian Diana Butler Bass taught me a new historical perspective of Christianity in North America as well as an inspiring, multifaceted picture of studying Jesus the Christ. Amy-Jill Levine is a fascinating Jewish scholar, teacher and writer of adult and children’s books and she has been featured on both of those previously mentioned podcasts. She has opened my eyes to the complex ties we have with Judaism that are sometimes ignored, abused or confused when we read the sacred texts or study the person of Jesus. 

These are just some of the gems that have been especially impactful to me and I believe if we strive for equality of women and more women of color in leadership, our world would be less greedy, we would see more peace and it would help humanity to balance out some of the injustices of poverty, destruction and waste. This thought isn’t my own great revelation but just one that I have been awakened to with God helping me along the way. The UN Sustainability Goal number five is to work for gender equality, which by educating and empowering more women, would improve families, communities and issues like climate change. More info found here.

And these continue to be a few of my favorite things about the church family that I am a part of; Fellowship CRC, in Edmonton. It is very meaningful to me and others to see women preaching, leading, playing and planning. It helps us to be a more complete body of Christ followers. 

Two of my favorite poets of this season have been Layli Long Soldier and Lee Maracle. Both amazing Indigenous writers and speakers. Their poems have moved me, inspired creativity in me and held me in places that keep me coming back to their words for strength. There have been many more and if you look, you will find inspiring and encouraging Women and People of Color in all fields of life. I will end with part of my favorite Lee Maracle poem (see notes for full publication) and leave you with her words… 

Justice Is an Ember.
Justice is an ember
burning slow and easy
A fire, filled with hope
hope for our humanity…


I cradle this ember
call you to receive it 
hold it up toward the sky 
bind myself to you.

Books in the order referenced above:
Clarence Jordan – Cotton Patch Gospel
The Negro Bible - The Slave Bible – introduction by Joseph Lumpkin
Diana Butler Bass – A People’s History of Christianity & Freeing Jesus
Amy-Jill Levine – Short Stories by Jesus & The Marvelous Mustard Seed
Layli Long Soldier – Whereas 
Lee Maracle – Hope Matters

Photo provided by the author.  


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