Listening to New Voices

After writing Saturday’s post, I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about how my worldview is formed. I love the underdog story. I want to be on the side of the good fight. There is something life-giving about speaking for the voiceless. I feel like I am singing my best song when I do. But what is the real motivation? There is nothing in my life that has transformed my calling to live outside of my own wants more than these words, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (NIV)

I love the scriptures. I read them for instruction and hope. But it is a rare occasion that I quote scripture in my writing. Too many times, I have seen these ancient words used as weapons in the morality wars of Western Christianity. I have instead chosen to embed them in my being so that just as Jesus talked about in this chapter of John, they are the outflow, the overflow, of my life. Rather than leading with proof-text, I have instead chosen to lead with love. My experience shows me that there is never a time that love does not win. It seemed only appropriate that on this day when we celebrate a man who embodied a passionate and profound love for all people, but especially those that were oppressed, that I take a moment to reconsider the why of my actions.

One of my favorite museums is the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN. Housed in the Lorraine Motel, visitors have the opportunity to walk in the final steps of Martin Luther King, Jr. There are many of his words that strike a chord in my heart, but one of my favorites is, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”  Want to read more on this idea? Enjoy, this is gold. There are countless ways that we can live out love, but in an era of self-preservation and power and pride, I have really had to work on intentionality in active loving.

One of the most profound ways that I have chosen love is to actively seek out stories that are vastly different from my own. It is impossible to hate or attack or even passively avoid them, when issues are no longer issues. When they are people – people that I know and love. When policy and laws have flesh and blood on them, my ability to ignore the impact is decreased.

I wonder, who are you reading or listening to that looks nothing like you? Do you choose to click on the story whose headline makes you feel uncomfortable? You know the one. The one that means that you will have to deconstruct your 43-year-old version of Gospel truth to really love like Jesus. The one that is riddled with ‘that’s not what my parents or grandparents taught me’ moments. We need to be reading more of these stories. I am especially thankful for voices of color, my LGBTQ friends and my faith community that have allowed me space to deconstruct and process.

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I am a white, private school raised, upper middle class, privileged girl. I am college educated, not by my own hard work, but because I had parents that set that as a minimum standard and worked to provide that opportunity with little effort on my part. I married a good-looking, smart, tall, educated fellow. Together we live in a suburb with 2 kids and 2 dogs. We are the American dream rolled up into a red brick two-story narrative. It was only after I I was stuck with the reality that life can bite even the picture perfect in the ass, that I realized that I had so much to learn. And to learn at the feet of and in the humble space of a student and not a savior was the only way that I could love my sisters and brothers that have been fighting for a voice for generations. So, with all of the thanks I can offer, I give you three of my best teachers. They ARE the embodiment of Dr. King to me in 2019 as I learn to navigate the great calling of love.

 

Jeff Chu (@jeffchu)

Kaitlin Curtice (@KaitlinCurtice)

 

Austin Channing Brown (@austinchanning)

 

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