Friday, January 27, 2017

Dismantling White Supremacy Begins with Me


Supreme: su-preme (adjective) Highest in degree or quality, ultimate, first, foremost, predominant, highest-ranking. 

When I was in first grade, I had a classmate who had come to our village public school from somewhere in Asia. It was so long ago, but I remember him standing quietly in the background and I remember his name sounded like a food, not a person. We did what first graders in small-town, white America did - we giggled, not because we hated him, not because we thought of him as less-than, but because he existed so far beyond the scope of our worldview. We pulled the corners of our eyes back towards our ears then ran off with him for kickball or tag; he in crisp, cuffed jeans, us in our raggedy hand-me-downs. We liked him. If he'd stayed longer, we might have learned something from him, though our gain would likely have come at his detriment. Tell us everything. Spill your history so we can lap it up. Make us better people.

Kids came and went, passing through the red brick school. The most memorable were those who stood out, marked in some obvious way. We were part of something much larger than ourselves, far above our own blond heads, the drawing in and churning out of those who didn't "fit."

We were Christians. Everyone knew it. An entire town of honest, church-going folks with the gall to sing religious songs in high school choir, steeled by our assurance that no one would protest. We memorized Bible verses at Wednesday night Awana. We sucked barbecued chicken from the bone on Memorial day, following veterans, firemen, farmers, and the marching band from one end of town to the cemetery where we saluted the flag then bowed our heads and prayed.

We tanned our skin to look more like Oprah for a school project. We moon-walked with Michael Jackson, coveting the sequined fingerless glove on the right hand of our lone wealthy classmate. We took what we wanted and objectified the rest, though we didn't quite see it that way. We didn't quite know. Once, on a field trip to the city, I brushed aside the uneasy feeling in my stomach and threw my head back in laughter as a classmate made racist jokes about the city buses and the people riding them.

Later, in high school, one of my best friends was an adoptee from South Korea. I envied her thick hair, her perpetual tan, and the way it seemed she could be scooped up at a moment's notice, cared for and adored. She fit right in with the rest of us, but she certainly didn't blend. When she began cracking jokes about being Asian, we laughed along. In the winter, our basketball team played against the one school in our conference with a black player, and the tension crackled for days. He could dunk. He could play. Once, (we weren't quite sure how,) a game ended with many of our God-fearing fans spilling onto the court, throwing punches.

I wonder now, did that happen at all of his games, or was it just us?

These unspoken beliefs floated on our fresh, country air. We swore we weren't racist, discriminating people. Most of us knew at least one person of color, and our interactions were vastly positive. Yet in our everyday lives, we were simply conditioned to understand that Black was different and Asian was different and dirt-poor was just different enough from our unified, blue-color working class. Catholic was slightly suspect. Democrats could blend in if they tried. Mexicans (as we called them) picked strawberries and tomatoes in the migrant camp ten miles away where we drove, on occasion, to practice our Spanish. We entered what we mistakenly thought was their world, then flipped the frame, believing we were doing them a favor. A couple hours later, we'd drive off to munch on a Taco Supreme and a Nachos Supreme, grateful our morning charity hadn't taken too much of our day.

~

Last week I read several recountings of the White Supremacist who pulled up a chair in a community Bible study, sitting quietly through thirty minutes of reading and discussion. He was soft spoken. Gentle looking. And then he gunned them down, unloading over 70 shells into nine men and women, because of their race.

(Or was it his race that made him load the gun?)

At his core, he believed he was better than them, that he was entitled to their lives.
This is why we call him a white supremacist.

We don't hesitate, the two oily words dripping disdainfully from our tender lips. He is a white supremacist. He is the prototype. He is not us. No. We have never seen anything like him before.

~

I moved away from my hometown after college, though I return every chance I get. My community raised me well. I love it. I'm grateful. But with time and perspective I see the cracks that exist everywhere, if we're willing to search. If I'm inclined to offer the benefit of the doubt, it's that it did the best it could with what it had. It didn't know what it didn't know and maybe, hopefully, it knows much more, now.

But tell me, how could I not have believed my race was somehow "highest-ranking," "foremost," or "predominant"? How could I have seen whiteness as being equal with blackness, when the minimal information I received on other races was most often a biased caricature? Having been raised on a media diet of Small Wonder, Alf, Mork & Mindy, Star Trek and the Jetsons, I had a broader cultural context for robots and extra-terrestrials than People of Color. How could I possibly have known the scope of what I was missing?

We are, in many ways, indelibly shaped by our personal history. This doesn't mean change and growth are not available, but like a splatter of ink on a starched button-down, it will require some scrubbing.

There's no sense grabbing a stiff-bristled brush if we can't even see the stain.

~

Another week has passed, and I'm reaching the limits of hope for sweeping clarity to fall upon us. It's far too muddy. When I am expected to disavow her and endorse him, when I'm told I'm too quiet and too loud, when we are all both too political and not political enough, well, I get weary. And I know I'm not the only one.

So many of us are reaching out to grab thin air, trying with the best intentions to shift the momentum of humanity just a smidge. We're marching. Writing. Discussing. We're using our voices for worthy yeses and non-negotiable nos. We are praying. We are holding our children close. We're reading different books. We're shutting our mouths. Finally, we are ready to listen.

Still, I can't help feeling that beneath this passion is fear (of not falling into the "right" camp) and desire (to be seen, to lead, to fix.) There is a time to pray for justice and a time to fight for justice while we pray, but fear and selfishness are not compatible with justice.

I thought the fight was only against uncaring institutions and harmful, fear-mongering leaders. I have known the urgency for a holy war. My heart has sparked at the thought of lacing my boots on behalf of the pushed-aside and talked-over. I have wept for the church to care in meaningful, visible ways.

I'm an child of white, Middle America privilege, unaccustomed to seeing myself as the problem. Before I even pretend to approach these broad, systemic issues, I owe it to a world longing for equity to first recognize and dismantle my contributions to the pain.

It is easy to throw stones at "White Supremacists," to see them as racist beasts with white hats and dead eyes. Of course we are not them. But whether we can accept it or not, we have been quietly conditioned to see whiteness as the default, the Human Supreme.

I invite you to think on this. Peel back what you have been taught, what you simply lived. Mine your history for possible blind spots. Consider that "greatness" was never the reality, or even the goal. Should we acknowledge our real and equal human limitations, we run the grave risk of blending into obscurity and being seen as entirely ordinary. Scary, isn't it?

~


To learn of the Kingdom way is to stare long and hard at the ways we've misunderstood. Though we thought ourselves wise, we are fools. Though great, we are actually quite small. We are not the forest after all, but the seed. There is only one Supreme, one default. He is God, who splits heavens and parts seas and subverts common logic with the cry of a babe. This is very good news.

We were created to kiss the dirt, to exact beautiful change from low places. If we want God to be glorified through this mess we made, we've got to get busy with the right kinds of work.

First up: Repentance.
Second: A posture of quiet learning.
Third: Persistent prayer for fresh Kingdom eyes.
Fouth: Persistent prayer for Kingdom wisdom. (Note: this will reek of foolishness. We have been duly warned.)

From there, we commit to the taxing grind of advocating for life at the macro level, in the folds of our regular lives where our work will exist in hidden places and our deeds will not go public.

We commit to collecting stories of pain and disaster, holding them closely enough to feel their burn, allowing them to change us in ways that don't sacrifice their honor and dignity.

We will do this work for no reward.
We will do this work because it's right. It's our calling.

I don't want to diminish public protest (the language of the unheard), but if we are not honoring all life we have forgotten our place as image bearers of our Creator.

If we are chanting along with the President, "America First! America First!" we have forgotten our place as last and least. We have forgotten the weird way of Jesus.

If we cannot offer solace and refuge to our neighbor* who is terrified and out of options, we have forgotten our place as Christ incarnate.

If we cannot love our paranoid, Trump-supporting neighbor*, we have forgotten our place as agents of peace in these heartbreaking times.

If we believe our whiteness is the answer to anything at all, we have forgotten our place as seeds pushed into the vast garden of God's kingdom.


We are not great or special and we certainly aren't supreme.
It's time to stop pretending otherwise.

We are small, and we have work to do in these low and hidden places.


*Editor's note: These two examples are are specific examples from my actual life and neighborhood. As always, I write from my everyday ordinary life. Simply put - I am often preaching to myself, but anticipating there might be others who relate. I in no way meant that all Trump supporters are  paranoid. (Most of the people I love voted for Trump.) I apologize if this wasn't clear.

55 comments:

  1. Thanks for this Shannan. I find myself in a very conflicted place. I told my husband the other day I will read an article written by "one side" and think "yes! this!" and then I will read one by the "other side" and think "but this too!". Living in a space of inner conflict while everyone around me is very caught up in the public conflict. I find myself disagreeing with a group that I have identified with my entire life.

    Thanks for sticking your neck out a bit far to write this. Wanted to offer some kind words on a day that might have some unkind words from the internets :)

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    1. How ever did you know???? ;) Thank you so much, Lisa. I get the conflict. I get the tears and confusion and feeling terribly overwhelmed. My conflict generally stays inner, but today I guess I'm making it public. I so very much appreciate others who will come beside me and simply sit in this tension until something (please, God!) begins to make sense again.

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  2. I love your heart and the way you use your voice, Friend. <3

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  3. I love this so much Shannan, sharing with my friends today...reminds me of what Mother Teresa said used to say, "The way there is peace in the world is to go home and love your family and neighbors." That might be a loose translation ;-)

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  4. "From there, we commit to the taxing grind of advocating for life at the macro level, in the folds of our regular lives where our work will exist in hidden places and our deeds will not go public."

    This sentence describes my own desire to do what I am able (to the point of personal sacrifice) in the location the Lord has me. I am humbled to know the privileges I possess, but do not disdain them. Instead, I want to use and share that privilege well. Thank you, Shannon, for your voice.

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  5. Shannon, you said so many great things, pushing people to reevaluate themselves and their thinking, and then wrote "paranoid Trump supporter." REALLY???? I'm sure some are, just as there are people who hate whites, but to focus on a fringe of any group destroys the bigger picture and important messages are lost. In your passion please remember this. In those three words you did what you are asking all of us NOT to do.

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    1. Theresa, I agree! Thank you.

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    2. Hi Theresa and Patti!

      Last weekend we were hit with a CRAZY rogue fog that made it impossible to see 10 feet in front of us. My neighbor, assuming I was on "his side" said he believed "the Trump protestors were burning up our whole city." He was paranoid. I love him. I generally write to myself and straight from my everyday life. I in no way said that all Trump supporters are paranoid, but some are. I should know this, as the bulk of my immediate circle are proud Trump supporters.

      Hope that helps!

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    3. Paranoia is it's own problem and can be attached to any other belief or system indiscriminately. It is not the sole problem of any political party.

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  6. Thank you for this post. I feel just... confused. torn apart. sad. afraid. just a churning sickness in my gut. and then the questions, "what does this mean?" "what do I do with this?" and its comforting to know that I'm not alone in this and to hear what other people have to say. Because I feel like I need to have some sort of response, but I don't understand yet what it should be. (Not sure if this comment even makes sense...)

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    1. Alison, I think a lot of people feel like this now. I know I do.

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    2. Or sometimes (cough cough) you find a sort of response in the midst of your confusion and churning gut but it takes you 5 days to muster the courage to talk about it. (insert monkey covering eyes emoji.)

      I'm so with you on this. It's okay. We can just stay in the tension together and pray. We can pay attention to our place and see what opportunities God provides for us to offer light and life.

      Thank you for your tender words.

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  7. Your post and prose is so eloquent and so important for all of us. I have been praying every day and repeating Joshua 1:9 whenever I feel the despair creeping in. Thank you for sharing your story (mine is very similar) and thank you for articulating so well what it is that we need - fresh Kingdom eyes - and what will save us - Kingdom wisdom.

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  8. Wow. You literally took my breath away. I feel everyone I know should read this. I feel I need to read this -- memorize this -- live this. What is it we're telling ourselves? How can we change our perspective? You are truly amazing! Yesterday you had my laughing about home decorating and today contemplating how I think, how I love, who I am. You have both depth and human packed inside of you, Shannan! What great gifts -- please keep sharing, keep pushing us.

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  9. Opps I meant depth and humor -- bad typing

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  10. These are the words I needed. I'm going to print and re-read. Thank you so much for the humility and beauty you bring to sharing your story.

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  11. I am with you girl! You always say it so well.

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  12. Beautiful, sad, true, hope. Those are a few words that your writing made me think. I'm assuming a posture of quiet listening because I haven't known yet quite how to pray. I'm so glad there are people who are sure. Who still pray and do so fervently and whose words are sweetly fragrant as they rise to heaven. I so desperately want mine to be.

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  13. I support Trump. I voted for him. Call me what you want, but I have adopted a white, Hispanic and and 10 Chinese children. You're the narrow minded person.

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    1. Hey Sammy! I didn't call you anything. Nothing at all.
      I'm just here, sharing my personal story today, assuming there's *someone* out there who has lived a similar story.

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    2. I too feel like she just called Trump supporters racists and you did call them paranoid. Far from it. I was a reluctant Trump supporter but I am encouraged by his choices for cabinet and Supreme Court nominees. Shannon, I feel you have gone so far with your "white guilt" complex. I am just a (white, since that seems to be of utmost importance to you these days) woman trying to love and get along with everyone; I don't need your divisiveness. Your book did make me think, but now I think I am done being implied a racist simply because I am anglo, caucasion, whatever you'd like to call me.

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    3. Hi Lynn!

      No, I didn't call Trump supporters racist or paranoid. I talked about how I was raised in an environment that subtly allowed me to see "white" as the dominant, "first", "superior" (albeit quietly) race. And I talked about my one, actual neighbor who is a highly paranoid Trump supporter and someone whom I deeply love. I will edit that line, as it seems to be causing confusion, which wasn't my intent.

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    4. Hi Sammy, I'm so happy you have chosen to expand your family via adoption. My husband and I also have a big family, 5 kids! But what concerns me is your using your choice to adopt Hispanic and Chinese children as a defense against examining your possible blind spots concerning race. It's like when people say, Im not racist, I have 5 blacks friends! I'm a black female, and I certainly need Jesus to examine my heart daily. Being part of the oppressed doesn't exempt me from that. And when you quote the racial makeup of the children you've adopted, I can't help but wonder what you must have thought about how the racially divisive climate created by our new president is going to serve them. He's been less than encouraging and inclusive to the Hispanic community. And please spare me the anti-Hillary propaganda. I'm not a fan either.

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  14. Trump's administration wants to do away with supports for the most vulnerable among us -- Medicaid, Medicare, the ACA, the Violence Against Women Act, the EPA -- they are there to protect us from the greedy hands of big corporations and money-hungry businesses who care more for profit than for children's lungs, abused women, the old and disabled. I'm afraid but I won't give up. Thank you for posting this wonderful reminder about what we need to keep sight of and who we should be following.

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  15. "But with time and perspective I see the cracks that exist everywhere, if we're willing to search." *If were willing to search.* Geez Shannan. YES!!! Every last one of us are sinners, we're never going to be fully right and we have the be willing to search for those cracks, admit, make changes and love like Jesus. I keep telling myself to line up my thoughts, ideas and feelings next to Jesus' in the Bible...if they
    line up then I'm pursuing truth, if not then I've got major work to do. Keep being your truthful self Shannan. It's challenging and refreshing.

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  16. i keep typing comments and erasing them, so maybe no words from me today. only thank you, i love you.

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  17. Hi Shannon, just an honest question: do you believe that all communities especially those that are dominated by a certain race, could have the same sort of problem? If I was black, grew up in a prominently black neighborhood, could I have been given the same idea that blacks are supreme? I just wonder, if in our pride, we simply believe we are better (and by we, I mean whatever race we are.) Not only do we believe, in our pride, that we are better but the way we do things, talk, dress and act are better....even if we are the race without power? I know I do this and not just about race. I do this with mothering, writing, keeping my home, the way I choose to feed my family etc. (thelist is long, girl). I realize the way I view myself in light of others is much, much more detrimental when it comes to race than with the other things mentioned. I just am wondering about this and what you thought...

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    1. Hey! Yes, I'm sure this is possible in some ways...but I also have to guess that minority cultures are constantly reminded of their perceived lower place, which makes it anow unfair comparison. But yes, as far as mothering, writing, etc... it could probably be assumed that we do things a certain way because they feel right to us.

      In any case, thank you for being willing to engage in a kind and fruitful way! I never believe we all have to reach the same color conclusions...I love hearing what others are passionate about and what they are learning/how they are growing even if I don't see it the same. 💟

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    2. I'm an African American female and though I grew up surrounded by many black people, I always kept a keen awareness of my causian friends food preferences, song references, hair styles, history, and general social norms simply because they were just that...what was considered normal. And things that I identified with while at home and around other black people were often greeted with hesitation, rude inquisitiveness or sometimes just plain laughter when in the company of my Caucasian classmates. I don't think they were racist. But I certainly think Shannan honed in on the issue. When everything around you from media history lessons suggest white is standard, if you're a minority, you often either chose to assimilate or rebel. So much so, that I didn't even realize I was assimilating until my 32nd year on this Earth.

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    3. *from media to history lessons

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    4. Jessica, thank you for sharing your experience. It is enlightening and humbling to read about. I know that it is such a struggle to be aware and sinsitive to others esp. in the ways that we are different and esp. in the aspect of race. I praise the Lord for His Son, who didn't save me b/c of my color but b/c of the wretch I am. I pray that He would give us eyes to see the magnificent, beautiful, awe-inspiring images that he has made us to be of his very self....that we would be kind and see people through the lense of grace...the very same grace that I need in every moment of every day. I hate that you were made to feel less b/c of your beautiful skin color and I appreciate your willingness to engage in a thoughtful way. I love that you answered my question ladies and I praise the Lord for you both!

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    5. Thank you all10popes for you thoughtful response. I definitely think these type of conversations are necessary to push through in order for progress to be made. And when I encounter women like you and Shannan, I feel all the more encouraged that many people don't really want biases whether intentional or unintentional.

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  18. The following is a video that speaks to the brokenness and sinfulness of our "popular" culture...and it is sad, but true- my 21 year old shared it with me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IisBOtUZ7P8 Could it be that we need to walk out our convictions to love our enemy..one person at a time...doing what is true and right to the next person God places in our path and the next and the next- regardless of anything about them. The Word says they will know you are Christians by your love! I grew up seeing friends, not races. For 12 years I taught 1st graders and time and again they did NOT see the skin color differences in our classroom, they saw "Tommy and Shenyqua and Houston" - their buddies. Perhaps we should stop all of the talking and start the business of do-ing...loving the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Our nation needs our prayers and our love and, above all, servants of Jesus, not a denomination or religion, but true, humble, sacrificial, integrity-drenched Jesus-followers! And I am preaching to my own heart, friends :) xo

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  19. thank you for writing this and for calling us to self-examination. the sentence you wrote that really struck me was this: Still, I can't help feeling that beneath this passion is fear (of not falling into the "right" camp) and desire (to be seen, to lead, to fix.) i believe i fall in the "desire" category. i want to be a person of influence, to fix this. i think, instead, i've been guilty of crafting words for attention. forgive me, Shannan, for you read some of them, and forgive me, God, for wanting others to do the hard work and ignore my own.

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    1. Dear friend, I am always preaching to myself. I have spent time in both camps and will surely do it again. And then a post like this comes along and it pains me to get backlash and be misunderstood - even when I knew it would happen! Ughhhhh. I just find myself realizing how I've been shapes in some unhealthy ways. I hope future generations are taught better. And I hope I'm never too scared or proud to write what's on my heart. Xo

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    2. I hope so, too, Shannan. On both counts.

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  20. I have an honest question that's been truly bothering me... when we use phrases like "white supremacy" or "white privilege," I KNOW we're trying to raise awareness to major economic and educational issues, but I can't help but feel like it's a slap in the face to black and other minority communities. Like, it's the equivalent of saying, "black inferior," or "black despondent," by implication. And I realize that's how some people are, but to imply that it's the thoughts and feelings of the majority, when I honestly don't thunk that's true, is destructive. I've been a minority. Not for long, but for the month I lived in Cambodia, I was called beautiful only because I was FAT, and they loved my fair skin. If I continued to live there, I would continue to expect this reaction, without, by default, assuming the entire culture thought that they were better than me. I just knew I was different, and that was okay. Just some scrambled thoughts... hoping for change too... But maybe we should stick to calling issues educational, economical, health/wellness unless we're sure it's a matter of race superiority/inferiority?

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  21. Shannan, I love you for always stretching my mind and my heart. I didn't vote for Trump but my husband did. It's caused me much stress and thought... I love that I can come visit you and examine all sides and see the love throughout! xoxoxoxo

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  22. Hi Shannan- I can see from the comments that your post evoked some strong feelings. Thank you so much for your courage to post this. It is a shining example to all of us of someone who's willing to risk in order to have this dialogue. I believe the issues of race and diversity are the biggest we face in our culture and society today. What we consciously or subconsciously believe about people who are different from us shapes how we see the world and what we are willing to accept. I grew up in white, Christian world too. And in the south. My whole world was shaped by race and desegregation. The family and friends in my life justified this to the point that it was defended in church theology. I believe there is no path to healing until all of us truly seek to understand how we got here. If we grew up in church we have to acknowledge our fundamental Christian theology has supported racism/sexism/homophobia/oppression of others. Even if we think we have left those horrible events behind, we are fooling ourselves. That way of seeing the world continues to influence how we live life today. I believe there is a new way that's becoming reality. Your words give me hope that we will see it come to fruition sooner than later.

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    1. Well said. I attended 3 different Christian colleges before I went to a state university. I had a much deeper faith and active Christian life when it wasn't in a sheltered environment of like-minded people.

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  23. Having grown you with you in the same small town, I share so many of these feelings! And now that we commute there everyday from Dayton so Max can go to school, I can tell you much is the same. From some of his friends not being able to come over and play because of where we live or Max being asked on his first day of school if he's ever been shot by a black person. Our kids are watching. Listening. Modeling. And through my son's confusion we were able to talk about the value in bringing another point of view to people that just don't know. Good-hearted people that just don't know this blind spot! No judgment, just sharing experiences. Bringing perspective.

    But the beauty is, once you know you KNOW...and can't stop seeing it everywhere. Keep speaking, friend! You are planting seeds in people that I guarantee will sprout into truths within themselves. If your words touched nerves in people I believe that is just another seed planted.

    xoxo

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  24. There's no sense grabbing a stiff-bristled brush if we can't even see the stain.

    This.
    Peace is needed and quickly.

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  25. As a seed planted firmly in the mud, I want God to grow me into good things. Reading your words continues to help me think, examine my heart, and give it all up to God...and therefore, grow. And I gotta tell you...the world is making my heart ache right now, and I've been cranky. The divisiveness gets under my skin, feels personal, though it's really not about me at all. The new-est thought camp I've heard of is 'Jesus was both conservative and liberal, if using political terms'. Starting to read
    "Jesus Outside the Lines: A Way Forward for Those Who Are Tired of Taking Sides" by Scott Sauls. I'll let you know how it goes... Until then, keep watering our souls and minds!

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  27. Thanks, Shannon. I have no childhood (or adult) faith experiences that give me a perspective to relate to all you wrote but I am uplifted by much of it and eternally curious to learn more about the remainder. I write this on a day that I have given myself a headache reading the news.

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  28. I'm late to this party, but you would love what Pope Francis and St. John Paul II have to say about families and community.

    I was absolutely fascinated by the description of your childhood in the mid-west. I'm from a huge city in the north-east and I probably grew up a lot like you, though I did spend part of my childhood in Italy. Unfortunately racism is not confined to the USA. I clearly remember how difficult the Moroccan migrants had it in Italy when I was a child, and they probably continue to have a difficult time there.
    I think what struck me the most from your post was that racism where you grew up, sounds like it was limited to anyone that wasn't white. Where I grew up, racism was between whites (Italians versus the Irish, versus the Russian Jews) and with people of other color. However, the very same people that would argue about who is "better" also got along extremely well, and continue to do so (I still have most of my family there, and was just there this past weekend). I guess what I mean to say is that racism isn't as easy as just between blacks and whites. Depending on the community you live in, it can be between anyone.

    ANyway:http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catholic-social-teaching/upload/pope-francis-quotes1.pdf

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  29. Can we all just admit how much we need the Holy Spirit in this. We're not going to get this right in and of ourselves. We can't. But, with God... Isn't that the whole point. Thank you, Shannan for challenging us to see beyond what we've known, to open our eyes. Let us most importantly open our eyes and our hearts to hear what our Father is speaking - and it's always love, always good.

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  30. Thank you for having the courage to address this subject. I just finished reading your book and it really opened up my eyes to how we tend to want to stay closed in our own sense of superiority or difference. Not just based on one's race, but also on our "superior" beliefs. God is love and love is love. Being free from judgement and just open to surrendering to love is the most important thing we can do. Looking at how we withhold love from others by deeply mining our own unconscious beliefs is an important part of this process. Thank you for your bravery and patience!

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  31. Respectfully, I have to disagree that the statement and idea of "America First" has anything to do with white supremacy. These two words are not stemmed in some sort of haughty, competitive spirit. They reveal the foremost priority of the current administration to protect the rights and freedoms of the the citizens of American - of ALL races and religions. It's a statement of order, what needs to be first when moving forward on any change or new law, and the underlying, most important basis for all decisions made in leading this great - yes, it's okay to say it's "great" - nation. It doesn't mean all other nations are unimportant or undeserving of help, support and respect. It's just that they come AFTER the needs of our country, and that's okay. This priority is what drove the President to take a temporary break from accepting refugees from a handful of countries and to be proactive in moving people who are here illegally and have committed crimes back to their home countries. These moves may appear callous and racist and hate-filled, but I prefer to see them as protective measures and love-filled decisions - love for this country, love for its freedoms and rights, and love for all of the American people of all colors and creeds. As a Christian, I also am part of a "Kingdom" in which I am loved and protected and in which I am blessed beyond measure by the King. This King loves all people and desires they know Him and trust Him, but His children come first, and His strong arms keep away the real and powerful evils that are outside the walls. I am absolutely NOT comparing President Trump to Jesus. I'm simply saying that it's okay to have boundaries and requirements to be in our country. It's not racist to do so, because we know with undeniable proof that some people who come into this country illegally are real threats - with pure evil intentions - to our religious freedoms and to our rights as human beings and it's certainly acceptable to be watchful for them. It's also not hate-filled to say "no." If that was the case, what kind of parents would we be? Love for the refugees and the illegal immigrants might look to some as a free-for-all invitation to be a part of our country and enjoy its many blessings. It certainly sounds nice and Christian and loving. But what about love for your fellow Americans, for their safety, for their protection, for their rights to work and earn a living? Is that kind of love less important? Isn't the fact that President Trump wants to protect all the legal citizens of America, not just the white people, enough to see that he is not racist, not a white supremacist? Taking a step back and making sure that allowing people into our country who desire a place of refuge and a safe-haven are not threats to our safety is a very sensible, smart decision and it has nothing to do with loving or hating these people or with white supremacy.
    Despite my disagreement about this post, Shannon, I adore you and your blog. I admire you and your life-choices. I applaud your bravery and I hope to read many more entries filled with stories and insights about living for Jesus and about your beautiful family.

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    1. Thank YOU for this kind-hearted conversation. I understand that I made this post directly political by mentioning my one neighbor. IT really wasn't my intention. It had simply just happened and was fresh on my mind. (Lesson learned!??!) Of course the political discourse is ever-swirling and impossible to deny. But the issue of "white supremacy" is something that has been heavy on my heart well before this election. IT has been both difficult and important to begin to see where I have unknowingly contributed to this stain on our nation. I'm learning every day, and I still have miles to go.

      Just wanted to make that clarification. Regardless of what we may each think about President Trump, the point of this post wasn't to label him a white supremacist. It was meant more to shed some light on how I, and possibly others, have been led to some untrue and unholy assumptions about race.

      Again, thank you for engaging. I truly love learning where others are coming from, even and especially when it's not exactly where I am!

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  32. You laughed at the kids name because you were also a kid, thinking of him as less than you wouldn't have even been on your radar, what a stupid jumping off point for this flimsy argument

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    1. You sort of missed the point, Mark. I was surrounded by other white people for my entire life. Anyone outside of that mold was an anomaly. When we exist in spaces like that, it's nearly impossible not to grow into an adult who sees whiteness as at least slightly superior or "first". You're right, it begins innocently in childhood. This points to the insidiousness of racism and white supremacy.

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  33. اقل الاسعار العالمية والمتميزه في العمل شركة مكافحة حشرات بالخبر علي مستوي عالي من الجودة في العمل استمتع معنا بافضل الخدمات الحديثة والمتميزه في العمل شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام علي مستوي عالمي .

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  34. افضل التقنيات الحديثة والمتميزه في العمل رقم توكيل كاريير في جمهورية مصر العربية افضل التقينات الحديثة والمتميزه في العمل صيانة كاريير علي اعلي مستوي من التقدم في العمل .

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