Farmer Boy

In the year and a half since moving to Canada, much has changed for Andy and me and our lives look drastically different than they did in India. Yet I continue to be amazed by the threads of continuity woven into our story; the dreams planted in that season of life that continue to grow and bear fruit in unexpected ways even now. In India, our neighbors were village migrants who had reluctantly left their land to eke out a precarious existence in a polluted city with dropping water tables, and living alongside them sparked Andy’s interest in learning about sustainable agriculture to address poverty at the roots. Last month, that dream began to germinate when Andy got a job working for a small-scale farm just outside Vancouver!

I never pictured myself married to a farmer–though my first literary crush was Almanzo, the brave, resourceful protagonist of Farmer Boy from the Laura Ingalls Wilder books my mom used to read to my sister and me at bedtime. Years later, my farmer husband is  pursuing his dream of sustainable agriculture to address poverty at the roots. Andy has committed himself to learning the intricacies of nature and the wonder of humbly working alongside God to cultivate what we cannot manufacture. I could not be more proud of that [often rain-soaked] man in muddy boots who comes home exuberant after each day outside on the farm. Here he is, in his own words, explaining this new season of life:

One month ago, I quit my job in the city and became a farmer.

How did that happen?

It all began one sweltering afternoon two years ago, I was riding the public bus in India with my colleague, Govind. Reflecting on the challenges of doing community development in our city, Govind remarked that people in the villages were much more invested in their community and land than people in the slums. Living as squatters in the city, there was little incentive to invest long term in their communities or the land on which they lived. Our neighbors were further disempowered through the loss of family networks in the village, and they couldn’t use their agrarian expertise in the city—which meant they were usually left doing tedious, dangerous, and low-paying jobs to make ends meet.

Govind (on my left) and I facilitating a community meeting in India.

Govind’s comments reinforced the many conversations Trudy and I had with our neighbors in the slum, the vast majority of whom had recently migrated to the city due to lack of land security, land holdings that were too small for conventional agriculture, and declining soil productivity–all of which made it hard to earn a living as farmers, as their ancestors had done. Especially after visiting some of our friends’ home villages, I began to dream about doing community development work “further up stream” in an agrarian context, enabling farmers to make a meaningful choice about whether or not to move to the city.

A new season and a new community

While we were still in India, I was introduced to a Christian conservation organization called A Rocha, which seeks to show God’s love for all creation through hands-on conservation projects, environmental education programs, and sustainable agriculture initiatives. This includes restoring salmon habitat, training young scientists, inspiring school children, and providing fresh vegetables to low-income families. Love for people, place, and our planet are the threads that tie together and motivate A Rocha. A Rocha’s work is done in the context of community and with the aim of building bridges between people of diverse backgrounds as we all strive to care for—and be cared for by—the places we call home.

In February, I was hired as an Assistant Farm Manager with A Rocha’s Sustainable Agriculture program at the Brooksdale Environmental Centre in Surrey, BC. While getting my hands dirty (literally) with planting, watering, weeding, and harvesting, I’ll also be putting my business skills to use by selling our produce to restaurants and supporting A Rocha’s Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) Program, in which CSA members commit to the farm by paying in advance for a weekly harvest box. Throughout the growing season, they then enjoy produce that is healthy and fresh while getting to connect with the farmers who grow the food that they eat.  Our CSA program currently supplies about 100 shares, which fund the bulk of the program costs. The rest our budget comes from small grants, sales at market stands, and fundraising.

The farm team: me, master farmer Paul, and fellow assistant manager, Lindsay

Many people have expressed surprise when I tell them that I am working as a farmer.  I have never farmed, have always lived in cities (some of the largest and most crowded on earth!), and spent my university years studying international business.  And yet…  I have a deep desire to work with my hands, to grow real food, to learn about how to care for a piece of land (and it’s non-human inhabitants). I’m also excited to do all of this in the context of community, working alongside volunteers and interns who are also learning.  A Rocha’s Brooksdale Environmental Centre is just such a place: a living laboratory where people come together to learn about and experience the goodness of God’s creation. This is an opportunity to gather skills that I can use to help small-scale farmers steward their land well and avoid the trap of urban poverty that our neighbors experienced in India.

   

Growing a community of support

Each A Rocha staff person contributes to the financial sustainability of our work by fundraising a portion of their salary. Because you have followed my journey over the past few years as I have worked out my faith and vocation, I want to share this newest chapter of my journey with you and invite you to partner with me financially through a one time gift or a monthly donation. I am seeking to raise $500 per month. You can make your tax deductible donation online from Canada here, or from the U.S. here.
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I’d love to hear any questions you may have about my work or about A Rocha’s vision, and I am excited to share my learnings on the farm with you as I discover how to labor alongside God in bringing goodness out of the soil. I don’t want to spam folks with emails, so if you’re interested in receiving quarterly updates, please take a moment to subscribe to my newsletter here.
   

A new year and a new job

It’s been a busy month and a half since I crossed the threshold from being eclectically-occupied-without-remuneration into the full-on, 9-to-5 work world. In December, I started a new job as a support worker with a small non-profit that serves refugee claimant families in the Vancouver area. I get to journey alongside families who have succeeded in their refugee claims (and some who are snagged in the lengthy appeals process) as they continue to navigate language learning, looking for work, and putting down roots in the soil of this strange country that is becoming home.

What does all of that look like in practical terms? Ironically, it looks a lot like what I was doing in India, except with more structure and more resources: my days are spent tracking down job opportunities, registering kids for school, celebrating birthdays, sharing home-cooked meals, and filling out paperwork for work permits, subsidized housing, income assistance. I fax and call and wade through the labyrinthine bureaucracy of automated answering systems to talk to government offices. I drive all over new streets with new people in my new-to-me car, trying to make it to appointments on time and without getting lost. I apply for legal aid, and exchange magic tricks with a bored fourth grader in the office while we wait with his parents. I drink sweetened coffee or green tea with cardamom in people’s living rooms and listen to stories—political histories of places I’ve never visited, and personal histories of the people who have been forced out of them.

The job has involved dusting off my Spanish, picking up some Kurdish, and enjoying the near-universal utility of the Arabic phrases my neighbors taught me in India: Asalaam-aleikum, Alhamdulillah, Khuda Hafiz. Peace to you. Praise God. May God be your Guardian.

Some days I marvel at the calm of a brave single mother in the midst of a storm, raising her children and calmly offering me cookies at her kitchen table while her husband waits on another continent to be able to join her. Other days I marvel at the injustice—and the absurdity—of a prosperous city in which parents work hard for years and still can’t afford market-rate rent for their families.

It strikes me that this job is a sort of second chance. I am filled with hope and energy as I connect with people, and as I channel my skills and effort into helping create a community of welcome and belonging for the strangers in our midst.  True, I can escape to a peaceful apartment at the end of each day, but again, I find myself in the situation of befriending people whose struggles and stories refuse to be contained in any professional office space or business hours. I bring those stories home with me and I think about them and I care. Again, I find myself with a finger on the pulse of pain and dislocation in our world, too close to ever forget about the bloodshed and trauma and loss that haunt the lives of so many.

It also strikes me that this job is a sort of test. How well have I learned to care for myself? How much respect have I gained for my own limits, and how well can I separate my identity from my success in meeting others’ expectations? Can I love without losing myself this time? I wonder. Passionately throw myself behind a cause without burning out? 

They’re the kinds of questions which can’t be answered apart from being lived. So with all my apprehension and excitement, I continue along this path that leads me through déjà vu and new territory at the same time. I can sense how far I have come and yet how very far I have to go, but for now, my heart is filled with gratitude for yet another spiral in this healing journey.

 

Refugee claimant

The Longest Night of the Year

the longest night of the year

photo credit: Adam Hill (http://www.adamhillstudios.ca/)

Last night I attended a special service at my church known as “The Longest Night of the Year,” or “Blue Christmas,” when we as a community remember those for whom this season is marked by grief rather than celebration. We make space to bring our unfulfilled longings, losses, and pain into the open instead of hiding them behind any kind of festive veneer, and we sings songs that are full of both sorrow and hope.

The room was dark except for a few radiant candles. Sometimes the room was filled with beautiful, gentle music; other times it was hushed and still. We passed around a fresh cedar bough–a symbol of cleansing and healing–and as each person held it in their hands, they were invited to name their sadness aloud or take a moment of silence to bring it to mind. Then they would pass the fragrant branch to the person beside them and we would all speak over them, “Oh God, surround them in your love.”

Many of us shed tears, but it was not a depressing atmosphere. It was honest and sad, but hopeful. We believed that Jesus is coming, and that he has come–that Jesus is with us now. I believe that many of us left feeling both stronger and more vulnerable than when we came in. (At least, that’s how it was for me.) That space was holy. I cannot think of a better way to observe Advent.

Earlier this week, I wrote a reflection on grieving with hope for SheLoves Magazine’s Advent series. It’s a brief meditation on one of the lesser-known women in the Christmas story, and what it means to celebrate the light even while we are surrounded by darkness:

“Women figure prominently in the story of Jesus’ birth. From an early age, I learned about Mary’s unwavering trust in God, and her courage; I was told about Elizabeth’s joy at the fulfillment of a dream she had long since abandoned. Yet as an adult, I find that the most haunting female presence in the story is a woman I never learned about during my childhood—a woman who technically wasn’t even there…”

Head on over to SheLoves Magazine to read the rest.

Glimpses of the Kingdom

This is the second week of Advent, the season of waiting for Christ to come to us in the midst of our darkness. Having spent the last several years getting to know people in poverty and on the margins of society, I am pretty much constantly aware of that darkness, and it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the light altogether. That’s why I want to hold onto any glimpses I catch of the kingdom slowly but surely breaking in, and I want to share a few of them here.

I recently completed a three-month volunteer training with Battered Women’s Support Services here in Vancouver, where my fellow trainees were a group of brave women with beautiful, compassionate hearts. Most of those women don’t identify as people of faith, but I felt the presence of God in the midst of the safe and loving community we built together. That strong sense of community was absolutely vital during the twelve intense weeks we spent staring injustice and violence in the face and sharing some very raw pieces of our own stories.  Exploring the ugliness of the world with a bunch of people who are committed to doing something about it helps keep my hope alive, and reminds me that there is strength in our shared vulnerability as human beings.

I’ve now begun fielding calls on the crisis line. From police to hospitals to courts, it’s been sobering to realize how often the systems that have been set up to protect the vulnerable actually let people slip through the cracks–or worse, further traumatize and isolate them. Sometimes, people struggling with mental health issues are given criminal records instead of help. Sometimes women are arrested for defending themselves against abusive partners while the men who batter them go free. I know this now, not only through statistics or reading articles or listening to experts talk about it, but from speaking to these women on the phone.  All too often, factors such as race, income level, and immigration status determine whether or not a woman will get the help she needs.

Volunteering with BWSS has been a steep learning curve, and the stories of violence and abuse that I have been hearing over the phone are heartbreaking. Yet I also feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the chance to support these brave, resilient women in resisting violence and pursuing lives of dignity and safety.  I am humbled by their tenacity in working against staggering odds to reclaim their own identities and the lives and to heal from trauma.

In other news, I’ve just landed my first paid job in Canada! Yesterday, I accepted a position working directly with refugee claimants: people who have fled their countries of origin because of violence or persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinions or membership in a particular social group. In contrast to privately-sponsored or government-assisted refugees, refugee claimants undertake their dangerous journey without knowing whether or not they will be granted asylum when they reach their destination. They often face detention upon arrival, and the months-long refugee claims process that follows can be a stressful and scary time while claimants struggle to navigate an unfamiliar system, gather evidence for their case, and wait for their fate to be decided by the powers that be.

My job will bring me into contact with families at all stages of this process, but my main responsibility will be to support those whose refugee claims have recently been approved, journeying alongside them as they begin the process of integrating into the local community and helping them to find employment.

I start tomorrow, and I can’t wait. In the face of all the violence and hateful rhetoric lately, I am beyond thrilled to be able to extend the welcome of Christ to refugee claimants from around the world—Muslim and otherwise—who have come to this country seeking safety. I look forward to all of the beautiful people I will meet, and to all the ways they are sure to challenge and humble me and force me to grow, causing me to see more (and differently) than I did before.

I give thanks for every step a woman takes towards freedom and safety. I give thanks for every refugee’s safe arrival, and every successful application for asylum.  I celebrate every small victory for justice in our world, and I recognize Christ’s coming in our midst. Still, I wait impatiently in the dark, willing these pin-prick stars to turn into daylight.

God, be born in our hearts. In our fractured world, let us be the midwives of goodness and truth coming into being.

Good News to the Poor: What I Learned From an 80-year-old Nun in India.

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During the time I lived in the slum, I sometimes interacted with other Christians who viewed Muslims as spiritual projects. They were confused about why I would choose to live with people in poverty and/or people of another religion for any reason other than to use cloak-and-dagger evangelism to convert them.  If I responded that following Jesus compelled me to love my neighbors and seek to work for justice alongside them, other Christians sometimes concluded that all that neighborly love must be a way of warming up the crowd for the REAL message of Jesus later, and it seemed impossible to explain that–as far as I was concerned–love, justice, community, and belonging in God’s family WERE the message.

At a time when these sorts of conversations had left me feeling discouraged and misunderstood, I met an octogenarian nun with a crinkly face and a compassionate heart. Her understanding of my strange life was a much-needed comfort at the time, and to this day I continue to unpack the wisdom she shared with me in our conversations under the neem trees.  This month, I got to write about my friendship with her in an online article for Plough Quarterly. Here’s an excerpt:

“There were the unjust laws and corrupt officials. There was drought and impoverished soil in the villages our neighbors hailed from, where fields could not be endlessly subdivided between generations of sons. The education and healthcare systems were inadequate. And among those we got to know, malnutrition, family cycles of violence, and psychological trauma all took their toll. Generations of discrimination too often meant that people in poverty didn’t expect much from themselves.

We were discouraged not only by the enormity of the problems faced by our neighbors, but also by the church’s failure to respond. Of the local Christians with whom we interacted, many seemed focused on a “spiritual” agenda – gathering adherents – though to be sure, they had material concerns as well: maintaining historical church buildings and air-conditioned auditoriums…”

Head on over to Plough to read the rest!

 

Beyond the Myth of Scarcity

Thanksgiving is coming up this week, and yesterday SheLoves magazine published a piece I wrote about my childhood memories of Thanksgiving dinner and the cultural myth of scarcity that I grew up with. In light of world events over the past few weeks–violent attacks and decisions about whether to welcome refugees in the wake of that tragedy or not–the choice between living with a mindset of scarcity or a mindset of abundance has never been more crucial. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Growing up in upper-middle class American suburbia, Thanksgiving was usually the day that we ate so much our stomachs hurt—seconds and thirds and dessert, as much as we wanted, because it was a feast day. And although Thanksgiving was a special meal because it brought my extended family together for a big party, it wasn’t like we were leaving the dinner table less-than-full on other days.  I cannot remember there ever being a time when we did not have enough.

I learned early on—in school and everywhere else—that being successful required that I “get ahead.” I learned that the economy and other national interests needed to be protected at all costs, whether that meant bombing our enemies or building walls to keep them out. If they came in, they might suck away our prosperity, leech off our system or, even worse, threaten the affluence and convenience that we had come to jealously guard as our way of life.

Still, we always had more than we needed–everything in abundance–but we did not believe in abundance. Scarcity, or the threat of scarcity, always cast its shadow over our lives…”

Head on over to SheLoves Magazine to read the rest!

 

When I think of Muslims, this is who comes to mind.

The most frequent command in Christian scripture is, “Do not be afraid.” The New Testament even presents fear being the opposite of love, stating bluntly that “perfect love casts out fear.” At first glance, this may seem a surprising idea, but on closer inspection it makes perfect sense. Fear propels us to act first and ask questions later; to reason carelessly; to prioritize self-preservation over compassion. Fear can make us irrational, destructive, violent. When we experience terror, we are often willing to scapegoat or accuse or punish anyone if we believe that doing so will bring our unbearable terror to an end. We become obsessed with restoring our sense of safety and comfort as quickly as possible, and all other concerns can easily take a backseat to that one, compelling priority.

Two nights ago, I dreamt that I was back in the slum in India, hanging out with some of the women and girls I know there. Frequently over the past year, I’ve had realistic dreams about visiting my friends’ homes, eating and talking with them, but this time it was different—the next morning, my former teammate (who is still there) emailed to say that he had visited our old neighborhood and that many of the people there had asked about Andy and me and passed along their greetings to us. He had likely been talking with them at the same time that I was dreaming about them.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, my friends in India are on my mind a lot. Every time someone makes an ignorant generalization accusing all Muslims of being terrorists, I think of the generous and hospitable families in the slum who welcomed me into their lives. I think of the children suffering malnutrition and forced into tedious labor instead at a young age instead of being able to attend school. I think of their parents’ struggles with illiteracy, unemployment, and prejudice from the majority of society. I think about how they could do without any more obstacles placed in the way of living dignified, healthy lives, and I worry about the ways that negatives stereotypes and hatred toward Muslims will affect their lives.

I learned so much from my Muslim neighbors about compassion, loyalty, hope—and, yes, faith. They accepted me into their community despite the fact that we came from different races, different cultures, and different religions. When I remember the risk they took in choosing to get to know me as a person instead of allowing stereotypes to keep me at arm’s length, I can’t help but feel anger at the injustice of others in the West allowing stereotypes of Muslims to erase the humanity of my friends and neighbors in India.

But these are not the only people on my mind. I also think of my refugee friends here in Vancouver. One of them is a young woman from Afghanistan who was forced to flee her country with two young children to keep them all alive. Her daughter, little more than a year old, is nearly the same age as two of my beloved nieces/goddaughters in the United States.

If her case were being handled the way that refugee claims are in my home state of Texas, then she and her children would not be accessing counseling, supportive community, and legal aid to help them cope with the crisis they are in—instead, they would have already been sitting in prison for several months without access to a lawyer, and they would now be looking forward to indefinite detention with no one to help them.

If some of my friends on Facebook had their way, then this vulnerable family would not have even been allowed into North America because they are Muslim. Possibly, they would already be dead.

I think about all of these dear friends every time I hear or read about Muslims being cast as a single, monolithic group characterized by violence. I think about the real people that so many of us are eager to condemn, but whose faces we have never seen, whose stories we have never heard, and whose lives we are willing to hastily cast aside in pursuit of the idol of our own “security.”

The young men playing love songs on their cell phones and flying kites on the roof in my neighborhood in India, my friends’ babies learning to walk and talk, giggly teenage girls walking to school, grief-stricken parents who will risk anything–even a dangerous voyage across an ocean in an inflatable raft–to save their children’s lives: these are all Muslims. Perhaps if we could recognize our own hopes and fears in them instead of directing our fear against them, we would be able to see them for who they really are.

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photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/37890481@N04/6174828711″>Bangladesh, Ramadan 2011.</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>

What American Christians Get Wrong About Israel

banksy graffiti on the wall

Graffiti art by Banksy on the dividing wall between Israel and the Palestinian Territories

Over the past month in Israel, violence has been ratcheting up towards the possibility of all-out war. I’ve noticed that Christian friends on social media have begun voicing support for Israel, or commenting on the inherent violence of Muslims. In bewildering circumstances like these, it’s easy to cling to simplistic ideas of good versus evil, typecasting individuals and societies as villains and victims. But until we deal with our unconscious biases and ignorance, we will not be able to see clearly what is happening, and we will not be able to respond effectively. A wise and faithful response to the crisis requires us to educate ourselves about the history and wider context of the conflict. As American Christians, what assumptions or beliefs may be obscuring our view?

We Equate Modern Israel with Biblical Israel

In Genesis chapter 12, God tells Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you,” which many Christians interpret to mean that believers have a responsibility to offer unconditional political support the modern nation-state of Israel. This is an inaccurate assumption because in reality, there are important differences between the twelve tribes mentioned in the Old Testament and the nation-state of Israel. Ancient Israel was a theocracy, governed by priests based on direct revelation from God; modern Israel is a secular democracy, established through the actions of the British colonial government and the United Nations in the 1940s. Furthermore, the nation of Israel is not synonymous with the Jewish people. Not only is there a global community of Jews who have lived outside of Palestine for thousands of years, but within the nation itself, 20% of the Israeli population is Arab, and Arab Christians and Muslims across the Middle East also trace their ancestry back to Abraham.

The belief that Christians are commanded to “bless” modern Israel tends to imply a divine stamp of approval for particular Israeli policies or military actions. But instead of unconditionally supporting Israel or any other nation, we as Christians should be evaluating a government’s laws and actions through the lens of the Kingdom Jesus taught: do they result in freedom for the oppressed, or protection for the vulnerable? Do they result in the naked being clothed, the hungry being fed, and the homeless housed? Or do they result in the opposite?

We Misunderstand the Abrahamic Covenant

The Abrahamic Covenant is God’s promise to guide and protect Abraham and his descendants, and to give them the land of Canaan; they are commanded to be circumcised as a sign of faithfulness to this covenant (Gen. 15, 17). God not only promises Abraham that his descendants will become “a great nation,” but declares that “all peoples on earth will be blessed by you” (Genesis 12:3). So, the Jewish people are chosen not as a special ethnic group who are more important to God than all other people, but as a conduit of blessing for the whole world. In the Old Testament, non-Jews like Ruth and Rahab join the covenant community through faithful action, and Jesus mentions Gentiles who were cared for or healed by God even when Israel was in distress (Luke 4:25-27).

Jesus fulfills this promise by widening the covenant to include not only people of Jewish descent, but anyone and everyone who joins the family of God through faith. As the apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 2, Jesus has made Jews and Gentiles “one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.” Paul goes on to say in Ephesians 3:6 that “through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” God’s loving plan for the whole world has been revealed in Jesus.

We Ignore the Occupation

Israel invaded Gaza and the West Bank during the Six Day War in 1967, and continues to occupy these territories today. Having their homes demolished, losing their land, facing mass incarceration without trial, and denied equal protection under the law, many Palestinians are losing hope of things ever changing. Gaza’s 1.8 million residents live in poverty, unable to access adequate food or safe drinking water, experiencing 40% unemployment; in the West Bank, Palestinians’ water supply is often cut off or destroyed by Israeli settlers. Crossing into Israel for work, Palestinians spend hours each day waiting at security checkpoints, and in emergencies, this restricted movement sometimes means that people die before they can reach a hospital. Palestinian Christians have voiced their belief that conflict will not end until the occupation ends, and they are calling on the international Christian community to hold the State of Israel accountable for its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.

The occupation creates an unequal society in which Israelis hold the vast majority of power, wealth, and land, and in which their safety and well-being is maintained at the expense of the safety and well-being of Palestinians. The segregated inequality in which the two groups live generates the fear, resentment, and hatred that breed violence in the first place, and the occupation is a barrier to peace because it depends upon exclusion and violence for its very existence.

We Forget about the Church’s Mission of Reconciliation

Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they are called children of God,” and the apostle Paul makes clear that a large part of the Church’s mission in the world is reconciliation. Forgiveness, enemy love, and creative nonviolence are all things that Jesus modeled and taught, and throughout history there are numerous examples of this kind of “Kingdom living” bringing peace and healing in situations of conflict. God is the source of true peace, but He brings peace into the world by working in and through human beings.

Working for peace does not mean being neutral, but it does mean that we move past tribal alliances with the people who are most like us. Peacemaking means that we stand on the side of compassion, of life, and of justice, no matter whose government or ideology we find ourselves standing against.

The truth is that the only way for either Israelis or Palestinians to achieve the freedom and safety they want is for them to recognize the humanity in each other, to understand that their well-being is tied together, and to work towards a future in which all are respected and included, regardless of their religion or ethnicity.

The New Testament makes clear that our allegiance as Christians is not to any earthly government or ethnic group, but to God and his Kingdom (Matt. 6:24, Acts 5:29). So, I don’t stand with Israel. Neither do I stand with Palestine. I stand with every human being who is angry and afraid, and I stand against the occupation which blocks their shared future.

Like A Mighty Wave: the Power of People United for Justice

There are different kinds of power. Power that liberates, power that oppresses; power hoarded, or power shared. There is the kind of power that comes from external props and circumstances, and then there is power that arises from within.

Today I’m reflecting on power, and remembering the brave women I marched with in India last year. The demonstration was a confrontation between two kinds of power, really–but soldiers and police with their guns and blockades were nothing against the strength of these women with their hearts set on justice. Read the story at SheLoves Magazine.

Love & Solidarity: My guest appearance on the JesusHacks podcast

JesusHacks podcast

So… a few weeks ago, Neal Samudre found my blog and asked to interview me for something called the JesusHacks podcast. As part of a podcast series on what it means to love your neighbor, I shared stories about incarnational living in the context of the slum communities I got to know in India. I love storytelling through writing, but working in the medium of spoken words was an interesting experience–exciting, and also a little intimidating! Hearing my own recorded voice played back was kind of a jolt… but I guess none of us really knows what our voice sounds like to other people until we hear it recorded 🙂 Anyway, this week the podcast went live! You can give it a listen here, or on itunes.