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A Starting Place for #BlackLivesMatter

A Starting Place for #BlackLivesMatter

#BlackLivesMatter. In an era of timelines and feeds, this statement and its various representations can easily be misunderstood. I wanted to help anyone who is interested in understanding what this statement means and the context that holds it. With full humble disclosure, I must say that I am still learning and understanding. Still, I thought it worthwhile to put together a few resources that may help anyone wanting to open themselves to perspectives they may not have to consider on a daily basis.

Please Note: You may have to put some preconceived notions (prejudice?) aside in order to truly listen. Similar to when two people are in discussion, the listener’s ability to listen well is impeded by them only thinking about what they will say in rebuttal.

This is not intended to be a thoroughly comprehensive or exhaustive list of resources. It is difficult to estimate how long it would take to process through the items below, but it seems that if a person dedicated the next week, or month, or season in their life to broadening their perspective, they certainly would not be wasting their time. Sometimes listening and being able to hold the pain of the other is an initial step that simply cannot be skipped over.

I am observing that some people are in a stage of slumber, where the only way they might consider these things is if the unrest forces them to, or Facebook and Twitter alert them. Once jolted on a Wednesday evening, or for a week, these people may ask, “Now what? What is even going on? How do I process this? Who is a safe person to ask? I don’t want to say the wrong thing.” Given my background, I extremely empathize with this position because I was in this state up until recent years.

Other people may consider themselves #woke, and are able to sympathize, or even empathize. The pain and outrage this past week does not utterly surprise them. To some degree, it hurts them too. The dismissive comments frustrate them too. They message their closer brothers and sisters in private or call them to let them know their thoughts and prayers…that they are aware. That is a start, but if you are in this position, you need to speak out.

You need to talk to your communities, and I will even say especially your white brothers and sisters. There comes a point where empathy alone falls tragically short. Would you stick your neck out as well? Would you stand as an ally? The resources below may all already be things you’ve internalized. Perhaps it is time to move beyond just listening. This is a people-pleaser’s nightmare, I know, but I pray you consider it.

I am learning how to do this and mess up often. To find my mistakes, you may have to look no further than somewhere in this post. I know I am listening and talking about race imperfectly, but it is better than not trying. Still, by God’s grace and through other gracious brothers and sisters, I am growing. Take heart.

Again, it is on purpose that I have placed just a few items here in hopes that it may be a launching pad for some. I invite you to be awakened to the challenges and injustices that your brothers and sisters face today, and to not stop there. I pray that fruitful and loving conversations emerge and systematic racism against African Americans would be more broadly exposed, uprooted, and eliminated.

—-

This is a 10-minute smattering of wokeness. The crash-course-esqe style may be helpful for immediate help.

The video mentions two books currently available for free during a trial-run of Audible. These are considered must-reads, so I encourage you to read/listen to them in some way, shape, or form.
     

It may be helpful to read this pastor’s response to Coates’ book and other writings. Thabiti Anyabwile infuses more hope into these situations in his article A Call for Hope in the Age of Mass Incarceration.

As you are reading the two books above in coming days, you could begin listening to some of these programs.

Episode 34: Black and White: Racism in America (1 hr, 38 min)

 

Is Black Lives Matter the New Civil Rights Movement? (47 minutes) 

 

Pass the Mic

Pass the Mic is the official podcast of the Reformed African American Network, which addresses the core concerns of African Americans biblically. As a former staff member, I know the hosts personally and I cannot emphasize enough their love for the gospel. Their grace and love to me has changed my life. Here is a list of episodes and also two recent episodes I will highlight below. This is a conversation that you want to continue listening to, pray for their work, and even support financially.

Tamir Rice Settlement (50 min)

How to Be a White Ally (41 min)

NPR: Code Switch Podcast – Ever find yourself in a conversation about race and identity where you just get stuck? This episode is a response to the week of July 4, 2016, The podcast is definitely one you want to follow each week. (26 min)

Millions March NYC - REIMAGES

Some might say the events that transpired in Ferguson during the summer of 2014 turned the Black Lives Matter “moment” into a movement. I have collected the blog posts of Thabiti Anyabwile, a minister who wrote regularly as events transpired. This will help give more context to the week of July 4, 2016. Download them here (ThabitiOnFerguson) print, study, and mark them up. Hopefully, you can bring questions into a real conversation.

Just a start. Please get in touch if you have comments, concerns, questions, etc. I would love to hear from you.

Alicia Joy

@alicia2joy  |   reimagesblog@gmail.com

 

Tri-Perspectival Approach to Counseling

Tri-Perspectival Approach to Counseling

Here are excerpts and links to a four-part series written by a counselor who briefly explores how triperspectivalism can positively condition counselors and anyone looking to help and love other people. Perspectivalism is the method that inspired REIMAGES, and I personally hope to continue applying it in multiple areas.

Following the Holy Spirit’s Lead in Biblical Counseling: A Triperspectival Approach

“So it’s good stewardship to see things triperspectivally, from three perspectives: the normative, which has to do with God’s revelation, his standard of truth, his authority to define reality; the situational, which has to do with the facts and circumstances of the world; and the existential, which has to do with human experience. Here’s how they come together, according to Frame: “Every item of true human knowledge is the application of God’s authoritative norm [normative] to a fact of creation [situational], by a person in God’s image [existential]” (Frame, “Primer”).

…My concern is that when it comes to understanding the leading of the Holy Spirit in counseling too much emphasis on the existential, without being “calibrated” by the normative and situational, will lead to error. Emotionalism is not the only error that we want to avoid. There’s also the possibility of being out of step with the Spirit as a result of spiritual myopia, having a nearsighted view of what the Spirit is up to.”

Part Two

“Counselors who want to know how to follow the Spirit’s lead should be continually growing in a knowledge of Bible and Theology. Why again? Because much of the time what the Spirit wants to do is to illuminate the Word for counselees, “enlightening the eyes of their hearts” (Eph. 1:18). This will require not just a knowing of the Word in a cognitive sense, but also in a way that is deeply connected and relevant to one’s life situation (we’ll see that more clearly from the situational perspective), and in a way that resonates personally and experientially (which we’ll see more clearly from the existential perspective).”

Part Three

“In this post, we’ll look at the question from the situational perspective and ask: How does the Spirit relate to human situations involving realities like embodiment (including, for example, the brain), and social embeddedness (including, for example, many social influences past and present)?”

Part Four

In this post, we’ll bring all of these threads together and consider how insights from the normative and situational perspectives add important texture to the basic existential intuition that, in a given counseling moment, The Spirit is probably doing something that “feels right” to the Spirit-formed, maturing Christian counselor.”

 

Why True Crime Shows Should Matter

Russell Moore reflecting on “Serial” and “Making a Murderer:”

“I think Steven Avery is a murderer, based upon not only the program, but based upon the evidence I’ve read about since then. But I can also see in watching, for instance, a real injustice in the way the court-ordered defense attorney handled the confession of the Avery nephew. Even though I work on criminal justice system issues all the time, it really caused me to spend a great deal of time thinking about about that person who is falsely accused but doesn’t have the money to have adequate legal representation. That’s something I think we should be thinking more about.”

The Robots Are Winning!

The Robots Are Winning!

My sentiments exactly.

From the NY Review of Books:

“Ex Machina”, like “Her” and all their predecessors going back to “2001″, is about machines that develop human qualities: emotions, sneakiness, a higher consciousness, the ability to love, and so forth. But by this point you have to wonder whether that’s a kind of narrative reaction formation—whether the real concern, one that’s been growing in the four decades since the advent of the personal computer, is that we are the ones who have undergone an evolutionary change, that in our lives and, more and more, in our art, we’re in danger of losing our humanity, of becoming indistinguishable from our gadgets.

The Martian

The Martian

“What The Martian gives us is one vision of the future of space travel, one that does it—as a number of characters put it throughout the film—so that we can be connected to something “bigger than ourselves.

…Its perspective is a pretty balanced one, though: science exists to solve problems, and also to let us observe the beauty of the universe. That dual purpose resonates in a world full of debates over whether the sciences or the humanities are more important. It’s a silly argument, because they need each other.”

Full Review by Alissa Wilkinson, “Watch This Way,” Christianity Today

The Martian - REIMAGES

THE MARTIAN - REIMAGES

The Martian - REIMAGES

Push the Envelope

Push the Envelope

What would it be like to travel into space, knowing that those before you had just been killed in the process? The Right Stuff  has a compelling way of asking this question with the engaging wit and historical awareness you would expect from a documentary-type drama. This film is an impressive look at what the world’s space race was like through the lives of supersonic test pilot Chuck Yeager and the astronauts of the Mercury 7 team. These were the first Americans to experience spaceflight.

Here you can find an Oral History of The Right Stuff.

We don’t have to agree with the Logos of a work of art to admire and praise its Poiema. That is, I may believe that the Logos of a work of art is dead wrong, but I can still recognize its artistry and craftsmanship. Being able to recognize that does require study and humility, but it’s an important thing.

Alissa Wilkinson

Empathy Games

“Larson and Ryan Green are Christians developing That Dragon, Cancer, a game that aims to convey Green’s experience raising his son, Joel, who died of cancer last year at age 5. Where a writer might convey that experience with words, Green and Larson are doing so in a video game.

Given the common image of video games—violent, trivial diversions—the idea of creating one about a personal tragedy may seem strange. But Green and Larson are contributing to a growing genre known as “empathy games.” Players don’t attain goals or overcome obstacles as much as empathize with characters on a significant life journey. “

Wanderers - a short film by Erik Wernquist from Erik Wernquist on Vimeo.

Endeavor

Breathtaking.

There is something about the reality of outer space that demands mad feels. It puts a person in their place, all the while inviting them to endeavor beyond what is known. It taps into the potential of humanity while making declarations of our frailty and great need.

Outer space is so… other-than. It pushes past the limits of what we think we’ve comprehended, reminding humanity that it is at the mercy of something greater. Yet, that greatness wants to be known. It must be known.

And we keep endeavoring to know. This film charms its viewers with hopefulness. More exploration is on the horizon.

Watch Wanderers.

A Primer on Perspectivalism

“The general concept is simply that because we are not God, because we are finite, not infinite, we cannot know everything at a glance, and therefore our knowledge is limited to one perspective or another.”

How Sufjan Stevens Subverts the Stigma of Christian Music

“Stevens, both a Christian and musician, nevertheless stands in stark contrast to those in this category. Representing a different camp of “Christian art,” with completely different motives and characteristics, he’s distinct among other artists of faith, who tend to produce bad, kitschy work—whether heavy-handed films like Facing the Giants and Fireproof,or the musical travesties on the Wow compilation albums. Instead of dealing directly with religious or biblical matters, Stevens’ music embodies what theologian Francis Schaeffer called the “totality of life,” as opposed some sort of “self-conscious evangelism”—an approach that turns the whole Christian-music stigma on its head.”

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

“Life begins when the world doesn’t.”

There is something about Kimmy Schmidt that is contagious. This is a character I am delighted to have had experienced. Her spirit is a familiar vision of what a truly free soul should be. She is also extremely odd, and I appreciate that. I’m always happiest when I’m around people that express their oddities freely. Inspiring, to say the least. I loved this character and hope to see more of her story in the future.

Over at WaPo, Alissa Wilkinson captures the kindred spirit in Kimmy Schmidt that will not easily be forgotten.

A Most Important Journey

Six Advantages to Consecutive Expository Preaching:

“…Consecutive expository preaching can inculcate sound habits of personal Bible study. The congregation can absorb the necessary principles of sound interpretation, almost by osmosis, through such repeated forays into relatively obscure passages from week to week in the pulpit.”

 

Thabiti Anyabwile on Ferguson and the Movement

Thabiti Anyabwile on Ferguson and the Movement

I recently gathered together a selection of blog posts by Thabiti Anyabwile into a Word document starting back from November 17, 2014. Personally, there are certain blogs and columns I like to read on paper that I can hold in my hands and interact with using an actual pen. This is one of those instances, and the document should make it simple to print. There are several blogs on the current concerns of the day that I would commend to you, and this would be a good place to start.

You can download the document by clicking on ThabitiOnFerguson.

You can check out his blog at TGC by clicking here.

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