On Thursday Dr. Christine Blasey Ford recounted her experience of sexual assault before a committee comprising mostly older white men. Women and other victims of abuse held their collective breath. The details were familiar. The resulting trauma — anxiety, fear of flying, claustrophobia — resonated. Survivors listened — and they recalled their worst experiences.
Much more than a depiction of self-imposed self-work, Nappily Ever After, directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour, challenges viewers to wholeheartedly release the things that chain them. It is a story about rejecting whom others say we are and celebrating the person we know ourselves to be.
As I look back, I can now see how these transitions had been significant in my caminata espiritual as well as in discerning my call to serve God and God’s people. These different encounters with places, peoples, and cultures, have been crucial in my attempt to foster the conditions for visible signs of Jesus’ kingdom to be a present reality and not only an eschatological affair.
In America’s children, we often see hope for a better future, especially when it comes to reducing racism. Each new generation of white people, the thinking goes, will naturally and inevitably be more open-minded and tolerant than previous ones. But do we have any reason to believe this? Should we have faith that today’s white kids will help make our society less racist and more equitable? Previous research has had mixed findings. So in order to explore more fully what white kids think about race, I went straight to the source: white children themselves.
For me, clerical sexual abuse is personal, professional, and institutional. It has haunted my service of the church for more than five decades, involving the abuse of people, power, and trust and a clerical culture that enabled it and covered it up. My experiences have taught me several lessons that I believe will be helpful as the church moves forward.
Women have the right to live free from violation to their bodies. There is nothing profound about this statement. I want to believe it holds no hint of hyperbole, that this is a commonly held belief, that it is in fact true But in light of the rhetoric circulating in recent weeks, I’m not so sure.
It is an ethical imperative to consider the circumstances under which traumatic memories are recalled, whether in the course of therapy, during police investigations, court hearings, or public testimonies. Recalling trauma may be a part of the healing process or may lead to re-traumatization, persistence, and continued detrimental effects from traumatic memories.
I doubt the evangelical response to Tamar would have been as enlightened even though she had “proof.” The rhetoric would look more like this: Tamar took advantage of Judah at a time of grief for her own economic gain. She should have had her father speak to Judah about his negligence first and given him a chance to defend his action. They would cite what a good family Judah came from, being the son of Jacob and the great-grandson of Abraham. Except for selling his brother into slavery, he’s been a model citizen. They wouldn’t dare validate Tamar’s subversive act as a form of social justice, as a call for repentance and redemption
I constantly ask myself if I’m betraying my family by responding to the rituals and traditions they so earnestly sought to escape. But then I think about their conversion stories and how they made these decisions to become closer to Jesus.
This is not the first time a South Asian activist has been punished for speaking out against the government. Southeast Asia has some of the largest democracies in the world, and yet under the current climate, every voice of defiance is pegged as a coup, or a smear campaign. There have been countless activists, journalists, and others who speak up that have been relentlessly targeted.
Contemporary society often seems disconnected from these ideals. Our leaders refuse to admit to indiscretions, or having admitted them, refuse to apologize. They regard an apology as a sign of weakness rather than a show of moral strength. This is worse than myopic; it is a dangerous indifference to what is right. The truth is that it takes courage to apologize, and accountability is not the same as capitulation.
To his credit, Reitman tries to humanize the characters on all sides of the issue, in an attempt to cast some shades of gray. It’s an admirable idea, but the lack of commitment to a particular perspective sinks the film. It also goes pretty easy on Hart, and one gets the sense that Reitman and his co-writers Matt Bai and Jay Carson (themselves experienced both in running campaigns and political reporting) seem to think it’s a real shame that media scandal tanked a campaign that could have done some real good. That may be, but it’s impossible to ignore that if Hart had stuck closer to the morals he claimed, there wouldn’t have been a scandal to report. Whatever good qualities he may have had, he’s just as guilty as the people who brought him down
Recently my mother told me that if the authorities had stopped her family at any point as they fled from Poland, she would have been separated from her parents. They would have survived the horrors of the Holocaust only to face the fresh hell of a Communist regime. That image immediately brought to mind the heart-rending photos from earlier this year of over 2,600 children, from infants to teenagers, being forcibly separated from their parents as they crossed the U.S.-Mexico border due to the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy on immigration.
This is the burden of black women who carry the cargo of worshipping Jesus under the leadership of sexist men. This is the heavy load that Aretha carried throughout her life – being ostracized by men for singing the “devil’s music” while clinging desperately to the message of her father’s teaching. Throughout her life, Aretha paid her tithes and offerings to churches that failed to embrace her full humanity. They elevated the perception of her unholy ways while accepting those checks.
Gabriel: How do we navigate the differences between faith based and secular organizing?
Gomez: There is some power in faith based organizing. I saw 13 or 14 ministers and rabbis show up at the Oakland Airport, and hold an action, literally did a sit down around deportation, and the police did not mess with them at all. And so, I think that there's power in that. There's power in saying we are God's people and we have chosen to participate in an action, on whatever issue it is. It says if you touch us, know that what you're actually doing is you are touching the people of God. And so, I do think that it's a strategy.
But I find it very ironic when I see people of the cloth who are fighting for the rights of LGBTQ people, knowing that the Bible is often used as the deterrent to actually accepting LGBTQ people. And yet we need that, right? If we're ever going to change the face of what is good and holy, we need those people. We need those people to have our backs.
But during that conversation with Rev. Dr. Durley, I realized that there is one compelling reason that Christians should all care about the earth — generational legacy. We have to create a legacy of and a world that is safe for future generations to breathe in, live in, and thrive in
Reinaldo Marcus Green’s film Monsters and Men is part of an interesting moment in popular culture. It’s one of four films this year to address the relationship between law enforcement and people of color. It’s also one of two movies playing at this years Toronto International Film Festival that deal directly with Black Lives Matter and the killing of black men by police officers.
This September marks the anniversary of Hurricane Maria, one of the most intense natural disasters to hit the Caribbean in over a decade. Recent studies estimate that of the 3,057 people killed by last year’s storms, 2,975 of those lives lost were Puerto Rican. These numbers continue to grow as the failing infrastructure on the island claims more casualties. The media has tried to unravel the causes of these deaths and scrutinize the failed deliveries of humanitarian aid that never reached residents. Corruption has been revealed at every level. Still, few have questioned the policies that enable it.
America is still led by an apathetic majority void of compassion, empathy, and sympathy. A majority unable and unwilling to confess their biases, hate, phobia, and toxicity, making themselves apathetic to the reality of African Americans. From their perspective intentional and toxic discrimination, racism, and police practices is not their problem; they have no role in this plight and degradation.
The more I listened, the queasier I felt because I had forgotten just how powerful and foundational the rhetoric of hell is in creating a spiritual and political consensus among Christians. Whoever can help capture more territory from the devil and his army is the candidate to vote for. In the language of spiritual warfare, one candidate’s individual behavior pales in comparison to the millions of unborn souls that are saved.