July 06, 2016

A Prayer of Repentance from a White Girl

Leviticus 5:7 Our ancestors sinned and are no more,
    and we bear their punishment.

I do on this day acknowledge and grieve of the sins of my ancestors. 
I am white and American. 
I repent of the system of oppression that has held others down. 
Although I never owned a slave or physically harmed anyone, I do acknowledge that I am part of a system where my race gives me advantages.
I have taken this system for granted. 
I have denied its existence. 

I repent of the sins of my nation.
I repent of the sins of my race.
I repent and turn away.
I feel deeply the sorrow.

When I think of the times someone was beaten, raped, held down, forced into embarrassing positions, ridiculed, mocked, made to look foolish, told to stand back, sit down, turn around, move forward, I think of the rocks and the ground that were witnesses. 

They saw what was often hidden behind doors. Or sometimes boldly done in the streets in public view. The shame of everyone standing as you were torn apart limb from limb, from the inside first.

I think of the blood that was shed and the witnesses. Perhaps people . . . perhaps rocks, trees, wind, ground, water, or darkness.
The price is heavy. The weight is heavy.
Even if we did not lift a finger. It happened.
It was allowed. No one stopped it from happening.

I repent of at times thinking equity and equality were the same thing.

Please forgive us. We have done you wrong. 
Be patient with me. Help me to understand.
Be patient when I don't understand. Say it again.
A different way so I get it. 

You are our brothers. You are our sisters. We treated you as aliens.
Foreigners. Infidels. We treated you as animals. Property. 
When that was not allowed we made excuses. 

We have no excuse. We have no recourse. 
Save the blood of the lamb. We are washed clean. 
But there is still work to do.  
This is our legacy and our curse. It is ours to carry.
God help us all. 

February 17, 2016

Risen (2016): Movie Review

Risen is an excellent story and provides a great example of storytelling in a faith-based film. It follows the faith journey of one Roman centurion from doubter to seeker to perhaps follower. This was an interesting concept because this is one of my church's tenets: we welcome doubters, seekers, and followers to our morning services.

Clavius is a Roman centurion, disciplined, hardened by war, and extremely cynical. His one and only dream is a "day without death." He is asked by Pilate to make sure no one steals the body of the man called Yeshua, who has just died by crucifixion. But when the body goes missing, Clavius leads the hunt to find the missing corpse and make sure rumors cease that Yeshua has risen.

This was a fast-paced film, part police procedural (if a Roman soldier can be compared to a policeman)/part historical drama/part inspirational story.

Clavius is like many Roman soldier we have seen before in movies. He is surrounded by violence and does all things with perfection, When he comes home from a bloody day, he just wants to soak in a bath and have some peace. Only Pilate keeps his busy with many tasks, from breaking legs, to guarding tombs, to investigating missing bodies.

He takes the tasks set before him seriously. He is a given a new assistant who is equally ambitious. His investigation takes him through the streets of Jerusalem, both in the wealthy and not-so-wealthy areas.

The cast did an excellent job with their characterizations. The dialogue seems sincere and true to life. They characters are complex and not stereotypical. They each have a reason for what they have done and are currently doing.

This is a good film for rediscovering the story of Christ's resurrection from an outsider's perspective. What would it be like for a Roman to speak to the followers of Christ? He thinks many of the characters are mad or "touched," as he calls it.

Although many of the scenes are not found in the Bible, all of the scenes are plausible and could have happened. The joy of Jesus' followers is compared inadvertently to the drive of the Romans. I think a film like this will do more for evangelical efforts than many of the faith-based films out there currently.

January 23, 2016

Why You Should Clean Off Your Car During a Snow Day, Even if You Aren't Going Anywhere

I have to admit it -- for all of the jokes people make about the way Tar Heels handle snow and wintry precipitation, I am secretly proud of the state I now consider my home. I like the multiple days I'm trapped at home. As a true type A gal, it's difficult for me to sit still for long. These snowy days are a great excuse to do just that with no guilt.

I can sit home, read books, binge watch movies, eat semi-junk food, and watch all of the crazy videos people post on social media. There's no shame in not wanting to drive or go out in this mess. I have been in North Carolina 20 years now. It's hard to believe.

But I do have this one ritual. If I'm housebound longer than a full day, I go outside and clean off my car. Even though I don't plan on leaving the house, I go outside and get as much snow and ice off the car as possible.

You might wonder why I do this. Why go to all that trouble? I get all bundled up and trek outside, clean off my car, and then go back inside. Many people in my situation just think it's a good idea to let Mother Nature do her thing and let the car melt off naturally. I say, you are missing the fun. It's also the socially responsible thing to do.

Let me 'splain.

Okay, so first the fun. Do you remember when you realized how much fun it was to peel off old dead skin from sunburn? That's nothing compared to the joy of de-icing a car that has been sitting in an NC ice storm. When you begin, you will feel like this is the impossible task. You turn on the defrost in my car and you'll scrape off the first window. Even though all the snow comes off, the layer of ice is still there. In the case of this year, 2015, there was at least an inch and a half of ice to batter through. You start working away at that ice, and it's like trying to dig through concrete.

But as the defrost works and your sheer force of determination begins to whittle away that ice, you find it: the point of resistance. You see a little wiggle of movement and then -yes! - Eureka, a huge chunk of ice the size of your entire window all falls off at once. "Timber!" you shout and lean to the left just in time. Boy do you feel accomplished!

You then do the same for every inch of your car. Sweat pouring off your face, snot running down your nose, your poor gloves soaked through, you painstakingly work the sheet of ice off your car. Whew! Now you can leave -- if you wanted to.

Okay, so that's the fun reason, but there's another reason to do this act of charity. Yes, charity. As fun as it is to clean off a North Carolina iced-in car, it is totally unfun to drive behind an individual who has not done this work. Many an NC driver does the bare minimum. They clear off ice enough so they can see out of their driver side window only and let everything else "melt off naturally."

That's all well and good, but what actually happens is as this melting happens, the huge sheets of ice fall of the cars at top speed, temporarily blinding the driver behind you. Then your remains of ice sit in the road, making hazardous roads again. So, for pete's sake, do this girl a favor and clean off your car. This video below further convince you.

It's good for your heart, good for your soul, and good for community relations!