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Seeking Faces and Justice

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“Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the LORD that a man gets justice.” Prov. 29:26
We swap, steal, and sell power like currency. Ignoring the only true source, we window shop one another and stick price tags on our own reflections.  We scoff at Kingdom economy and embrace one we curate, where we fear rejection and vie for acceptance, all from equal sojourners who are fearing and vying in unison. This exhausting dance follows the rhythm that sin ushered in. Because we hand out power, we later come back to collect justice. I buy in to the idea that powerful people can right my wrongs, or write my pardon. I’ve created a carboard bench which I ask to approach and fear a paper gavel.  In the only courtroom that will never crack or crumble, the verdict has already been given.  The scales of mercy and justice balanced perfectly on a cross-beam. My debt has been paid, and my account has been filled with a glorious inheritance. That is a transaction that changes everything.  

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There's Blood in the Water

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There’s blood in the water.  The life within now outside.  Elements mixing, swirling. Colors exchanging. Willful vulnerability, because freedom is worth it.  A signal to predators. Blood always means weakness to them. So they turn and come. Priests of old sprinkled it. Today in pews we sing of it.  Ultimate Power within skin chose it let it flow. Comingled together, blood and water. Those who prey misunderstand power. It is not in the snarl or bite, it is in the blood.

The Cost of Lies: Reflections on 'Chernobyl'

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As a self-aware history anemic, I often find myself having a surface-level understanding of past events or geographical locations. The name Chernobyl was familiar, but when my husband asked if I knew what it was, I was thankful the description of the HBO mini-series was already pulled up on our television screen. My lack of historical prowess may have been advantageous in this one instance.
I was immediately drawn in to the story, which opens with the main character, Valery Legasov (Jarred Harris), recording himself giving a narrative account of past events, with only his cat there in his small apartment to listen. I felt the intended sense of foreboding as I watched what he did with the cassette tapes he made, and the numerous bowls of cat food he set out. The close-shot of the space separating his shoes from the floor foreshadowed the chasm of truth waiting to be excavated. The Fear of Insignificance  The writers, directors, and actors of this five-part miniseries masterfully quilt…

The Fear of Man Lays a Snare

“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.” Prov. 29:25 Fear- charadah: anxiety, quaking
Be not wise in your own eyes; fearthe LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” Prov. 3:5-8 Fear- yaré: revere, to stand in awe of

Snares are effective because they blend in with their surroundings. What appears to be a safe, leaf-covered path actually contains a trap meant to entangle and hold without relenting. And once a poor creature steps into the snare, a greater being outside of itself must intervene to set it loose.  God designed us for joyful unity with him and one another. He alone has authentic authority to set worth and purpose. But we created beings misappropriate, then fear the opinions of those to whom we’ve bequeathed the power.  Fear of man blends into the forest floor of our heart. A chameleon whose offspring is anxiety.  We hope other jars of clay can fill us up, but this approval-lust is a broken c…

Straight Paths and Crutches

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” Prov. 3:5-8 “An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous, but one whose way is straight is an abomination to the wicked.” Prov. 29:27 
Healed and refreshed. Fighting against injustice and a thorn in the side of the wicked. Being led on straight paths by the One who is outside of time and sees far more than I. Surely invaluable realities like this carry a price tag which I cannot afford.  But they only cost my pride. My self-perceived wisdom is a cracked crutch which I think can bear the weight of my future, but it will inevitable let me down, hard. Yet, my first parents gave me an inheritance that I instinctively guard. Like a treasure chest filled with ashes, my disregard for authority and tru…

Racism and the Glory of God

It’s safe to assume that all of us are aware of divides and tensions between subgroups of people in our country today. There’s a wide range of responses, however, to that awareness. There are countless men and women who have labored bravely and tirelessly for unity, healing, and reconciliation in our nation. I am so grateful for them and their voices!* 
Temptations arise right on the heels of this gratitude and admiration. Temptation toward the warm, hazy, lull of apathy, ushered in by thoughts like, “They’ve got this; maybe advocacy is for the select few.” Or, “My experiences are too limited to really be of help. I’ll never be on their level.” Then, because we tend to be a people of pendulum swings, it’s equally tempting to allow genuine zeal to mingle with false entitlement and speak out of ignorance in ways that harm or further divide. So, what is the answer? What is that “gospel third way” that keeps us steadily centered? It’s dying to self and living for the glory of God alone. It…

Shaking Free from the ‘Shoulds'

I don’t know exactly where they come from, these negative, dictating thoughts. The uniform they all wear is “Should,” and they consider themselves experts on any and every nuanced area of my life. Sometimes our relationship feels like an awkward dance, in which I dread being their partner but cannot drum up the courage to exit the dance floor. I twirl stiffly from one to another, barely touching but getting close enough to see the pursed-lip disapproval on each face. There are some who dominate the room, Should-Be-A-Better-Mother perhaps the most formidable. The marks of our unhealthy dynamic are obvious. My disdain and desire for distance coexist with a compulsion to please. But the anonymity of my own head and heart keep any interventions from appearing necessary. Well-meaning questions, advice gingerly given, and referrals to great counselors are all easily avoided in this invisible, abusive relationship.  I hate that I typically notice the Shoulds most after I bend to them in some …