After reading through the 21 comments on Do we look like Jesus? I heard a lot of frustration of people saying that we spend a lot of time analyzing on this blog without much action. When I think back over the posts from the last month or two I notice that we do spend a fair amount of time talking about ideas. Which is very important. But blogs can also be a place to share about experiences from our lives as lukelm shared about his experiences in the Dominican Replublic.
Perhaps its time for a shift in focus here on the blog to a bit more of a story telling mode. I’d love to read more about the ordinary and extraordinary actions that make up your daily lives and perhaps the lives of people around you. How are are we attempting to live thistly Christian lives? Leave a comment or write a completely new post.
This morning between 7:30 to 9am I stood outside a train station with a tin and collected money for Christian Aid (UK charity tackling issues of poverty and injustice, this is their major fundraising week). This is not my daily life. I like to stay in bed for as long as I can, I’m shy about accosting strangers, and I only agreed to help out after much persuation from a friend.
In some ways this was quite an impersonal engagement with Suits walking past me on their way to the City. On the other hand it was also deeply intimate for brief seconds as a school girl gave me some coins, or somebody smiled at me.
I value the insight I got at the station of life in a (rich!!) neighbourhood where residents leave to go to work and people from other areas come in to work in our shops and homes. And while living here is a challenge that is sometimes almost beyond my ability to cope with, I was encouraged by peoples’ generosity.I wouldn’t have found this out about my neighbours had I stayed in bed…
Thanks for this post. I’d almost decided to stop reading YAR. Not because I think what is said here is not important, but because I just don’t think about God and faith this way. I mean, I am Anabaptist and pretty young (33 is still young, right?), but with my faith I do less thinking and more doing it.
We all work it out in our own ways–some with our hands, some with our heads, others with our hearts. The stories we tell often reveal more about our faith and theology than the debates.
I do write a lot about what I’m doing, so I’d love it if you’d come and read my blog.
Thanks for this post. I’ve reading YAR less frequently lately because I’ve percieved these discussions as being very “in the head”. And, while I think they are valuable discussions, I tend to work out my faith with my heart and my hands.
I share my heart stories on my blog: http://www.storiesfromtheredtent.blogspot.com
Blessings to all of you as you work it out!
I think this is a great idea. Sometimes I forget on blogs to act like a human and not an anaytical machine.
I never gave an introduction when I came to this blog either. I would like to start it as its own post, but I want to keep this conversation somewhat centralized so its easier to follow.
I grew up privileged. Good family, warm house, comfy clothes, and a guitar. Didn’t really want for much. Went to college at a state school.
One part of my life that set me apart from a lot of my peers though was the fact that my Dad has been quadriplegic (unable to use legs and limited use of arms) since he was 17. As such, my mom and my dad shared a lot of activities and work that traditionally was outside the realm of their genders: my dad washed the clothes and cleaned the dishes. My mom hopped on the lawn mower, took out the garbage, painted the house (with my help), built things in the garage, etc. My dad also required a lot of care, which she handled. On top of that, she supervised an office full of men, whose work she usually did because she found them to be incompetent (and they were). If I were going to get a lecture or a whippin, my mom took care of it.
This was an incredibly formative experience in my life, for two reasons:
1) I have been blessed to have a VERY strong woman as a role model for me.
2) I have watched my father encounter a lot of ableism in his life. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ableism)
Astoundingly, when I begin to talk to folks about it, they get really sympathetic like “wow, that must have been really hard for you”. I even had a psychiatrist analyze it as if I were some terrible victim and slighted in my life because of my father’s abilities. I wasn’t the one in a wheelchair though. And my father worked for a nonprofit, full-time, for 35 years. He helped raise two children.
Another reaction that I have gotten is that this is “no big deal”. They don’t recognize that society privileges those who are able-bodied.
A third reaction is the worst. It is the dehumanizing one. There have people who look at my dad and see a wheelchair, not a person. And, yes, I know I can’t get in their heads, but their reactions have pretty much indicated this point of view. One person, who parked in the access space of a handicapped parking spot where my dad was parked, got angry with my dad when he called the police on her so that she would be ticketed. She came outside, looked at him and said “if it weren’t for people like you, I wouldn’t have this problem”.
One thing I often do is park in the back of a parking lot. I got used to it, after watching my dad search parking lots for a place to park. If I’m with friends and I do this, they say to me “why are you parking so far back?” Well, when you live with someone who isn’t able to walk, you learn just how privileged you are to be able to walk. And in a Christian context, I ask you, that next time you have to walk a long distance, be thankful and joyful, for the Lord has blessed you.
I have sooooo many stories I could tell about old people. I may have mentioned this in my intro or since then, but I worked for four years in nursing homes while I was in college. Every weekend, I go visit the residents at the second nursing home. I haven’t worked there in a year and a half, but the residents know I’m coming by Sunday evening. This has been huge for me. I go, not because I have some warped perception that they need me and I’m doing them a favor by visiting, but because the relationships we have together are beautiful and life-affirming. Not to mention dang hilarious at times.
I have five residents I’m sure to check in with each time. (I’d love to have time to sit and talk with everyone, but that’s not realistic.) Yes, I’ve been to my share of funerals for my aging friends over the years. While I was working there, I attended four funerals. Since then, one, and it was the hardest of all. I’d only heard that morning that my close friend Joe had died at age 84, so his daughter Laura was the one comforting ME. (“Basket case” doesn’t begin to describe it.)
I’ve heard Norma’s life story several times over. I took notes during one telling and wrote it up as a mini-biography. When Ruth’s health takes a downturn, I pray with her and ask God to help her with the strokes. Nora invited me to her family reunion with her. Believe it or not, I went. And Suzy, oh Suzy, this woman shows me how I want to live when I’m 75. She makes everyone happy to be around her. She’s more full of life than any four-year-old I know.
All of them are straight, white and middle class. That is the one downside, though hardly surprising given the expense of living in a privately-run nursing home and the attitudes of that generation toward glbtq. While there’s speculation that 79-year-old Robert might be gay, he’s not out. I’d love him the same way whatever his identity was.
(Names have been changed to protect the innocent, though I don’t think I’m bound by HIPAA since I don’t work there anymore.)