Ministering on International Women’s Day

Six weeks ago, I broke my foot. It has not been easy to say the least.  Three weeks ago, an x-ray showed that my foot had not healed and, in fact, and broken a bit more.  I felt devastated that day.

The doctor ordered me to not step on my foot (even in a walking cast).  I didn’t know what to do — how would I even get to the restroom or in the shower on one foot? I can’t do crutches, I need to buy a knee scooter!  Thank goodness I already have a shower chair. How would I feed my family? How much more time can my husband take off work to care for me and our 2 year old?  How would I take care of my house? How would my kids get to school? I was going to be totally dependent on others for a while to come.

Continue reading

Let Us Eat Cake

King Cake purchased from Rouses in Houma, LA, from Wikipedia

This morning my boss sent out an e-mail, inviting us to partake of the King Cake he had in his office. The e-mail reminded me that it’s Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) today and that I had no idea what a King Cake is.

Turns out the King Cake tradition (which started about 300 years ago in France) honors the Kings who came to worship the infant Jesus. The three colors often sprinkled on modern King Cakes represent justice (purple), faith, (green), and power (gold).

Properly done, a group will come together each week between Christmas and the Tuesday before the beginning of Ash Wednesday to partake of this reminder of Christ’s birth. The cake usually contains a favor (originally a bean, la fève) within, and whoever gets the piece of cake with the favor bakes the cake for the next week. Since many folks purchase King Cake for Mardi Gras, the favor in modern cakes is usually a tiny plastic baby on top of the cake, since there is no need to determine who gets the privilege/task of baking the cake for the upcoming week.

While some Mardi Gras traditions are not consistent with the commandments, the King Cake tradition can be a way to brighten the cold, dark days between Christmas and spring. I know my family will welcome a Christ-focused food tradition to weeks that have previously been void of any “fun.”

Please Warm Up: A Metaphor

This weekend we traveled to Philadelphia, planning a grand day of fun events. Since it takes a few hours to get to Philly from DC, we drove up and spent the night.

My sweet, autistic daughter took a shower the next morning, and we heard her talking quietly, muttering, “Please, warm up…. please warm up…”

In an instant I knew what had happened. The hotel shower is new to her, so she had set it the way she sets our home shower. But that position wasn’t enough to make the water warm.

My daughter thought she just had to wait for the water to warm up, not realizing that she needed to do something. We were able to make it so her shower was warm, and life was good.

But this little incident got me thinking about the times when we wait patiently but unhappily, hoping things will get better, yet not taking action to make them better.

Continue reading

Can People Repent of Racism?

If someone does or says something legitimately racist, can they change, move past it – and regain societal grace?

After Governor Ralph Northam was accused earlier this year of wearing blackface in a college yearbook photo, calls for his resignation were almost immediate – including from the Virginia senatorial delegation and most of the 2020 presidential candidates. For instance, Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted, “Hatred and discrimination have no place in our country and must not be tolerated…he must resign.” Hillary Clinton also tweeted, “…There is nothing to debate. He must resign.”

Are we sure there’s really nothing to discuss about this? 

Mercy and Justice in 2019. While acknowledging what Governor Northam allegedly did as “appalling and hateful,” columnist David Brooks added, “yet in a lot of these cases, there should be some path to redemption,” noting that the Governor’s “record on civil rights is quite good.  And so, whatever hateful thing he may or may not have done as a medical student, it’s not evident in his adult behavior.  And I do think that mitigates toward some sense of leniency.” [1]

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Bret Stephens elaborated in a New York Times article, “Should we judge people only by their most shameful moments?” – noting “he may have done something ugly and dumb many years ago, when he was a young man and prevailing notions of socially permissible behavior were uglier and dumber than they are today.”  But, he similarly notes, “In the 35 years between those two points he has, by all appearances, lived an upstanding life without a hint of racial bias. If we are going to embrace a politics where that’s not enough to save a sitting governor accused of no crime, we’re headed toward a dark place” (emphasis added).

In an article too good to not over-quote, Stephens then asks readers to consider “perform[ing] an internal audit before we join the cast-the-first-stone coalition:”

Continue reading