Helping Your Children See

Helping Your Children See

Can you imagine wanting to be colorblind? Actually wishing that you couldn’t see the vibrant and unique colors that God has filled his creation with? And yet I hear that all the time…

When I speak with adults about ethnic and racial diversity it’s not long before I hear this: “I don’t see color,” they say. “I’m colorblind! My parents taught me not to see color.”

This phrase is a way of expressing that all people are seen as just that, people. I’ve also heard colorblindness cited as a defense against racism, “I’m not racist. I love all people. Actually, I’m colorblind.”

But I disagree.

Although people confidently make the claim of colorblindness, I’d like to suggest that we are not colorblind, we don’t need to be colorblind, and we actually should strive to not be colorblind. Because it leads us in the wrong direction. Instead, I want to encourage us to be colorsmart. Here’s why…

Please head on over to the Good Book Company blog to read4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Teach Your Kids To Be Colorblind.”

Did you know I have a children’s book coming out Sept 1? I’m thrilled about this book and look forward to sharing more! If you’d like to pre-order, the book is already available online at Amazon, The Good Book Company, CBD.com, and Barns and Noble.

 

Let the Rivers Clap

Let the Rivers Clap

I recently had the opportunity to visit the mountains of Colorado for a retreat. When I got home, I happened to read a chapter in Tim and Kathy Keller’s book The Songs of Jesus, which was perfect for what I had just experienced. I wanted to share an excerpt of what I read along with a few pictures from my time there.

This excerpt is taken from Psalm 98: 7-9

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.

Excerpt:

The Rivers Clap Their Hands. The imagery of the trees and fish praising God (Psalm96:11-12), with the rivers and the mountains clapping and singing (verse 8), is more than just poetry. Romans 8: 18-25 says that nature was made to be far more alive and glorious than it is in its current state. Modern philosophies cannot fathom that the natural world will not come into its own until the human race is made righteous again. Jesus will come to restore this ancient harmony (verse 9). So our future hope is powerful. If rivers and mountains will be like this when he returns, what will we be like (1 John 3:2-3)? *

Today, take time to dream about what it will be like to rejoice with the Lord always in a perfect world where streams flow with pristine water and mountains shout for joy. It’s coming! Weeping will be gone, and we will be full of everlasting rejoicing. Until that day, step outside and remember that the God who created it all is returning to make it all new.

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*Excerpt from pg. 244
*Heading picture taken by Tracy Thornton in the Smoky Mountains National Park.
*All other pictures are from various parts of Colorado, taken by me (Trillia).

 

Rejoice in Each Other’s Gifts and Strengths

Rejoice in Each Other’s Gifts and Strengths

One of the new things I love on Facebook is the “on this day” memory feature. Because of this feature, today I was reintroduced to this old video and realized I’d never actually shared it here. We can never be reminded enough to rejoice with others and guard against comparison. And as you’ll see, I lightly encourage you and me to do this as I reflect on ways that I’m not gifted!

I pray this encourages you today!

Mind: Stop Spinning

Mind: Stop Spinning

I’m an advocate for gaining knowledge, being informed, and keeping up with what is going on in the world. As I heard a friend once say, “Ignorance is not bliss, it’s just ignorance.” But with all the information that we are presented with throughout each day, I have wondered, for myself and for you, is it possible to sit and watch a sunset without worrying or thinking? Are we able to simply sit any longer? Do we ever shut off our minds? The answer is likely sometimes, but more than likely hardly. World events aren’t the only things that keep our minds spinning, the daily mundane tasks, our unfinished projects, broken relationships, worrying about finances, the list goes on and on because the cares of this world are many.

So what are we to do?

In an interview recently regarding race, I was asked how I practice “self-care” so as not to burnout and to be encouraged in my soul. My answer was simple: I stop. I stop thinking about the issues for a moment. I don’t forget them. And I don’t pretend that they don’t exist. But there comes a time when, in order to have true and lasting peace, we have to understand that burdens were never meant for us to fully carry and taking captive our thoughts is a means of caring for our souls. I don’t do this perfectly—I never will—but stopping is a practice that reminds me that I’m not God and He desires to carry all the things that keep my mind spinning. And sooner than later, the spinning stops and there’s peace. I’m given the grace to think clearly and I remember—God.

Today, if you are troubled about many things, may I encourage you to stop, to pause, and ask God to clear your mind. Even if it’s just for a moment, it will be worth it. I believe God will honor your act of faith, trusting Him with your concerns rather than carrying them on your own. He is faithful.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isa. 26:3).

 

Stand Fast: When the Race Conversation Turns Hostile 

Stand Fast: When the Race Conversation Turns Hostile 

Guest post by Isaac Adams

I thank God for folks who speak biblically about race. Whether it’s a black mom teaching her children that they also bear God’s image, or a white sister writing a prophetic blog post—there are many brothers and sisters take up this worthwhile battle.

And it is a battle—with wounds, fatigue, and conflicting sides. Though there are many sides, I’ll mention two: on one side are folks who try to lovingly share biblical truth about race, and on the other side are people who reject it, often with hostility. Trillia received this hostility personally in a comment on her blog post, which said:

I’m convinced that when black people talk about “diversity” that the real message is just anti-white…For too long we’ve had this burden of white guilt hanging around our necks. Every time I see an article about race, every time I have to go to some mandatory ‘diversity awareness’ training at work, every time I read about black criminals terrorizing people – I just get more and more resolved to fight for my race. I’m done apologizing to you.

Regardless of how gracious folks from the first side are, the other side lobs these devastating verbal grenades. Nonetheless, I pray that this post encourages those in the race battle. After all, when someone receives a comment like the one above, there’s a strong temptation to despair and quit the fight altogether.

I sympathize with that temptation, and I want to give grace to those who decide to step back from the race conversation (or certain parts of it). Like any battle, there are times to retreat, recover, or even retire, and let other parts of the troop push forward; no one should have to subject themselves to attack. Yet for those still in the trenches, I have two encouragements for you.

1) Some people are being convinced of the truth!

Though we can’t always see them, there are people who are listening, learning, lamenting, and loving in a new way because of what’s being written, shared, and spoken. Though we may feel like Elijah in 1 Kings 19, the Lord does have 7,000 out there devoted to the truth. Francis Grimké, a black pastor from Washington D.C., saw the 7,000 of his day. Grimké wrote about them in a sermon series he delivered in 1898. He preached:

“I have faith in a brighter future for us [blacks] in this country because both in the North and in the South there are some white men and women, who do not approve of the present treatment which is accorded to us, or share in the sentiment which regards us as naturally inferior to the whites…”

Grimké hopefully persevered in the battle because he saw the truth win some people. But what about people the truth doesn’t win? When we encounter them, I’ve been helped to remember that…

2) We cannot convince everyone, but God can convince anyone.  

W.E.B. Du Bois, a civil rights activist and writer, wrote haunting words in 1935. He knew that he couldn’t convince everyone of the truth, when he wrote:

It would be only fair to the reader to say frankly in advance that the attitude of any person toward this story will be distinctly influenced by his theories of the Negro race. If he believes that the Negro in America and in general is an average and ordinary human being, who under given environment develops like other human beings, then he will read this story and judge it by the facts adduced. If, however, he regards the Negro as a distinctly inferior creation…then he will need something more than the sort of facts that I have set down.

Du Bois reminds us that truth does not necessarily cure ignorance or racial resentment. It’s tempting to think that there’s a perfect way to talk about race, one that can win the listener without offense. In a fallen world, however, such a way does not exist because sin is not just an abstract, mental falter that can be simply fixed with information; rather, sin is a willful rebellion of a heart that rejects the truth, and it must ultimately be fixed by transformation—that is, getting a new heart from God. There may be more strategic ways to talk about race, but Christians have a greater hope than our own skill in having this conversation. Praise God, we do have “something more” that can make our words effective–even to the hardened hearer.

That “something more” is prayer, as Jesus encourages us to pray for our enemies (Matt 5:44); that “something more” is the Spirit of God, who can give a terrorist a heart of flesh (Acts 22:7). With us, it is impossible to change the hearts and minds of the racially resentful, but with God, all things are possible (Matt. 19:26).

Du Bois stated that he was not writing to people who needed “something more” to be convinced, and maybe we shouldn’t either. There are times when we shouldn’t answer fools in their folly (Proverbs 26:4).

Yet the same verse from Proverbs also says there are also times where we should answer fools in their folly. When we do answer them, let’s keep our eyes on God, especially since whom we fight ultimately isn’t just hostile flesh and blood. Brothers and sisters, we fight against the cosmic powers of darkness (Eph. 6:12).

Yet despite what any fool might tempt us to believe, truth will overcome falsehood, light will overcome the darkness, and the battle will be over soon.

Hang in there, brothers and sisters. Stand fast.

There are 7,000 with you.

lovingly caputred by Sarah Danaher (Ampersand Photography, © 2012)

lovingly caputred by Sarah Danaher (Ampersand Photography, © 2012)

More about Isaac:

Isaac Adams serves as a pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church and a staff writer for Humble Beast, where he writes on the arts, race, and the local church. You can follow him on Twitter.

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