Source: Le Temps
After Charlottesville, I thought again about when I heard Ruby Bridges give not just a great speech but what may have been the best speech I’ve ever heard in person by anyone.
Ruby Bridges is a credible witness to speak about good and evil. She had to be escorted by U.S. Marshalls to her school because of the evil of racism, expressed in white supremacism. But later her own son was murdered by another African American. That’s the background of her life truth: “Good and evil looks exactly like you and me.” She also experienced deep support and love from a white teacher, after hearing unrepeatable slurs on her way up the sidewalk to the school.
Here is an excerpt from some of her writing that shows one of the most memorable moments about her speech for me: that good and evil looks exactly like you and me, that it cannot be reduced to a particular political party view, race, or even hate group.
“The most important lesson that I took away that year [at William Frantz School] was that Mrs. Henry, who came from Boston to teach me, looked exactly like those people (hate-faced, white supremacists). I didn’t know what to expect from her. But she said, ‘Come in and take a seat. I’m your teacher.’ And she showed me her heart. She became my best friend. And I believe to this very day in my heart that she was put there for me. And that shaped me into who I am today. I am not a prejudiced person. The lesson I learned in first grade is the very lesson that Dr. King tried to teach all of us: ‘You should never judge a person by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.’
Then I went into the schools to try to actually share my story. Everyone was familiar with the Norman Rockwell painting. They knew of that painting, but they did not know who that person was, even if that person was a real person, or what that person’s name was. It is very, very important that we share those stories. That is our shared history. It’s the Good and Evil that is in the world. I have to remind you, Good and Evil comes in all shades and colors. Good and Evil looks exactly like you and me. You see, I also know that first hand because I lost my oldest son. He was murdered. He was murdered by Evil. An Evil that stood over him and shot him eleven times looked just like me. That is what we need to be concerned about. It has absolutely got nothing to do with the color of our skin. So we need to know our history… So that we make sure that those kids–the next generation–that they want to strive to be exactly like these people (the humanitarians of Remember Them: Champions for Humanity).”
As Ruby Bridges went into schools to share her own story to students, she has remarked on the children’s acute interest in faith:
“When I speak to kids in schools across the country I’m amazed that they really want to know about this thing called faith and the belief in God. I believe, and that is going back to my faith, that good will always prevail. That love will conquer hate. I think I see more than most people because I’m in the schools across the country, talking to the children and that is the children’s faith.”
Malcolm Gladwell has a podcast that sheds new light on the period of school integration, and I haven’t heard this angle before. You probably haven’t either. Listen.
When I write a book, it comes after years of experience, research, and writing in a particular area. I wrote a novel set in Uganda where I lived seven years and listened for hours on end to stories of ordinary and extraordinary Ugandans. I wrote a book on a doctor in Honduras after interviewing and conferring with more than one hundred people.
I’m researching for an upcoming book and I need your help to understand the wide range of experience people have with the Bible.
My experience with the Bible began in the 1970s when I was given my first King James Version Bible by my parents, Terrel and Charlotte Taylor. In the featured image of this post is the title page where my Mom wrote, “[Presented to] Gregory Taylor [by] Dad and Mom: We love you and pray that you will always want to study God’s Word and follow what it says. May God bless you. November 6, 1975.
While I heard Old Testament stories from Bible class teachers as examples of faith, that two thirds of my first Bible seems untouched, unread. I read and marked New Testament passages about belief and baptism. For those first few years of my experience with the Bible, I wanted to believe and be baptized so I could go to heaven when I died and not go to hell.
To say that I read the Bible with confusion and fear would be an understatement. Anselm’s motto, “Faith seeking understanding” is a good description of my search for God as an eight year old. My early experiences were also marked with what felt like failure. We were given reading plans and encouraged to read the whole Bible. I never did, and tripped up weeks into any plan, growing bored, confused, and feeling like I was missing something.
One last and important thing: As Adam and Eve had a competing desire and sinned, so also in those early years I was introduced to a competing desire and sinned. I was living the early Bible story already and didn’t realize it. Television images, girls, and a magazine that my neighbor, aptly named Adam, pulled us breathlessly into the woods to show my brother and me competed with the words of God for my imagination. Doubts would come later, and I’ll write more about doubt and this competing for my imagination in my book.
What is your first experience with the Bible? I’m looking for brief responses about your first experience with the Bible, and I may contact you for an interview by phone about your other experiences. You are welcome to respond on comments below, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Answer the question, “What was my first experience with the Bible?” as deeply and honestly as you can.
Thank you, and I look forward to your responses!
Begin praying for our president elect today.
The peso will buy you fewer enchiladas today, pollsters are leaping from tall buildings, stocks are limit down, and my son is moving to Canada, which wasn’t the reason for the Canadian Immigration web site crash, but rather an interesting coincidence. What an election evening and I’m fairly apolitical.
I sat watching the wide-eyed dour commentators and began to wonder what kind of moment I was watching in American history. Clearly it is a watershed moment. But it is unclear at this moment if the water is flowing downhill or back up the mountain. Time will tell.
I’ve lived with a Republican president 29 years. I’ve lived with a Democratic president 28 years. I’m certain that I will adjust to life with another president that gives me indigestion.
Forty-nine per cent of our country feel like it’s the end of the world. The other fifty-one don’t feel much better. Here’s…
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A. Murray: Avoid ”right-hand error of counting separation alone as holiness . . . the left-hand error of seeking holiness w/out separation.”
I missed the publication and signing of this letter linked below, but by posting it here, I also endorse and agree with the contents.
Do you like Thai food and live in Broken Arrow? Try Amazing Thai Cuisine. I enjoy eating at locally owned restaurants serving food from around the world, and if you enjoy Thai food like Yellow Curry, search no further.
Visiting is like walking into a friendly home, with Thai cooks and servers greeting you warmly and serving great food. The atmosphere is very warm and enjoyable, clean, service is great, and food is amazing.
Mark and Pam Rushmore are great friends and beloved Shepherds of The Journey: A New Generation Church of Christ. A Shepherd means they watch over the flock and staff and make sure we follow Jesus, God’s word, and love and pray for every person who calls on the Lord and the church for help.
Mark and Pam have been members of The Journey, like the Taylors, since mid 2000s, so we’ve been through a lot together.
Watch this video about Mark and Pam’s story. What I love about Mark and Pam is they are so good at what they do, but they follow what one of my friends calls the “unforced rhythms of grace” in their lives. They are in business to add value and worth to people’s lives, what they call “Life Lived Better.”
Tired of the political talk? Listen to Jesus direct you instead!
Follow along as Randy Harris and Greg Taylor lead you through the amazing Gospel of John in order to meet Jesus and learn Daring Faith.
Daring Faith is a brand new book and video companion new for the summer of 2016!
You can get the book content — which is great for personal, group, or church studies — in three forms: book, video (trailer below), audiobook (sample below).
Audiobook coming soon. Hear a sample below, narrated by Greg Taylor.
I wrote this article for Charis. I’m not going to publish the whole thing here, because I want you to visit this new online magazine published through the Sibert Institute of Abilene Christian University.
Charlie Shedd once said he found a note on the fridge after a particularly contentious argument with his wife. The note read, “Dear Charlie, I hate you. Love
I was reading the other day in the Lusoga Bible as I occasionally still do, and think and pray for you. I’ve been reading in the Gospel of John to prepare for writing a book with friend, Randy Harris. The passage I read that I wanted to discuss with you today is John 9:1-2. I’ll quote the text below and give a discussion question and you can write comments if you wish and forward this to other’s on Facebook. Who would have known in the 1990s that we’d be keeping track of one another by Facebook till we meet again on earth or in the New Creation!?
Those of you in Uganda or Soga speakers elsewhere can use this text and discussion question for Bible studies with non-Christians and Christians both. Those who don’t read Lusoga can look up the text online, whereas it’s harder to get the Lusoga text online or in books. We were so happy to celebrate with 1,000 partiers the first ever Lusoga full New Testament being published in history in 1999.
Here’s what John 9:1-2 says, “Yesu bwe yali atambula yaabona amusaadha eyazaalibwa nga mutulu. Abeegeresebwa be baamubuuza bati: “Mwegeresa, omusaadha ono okuzaalibwa nga mutulu n’ani eyayona? Mwene oba bazaire be?”
In English, “n’ani eyayona?” of course means “Who sinned?” but the slang of American English would be translated something like, “Who screwed up?” This is not a nice way to talk really, because screwed is also a sexual term in English, but it can be used informally to mean, “Who made the mistake?” For English only speakers, the Lusoga word eyayona is a word for sin.
What I want to propose for discussion is Jesus’s response. In verse 3, Jesus says, “Mwene ti n’eyayona waire abazaire be.” So, right away Jesus says it’s neither choice the disciples gave Jesus. The disciples gave Jesus a multiple choice test: Was it A. The blind man himself screwed up, sinned, and so was struck blind or B. The parents of the blind man screwed up and so their kid was struck blind
Jesus tells his disciples neither one is the right answer.
OK, so read the rest of the story below in Lusoga from Yoanne 9:1-12 and answer the following questions:
1. What do you like about this story?
2. What do you not like about this story?
3. What is this story saying to the audience that originally received it and to us today?
4. What is this story calling us to believe?
5. What is this story calling us to do?
6. Would you share this Jesus story with one person this week?
Yesu yaabairamu ati: “Mwene ti n’eyayona waire abazaire be, aye yatuluwala amaani ga Katonda gamweyolekeemu. Tutweekwa okukola eby’oyo eyantuma, nga bukaali musana, kuba obwire buli kwidha nga ghazira aghanga kukola. Nga ndi mu nsi muno, ninze ekimuliikirira eky’ensi.”
Bwe yamala okwogera ebyo yaafuudha ku itaka [katogo — ha!], yaakola ekisoodo mu matanta n’enkungu yaakibaka ku maiso g’omusaadha. Yaamukoba ati: “Ja onaabe mu maiso mu kidiba ky’e Siloamu,” (eriina eritegeeza, “atumiibwa”). Kale yaaja, yaanaaba, yaira ng’abona!
Ab’oku lulaalo lw’ewaibwe n’abantu abandi abaamubonanga ng’asabiriza, beebuuzagania bati: “Ono ti n’omusaadha eyatyamanga ghale ng’asabiriza?”
Abandi baakoba bati: “N’oyo.” Ate abandi baakoba bati: “Busa, ti n’oyo, kumufaanana bufaanane.” Agho omusaadha mwene yaakoba ati: “Ninze.”
Kye baava ni bamubuuza bati: “Kiidha kitya okuba nga buti oghanga okubona?”
Yaabairamu at: “Omusaadha ye beeta Yesu akoze agho ekisoodo yaakimbaka ku maiso, era yankoba nje nnaabe mu Siloamu. Kale, naaja, naanaaba era naatolera okubona.”
Bamubuuza bati: “Oyo ali luuyi gha?” Yairamu ati: “Tiidhi.”
Anne Lamott to ministers: “We don’t need hassled bitter ministers. We don’t want you to talk the talk about this being the day the Lord has made and rejoice and savor its beauty and poignancy when secretly you’re tearing around like a white rabbit; we need you to walk the walk. And we need you to walk a little more slowly.”
After speaking with our nephew, Drew Taylor, about a horrible accident he was in, my brother and Drew’s uncle Bubba (Brent) wrote a much better account than I could have written, with some memories I had forgotten at least to correlate. Brent, thank you for using your gift to share what is a important perspective: that we can’t explain what happened at 1:15 am on a Kentucky interstate, but we can “explain” — as Bruce McLarty put it — what the body of Christ does when we can’t reach our loved ones. We rally and come together in the great love the Father has for us.
Sunday morning during communion while the church sang, “How deep the Father’s love for us,” I sat and listened unable to sing, because I had a softball stuck in my throat. I had just read a text from my brother Toby, “Played a little chess Drew is beating me without even looking. Washing his hair this morning. The truck on top of the car dripped oil all over him…he is still hurting. On IV pain meds.”
While the church sang…
“How great the pain of searing loss, The Father turns His face away, As wounds which mar the chosen One, Bring many sons to glory.”
…I thought about not being able to reach my own son, of Toby not being able to reach Drew, and of my own Father God, who could have reached his own Son, but used Divine restraint and only watched and saw the pain of searing…
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Recently my college roommate, Uganda teammate, friend and brother in Christ John Barton gave this talk at Rochester College. John and his wife, Sara, have radically committed their lives to Christ. They were the first of our friends to huddle us up and call a play that would change our lives. They said, “We’re going to Africa to do mission work. We’d love for you to come. But we are going with or without you.”
None of us could bear the thought of them going without us, and John in particular would surely need some help paying for several basketball courts in our future home. So we decided to go along.
Since that day, John and Sara, have continued that “play” and have been blazing a trail that others have followed. In particular, John is interacting in the U.S. and encouraging our Ugandan friends through Kibo and other ways to interact in loving, honest, and humble ways with Muslims and others who do not share our same view of Christ and the cross.
In this talk, linked below, you will find a view of Christ and the cross that is a powerful contextualization for today of these words of Apostle Paul: “but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” (1 Cor 1:23-25)