Thoughts on waiting: an Advent reflection

In this season of Advent we people of faith, followers of Christ are reminded of Mary & Joseph’s wait to reach their destination despite its intended mission, the wait for their marriage, the wait for a place to lay their heads while on their journey and the impending birth of Christ. In today’s world many remain in waiting still. We wait for change, we pray for peace, we pray for safety in Aleppo, cease fire in our streets, sanctity for black and brown bodies. Grateful for those who comfort those who mourn in this waiting period, those who bring the word & all who receive it. We pray that children remain children whose innocence is sacred. Take care of yourself in this time of waiting for it permeates all you encounter. Watch your energy. Be patient. Know your worth. Love self. Love others. Nurture your gifts and use them for your benefit and that of others.

This year has been a roller coaster to say the least  so as we look back remember that we made it still here so there must be still work left to do. Hopeful for what’s next. Joyful for simple triumphs, Love through it all and keep going anyhow. Too far to quit, too many lives to impact. Keep grinding , keep reading, keep praying , keep listening God’s not done yet.

 

Self Care Check in

Resting on Sunday morning before things get busy- the live stream begins, lesson planning, grocery shopping & a mountain of laundry. I having a cup of hot tea while reading Otis Moss III’s Blue Note Preaching in a Post Soul World…. Have you checked in with yourself lately ? If not I encourage you to do so.

Seeking answers

Another year, another week, another day is upon us. Another moment to be thankful for the things we have. A moment to reflect. A moment to think about the things yet to happen, the ways in which God is continuing to work, prayers yet to have an answer. 2015 was a year of forced transition, facing some issues and a slow evolution. 2016 so far despite some residual challenges has and will continue to be one of new opportunities.

Goals for this year include the following categories

Self Care practices to continue hair and nail appointments, occasional massages, taking classes,reading, the practice of writing in a journal, painting, taking a walk and exercising.

Goals 2016-2017

Grad School round 2- MTS ; PhD 

Improve Credit Score

Purchase additional real estate- residence and rental income

Prepare for motherhood * (Diet, exercise,social habits, habits/practices, finances)

Spiritual Growth/Ministry- Small Group (Henri Nouwen; Howard Thurman) ; Service- Kid Min. ; Disability ; Grow consulting firm

Prayer Focus- Wesley’s covenant prayer ; Hymn- 

Relationship- Pursue stability, growth, commitment

Increase frequency of Self Care Practices as well as the power of saying “No” full stop!

Increase networking/marketing ; Development of friendships

 

 

 

 

Who matters?

Lately all over my social media feeds faith communities  have been up in arms about red cups and the power they apparently possess in defining some people’s faith. It’s sad actually  that in some circles people have reduced Christ’s birth to a message on a cup.  On the other side of the spectrum on my social media spectrum the struggle for whose life and voice matters continues. In the world of writing and reading I am preparing for AAR/SBL 2015. I am presently reading Nyasha Junior’s Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation and Our Lives Matter: A Queer Womanist Theology written by Pamela R. Lightsey.

I’ve taken comfort in the escape and solace books have given me lately in this period of recovery and plotting my next move. Also of comfort is the voice of other women of color telling their stories, strength in numbers,  and power in being authentic,

My struggle continues in finding that balance between academia and the church on a local and broader level. My desire is to keep pushing help students to learn that regardless of the label that may have been placed on you there is still work to do.

Privilege, bridging the gap & the label of disability & race

This summer I attended the summer instute on theology & disability.  It is my 2nd time attending the event. It is a time & place where we attempt to show the bridge between academia & practical  work in the area of disability & faith.  The struggle continues…,

Learning you can’t share your dreams & projects with everyone. Questioning why it is that so many just can’t be happy for a colleague’s success but have to let their own privilege get in the way. It’s all about gifts everyone has some but everyone doesn’t use them. Sometimes it is by choice and other times it is because that these gifts haven’t been nurtured and discovered yet.

Privilege is a whole another layer/level. Fighting against it is tough work. Too often the concern of my gender, my color and disability gets in the way. Being the token is tough. Struggling between hats is heavy work, checking between boxes is to heavy a burden sometimes. Why must we pick a hat. Why is that certain hats weigh so much. As a person of color why is it so much about darkness and lightness. Color struck by the institution we choose or don’t choose to attend. Within the black church color struck is too often about titles & letters behind our names.

For such a time as this….

A word of prayer in these challenging times….

O Gracious & loving God we give you thanks for the lives of Walter, Trayvon, Natasha and & Rekia that we remember #blacklivesmatter #all lives matter. We give you thanks & praise for the gifts of the marginalized & the oppressed. We pray for those who are differently abled as well those who care & support them. We ask for patience, inclusion & liberation as we think about all of those voices we often don’t hear. Be with us most awesome creator as we press on despite challenges which lie ahead as we strive to be just, person centered by thought, word & deed & perhaps most important open to all. Hear our prayer

-AMG

4/29/15

The question of code switching and inclusion and labels

So I asked in my initial post about the question about how inclusive do we really want to be. Unfortunately all too often it all goes back to code switching and labels and the categories we like to put one another in to make ourselves more comfortable. Tired of the labels and the way in which society makes us choose a box. Angers me that so often people feel the need to make people stay in one bubble rather than another to make themselves look better. Annoyed by the negativity. At present I’m over the unnecessary commentary of folks not willing to do there part  in making a real impact on the lives of others outside their box theologically or otherwise

Musings

Feeling kind of down like it time for a major move. Begin the next chapter away from chatter .& negativity. Ready for nourished faith, marriage companionship, friendship and a family of my own. Feeling as though my roots are weakened. The nausea & aches began at the thought of going back to work today.

Change gonna come & gratitude & future

Finally came to the realization that my leaving mid level management to pursue my calling through the U.S. educational systems is probably one of the biggest missteps I’ve made in this journey so far. With that in mind if has become abundantly clear its time to go. I’ve got books to write, sermons to preach,people to serve and workshops to lead. #therevolutionwillnotbetelevised.

Next up returning back to school to finish my M.Div & doctoral work so I can have backing & credentials to help others pick up the torch and continue the work and bridge the gap between disability as more of a social justice construct building from the works of black liberation theology & black womanist theology from the likes of James H.Cone, Monica A. Coleman & Jacquelyn Grant.

How refreshing and encouraging it Is to know that Monica A Coleman and two others have taken the initial steps in bringing to light the link between disability theology and Owen of color. In my own context as a black woman with a somewhat hidden disability Cerebral Palsy I find the juxtaposition between the works of Elaine Brown Crawford who argues hope is theological construct pushing black women onward despite the hand that’s been dealt. But the question remains for those of us who pass as TABs (temporarily able bodied) or those who can’t pass to question what is our place in our world of ableism and black liberation theology fight the power but how because we live in a society that is such that the movement pushes us to the side unless they are forced to see the disability as it rolls across the stage or you receive an invite to speak only because of your labels or boxes checked that a. She is female b. She is African American c. She is a person with a disability or d. She is young. Of course we want young black clergy in certain annual conferences. While in others it all a political game and without certain boxes checked you might as well forget ordination focus on completing the M.Div or MTS and go for the PhD.

Came to the realization after a hellish school year of teaching within the bowels of public education in special education with frequent physical assaults and administration siding only on the side of parents for fear of litigation. After reaching my ropes end at holiday break I will complete my M.Div studies at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Unsure of where I will complete my PhD studies. Continuing o struggle with going this route if ordination is essential or more of a because of the arduous road ahead I will complete it simply because of the challenge and God’s call on my life. Prayerful for friends  who will appear before the boards of ordination this month. Grateful for supportive colleagues in Academia like Jeremy Schipper and Darla Schumm. Grateful for colleagues who straddle the fence between the ivory tower and local church Eric Pridmore and Elaine Heath.