Let’s Talk About Lynching

Kinectic Dots

[Warning: This piece contains some violent imagery and references that are found in history and news in the quotes and references. Please stop reading if you are feeling unwell and as always, take care.]

In a most recent article from NPR on folks canvassing and intimidating folks about their vote in the 2020 general presidential election, there is a small snippet about lynching.

“‘And I think if you’re involved in election fraud, then you deserve to hang,’ he said to loud cheers and applause in a video of an event obtained by Colorado Newsline. He added, ‘Sometimes the old ways are the best ways.'”

(Park & Birkeland, 2022)

Shawn Smith, the co-founder of the U.S. Election Integrity Plan, the speaker behind the quote, alludes to the history of lynching in America that white folks participated to justify their inherent right to dominant BIPOC communities. Social theologian, James Cone, describes the…

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meditations for the moment

for the lonely hearts
the ones wrestling with the funk, the spiral
clawing up a hill that only seems to get steeper as you climb
may these meditations be a salve
may they be love letters to those needing a hug
may they be reminders of your worth
may you recall who you are and whose you are
trying your best
with new mercies and graces abound
my broken heart to yours
maybe together we experience a new kind of wholeness

11:11 by nancy ma

today’s prayer to surrender

help me to surrender my timeline
the sequence of my plans
the ideas of who my people need to be
when i am overcome by expectations and this ticking clock
can i trust in your miracles and your majesty
that your vision is brighter, greater, wider than what i can see
when i sink in my disappointment and fear
can you remind me that against your plans for me, i am exactly where i need to be
when i feel
oh help me to find power in that ability
to experience what it means to be human
with a god who will catch me even still

a heavy heart & the light

when my heart feels stacked with lamentations, i reach for the salve of your psalms, the refuge and the mirror, i have permission once again to demand and expect revelations and proverbs that crack me, the parables can transform to new meanings once again, the good news can penetrate the spaces in me no letter no song no commandment can reach, in the beginning and till the end it is your quiet hovering spirit that lit up the dark

my prayer today

i feel vulnerable and naked when i talk about faith & god
like the utterance of god is immediately followed by a need to prove their existence
this pressure closes me up
does the opposite of what i hope
what if i cannot fail
what if risking is enough
what if pressure is an illusion
what i hope is that my presence mirrors the presence of god
that my steps and my words and my actions reflect a miracle of being
that was only possible by a love so grand and unexplainable
it transformed me into what i was made for
i continue to choose god
i lack proof
i lack evidence
i lack a satisfactory reason
yet this i know
god made me different
whole
open
hopeful
all things i felt were not a part of me when i felt apart from god
and so even when
these days i feel that my whole, my open, my hope
are fleeting and faint
and i stand a fraud
the risk is the still choosing
still believing
still expecting
i beg and i plea for god’s presence to wrap me again
god’s presence to stare right into my fears
to break my armor and my hold
to teach me once again the act of surrender and sacrifice
not from obligation but from a complete trust in abundance
to give is to believe i have enough, more than enough
to forgive is to believe i am you and you are me
to love is to believe it is the only way we will make it to tomorrow

in-between faith

in the valley of the in-between
after letting go of former things or finishing well something proper
waiting for the next right thing
inhaling the weight of this unpredictable life
exhaling the fear of nothing coming again
inhaling the emptiness
exhaling the ambient loneliness ever present
i find faint comfort in darling phrases
this too shall pass
the lord is my shepherd I lack nothing
what is mine will not pass me by

instead of accepting and feeding the wallow
instead I dare to fan the flame of my pale faith
until it deepens and darkens
roots in my body so the truth
of my enoughness has already arrived even if nothing is to change
of my hope of what is to come is about to change everything

Lent 2022: Surrendering Defenses & Debts

Today is the anniversary of the Atlanta spa shootings. Anniversary feels like a bizarre word to use for something horrific, but I’m mentally too exhausted to find a better suited word.
What does it look like to fast my armor and surrender my defenses today?
It looks like feeling my feet on the ground, and remembering the space I get to take.
It feels like forgiving myself when I’m not smiling even though it’s spring warm temperatures.
It feels like not being apologetic when I’m angry with rude people.
It looks like not smiling.
It feels like taking a chance at feeling joy today whether it’s from being grateful for the time to write or having the financial access to buy this too-expensive cold brew.
If feels like hoping that things will be better, even if the world throws lots of sad and bad at us.
It feels like trusting that there are good people in this world. There are many good people. I like to believe most people are good.
It means forgiving others when they forget the pain I’m in being an Asian woman in this world.
It means forgiving myself when I forget to love being an Asian woman in this world.
It means forgiveness.
It means taking deep belly breaths and being present, even if that feels extra full.

Lent 2022: Surrendering the need to punish

Nothing gets under my skin more than when evil and rudeness occur and perpetrators get away from it. From Putin’s ruthless egotistical war to Florida’s ridiculous laws against freedom of speech and sexuality to the men who never move aside and assume YOU need to move, I want to scream. I want heaps of coal to befall these evil doers. Underneath my demand for consequences is my lack of faith in God’s Justice and grace. I don’t fully believe God sees our hurt and our harm. I don’t fully believe that God has our back. I don’t even believe he fully forgives me when I’m the perpetrator of bad.

To believe in mercy is to believe in Justice

To hope for renewal and redemption and repentance is to hope for grace

To demand others be better is to demand for myself to be better. Can I trust that my grace and forgiveness and surrendering my need to retaliate will return to me, strength, love and greater clarity of the human condition?

Lent 2022: Under the Banner of Annoyance

I came home after a 16 mile run and I’m running behind to go to church service. The last thing I want to find is an occupied bathroom, and worst a roommate who takes his sweet time in it. I’m seething in my spirit, aching in my body, and positive he’s taking longer because he knows I need the restroom.

^^What do I gain by thinking that his bathroom usage was a personal affront to me? What do I gain by thinking that folks are not mindful? What do I gain by thinking the world is out to get me?

It gives me permission to be PISSED. It gives me permission to not be as kind as I should be. It gives me permission to armor up and fight the next person who looks at me wrong.

I am highly sensitive and I get irritated so easily. Because under my quickness to get annoyed is my grip on control — things need to be according to MY timeline, people need to act according to how I THINK, in my brain.

I wish I could say, now that I know, now that I’ve verbalized my flaw, I am ready to let go and surrender. Quite the opposite, now that I know, I feel myself doubling down on my need to control and my fear of surrender. I’m afraid that when I let go, I won’t be able to put the lid back on. I’m afraid that if I surrender my agenda, and the story that the world is against me, I’ll need to show up even more. When you show up more, you risk getting hurt more… but you also risk more joy and discovery.

I think I loved the pandemic emotions because I was allowed to be sad and scared without having to explain myself. I mean, look outside. But now that the pandemic is falling to the background and the world is opening up again, I see myself putting on the mask of happy and gratitude, when I’m just desperate to be sad and be disappointed. I believe you can be sad and disappointed without self-pity, and I want to be that, without having to explain myself, without having to first give a disclaimer of joy.

I love my sadness and fear because I’m sensitive and vulnerable and easily affected by the feels of the world. Now I want to be comfortable to exist in that without the gearing up to fend off people that want to fix me or make me feel better. I want to be confident enough in myself that how you see me isn’t as important as me living honestly.

Lent 2022: How’s Your Spirit?

A friend just asked me, how’s your spirit?

I respond: I’m fine.

She follows up: Are you really?

I think and respond: I don’t know…

I do know, but I got scared to say it because I didn’t want to disappoint her or tarnish her idea of who I am. I think she assumes I’m really strong and courageous. I am those things, but I’m also often really terrified. Because what I wanted to say, or actually, let me give myself some grace. Maybe I really didn’t know how my spirit felt, but after the breath and the pause, I do know.

Without self-pity, I feel like a disappointment. I feel like a loser. I feel like I’ll never live up to my potential. I feel scared. I feel lonely. I feel like my ship has sailed. I feel that my self-sabotage is too strong for me to break. I feel that my self-judgment is too thick for me to tear down. I want to feel confident and patient. I want to trust in god’s timing. I want to be fully seen.