Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Global citizens and universal aliens: Our citizenship is in heaven

Global citizens and universal aliensOur citizenship is in heaven
by Anita Coleman
One planet. 57.3 million miles of surface land. 7.4 billion people. 59.5 million refugees and displaced peoples, of whom 51 percent are under the age of 18.
Sheikh Yassir Fazaga was once one of those refugees. Forced to flee his home in Eritrea at the age of 15, today, he is a well-respected Muslim leader and a mental health counselor at Access California Services. AccessCal is a non-sectarian organization that provides human services to local Arab and Muslim Americans, immigrants, and refugees. Speaking about the plight of refugees, he has said (I will paraphrase):
Stories like mine are unusual. Many people in refugee camps are born there, and they die there. They become parents in the camp and grandparents too. The people who are able to leave the camps and re-integrate with mainstream society, often in a new country, as immigrants, asylum seekers, and citizens are far too few. To solve the refugee and other problems of the world our concern must be global, and our influence, local.
Fazaga’s story and words resonate with my own beliefs about how faith, my identity as an American citizen, and allegiance to Jesus intersect.

Monday, February 15, 2016

#SolidarityWithHumanity

In July 2015, the world’s population was 7.3 billion, and India became the second most populous country in the world with 1.3 billion, while the population of the United States was three million more than the 320 million Twitter users globally. The smiley emoji with tears became Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year, while the new word merkeling, named after the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Time’s Person of the Year, has become synonymous with patience. From Baghdad, Beirut, Chennai, Lebanon, and Paris to Baltimore, Cleveland, Ferguson, and San Bernardino, there has been a lot to fear, but the top hashtags for 2015 on Twitter proclaim otherwise: #LoveWins #BlackLivesMatter #RefugeesWelcome #IStandWithAhmed #JeSuisCharlie #PrayForTheWorld #ChennaiRains. The Voice of America headlined it aptly: Justice and Joy Dominate 2015 Twitter Hashtags.

Friday, January 15, 2016

In Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. "Loving Your Enemies"

Jan. 18, 2016 is Martin Luther King day. It seems appropriate to me, having had a 2015 of great solidarity* that closed with a dramatic and powerful God-with-us ADVENTure*** to begin 2016 with his sermon, "Loving your enemies." I am only posting a bit of it that I'm going to be reflecting on. You can find the complete sermon at the link given in the Source below. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Home

In Memory of Aylan, Galip, and Rehan Kurdi and in Honor of All Who Flee


HOME, by Somali poet Warsan Shire:

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well
your neighbours running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won't let you stay.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Friends of Orange County Detainees by Felicity Figueroa

My name is Felicity Figueroa and I’d like to tell you about a group I work with called Friends of Orange County Detainees.

You have been hearing a lot lately about the mass incarceration of certain economic and ethnic groups, but there is also another kind of detainee in our US jails and prisons: the undocumented immigrant. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A #Storyteller is Born: Marjorie Bowes Knox

At VBS this week I made a new discovery! I love telling stories and I want to become a better story-teller. How did this happen? Well, I'd signed up to be a story-teller at our VBS, and since we're learning about the Reformation, I  was assigned a heritage person whose story I had to tell: Marjorie Bowes Knox, wife of the great reformer John Knox. I had to write the story and get completely into the part of Marjorie and I was able to do this because of a lot of help from many people but three of them were key: Pastor Mark Davis, Christian education director Susan Thornton, and Nikki MacDonald. Nikki sent me brand new scholarship about John Knox all the way from Scotland. Mark helped me simplify my story and loaned me the clothes to wear. And Susan put together an awesome curriculum for the VBS along with story telling resources (what are the elements of a good story) and the points she wanted the heritage story tellers to cover (e.g. basic facts, essence of the Spirit, etc.). The proof of course is in the pudding. How did I do? I received wonderful compliments: "knocked our socks off" "captivating" were some of the comments I heard. The children asked a lot of questions and I enjoyed it. Story-telling feels so natural to me, like writing, Within twenty-four hours, I'd also told the story to other groups as well, resulting in fascinating discussions!!! Story-telling gets people engaged. Stories rock! So I thought I'd share. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Speaking our truth by Mark Davis

Two weeks ago, 23rd June, a Tuesday, there was A Call to Action Prayer Service in honor of the victims of the Charleston shooting. A lot of churches in our presbytery and in the Southland came together and David Whiting of the Orange County Register has written powerfully about it here. Pr. Mark Davis (Pastor, St. Mark Presbyterian church, Newport Beach) was one of the speakers. Echoing Martin Luther King Jr. Mark shared a vision of the "beloved community" together with a call to us to recover "the biblical languages of truth, such as the language of rage, the language of lament, the language of frustration ... and the final language ... - hope in the steadfast love of God."