30 December Liberating Love Devotion
The final digital love note from God on this site. Thank you for being on this journey with me. If you do get the published version of the Liberating Love Devotional from Chalice Press, please let me know what you think about it.
Titus 3:8-9 I desire that you insist on these things, so that those who have come to believe in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works; these things are excellent and profitable to everyone. But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.
As one of my beloved children said, “Major in the majors and minor in the minors.” Focus on the most important things, and be clear on what they are so people know what kind of community you are building. Make sure people know what it means to live in service to each other, to care for those in need, to recognize the divine in each other and also in yourself so that you really can love others as you love yourself because you really do love yourself. When your community is clear on what it is about, it can let go of the small quibbles that take up so much space when a community is confused about its purpose. My beloved child, I am counting on you to help your community major in the majors.
23 December Liberating Love Devotion
Your weekly love note from God.
Daniel 12:10,13 ‘Many shall be purified, cleansed, and refined, but the wicked shall continue to act wickedly. None of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. But you, go your way, and rest; you shall rise for your reward at the end of the days.’
As you grow closer to the day of my Son’s birth, remember that some of my children claim this day as “Little Christmas Eve” where they exchange books and stay in to read all day. For all of your hard work, you also deserve to rest. In your service of me, you will save some people from great harm to themselves. Some people committed to evil will remain committed. You will be misunderstood by some and deeply valued by others. And at the end of all of that, I will embrace you with such love and welcome. So for now, find a moment to breathe and recharge; the work will continue once you have done so.
16 December Liberating Love Devotion
Your weekly love note from God! This is one of the last of the digital devotions. Chalice Press has kindly bundled all 366 into one book; I hope you find it a helpful spiritual companion for years to come.
Ephesians 4:31-32 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
This time of year is a double-edged sword for my Christ-following children: it is a time when messages are of peace and generosity and family. It is also a time of frenzy and too many crowds and not enough time and too much pressure. Today I ask you to engage this passage to my early church in Ephesus as a prayer you lift up to me: “God, help me put away from me all bitterness. Help me put away from me all wrath. Help me put away from me all anger…(through the list), and help me be kind to others, help me be tender-hearted, help me forgive others as you have forgiven me.” After each sentence, breathe in my Spirit and breathe out the stress the world generates for you.
9 December Liberating Love Devotion
Your weekly love note from God! In the new year, I hope the Liberating Love Devotional published by Chalice Press will provide you daily connection to the divine in meaningful ways.
Proverbs 30:12-14 There are those who are pure in their own eyes
yet are not cleansed of their filthiness.
There are those—how lofty are their eyes,
how high their eyelids lift!—
there are those whose teeth are swords,
whose teeth are knives,
to devour the poor from off the earth,
the needy from among mortals.
Not everyone who claims to be aligned with my will necessarily is. This passage points out how to tell the difference. Is that person showing compassion for the poor and needy? If not, then no matter what they say or even believe, they have fallen away from me. You know who my true followers are; surround yourself with them so you are bolstered and strengthened by them. They will not be perfect any more than you are perfect, but they will help you build my kindom here on earth.
2 December Liberating Love Devotion
The final month of your weekly love note from God on this site! Hopefully you will find the published version with all 366 devotions meaningful in the new year.
Luke 9:57-58 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’
In one way, my Son was warning this man that following him meant sacrifice and discomfort–that this was not a whim but something to be done with full commitment. In another way, though, he was reminding you to see how little you need when you follow him. Following Jesus means you already have everything you need. You have all the money, all the power, all the faith, and all the family you need already. Follow him and me now, bringing all that you have. Do not wait until you think you are ready or you will never follow. Know that you were born ready for this journey.
Tapping into Joy for Racial Justice?
Filling in the blanks
Friends, this is a brand new venture for me and I’m so glad you joined in. It may evolve, but here’s what I’m planning to do with it, based on input from friends:
- a brief piece on a positive way I’m witnessing racial justice in the world, maybe with a couple of ways you could participate, or just so you can be reminded you’re not the only one in the world invested in this work.
- “What I’m reading” or “the podcast giving me life” and maybe a link to a song that’s really inspiring me, in case you need some inspiration.
- How to connect with my racial justice work at the bottom.
If you don’t know me, I’m the founder/director of a nonprofit I’ll probably brag about in a future newsletter. I have been involved in racial justice organizing for about 20 years at this point, and I also provide anti-racism/anti-oppression trainings along with faith-rooted organizing, cultural competence/cultural humility and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consulting for non-profits, for-profits, community members, educational institutions and faith communities. This monthly newsletter is mostly my way of reminding us all that in addition to dismantling systems of oppression, we are building something beautiful with every intentional act of justice. It’s my way of connecting to my community. I hope you enjoy it. And I hope you help me make it better.
Making racial justice a family affair
A friend of a friend is a fifth grade teacher just outside of Oakland where I live. She’s spending some of her online class time in October with her students helping them learn about activism and activists throughout history.
In a couple of weeks they get to meet a real live activist…me! 😀
She’d like me to talk with them about what they, at the age of 10 or 11 can do to make a difference in the world right now.
I’m still collecting ideas, and I’m still stumped by a couple of barriers, truth be told. (Ideas from friends: video messages to legislators! writing letters to seniors to encourage them to vote! Participating in voting postcard campaigns! Barriers: what if your parents’ politics are not supportive of racial justice? How do you make your voice heard when they get to shape where you’re allowed to show up?)
But what has me inspired is that a teacher wants children to know how powerful they are, and that they can make a difference in the world right now.
I think part of why I love that is that I encounter so many adults with so much MORE power who think they’re powerless. I wish we could all have had this fifth grade teacher.
A few years ago I went through a training in Sacramento by an organization called TURN to change a very boring law that causes poor people and particularly poor people of color a LOT of grief. The way the utilities monopolies in my state worked, people with electrical medical equipment or medicine that needed refrigeration faced risk of life if they couldn’t pay their utility bills. Families might end up homeless because there was no way to erase overdue electrical bills which could haunt their credit ratings for decades.
What stuck out for me about my cohort in the training was that there was a girl there, around 10 or 11, who was going through the training along with the rest of us. She was learning with her parents how to tell the story of how these policies had hurt her family and her community. She was smarter than me and a better speaker, and her whole family saw it as their business to speak out about injustice. It was a family thing. (See if you can find her in the picture below from that training.)
I love an organization that believed a child should have an equal voice and that her story mattered. I love this teacher who’s letting her students know their voices matter. I love that my friend Tai Amri taught his second graders the story of Turtle Island on Indigenous People’s Day so that they grow up knowing a different origin story for this land than he and I learned. I love that my friend Innosanto Nagara writes children’s books like A is for Activist and Oh the Things We’re For. I find encouragement in every parent who’s having hard but necessary conversations about racism and helping their children learn how to show up for justice.
So today, I find encouragement not JUST in the next generation, but in the people of our generations who are supporting the next generation in finding their voice, making room for their leadership, and exposing them to ways they can speak out for justice. It means we’re moving together in the direction of thriving.
I hope you find encouragement in that, too. I suspect you’re one of the people doing exactly that work. Thank you for giving ME hope.
25 November Liberating Love Devotion
Your weekly love note from God, giving us all pause on the eve of a national holiday…
1 Chronicles 29:14-18 ‘But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to make this freewill-offering? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. For we are aliens and transients before you, as were all our ancestors; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope. O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own. I know, my God, that you search the heart, and take pleasure in uprightness; in the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you. O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our ancestors, keep for ever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts towards you.’
Think about what this prayer means to you and your community and your nation today. What would it look like for your community to treat all things as if they belong to me instead of as if they are commodities that can be owned by you? What does it mean to think of yourselves as foreigners and people without a home? What does it mean to claim Abraham, Isaac and Israel as your ancestors? Today, I invite you to read this prayer out loud as if it is about you and your nation today. Offer the prayer to me.
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18 November Liberating Love Devotion
Your weekly love note from God! Not from the Gospel of John but from the book of First John, which reads in many ways as a love letter to the church.
1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
Understanding comes in many forms, from academic study to learning by experience. The understanding my beloved child wrote about here is the understanding that my Holy Spirit bestows in all her wisdom; it is the understanding of the heart. This understanding can help you recognize that you are part of something so much greater than yourself, since you are in my Son Jesus just as he is in you, just as I am in you. Today I invite you to reflect on how you, my beloved child, are connected to all of the universe from its beginning to its end, through the Holy Spirit that indwells in you.
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11 November Liberating Love Devotion
Your weekly love note from God! An appropriate passage always and especially after an election.
Joshua 24:15 Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.’
After the battle at Jericho, Joshua invited those who had witnessed miracles to choose: remain loyal to the gods of the land they had claimed, or follow me. The gods look different today, and many people say they follow me but actually worship other things, but the choice remains the same. So today I simply invite you to reflect on how you will reject the gods in whose land you are living—reflect again on what people around you invest in and put above all else, and ask yourself whether you will intentionally reject those gods and choose me.
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