Code switching, hipster racism and inter-POC cultural misappropriation. (or, Aren’t you glad I didn’t get braids with extensions when I was 19?)

When I was 19 or so, I thought about getting braids. Braids with extensions. Braids with beads on the ends. “African Braids.” “You’d look like a poser,” my mother said, and that was the end of that. (Admittedly, if that HADN’T been the end of that, further research into the cost of getting braids putContinue reading “Code switching, hipster racism and inter-POC cultural misappropriation. (or, Aren’t you glad I didn’t get braids with extensions when I was 19?)”

“Some people forget they were born up a close.” Why we tell our stories how we tell our stories

My mother watches me put my tea back in the microwave after it’s grown cold–a disgusting habit to her mind. “Well, you come by it honestly,” she shrugs. “Your father will make a cup of tea and sit down in his study, playing on his computer, and he’ll pick up the tea an hour laterContinue reading ““Some people forget they were born up a close.” Why we tell our stories how we tell our stories”

On earbuds, harassment and not wanting to block out the world. (And on Mrs. Hall and “Seeing a Woman.”)

I use earbuds now. I use them reluctantly but at full volume, ever since a woman shouted out the passenger window of a passing car at me, “eat more salads!” And when I pulled out my earbuds (softly playing This American Life), thinking it might be someone I knew, she hollered, “you heard me!” andContinue reading “On earbuds, harassment and not wanting to block out the world. (And on Mrs. Hall and “Seeing a Woman.”)”

To everything… a reflection on seasons of a radical

I gritted my teeth as she said it. A colleague I deeply respect was speaking at a luncheon, and she, with the full force of her Memphis charm, put forward this statement: “When I was twenty, I wanted to change the world.” She paused for dramatic effect. “When I was thirty, I wanted to changeContinue reading “To everything… a reflection on seasons of a radical”

How non-attachment might have improved my ministry

When I think of the number of moments when I felt emotionally spent, overwhelmed, despairing, and even resentful in my first five years of ministry, it makes me ache a little for my younger, more enthusiastic and foolhardy self. The last two years went a little bit better—for me if not for my congregation—and theContinue reading “How non-attachment might have improved my ministry”

Consensus, my congregation, and a miracle in progress

“I can’t wait to tell my friends back home that I’m a Quaker missionary,” said my co-pastor at the end of the meeting. Born into the Friends tradition, he had just led us through a Spirit-based consensus model for decision making as the second half of our meeting to determine what our next steps togetherContinue reading “Consensus, my congregation, and a miracle in progress”

What do we communicate when we communicate?

I’m smack dab in the middle of a weekend-long course on communication offered by Landmark Forum. (And yes, I have done several Landmark courses over three years, and yes, their sales pitch is a little overbearing, but no, they’re definitely not pitching any cult stuff. And so far everything I’ve gotten, which is quite aContinue reading “What do we communicate when we communicate?”