this week pretty much the topic of conversation here in denver is the democratic national convention. it really has been a wild week in all kinds of ways. i tried to get tickets to obama’s acceptance speech along with over half of denver but i didn’t make the cut. i did, however, get a chance to participate in a few other convention events that i was glad to be part of. i am not a democrat anymore (some of you read a bit of my faith & politics journey & know i used to be). i am not a republican anymore (i’m technically registered as one but that’s just because i haven’t spent the energy trying to figure out how to get my affiliation switched to “unaffiliated”). i do consider myself unaffiliated & look forward to casting my vote in november for barack obama because i really believe he’s the better candidate to help infuse some much-needed change into our country in all kinds of ways. i do not for a minute think he will be our savior. Jesus has that one covered. but i do think it will do something important for our country that needs doing. i am hoping it will bring out our best, but i am also well aware that it’s quite possible it will bring out our worst, too. only time will tell.
on monday i had the privilege of attending a women’s event called “unconventional women” downtown with 3 of my dear friends who are part of the refuge. the focus was on encouraging women to use their voice to influence change in the system (hopefully through running for office). i got invited through the white house leadership project, who are committed to supporting & empowering women in all levels of civic leadership. speaker of the house nancy pelosi was there along with multiple US senators, members of congress, governors & local leaders. there were too many things to recap but i think what struck me the most was how hard it has been for each of them to make in-roads into the predominantly male political system, but that it’s been worth it because it’s better for our country. they also shared what i think was one of the most impactful moments of the day: unless women’s voices are part of the ongoing conversations & decision making & policies of our future, we will never be able to change what we know needs to be changed.
i thought of albert einstein who said: “the significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.” i think i could add:”the deep problems we have cannot be solved with only the same people who were part of creating them.” the more diversity at the table, the more likely we’ll be able to create a new future.
i couldn’t help thinking of all the parallels between the political system & church when i was sitting there listening to these women. a great sadness came over me, too, when i realized how far we have to go when it comes to diversity in the church. segregation still permeates so many systems. power is typically held by men. women are in support roles but rarely in key areas of influence & change. i have great hope in what could be for “the church.” but i do not have hope that things can really be different until new minds & hearts & energy & passion are at the table influencing change. this means women, minorities, underrepresented & undervalued voices. i think we need each other. i am not pro-women & anti-man. i am pro-people. i am pro-collaboration. i believe that we desperately need each other–men, women, all shapes & sizes & colors & experiences–because we bring unique perspectives to the table that the other might be blinded to. and the only way to diversify, to get new minds & hearts into the conversation, is to make room for those that typically haven’t been included. the table is big enough. i truly believe that. it’s just that we aren’t too good at squeezing in more seats. true leadership, in my opinion, is reflected in the ability to give away power instead of protect it, to scooch together, pull up some more seats & say “hey, sit here, we need you. this table is incomplete without you.” imagine what could change if that could be the norm instead of the exception?
in the same vein, last night we continued the focus on politics with a conversation at our wednesday eve house of refuge about the two candidates. jose did a fun exercise that got everyone talking, especially since our group is all over the place when it comes to political persuasions. my big takeaway is that i love that we can all sit at the same table & respect each other’s voices & opinions, and at the end of the day the outcome that really matters related to this election is: “what is God stirring up in me related to how i am going to live my life as a follower of Christ in this crazy world & messed up system? what can we do different? what do we need to notice? what are some of my responsibilities if i take Jesus’ words seriously?”
today jose, jamison (my 12 year old) and i went with some friends from milehigh ministries to the immigration march downtown. it was fun to be part & it is an issue that i really am passionate about.
best t-shirt: “who would jesus deport?”
best quote i’ve heard in a while, also on the back of a t-shirt, from lilla watson, an aboriginal activist: “if you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
we were at the march today because i believe our liberation is all bound up together.
the civil rights movement was born in the church, and i think it was supposed to be. i truly believe that as christ-followers, we should be leading the way to advocate for equality for all. galatians 3:28 makes so clear that in christ we are all one, there is no jew or gentile, male or female, slave nor free. dr. king and his crew’s efforts & sacrifices lead to us having an african-american candidate for president. it was and continues to be a rocky road; fear permeates our systems, our churches, and we all know that when we start messing with the status quo things can get a little nutty. (ps: if you haven’t seen a time for burning yet, it’s well worth the watch).
i am simultaneously excited & scared for our future. i hope we get more minds, more hearts, more voices at the table. we can’t solve the problems with the same minds that created them. God, we need your help.
a few DNC-related pix: