Awakening // Vol. 1

This is the start of something new in this space. I wrote this post recently and started wrestling with what's too much to say here or if I haven't been saying enough. I haven't been able to get the tragedies of our world off my mind, and I've been reading article after article from people wiser than I, just trying to gain some perspective. I have found so much of it to be helpful. All of it has been eye-opening.

The idea of keeping my eyes open has been incessant-- it pops up in song lyrics and books I'm reading and prayers I'm pouring out. I don't want to stay ignorant or sheltered or unaware. I want to open my eyes to the hurt so I can be part of the healing.

I wrote THIS POST and was so encouraged by the responses...more encouraging and affirming and uplifting than ever before in response to posts I've written. I've been playing it safe for too long, and that needs to end.

This is a small start. I'll be sharing links to things that I'm finding helpful as I wrestle through the breaking news and the ongoing struggles and all the hurt of this world. Please feel free to share links in the comments if you have found anything else to be helpful as well.

Let's talk about things that matter. Let's open our eyes so we can see how to serve. Let's know what's happening so we can know how to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Let's ask the hard questions and band together with all of our strengths and perspectives to work toward solutions for them. Let's let our hearts be broken so we can respond and react in great love. Nothing else feels as important as that right now.

May this be our anthem:

But when anything is exposed to the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
— Ephesians 5:13-16

The world is scary as hell. Love anyway.

This reminder that America faced a similar crossroads after World War II... "Should Christians Support Turning Away Syrian Refugees?"

The Unthinkable Is Happening in Our Own ‘Backyard’ // This is a cause near and dear to my heart, and this piece is a fantastic reminder that sex trafficking is happening everywhere, even middle-class America. We can end this. We need to end this.

In a World of Increasing Terrorism, What is the Biggest Threat to the Church? // Do we really love our neighbors well? Or are we putting up walls that keep them out, when that's the opposite of what Jesus taught us to do?

Recognition: How a travesty led to criminal-justice innovation in Texas. // There is much that is broken in our judicial system and we've all heard the stories that make us wonder what really goes on with police officers, suspects, criminals, and everyone else involved... but this story is a powerful one and a heartbreaking one that shows that we have made progress but we still have so much more to make.

President Obama's 2016 State of the Union Address // I didn't vote for Obama and I often don't agree with his decisions or actions, but I am grateful for a nation where I feel I can access and engage with politics and government. That this speech was released online before Obama gave it is impressive to me. I'm glad I can take time today and re-read it, process it, and continue to formulate my opinions about all of the issues and debates at hand. I encourage you to read this in its entirety whether you agree with him or not, because he is still our President and we should know what he is saying and working toward (hopefully).