Today I am guest blogging over at Bold Cafe: “Faith Reflections: Beloved and Wonderfully Made.”
It is really hard to be a preteen or teenager today. I unfortunately know this because as a pastor who works with youth, I have seen this firsthand. I’m not saying that it wasn’t difficult to be that age. I received my fair share of unrealistic and unhealthy messages about society’s definition of beauty and who was worthy and who was not. All I had to do was watch a few VH1 videos, stop at the magazine rack at a convenience store, or listen to my middle school classmates who bullied me during lunch to know that I did not fit into society’s most-valued list.
However, it is much more difficult today to shut out the negative messages about who is deemed worthy in the eyes of society and one’s peers.
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I’m blogging “A God Who Shows Up” over at Bold Cafe (Women of the ELCA today). Here is part of what I wrote:
Since I moved away after high school, I always look forward to going back to my parent’s home for the holidays. And since Christmas songs, movies, and holiday TV specials often include themes of magical family “homecomings,” I am guessing I’m not the only one whose focus in December is on getting ready to go home. After all, doesn’t Perry Como say: “If you want to be happy in a million ways, for the holidays, you can’t beat home sweet home?”
And yet, what about those individuals whose family relationships are broken or abusive, those who feel unsafe in their homes, or those who do not have homes to go to? Can they find places during the holidays that “beat home sweet home?”
It seems as though the theme lately in the news has been one of violence, instability, and displacement. The economy continues to leave many people jobless or underemployed, families are losing their homes to foreclosure, and more and more people are moving to transitional housing or becoming homeless. Additionally, the past several months, we have heard about the terrified children at the border who are fleeing violence. We have seen horrific images of the attack on Gaza that killed thousands of civilians and damaged thousands of homes, and we are aware of domestic violence that occurs in households.
So how can our cultural emphasis on “holiday homecoming” be good news when this “homecoming” is not a reality for so many?
Read the rest at Bold Cafe (Women of the ELCA).
Today I’m blogging “An Advent Call Story” over at Bold Cafe (Women of the ELCA). Here is a part of what I wrote:
As I was getting ready for Advent this year, I realized that our Christmas songs, TV shows, and movies emphasize the importance of going home for the holidays. As I realized this, I thought about the people who cannot relate to this “holiday homecoming.” I could not help but think about those who lack a safe place they can call home.
I know this is not one of our Advent texts, but as we approached Advent, I was reminded of Moses’ call story in Exodus 3:1-12.
For many years, there had been a famine in the land of Canaan, and as a result, the Israelites left their homes in great numbers and traveled to Egypt to make a better life. However, Pharaoh disliked the growing numbers of Israelites who were taking refuge in his land. He did not want them to make Egypt their new home. So Pharaoh took advantage of the situation and turned these refugees into slaves. For centuries, the Hebrew refugees were forced into terrible working conditions and became victims of racism and violence. In their enslavement, they longed for release from their captivity and suffering and cried out to God.
And this is where Exodus 3 comes in.
– Read the rest at: Bold Cafe (Women of the ELCA)