Let us all be rich in courage.

When I started this website back in 2001, I never had any intention of keeping it going through 2015. BUT, I’m glad I did and I won’t be letting it die out anytime soon. (I know I had a few moody episodes (One with a death threat! Oh, 2006…) during which I sat back for a few months, but honestly, even when I left I (sort of) knew I would be back.) I love documenting the stuff and nonsense in which our family seems to roll. I love having a voice and using my voice and hearing your voices.

This morning at church, our pastor spoke of privilege. As a pastor, he is allowed to attend certain events and enter certain places that your average non-pastors aren’t allowed to attend and see. He realizes that these special opportunities are part of his privilege. He also spoke of the scribes “…who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets” and how “They will receive the greater condemnation” (Mark 12:38-40).

I grabbed my notebook as soon as he said, “I know that with privilege comes responsibility.”

Having a voice is a privilege, and with privilege comes responsibility. Using your voice to complain about drinking your latte from a plain red cup is like, well, using your voice to complain about drinking your latte from a plain red cup. Using your voice to speak up and out when someone is feeling oppressed or afraid or hungry or lonely is something else entirely.

Jonathan Butler is a graduate student at the University of Missouri in Columbia. He is currently on Day 7 of a hunger strike and will continue to strike until the university’s president steps down. The president is being blamed for not addressing the escalation of racism on campus and for admitting that he was ‘not completely aware’ of systemic racism, sexism, and patriarchy on campus, despite being provided with countless examples. It is time for a new president at the University of Missouri in Columbia—one who does not simply sit back on his leather chair (in his long robe while seated in places of honor at banquets, etc.) hoping that racism goes away. A few days ago, I had never heard of Jonathan Butler, and today he is all I can think about. Jonathan Butler is stirring up change, and it makes me sad to know that his life could end. The world needs Jonathan Butler’s voice. (I want nothing more than to deliver a warm meal to Jonathan Butler right now. The only thing holding me back is the fact that I fully support him.)

My notes from this morning’s service will be on my mind for the next week and beyond.

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15 thoughts on “Let us all be rich in courage.”

  1. Thanks for this. Today at my church it was the annual children’s program, my favorite meeting of the year because it reminds me that the simplest essence of the gospel is love and sometimes we muck it up with complications. Choosing to act with love in any given situation would make a lot of things in the world better.

  2. I love that your blog serves to make me aware of important things that are going on in Missouri. Missouri! Did I even know *any*thing about Missouri before you brought it forth to my conscious mind? Maybe the state capital back when I was of an age to be memorizing (and immediately then forgetting) such things. And I’m sure I knew that St. Louis has an arch. But now I know about Jonathan Butler too, and I am wishing him well from afar. In this day and age, college presidents have no excuse for being insulated/ignorant/in denial. Solidarity!

  3. well written article…would expect nothing less from a Miz grad! my only concern is that this pres has only been in office for 3 yrs and he’s being asked to resign because his outrage was not sufficient? are you also calling for pres obama to resign for the last 7 yrs of abysmal race relations? #greekcolums

  4. I liked you from the beginning of discovering this place. You are older now, and different. Wiser. I like you even more. Thank you for having friends you speak of important things with, and listening to a pastor in a church you chose because it aligns with your own feelings so well, and passing your thoughts along to those of us who would have never heard of Jonathan Butler otherwise. I wish him, and you, and all the people in Missouri well.

  5. I just read an article about Jonathan Butler. I couldn’t love this post or agree with you more.

    And, I want to go to your church!

  6. I taught the drama workshop in Sunday School this morning … Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace … with (hopefully) the takeaway for the kids being that you should stand fast to know what you know is true and right, even when it would be easier to do otherwise.

    I had not heard of Jonathan Butler before now. Thank you for filling me in.

  7. Monday morning. I read the news today, oh boy! Let me just say that your college football team (and coaches!) rock.

  8. Privilege is a difficult thing to realize. It’s our daily life- how can we always be paying attention? And when we start to pay attention, and witness our privilege, it’s guilt-provoking and sometimes depressing.
    I think your take (and that pastor hubby of mine!) is the only healthy one. Take that privilege and let it empower you to do the right thing. Take it as a currency, an energy drink. I love that. My kids and I are making a list of things we can do, ways we can help.
    If you’re given an extra twenty dollar bill, your choices are bury it, blow it in the drive thru, or buy some yarn, knit some scarves and tie them around trees in a park where the homeless may need them.
    If you’re given privilege, you can ignore it, let the guilt of it make you hide your face, or you can step up on the stage you’ve been given and speak out against inequality.
    The latter in both those scenarios is the only path to happiness, really the only answer.
    Thanks for the reminder!
    (and the sermon highlights, since I’m always in the Sunday School rooms!)

  9. What is a shame is that it took the football team and thought of the school losing $1,000,000 on a football game for the president to step down. It shouldn’t be about money. It should have been about addressing the peaceful protestor concerns and issues.

  10. There will always be rude ignorant people…. of any stripe and color. Normal people know intrinsically that racism is wrong. Serious imbalances that needed to be corrected were with the civil rights movement which I supported and with the election of a black man who I voted for over two submarginal white people. I think we “checked” our white privilege with that election. To encourage victimhood does not help the individual and encourages weakness….. and a poor little me syndrome. Families, no matter their color need to teach their children respect and decency ……. this is not happening in too many families of all colors….. this, I feel is at the root of these challenges. Obama and Holder encouraged rage and mistrust that was not there in recent memory. What a shame. As I said I “checked” my white privilege with my vote for Obama….. no one better ask me to check it again or I will rightfully accuse them of anti–white bias even though I am loathe to play THAT card.

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