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Being single is good.

September 12, 2013

I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while, but to tell you the truth, I was scared. (Such a pansy!) I was mostly worried that I would be speaking out of a personal experience that would be totally irrelevant to everyone else.

But then this week, a blog post and a video of a sermon both came to my attention that tell me I’m not alone in my experience.

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Who needs marriage anyway when your “family” is this good??

I could have just shared those, but I wanted to do this too, because I think when we’re looking at something so pervasive in Christian culture, we need everyone’s voice to make a difference.

Stealing a little bit from both Amanda’s post and Mike’s sermon, here’s a list of what I want to say:

  1. Being married is good. But so is being single.
  2. I can have a happy, fulfilling, wonderful life without getting married. All I need for that is Jesus. He might give me a husband too, and that’s great, but it’s not ultimate.
  3. Wanting to be married isn’t bad, but letting my singleness steal my joy is.
  4. Single people can be powerhouses in the Kingdom! I need to embrace this time and be effective in ways that I might not be able to if I get married.
  5. All of the above, but with careers (and kids) as well as marriage.

When I posted the link to Amanda’s article, my friend Amy commented, “Argh! 26?! That’s no age at all! What makes anyone think that at 26 you have to be settled for life?!”  Absolutely agree!! But actually, where in Scripture does it say we ever have to be settled for life? This isn’t a rage against responsibility and all that it entails, but maybe being settled won’t look like home-ownership and a 401k and a husband and 2.5 kids. Let’s stop assuming life should look a certain way at a certain age (or ever), and instead let’s embrace whatever adventures God has for us.

As I said before, we need everyone’s voice to be heard on this, so let me hear what you have to say!

Playing in the Mud & Enjoying the Fog.

March 5, 2013
Tony & me. I was a weird kid back then. Don't judge.

Tony & me. I was a weird kid back then. Don’t judge.

Today was full of my favorite things.

Favorite is the wrong word. Favorite means “preferred,” but today was full of the things that are essential for my soul.

This morning, I got to talk about antislavery for a project I’m working on with my friend Tony who I’ve known for over a decade. Then, I went to a lecture. Ate lunch in the cafeteria. Got my productivity on in the library.

Rachel & Jonny. Cuties.

Rachel & Jonny. Cuties.

Went to another lecture. Went back to the library. Saw Rachel & Jonny (two of my faves). Walked back with them. Had one of those incredible shouty conversations you have with someone who is going past on a bike with Lincoln about the photos I did of his family. Went to the greengrocers and the butchers to make a stew. Waved at the owner of my favorite coffee shop through the window. Cooked and chatted with my housemates. Finished editing a photo shoot of the gorgeous Kasenya.

Kasenya. Told ya she was gorg!

Kasenya. Told ya she was gorg!

Spent the evening with a cup of tea, talking about God. Walked home in the fog and realized how distinctly English it made everything look.

And as I thought about how good it all was, I realized a few things.

  • When I’m being who the Lord made me to be, my soul rejoices.
  • Carlos Whittaker tweeted this the other day: “If the grass is greener on the other side, play in the freaking mud.” I love that! Maybe circumstantially my life is, let’s say, on the edge. Things could definitely be better. But that doesn’t mean I can’t fully enjoy what I’ve got goin on right now.
  • God is so good and so faithful. He gave me all of these things in one day to remind me of what I love most about life.  To remind me that:  Justice matters. Being productive and doing what I care about is actually loads more fun than being lazy. Community is the DREAM. Talking about God is better than talking about anything else. I live in England, and that is awesome.

I’m putting this out in public for two reasons – 1. I’m more likely to reread a blog post than something I write in my journal. And on days when I forget what I’m about, I will need to be reminded of this.  2. Life can suck the joy out of a person’s bones, and maybe this’ll help people remember to think and pursue the things that Jesus wants for their souls.

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England in the fog…

 

Thinking about MLK Jr. [One Day Late]

January 22, 2013

I’m technically two days late since it’s Wednesday in England, but who’s counting?

I like MLK Day. We don’t get the day off here, so that’s not why. I like it because everybody posts MLK quotes, which I think is rad, because he said some great stuff.

Apparently, people were being a bit wonky about the state of the country; maybe because it was Inauguration Day, and they don’t like Big O.

Anyway, for whatever reason, Lecrae posted this:

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Dude makes a good point.

I like this because it shows that we’ve come a long way.

And it strengthens my belief that if  we keep going, we can go a lot further.

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On another note, Sho Baraka’s new album Talented Xth dropped this week, and it’s completely insane! But this track seems appropriate…

National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, babay!

January 7, 2013

I said after Christmas that this is the worst time of year, cold and dark and no holidays to brighten it up. That was before I realized that it’s National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month! Boomtown, babay! Below, I have copy-pasted the Presidential Proclamation making it so and have added emphasis on what I think are the highlights.

See the original here (but they didn’t add pictures): Presidential Proclamation — National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month | The White House

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NATIONAL SLAVERY AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING PREVENTION MONTH, 2013

– – – – – – –

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

This month, we rededicate ourselves to stopping one of the greatest human rights abuses of our time. Around the world, millions of men, women, and children are bought, sold, beaten, and abused, locked in compelled service and hidden in darkness. They toil in factories and fields; in brothels and sweatshops; at sea, abroad, and at home. They are the victims of human trafficking — a crime that amounts to modern-day slavery.

Barack Obama, speaking on human rights at the Clinton Global Initiative, 2012

As Americans, we have long rejected such cruelty. We have recognized it as a debasement of our common humanity and an affront to the principles we cherish. And for more than a century, we have made it a national mission to bring slavery and human trafficking to an end.

My Administration has been deeply commited to carrying this legacy forward — beginning with trafficking that happens on our own shores. We have strengthened protections so all workers know their rights, expanded efforts to identify and serve domestic victims, devoted new resources to dismantling trafficking networks, and put more traffickers behind bars than ever before. In the months ahead, we will continue to take action by empowering investigators and law enforcement with the training they need, and by engaging businesses, advocates, and students in developing cutting-edge tools people can use to stay safe. We will invest in helping trafficking victims rebuild their lives. And as one of the world’s largest purchasers of goods and services, the Federal Government will keep leading by example, further strengthening protections to help ensure that American tax dollars never support forced labor.

Our commitment to stopping human trafficking does not end at our borders. As a leader in the global movement to combat this scourge [nice use of the word “scourge” there, Barry!], the United States has renewed sanctions on governments that harbor the worst offenders. We have partnered with groups around the world to help men, women, and children escape their abusers. And recognizing that no country can meet this challenge alone, we have aided others in addressing modern slavery’s root causes, and encouraged nations across the globe to pass comprehensive anti-trafficking laws, enforce them rigorously, and care for survivors.

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“An abolitionist of the most revolting character…” Oh, how far we’ve come!

We know the road ahead is long, and change will not come easily. But as we renew our pledge to erase modern forms of slavery from the face of this earth, let us also draw strength from the movements of the past. We recall the words of the Emancipation Proclamation — that every life saved is “an act of justice,” worthy of “the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of an Almighty God.” We reflect on the Amendment that wrote abolition into law, the decades of struggle to make its promise real, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that has drawn nations together in the pursuit of equality and justice. These achievements once seemed impossible — but on this day, let us remember that they were not, and let us press on toward the future we know is possible.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 2013 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, culminating in the annual celebration of National Freedom Day on February 1. I call upon businesses, organizations, faith-based groups, families, and all Americans to recognize the vital role we can play in ending all forms of slavery and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities. [AMEN!!]

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA

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BONUS CONTENT!!

Here are two screenshots from when I as searching Google Images for this post:

It's cover photo size!!! Feel free to use! :) Click to download the full size image.

I added the text and realized it’s cover photo size! Happy accident. Feel free to steal! 🙂

Screen shot 2013-01-05 at 3.37.28 PM

This came up on Page 5 of Google images for “Barack Obama.” One of these things is not like the others. Hah.

That one time we went to see Lecrae.

January 4, 2013

(Note: The green words are links! Click em!) 

Lecrae at Passion 1

Watching Lecrae’s performance at Passion was EMOTIONAL! Sittin on my bed, in my PJ’s, & I was welling up. Sounds silly, I know. At first, not gonna lie, I was fangirlin’ outta control, but as I watched, what moved me was that he was giving it absolutely everything. And what I loved most was that he performed the same way on September 22 in Manchester in front of a crowd approximately 1% of the size of the crowd in Atlanta.

Fady, Gwinyai, and me! Literally so stoked in this photo.

Fady, Gwinyai, and me! Literally so stoked in this photo.

We got to the gig about an hour before the doors opened. The line was already pretty long, but then they opened a new line for advance ticket holders. SCORE! We marched to the front…only 16 people were ahead of us. Beautiful! We waited, checking the time every minute, smiling incessantly. We got in. Straight to the front. The very front. Cheek-to-cheek with the barrier. We had nearly an hour and a half to wait, but the DJ was INCREDIBLE. Tune after tune. The excitement was building. Warm up dance moves were happening. There was some jostling for a good spot, but we retained our front row dominance with ease. And then, finally, it started. The crowd was PUMPED. Canon was first. The photographer pointed Lecrae out to us. He was watching from the balcony. S.O. performed too, and we ended up in the music video for his track Radical (click to watch). Bonus.

That one time Lecrae put a picture of us on Instagram.

That one time Lecrae put a picture of us on Instagram.

Then, it was time for the main event. After a perfect build up, it was time. Fady put his arm around Gwinyai and put his hand on my shoulder. I did the same. Then, 20 seconds of blissful tension, and he EXLPODED onto the stage. No exaggeration: It was one of the most magnificent moments I’ve experienced in real life. (Seeing it happen in the Georgia Dome, even it was on my 13″ screen, brought it all back. Not so surprised at my emotion now.) He started out with some classics. Hallelujah and Go Hard were my highlights. And Background. And Dum Dum. So much dancing. And jumping. And so many hands in the air. Not sure I’ve ever felt energy like that. I went proper mental. The second half (including wardrobe change) was all Gravity, and it was just as good as the first half. He shared with us the heart behind the album and behind individual tracks before he’d perform them. It was like a sermon with incredible music in between points. If every church service was like this, I reckon we’d set the world on fire.

Photo by blaowphoto

Photo by blaowphoto

Lecrae was on for an hour and a half–an hour and half of pure energy and joy and excitement and passion. Not just from him. But from everyone. And to be in that room, with that, all for Jesus. All BECAUSE of Jesus. It filled me up. Moved me. Inspired me. Envisioned and impassioned me. Which I think was the point.

His performance at Passion was just the same. The joy. The excitement. And it wasn’t just me that felt it:

  •  @KB_HGA60,000 tongues singing praises to The Lord Jesus and He deserves every syllable! #passion2013 http://instagr.am/p/UCwt2qmmph/
  • @mrmedina@KB_HGA I can’t wait to worship Him face to face not behind a glass dimly.
  • @getthecanonI’ve been shook, not because of 65,000 in the audience, but because of standing and sacrificing and worshiping before One who is Holy.
  • @lecraeJust left everything I have on the stage at Passion 2013. About to let John Piper speak life to my thirsty soul.
I say all this, not to glorify Lecrae, but to thank God for using people like him to bring such beauty to the world and for letting us experience just the tiniest taste of what heaven will be like. Frankly, I’m stoked. 
a;dlkfj
grant passion
;aldkfj 
crae yeah

Passion 2013

 

A Resounding Amen! | Anti-Slavery, Jesus, & Passion 2013

January 3, 2013

Over the last few days, my Twitter feed has been littered with #Passion2013. (I turn a shade greener every time I see that particular hashtag.) At first, predictably, these were coming from friends who were “headed to the dome”

But then I noticed something absolutely wonderful:  The hashtag started showing up in tweets from the anti-slavery organizations I follow. And there were loads more today!

  tweets passion

Now, I’m no stranger to hyperbole. I use the term “best ever” on a daily basis. But when I say, “absolutely wonderful” here, I mean it.

That Passion, as a movement of young passionate Christians, is taking a stand against slavery, alongside Christian and secular organizations alike, is absolutely wonderful. Because that’s what we, as the hands and feet of Jesus, should be doing. We should be investing the cause of freedom, the end of oppression, the dawning of hope.

“…learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.”

Isaiah 1:17

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“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

Jesus in Matthew 7:12

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“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Jesus in Luke 4:18-19

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 “Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother; and in his name, all oppression shall cease.”

O, Holy Night (not scripture, still awesome)

I think that makes it pretty clear. And to the people at Passion so committed to ending slavery, I just want to shout with you a resounding “amen,” because I believe the Lord is pleased.

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For more…

  • Check out my Twitter list of anti-slavery leaders & organizations here: Freedom Fighters
  • Watch the anti-slavery roundtable session at Passion 2013 here: Session Six  But do it quickly!! It expires tomorrow (Friday the 4th).
  • Add the Human Trafficking Hotline number to your phone NOW: 1.888.3737 888

– UPDATE January 5, 2013 –

Check out this video from CNN: “Christian students pledge to end slavery.”

 

-UPDATE January 8, 2013 –

Another video from CNN: 

Click image to see video!!

Click image to see video!!

 

Thinking About Equality, 150 Years After Emancipation.

January 1, 2013
Not actually 10 in any of these photos, but you get the idea...

Not actually 10 in any of these photos, but you get the idea…

When I was a kid, 10 or so maybe, I was reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, and Mom asked me if I was liking it.

“No, I hate it.”

“It’s a classic, Michelle! Why do you hate it?”

“Because people shouldn’t be treated that way, and I just wish I coulda been there to do something about it!”

That’s my first memory of sensing a real passion against racial injustice. Here’s the deal: Racial injustice isn’t confined to the past, it happens now, and I am here, and I can do something about it.

10-year-old Michelle Palmer demands it of me.

I’ve been thinking for a while now about what I can do. Can’t do much all on my own, to be honest. But this is where I’d like to start. I want to start, using this tiny little platform of mine, an exploration of why things are the way they are. I want to explore “the idea that some lives matter less” (phrase stolen directly from Fée de Hoog). I want to explore it because it’s a horrible idea, and yet it seems to be pretty prevalent in the world, ya know?

They say every American thinks of Abe Lincoln once a day.

They say every American thinks of Abe Lincoln once a day.

So, for starters, I have this notion that we, as American students, cover Lincoln & emancipation, coast through Reconstruction, take a pit stop at Jim Crow en route to the Civil Rights Movement, and completely ignore the broader context of racism, both psychological and systematic, that has enveloped American society for its entire history. Because then we think that everything should be okay by now and act surprised that it isn’t.

It’s all very fitting, because today marks the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation that freed four million slaves in the American South. The first time I heard it referred to as the “Botched Emancipation of 1863” was last April. Kevin Bales used the term, and it stung a bit. I like Abe Lincoln! He shares a name with my favorite relative! He ended slavery! You can’t just defame what he did, Kev! But that’s not what he was doing. He was simply explaining what Frederick Douglass understood, that ending slavery isn’t just a matter of freeing people.

You say you have emancipated us. You have; and I thank you for it. But what is your emancipation?

When the Israelites were emancipated they were told to go and borrow of their neighbors—borrow their coin, borrow their jewels, load themselves down with the means of subsistence; after, they should go free in the land which the Lord God gave them. When the Russian serfs had their chains broken and given their liberty, the government of Russia—aye, the despotic government of Russia—gave to those poor emancipated serfs a few acres of land on which they could live and earn their bread.

But when you turned us loose, you gave us no acres. You turned us loose to the sky, to the storm, to the whirlwind, and, worst of all, you turned us loose to the wrath of our infuriated masters.

Frederick Douglass, 1876

Clearly, emancipation’s an important step, but it’s the not the only step. Slavery is like poison. And if I’m drinking poison, the first step is to stop drinking, but that’s not enough, is it?

So, there you have it. That’s my starting point. I don’t know where all this will take me, but I do hope some all of you will join me. I don’t want this to be a soapbox but a dialogue. I want it to be broader than America. And most of all, I want to change the way we think about equality.