Identity

Witnesses to Our Rebirths

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. -1 Corinthians 13:12, NLT I don’t recognize her anymore. Her short hair […]

Preach Hope to Me: I’m Afraid That My Inner Jackass Is My Real Me

I heard an analysis of a sermon recently. One commentator said to another, “I shouldn’t leave and walk out feeling good about myself.” Really? I’ve been in churches like that—where as one of my friends said, you’re just crap on a plate, covered with a veneer of Jesus. When I was clinically depressed for a […]

Love in Shades of Multifaceted Men

From the passenger seat, I watched you turn your head in the inky black of the night and smiled to myself about how your face still shined through the darkness. You looked like a gem and you are one, with your many aspects and your beauty. I wished that everyone saw you the way I […]

Subversive Celebrations

The entrance to the seafood restaurant is flanked by a series of large windows. Inside I see white folks sit at the bar laughing, and nursing glasses of wine. Some glance as we pass, following us as we enter through the wooden door. We are here to celebrate Jonathan—our son graduated from college today. At […]

Mothering in Black, White and Red

When I was very small, my mom only bought me black baby dolls because she wanted to do right by me.  She was familiar with the studies where little brown girls reject black baby dolls and she wanted to be sure, as a white mother of brown daughters, that she was raising my sister and […]

Four From The Night, Four From Anywhere

1. Traffic Light When I slow to a stop at the traffic light, I notice a police car flashing blue into the darkness. A few feet away, a man stuffs his hands in his pockets and leans back against a dented trunk. I stare at this man with skin like mine. This man in a […]

The Beauty of Multicultural Unity

There is no division of race on the battlefield, only one line, unified. My father fought on that front line in the Philippine jungle in WWII. As a Philippine scout, he engaged in hand-to-hand combat, face to face against the enemy. He was captured by the Japanese, along with 75,000 other Filipino and American soldiers, […]

Confession: I Hate Spiritual Gifts

We all have weird things we dislike. Some people don’t like mayonnaise. Some people don’t like dogs or synthetic fabric or Cincinnati. My pet peeve is the phrase “spiritual gifts”. I’m a little embarrassed that this phrase makes me cranky, especially because my church of thirty years talks about spiritual gifts A LOT. All our […]

Teaching Our Children Belonging

In 2010, I went from never being a mother, to a mom of two toddlers in a span of a day. It has and remains, all these years later, one of the most horrifically beautiful adventures of my life. Journeying to motherhood was fraught from the beginning. I have known since I was 16 that […]