A Prayer for the Mothers

Photo credit: Robert Cohen, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Photo credit: Robert Cohen, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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Two days before Michael Brown was shot dead in the streets of Ferguson, MO, I was watching old media footage surrounding the 1955 murder of Emmitt Till.

I was struck by the grace and poise of Emmitt’s mother, Mamie Till Bradley. She insisted Emmitt’s funeral—attended by tens of thousands of mourners—be open casket. She invited the whole world into her pain and grief. She demanded we all face the evil and inhumanity of her son’s death.

And now I watch history repeat itself, as it has too many times before.

And I keep thinking about Lesley McSpadden. I keep trying to imagine what she is going through.

But I can’t, really. I’ve never had to raise a black son in America. (more…)

The 5 Shadow-Casting Monsters of a Leader’s Inner Life

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What makes someone a leader, actually?

Parker Palmer, in his fascinating book Let Your Life Speak, answers that question this way:

“A leader is someone with the power to project either shadow or light onto some part of the world and onto the lives of the people who dwell there.”

I like this definition. It’s specific. But it busts the doors wide open on who can lead. Anyone reading this blog probably possesses the power to lead in at least one arena of life, however small.

The question then is, As leaders, will we project shadow or light onto the sphere of our influence?

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Why I’m Begging You Not to Re-post ‘Why French Kids Don’t Have ADHD’

keep-calm-and-don-t-repost

To my friends and acquaintances who are re-posting the article, “Why French Kids Don’t Have ADHD”:

I want to ask a favor: Please don’t.

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A Tribute to Tamar

Yesterday I read the following tweet from Mark Driscoll:

driscoll tweet

And when I read it, I let out a huge sigh.

Because of all the people Driscoll could’ve chosen from the genealogy of Jesus to make his point, he just had to pick Tamar.

As a woman, I get tired of people—especially influential men—picking on Tamar.

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We Will All Be Changed

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The “Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues” Wii Game.

This is my son’s current obsession.

My son always has an obsession. He has Asperger’s Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism.

Something about the way his brain is wired causes him to fixate on a certain subject or object continually. It is literally all he can talk or think about. Then after a few days (usually), he will get “off” of that thing (often never to return to it) and get “on” to the next thing.

Currently we are waiting for this particular Wii game to arrive in the mail from Amazon. About every 30 minutes (OK maybe that’s an exaggeration), I have to help my son go over the same information about the game: Yes, it’s going to be awesome. Yes, it’s appropriate for his age. Yes, it’s due to arrive at our house on Monday. No, all the Wii remotes won’t break before it gets here.

He knows these things already. But he is anxious. And going over the same information repeatedly—and me affirming it—is somehow calming to him.

But today I lost patience.

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The Restoration of Dignity (Further Thoughts From ‘Unbroken’)

dignity defiinition

I appreciate all the fun comments and scoop you’ve shared (here and on Facebook) in response to my last post, about April’s Book Club selection, Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand.

I wanted to write a little more, about one passage in the book that stood out to me. I don’t remember another point in the book when Hillenbrand so clearly broke from the narrative to give commentary, as she did here:

“When the guards weren’t venting their fury at the captives, they entertained themselves by humiliating them…

The crash of Green Hornet had left Louie and Phil in the most desperate physical extremity, without food, water, or shelter. But on Kwajalein, the guards sought to deprive them of something that had sustained them even as all else had been lost: dignity. This self-respect and sense of self-worth, the innermost armament of the soul, lies at the heart of humanness; to be deprived of it is to be dehumanized, to be cleaved from, and cast below, mankind. Men subjected to dehumanizing treatment experience profound wretchedness and loneliness and find that hope is almost impossible to retain. Without dignity, identity is erased. In its absence, men are defined not by themselves, but by their captors and the circumstances in which they are forced to live…

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BOOK CLUB: Unbroken

b8b63-unbrokenI finally took the plunge and read Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken last month. Since the time it was published in 2010, it seemed everyone and their brother was reading it and raving about it.

I kept putting it off, because I wasn’t sure I could handle reading about the brutality experienced by Louis Zamperini, the subject of the book, while he was a prisoner of war in Japan during World War II. I finally caved and added it to my book club this year, so I wouldn’t have the chance to chicken out.

However once I actually started the book, I couldn’t put it down. I’m a pretty slow reader—and I finished it in a week. I did have to skim over several different paragraphs—my heart couldn’t handle everything. But overall, I found the reward worth the risk.

I loved Hillenbrand’s story-telling style. And she clearly amassed a huge amount of background research. I appreciated how she filled in the main story with helpful historical context. Of course, she also chose a fascinating subject!

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