Re-membering

Re-membering
 
Like a thief in the night, betrayal has come and it's all out war. 
 
Time stands still in the wake of denial, as the bombs hit the floor. 
 
Disheveled and dismembered, our sundered bones are flung here and there as a high pitched hum rings in our ears. 
 
All is an echo of what once was. 

Harmony is silenced, completely silenced, broken, paralyzed by the nuclear lie that your life matters more. 

But, you are me. We are we. And the betrayal affects us all. 
 
We, like the sea-pen roaming the ocean floor, polyp attached to polyp, each with a purpose, not one less, all attached to the core. 
 
Some say forgive and forget but we know that the forgotten prolongs captivity.

Remembering is the secret to this redemption we all long for. 

So come one, come all, bring your missing, dead, and broken pieces.

It is this 'Re-membering' that will heal our wounded souls. 
 
May we re-member so that our collective melody, harmony and deep bass lines can all be restored.

Betrayal is one of the most relationally debilitating experiences one can have. It evokes feelings of rage and engages that dark part of the soul that longs for revenge, power and control. When one is betrayed, they are wounded and without the proper antidote their wounds can fester into victim stance, whereby one believes he or she is always morally right, is not responsible or accountable for their actions, and is entitled to sympathy from others. Looking through an habitual lens of victim stance leads to perpetration, for a victim is consumed with regaining lost power and will eventually take it from others in some manner. Thus, the one betrayed becomes the betrayer.

So, what is the proper antidote?

In his book, Sin, Fr. Hugh Connolly talks about the idea of “re-membering” as¬†a process which calls to mind the deepest convictions and possibilities of people, encourages them to heal forms of dis-memberment and to work toward a better, more integrated society. In order for re-membering to happen a sincere sense of humility is an essential for both betrayer and betrayed. That is, to see past what others do to us, we must be willing to ‚Äúlook in the mirror‚ÄĚ so to speak.

For the betrayed, although it is counter intuitive, resting in this humility empowers the victim, as it keeps them from falling into the trap of becoming the betrayer.

For the betrayer, confession, admission and acknowledgements of responsibility and ultimately of personal depravity are necessary purgative, purifying and ultimately healing acts.

When both parties take these positions, a healing tone is set and the cycle of discord can be broken thus allowing for re-membering, reconciliation and restoration.

 

The Collective Mother Bear

Drawing by Matthew Klaas de Witte

Even as a child, I had a natural bent towards the warrior role of “mother”. I find strength in compassion and I know I’m not the only one. In fact, when I began to dig into the folklore around mother figures, I found some fascinating stories, especially those revolving around the idea of the “Mother Bear”. Archaeological findings dating back to ancient times, suggest that in particular the Lion, the Bear and the Elk tend to be the symbols of “mother”.

Stories of¬†the Great Bear Mother have been traced from the earliest times throughout the colder northern hemisphere, from Finland to Siberia to North America. She even has a constellation in the northern sky called Ursa Major. Moscow‚Äôs coat of arms also includes a She bear who carries a double axe. In Britain, based on this early veneration of the Great She Bear, we find the mythic hero-king Arthur, named from the Welsh Arth Vawr ‚Äď Heavenly Bear. He was believed to be the spouse of the Celtic goddess, Artio ‚Äď the Great She Bear. The Ainu of Japan, who are descendants of early Siberian migrations, still retain their veneration of the Bear in both legend and ritual. We see her roar fiercely in the ancient writings of Hosea¬†and for Native Americans the Bear is one of the guardians of the Four Directions.

The stories go on and on as she continues to make her appearance with different names throughout history. The ultimate theme in all of these stories is that the Great She Bear, advocate and protector, whose animal fur, skins and body gave warmth and food was revered as an awesome Ancestor Mother of human beings.

Everyone¬†has a mother, love them or hate them. Some have been abandoned by their mothers and some scorned. For those downtrodden baby bears, the Great She Bear¬†roars. You know her, she’s the neighbor, the teacher, the grandmother, aunt, coach or older sister that stands in the gap, raising the standard and setting the example. It’s a beautiful gift. For many of us this instinctual compassion¬†is a tender response to a broken world.

However, there is a very real temptation for all of us who feel this natural tendency towards Mother Bear, to take this very precious gift and distort it into something wholly unnatural and damaging. Where instead of understanding this role as a ‘collective’ we decide that our will is more important than that of any other Mother Bear. Believing that we are “THEE” Mother Bear, we manipulate and interject our will upon a baby bear irregardless of whether that child already has nurturing from their own mother.

In Twisted Thinking Transformed, Author Jerry Price, calls this an ownership attitude; where one person believes they have the right to take ownership of another person, place or thing that does not belong to them because they believe they deserve it. This sort of thinking creates endless examples of double standards and confusion. It’s the same attitude seen in the Hebrew¬†story¬†in which King Solomon of Israel ruled between two women both claiming to be the mother of a particular child.

The story recounts that the two mothers were living in the same house, each the mother of an infant son. One of the babies died. Each adamantly claimed the remaining boy as her own. In order to settle the dispute they went before the King. The King called for a sword and declared his judgment: the baby would be cut in two, each woman to receive half. One mother thought the ruling fair, but the other begged Solomon, “Give the baby to her, just don’t kill him!” The king declared the second woman the true mother, as the true mother would surely give up her baby if that was necessary to save its life.

We don’t know all of the back story as the scene really focuses in on the Kings ruling. However, we do see that these two women lived with each other, so they were in some sort of relationship, maybe even friends or relatives. The woman who had an ownership attitude was so distorted in her thirst to be “THEE” Mother Bear that she was even willing to sacrifice the child so that the other woman could not take her rightful place.

How many times have we seen this story replayed, where a mother bear who is actively trying to nurture her baby bear encounters another mother bear and finds out that the person she deemed an ally, someone who could support and uplift, was betraying that trust, maybe even with good intentions.

It is so important for each of us to honestly recognize the temptation to tether with another’s baby bear and God help us if we ever overstep our position in another child’s life and thus cast a shadow on that mother/child relationship! It’s true, many of us have been the victim of this sort of betrayal but it also true that many of us have been the betrayer. It is crucial to the collective whole that we all be bona-fide about our own missteps and seek¬†a better way. It will take humility, a healthy active ability to really listen to one another and a promise to be for one another.

And so, from one Mama Bear to another, I propose a treaty.

This is a promise to all the She Bears out their nurturing their baby bears. It is written in first person perspective in hopes that you, as a reader, will identify yourself as the Mother Bear and make the pledge also. If you agree with this treaty, please sign in the comments. If you find that there is a heart-felt promise that you’d like to add to the treaty please feel free to add it in the comments.

Artio, Celtic Goddess of Wild Life, Transformation and Abundance by Judith Shaw

THE MOTHER BEAR TREATY

To all fellow Mother Bears, from every tongue, tribe and nation. I promise that I will be for you and not against you.

I promise that if I encounter opportunities to come alongside your baby bear that I will understand that position as supplemental, not primary.

I promise that, as a fellow mother bear, I will work to engage with you without judgement and will look for ways to encourage you in your primary role.

If I have no baby bear of my own, but resonate with the collective Mother Bear, I promise that any encounters I might have to come alongside your baby bear will be seen as supplemental, not primary.

Whether I agree with your parenting style or not I promise that I will not manipulate your baby bear with jabs that threaten the foundation of your relationship. Rather, I will try to find ways to build your relationship up.

If your baby bear comes to me with a complaint that involves you, I promise that I will listen without bias and will encourage your baby bear to make every effort to reconcile with you.

I promise that if my good intentions towards your baby bear falls short and you take offense, that I will be open to hearing your heart and to owning the pain I may have caused, making every effort to reconcile with you.

Likewise, if you, with good intentions towards my baby bear, fall short, I promise to communicate the impact of that pain openly and allow room for you to make amends. If you make amends, I promise to not harbor any bitterness.

If my baby bear hurts your baby bear I promise that I will hold my baby bear accountable and do everything within my power to bring my baby bear to a place of remorse and guide him/her towards reconciliation with your baby bear.

If your baby bear hurts my baby bear, I promise that I will hold your baby bear accountable and will make every effort to communicate the damage to you. If your baby bear approaches with humility to apologize, I promise I will also listen with an open mind and move our babies towards forgiveness.

It may be that we or our baby bears are just not going to get along, in that case, we will walk away graciously and hold no grudge.

I promise that I will not use my words to condemn or shame you. I promise that I will not speak about you to other Mother Bears with any sort of mallace or ill intent.

In conclusion,

I promise to uphold this treaty, to protect the sanctity of the collective Mother Bear, and once again, to be for you, not against you.

Signatures:

Jana Holland, just one Mama Bear in the collective whole.

Fellowship In The Red Dirt

Only a handful of cars passed as we drove eight hours north from Coober Pedy on the two lane highway. It was the red dirt that called us to the center of the Australia. Hours passed with not a word, just the hum of the van and the slow motion of our breath. We stopped several times along the track to touch the unusual crimson sand. It was enchanting, mysterious and unlike anything we had ever seen. As our eyes delighted in the arcane landscape our minds began to wonder off. The rhythmic monotony of the road was comforting and as I sunk into the richness of the deep red, ancient words came into focus.

“Come. Sit down. Let’s argue this out.
If your sins are blood-red,
    they’ll be snow-white.
If they’re red like crimson,
¬†¬†¬†¬†they‚Äôll be like wool.‚ÄĚ

I contemplated that first line. It was true, I was unsettled and ready to hash it out. I delighted in the relational nature of a God that was willing to argue it out with me. Then memories of the past twelve months began to flood my mind. Memories of new people and new places. So many new experiences to digest and to try to make sense of.  I realized I was full to the brim with newness almost the point of bursting. I was overwhelmed with the stories of kinfolk we had met along the way. Some were stories of overcoming great obstacles, while other were filled with such betrayal, suffering and heartbreak.

I had witnessed injustice face to face, through the eyes of so many who have been oppressed by empires and religions. Then I watched a mighty storm roll in from afar, as those I loved began to war against one another in online forums. And, then there was the recent news of my fathers ailing health which sent me spiraling, wondering what I was doing in the middle of the desert, when I just longed to be home.

There is a flux between faith and reason and I was wrestling to find the balance; questioning what was the point to all of our suffering and rightly so! In his book, God, Medicine and Suffering, Stanley Hauerwas states that suffering creates a silence which is not easily shared. Oh! the silence.

As the miles of red dirt passed, my soul was overwhelmed at the uncertainty and I wept. I pressed into Abba’s heartbeat like a child to her mother’s breast. Then He whispered, “I am with you.”

I was reminded of Jesus last recorded words which were translated from the original Greek to English, “I am with you always‚ÄĒregardless of circumstance, and on every occasion, even to the end of the age.‚ÄĚ

I don’t have many answer to sweeping philosophical or theological questions about suffering and evil but I do have a divine community of care that has made it possible for me to absorb the waves of suffering that may threaten to destroy.

It’s not wrong to ask tough question but those questions cannot be divorced from the power structures of the social situations they reflect. When we turn the Christian faith into a system of beliefs that can be universally known without transformation; then that faith practice becomes a civilization religion or what I call Empire Christianity.

It is empire Christianity that creates the ethos necessary to sustain the empire rather than being a set of convictions about God’s work in Jesus Christ. ¬†It is empire Christianity that makes the assumption that good must ultimately triumph, otherwise the universe, as well as, the social order is incoherent.

However, in my faith practice as a Jesus follower, I recognize that suffering cannot be separated from my calling to be a new people made holy by transformation. That transformation is inseparable from fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is that assurance of community that has made it possible for me to push past the silence to tell the stories.

I’ve heard it said that it is the gift as well as the burden of the artist to tell the stories, to break the silence.

The Psalmist shows us the way and teaches us to tell the story of suffering. The psalmist teach us that Abba can handle our complaints. These laments are meant to name the silences that our suffering has created and bring us into communion with Abba and with one another, to rage that we see no point to it all. And yet, our very acknowledgement of that fact makes us a people capable of living life faithfully. In fact, our willingness to expose our pain is the means that Abba gives to help us identify and responsed to evil and injustice, pain and suffering. It is through lament, through story that we find our way out of the silence and back to the light.

Physically, the red track led us to Alice Springs but spiritually the track led me back to the heart center.

Psalm 80; God Implored to Rescue His People from Their Calamities.

To the Chief Musician; set to [the tune of] ‚ÄúLilies, a Testimony.‚ÄĚ A Psalm of Asaph.

8 You brought a vine out of Egypt. You drove out the nations, and You planted it.9 You cleared the land for it. And its roots went deep and filled the land. 10 The mountains were covered with its shadow. And the tall trees were covered with its branches. 11 It sent out its branches to the sea, and its new branches to the River.12 Why have You broken down its walls so that all who pass by pick its fruit?13 The wild pig from among the trees eats it away. And whatever moves in the field eats from it.

14 O God of all, we beg You to return. Look down from heaven and see. Take care of this vine. 15 Take care of the root Your right hand has planted, and the branch that You have raised up for Yourself. 16 They have burned it with fire. It is cut down. May they be lost when they hear Your strong words. 17 Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, the son of man you have made strong for Yourself. 18 Then we will not turn away from You. Give us new life again, and we will call on Your name. 19 O Lord God of all, bring us back to You. Make Your face shine upon us, and we will be saved.

 

Tune My Heart To Sing Thy Grace

Grace doesn’t deny the existence of sin. Grace provides the remedy.
Grace doesn’t deny the existence of sin. Grace provides the remedy.

Come Thou Fount, one of the most famous hymns out there today. Set to the American Folk tune, Nettleton, it has been covered by David Crowder, Jars of Clay, Michael Card, Phil Wickham, Chris Tomlin and a million other worship bands. Even some of our favorite folkies like Sufjan Stevens and Mumford and Sons have covered the song.

I’ve always loved this hymn, but if I’m honest, I really have no idea what most of the lyrics mean. You know, with all the founts, fettering and Ebenezers, constraining and interposing…¬†So, I thought I’d look up the history and come to find out the song¬†was written by Robert Robinson in 1757 and is autobiographical in nature. Robinson writes the song as a confession of a proneness to wander away from the Lord. It is a song¬†about repentance and redemption!

Those who have recorded Robinson’s story tell it this way. In his youth, Robert Robinson was apprenticed to a barber in London and was quite the party boy. One day he heard a sermon by a preacher named George Whitefield. ¬†There was fire spewing from Whitefields lips as he spoke¬†on the stern words of John the Baptist to the Jewish leaders of his day. ‚ÄúBrood of vipers!” He shouted, “Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?‚ÄĚ (Matt. 3:7). Anyway, during the sermon, the Spirit of God took hold of¬†the wayward young man and he put his faith in Christ.

Associated with the Wesleys for a time, Robinson served as a pastor in several churches. He wrote a number of works on theology, and two hymns that we know of, ‘Mighty God, While Angels Bless Thee,’ and ‘Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.’¬†However, in his later years he drifted away from God rambling and stumbling back into his old pit.

Robert Cottrill, newspaper columnist, radio host, and long-time contributor to the Cyber Hymnal tells the rest of the story:

"Although Robinson was in broken fellowship with the Lord, that one day, the author was traveling in a stage coach. His only companion was a young woman unknown to him. In the providence of God, and not realizing who it was she spoke with, the woman quoted Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, saying what an encouragement it had been to her. And try as he might, Robinson could not get her to change the subject.

Finally, he said, with tears in his eyes, ‚ÄúMadam, I am the poor unhappy man who composed that hymn, many years ago. And I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I then had!‚ÄĚ Gently, she replied, ‚ÄúSir, the ‚Äėstreams of mercy‚Äô are still flowing.‚ÄĚ

He was deeply touched by that. As a result of the encounter he repented. His fellowship with the Lord was restored through the ministry of his own hymn, and a Christian’s willing witness."

The last stanza is often left out. It is my favorite:

O that Day when freed from sinning,
I shall see thy lovely Face;
Clothed then in blood-washed Linen
How I’ll sing thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransom’d Soul away;
Send thine Angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless Day.

May we continue to sing songs of repentance (sincere regret or remorse) and redemption (absolution)¬†and may we find our comrade, Robert Robinson’s journey back to Jesus an encouragement of God‚Äôs faithfulness to us.

And, may we hold fast to the reminder that the author of Hebrews exhorts.

"Therefore, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also get rid of every weight and entangling sin. Let us run with endurance the race set before us, focusing on Yeshua, the initiator and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame; and He has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and lose heart.‚ÄĚ
Hebrews 12:1-3 TLV

By the way,
Fount means; a source of a desirable quality or commodity.
Fetter is a chain or manacle used to restrain a prisoner, typically placed around the ankles.
And Eben-Ezer is from a reference from the book of Samuel and means stone of help

Sing it with me…

Moon-fession

hi, it’s me

the moon

i have a confession to make

i have no light of my own

there i said it

it’s true

i am just an empty

dark

lump of rock

floating in the sky

but, you say, “we have seen you light up, full splendor, oh so bright”

well sure, most have seen me light up

some have even given me names like super and blood and blue

however, i am only the star of the show because the Sun has made me whole

you see, it is the Sun that gives me light

it is the Sun that makes me bright

without the Sun, I am nothing but an empty

dark

lump of a rock

floating in the sky…

…i feel much better now

how about you

have you any confession to make

quote-in-confession-we-open-our-lives-to-healing-reconciling-restoring-uplifting-grace-of-him-who-louis-cassels-339982

 

Thoughts on Simon Sinek Explaination of the Millennial Paradox

maxresdefaultRecently, a video clip of Tom¬†Bilyeu¬†interviewing motivational speaker, Simon¬†Sinek on his show Inside Quest was¬†circulating¬†around Facebook Land. I noticed it because it was titled¬†¬†“Simon¬†Sinek¬†Explains the Millennial Paradox‚ÄĚ I didn‚Äôt know who Tom¬†Bilyeu¬†or Simon¬†Sinek¬†were but I love¬†millennials, so I clicked the play button and for 15 minutes I was educated about the Millennial plight.¬†

As I watched I was particular drawn to Simon’s genuine nature. He seemed passionate about what he was talking about and believable. Simon began by defining how millennials have been described by leadership in corporations as entitled, narcissistic, unfocused, and lazy. 

Then Simon went on to explain that¬†millennials¬†are the way they are because of poor parenting strategies, citing parents that gave their children what they wanted when they wanted it, creating an instant gratification generation and other parents that didn‚Äôt allow their child to fail, thus devaluing their achievements. Add to that poor coping mechanisms to deal with stress that¬†Sinek¬†attributed to addiction (to social media and cell phone) and finally he concludes that¬†millennials¬†have lower¬†self-esteem¬†than previous generation, through no fault of their own, that they were “dealt a bad hand.‚ÄĚ

In his final admonishment he speaks to corporations, stating that “It‚Äôs a total lack of good leadership in our world today that is making them feel the way they do. They were dealt a bad hand. I hate to say it but it‚Äôs the companies responsibility, sucks to be you, like we have no choice, right? This is what we got, and I wish their parents and society would have done a better job. They didn‚Äôt, so we‚Äôre getting them in our companies and we now have to pick up the slack. We have to work extra hard to figure out the ways to build their confidence. We have to work extra hard to find ways to teach them the social skills they are missing out on.”¬†

I took serious his rebuke of poor parenting and the effects of technology. I thought, yes, my children have been bombarded with screen toxins and we, as parents, sensed it was dangerous but the cultural undertow drowned any efforts we might have made to try to protect our children.

Then his pinnacle conclusion that the reason¬†millennials¬†are the way they are is because they were “dealt a bad hand‚ÄĚ and that their best case scenario, “as an entire generation, was growing up and going through life and never really finding joy. They‚Äôll just waft through life but never find joy‚ÄĚ just broke my heart. As a parent, I thought Oh no! I’ve failed them! The more I meditated on his talk the more l lamented.

My father, Jerry Price, author, counselor, consultant and one of the wisest souls I know, also watched the video and we had a lively discussion about it all. It is a discussion that we ended up moving over to email in order to capture our thoughts in writing so as to participate in the greater conversation. 

Jerry:¬†My first thought as I watched this guy, Simon, give his ‘expert’ opinion, his ‘diagnosis’ on the problem was that he offered no hope. Where is the hope?

Jana: You’re right dad. Although I felt hopeful when I initially started watching his talk, I realized that what I actually felt was his excitement as he set a tone of confidence regarding his knowledge of the topic. In the end, there was no hope in his message. It was dire diagnosis and all Simon could prescribe ultimately, was for corporations to bear the load and try to repair this generation the best they can. 

Jerry: It‚Äôs interesting how perspective can expose issues. Much of what Simon said was funny and seemed to¬†resonate an image of a¬†millennial. Simon was very persuasive about identifying¬†millennials¬†but as I was listening my question was¬†‚ÄúWho is defining this?‚Ä̬†

Coming from an understanding of Marketing and Counseling (Twisted Thinking) combined, I know that anyone who is the definer of a problem gets to control the process. 

Jana: Yes, he seemed knowledgeable and I agree with much of what Simon said about screen addiction. I agree that¬†millennials, as a whole, were even dealt a bad hand. However, if I’m playing poker and I’m dealt a bad hand, am I not still responsible for how I play it?¬†

Jerry: True, when he started to emphasize that a millennial is a millennial because they were dealt a bad hand, through no fault of their own, my ears perked up. Whether he meant to or not, he just promoted what I call Martyred Thinking. 

Out of Martyred Thinking develops a prearranged tactic that avoids responsibility so the person claiming they’ve been dealt a bad hand (whether its true or not) can go do what they want to do. It becomes a platform of pursuing anything that is forbidden.

How do I know this? I’ve been working with Criminal and Twisted Thinkers for years in clinical settings where individuals have perpetrated unconscionable acts on others as a result of taking this closed stance on being a victim. 

There is no hope for integrity, dignity, and living responsibly with people who insist they have been dealt a bad hand and use that belief to support why they become addicts of one sort or another. The blame game isn’t a new thing. It’s been repeated politically, religiously and socially throughout history.

The drug of choice or addiction of choice, at that point, is what I call the excitement of what is forbidden. This phenomenon leads to inflated views of self and not low self-esteem as Simon suggested in the video. It leads to a stubbornness, recklessness, impatience at not being instantly gratified and the result is that others will experience the brunt of it.

Jana:¬†I was hoping Simon would give us something deeper, some of his optimism he’s famous for.¬†I was hoping he would talk about the heart issue and empower the millennial to “play their hand well” but he seemed to make any hope for the Millennial everyone elses problem, thus paralyzing them.¬†

Jerry:¬†¬†It’s definitely a heart or character issue.¬†

Much of what Simon taught was old hat. Baby Boomers (Eighty Million of us)¬†weren‚Äôt using¬†I Phones,¬†I Pads, or technology to produce the chemical reactions we wanted to feel¬†‚Äúokay” or¬†superior physically/emotionally/spiritually.

In my day it was all out drugs and sex. Just think Woodstock and you’ll remember. People then weren’t good at relationships either. They tuned out, zoned out and dropped out in droves.

Experts or the definers of the process want to say it‚Äôs not the kids fault, that it‚Äôs a matter of parenting but the truth is¬†that experts are scared of not being in control and the go¬†to is that the¬†‚Äúyou were dealt a bad hand‚ÄĚ, so billions of dollars can be spent on reorganizing the¬†chaos or¬†lethargy at hand.

There is no hope for those who would rather blame their environment or station in life by using Martyred Thinking to go and do whatever feels good and is forbidden. The arrogance that exudes from Martyred Thinking isn’t about low self-esteem but about being or thinking a person is entitled and if anyone gets in the way of their entitlement, a prearranged tactic to avoid accountability and responsibility is launched. 

As I watched the video I saw many faces that did not look hopeful but rather had a look in their eyes that said “how can¬†I use what Simon is saying for my benefit.‚Ä̬†

Twisted thinking is very exciting and useful for people who default to¬†‚ÄúI‚Äôve been dealt a bad hand” and that‚Äôs why a person who is practicing twisted thinking would have a core belief that says, “I‚Äôm self loathing or am having an identity crises thus I flounder and NEED technology to satisfy my thirst for¬†well-being¬†and want. Then¬†I can BE and not have to worry about relationships which don‚Äôt work well. Give me my Xbox or Snap Chat and that‚Äôs living!”

Jana: This is familiar and as I look back on my teens and 20’s I know that I was a well-practiced Martyred thinker, blaming you and mom for not protecting me from abuse and from the pain of betrayal. 

It worked for me for a while. I felt a sense of freedom and lived a reckless and exciting life. ¬†I did the drugs, redefined my sexuality and tried to distance myself from your religion. Think Footloose, The Breakfast Club and¬†Trainspotting.¬†I believed that I was dealt a bad hand and I spent a lot years playing that hand by operating in victim-stance, manipulating and lying to get my way. However, when I fell pregnant with my daughter my perspective was rocked to the core and for the first time I was able to see myself clearly in the mirror. What I saw was hopelessness, isolation and a great chasm between myself and others.¬†It was then that I remember really having to work through a false belief that you¬†and mom did not do all you could to give me a leg up.¬†I knew it wasn’t the truth but it was very hard to let go of that belief for it had become so much apart of my identity. I was afraid of losing “myself” or more likely losing my sense of control.¬†

I believe that my plight was an indicator, a symptom, of the deep depravity of the human condition that we are ALL subject to. When I finally really looked at my hand and realized that the only good play was to fold, I found hope. 

I asked for a new hand and I found new life, real freedom and a deep reconnection with self, with you and mom, with my Creator and with others.

Jana: So is there any merit to what Simon is saying?  

Jerry: Simon really did have some sound things to say but in defining the problem like he did, he put himself in control of the process. What process?

The process that leaves the listener left empty unless they can agree that ‚ÄúYeah, he‚Äôs right. Parenting is why¬†I‚Äôm the way¬†I am. Yeah, somebody is going to have to pay for this.¬†I have a right to continue to live as a person who has learned helplessness and get away with it.‚Ä̬†

I’m not saying there aren’t environments that foster or influence this Martyred Thinking mindset for decision-making. But what I am saying, is like in a test tube, unless it’s proven right every time in the laboratory, it’s not really true science. Conscious or unconsciously, Simon just threw so many millennials out there into his beaker of Martyred Thinking who aren’t martyred thinkers. They don’t buy into what Simon has said because they’re out there creating, building, engaging and valuing relationships. 

Jana: Yes,¬†I know many of them. They’re innovative, passionate and responsible but what about the others, where is the hope for the those¬†listening to Simon‚Äôs talk and identify with his findings, those who believe they were dealt a bad hand and are functioning in the belief that it isn’t their fault. Where is the hope for them?¬†¬†

Jerry: For me, hope for change would have been to have this expert call out their* responsibility for their laziness and to own how it hurts others.

Hope for change would have been for this expert to call out how their sense of entitlement hurts others deeply because others are treated as property that have no choice but to endure their selfishness. 

(by the way, *their represents us all, whether we’re talking about Millennials, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers or whoever)¬†

People who activate any Martyred Thinking have no empathy and where there is no empathy an individual is capable of doing unconscionable harm. That doesn’t look like HOPE to me.

Hope encourages self-respect and the respect of others.

The thought that Simon gave about the need to value and develop relationship was right on, but this need transcends to us all. Pointing the finger at parenting or other places of society as those who are the problem, those who dealt the bad hand, actually breaks down the relational concept he is promoting. 

As you have shown in your own story Jana, something happens that’s good on the inside of a person who has come to terms with their responsibility and accountability for who they decide to be.

Yes, it’s true we can be and are shaped by our personal history but we are not defined by it. There’s HOPE in that.

HOPE that pursues life! 

Unwittingly, that was what was missed in the talk this expert gave. 

millennials

‚ÄúSince we‚Äôve all compiled this long and sorry record of afflictions and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives Abba wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we‚Äôre in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.‚Ä̬†Romans¬†3

The heart that has been broken and mended in one breath is a heart that understands the power of forgiveness.

Jerry Price (jerryprice.net) Tom bilyeu (Facebook.com/tombilyeu) Inside Quest (Facebook.com/insidequest) Simon Sinek (Facebook.com/simonsinek).

The Dusty Feet Mob

You know how it goes for us nomads, we meet kinfolk who find out were heading towards their friends. Then we meet those people who find out our next stop is in the same town as their friends and on and on. And so it was, that we made our way from Melbourne, to Adelaide to the Dusty Feet Mob in Port Augusta.

We were in Melbourne, VIC, Australia with our friends Nick and Anita Wight. We met Nick and Anita in March of 2014 at Surrender Conference, a gathering of all sorts of kinfolk doing amazing things around the globe in their communities, from offering hospitality to refugees, to creating sustainable/recycled goods, advocating for those who are oppressed to living side by side with folks in some of the poorest parts of the world. We were excited to hear about these like-minded kinfolk and wrote Anita (who was one of the directors at the time) and asked if we could share our music or help in any other way and she said yes! And, that was that, we became fast friends and continued to stay in touch, stopping in to see the Wight family at their Footscray home on our way from here to there.

It’s an encouragement to find friends like the Wights because their friendship not only allowing¬†us to anchor when we need a rest or re-supply but their friendship fuels our hearts with love.

img_2531One night we were sharing a meal and talking about our upcoming trek across South Australia and up to Alice Springs, when their friend Ian Dempster¬†called. Ian was from Adelaide and happened to in Melbourne, driving by their home on his way to a meeting. He didn’t have time to stop over but thought of them as he passed and decided to give them a quick call for a chat. While on the phone the Wights told Ian about us and our desire to come alongside and encourage others and he said, “send them my way.”

We were blessed to meet up with Ian at the Central Market for a coffee and hear about his work with the UAICC (Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress). He shared about his passion to collaborate with and encourage his Aboriginal counterparts. Although our time with Ian was brief we shared our desire to meet and hear more of the Aboriginal story as we made our way north and he connected us with his dear friends 3 1/2 hours north in Port Augusta.

img_2596As we neared into the industrial town of  Port Augusta we experienced the vast rose-colored salt lakes, broken mesas and massive rock formations that lifted out of the ground commanding our attention and we were reminded of one of our favorite states in the US, New Mexico. Our hosts, The Wallace family, lived on a pink salt lake around the corner from the railroad and welcomed us to their Port Augusta home. They invited us to settle in, share a meal and do a load of laundry. We found them easy to connect with, specially after they whipped out the Settlers of Catan board. Then it was game on. As a bonus, Anna shared her gift of sewing with us and mended up some of our broken backpacks.

The next day, we joined the¬†Congress Port Augusta – Uniting Church, where we met¬†Jesse Size, Auntie* Maria and the rest of the mob*. The service was informal yet reverent. We all sat in the round, taught each other songs of praise and shared in story. They asked us questions about our travels and we shared¬†the¬†practical stories of how Abba cares for us along the way, making sure our needs are met, just as he cares for the birds of the air. A question was asked about how we deal with conflict and betrayal, an issue close to the Aboriginal heart. We shared the story of the betrayal and reconciliation in our own marriage. ¬†As a legitimate victim, I shared how difficult it¬†was to wait without bitterness or blemish, in faith, for my husband to “own his stuff” and finally how Abba liberated him from his twisted thinking; thinking that kept him bound to a false sense of justice. ¬†As we laid down our pride and trusted, Abba did it all. Faithfully the Great Physician put our marriage back together again. We shared another song or two and said a prayer of blessing over them. It was an honor to be with these saints, to tell our hard story and the story of God’s trustworthy-ness.

Afterwards, there was a lightness in the room as folks were getting ready to move to the next part of the day, a Sunday afternoon picnic. Auntie Maria invited us to join in and explained that it was a picnic for the Dusty Feet Mob, a dance troop that her daughter, Wanita choreographed. She was excited to have us join them and for us to see the children dance.

When we arrived, Maria shared the story of the Dusty Feet Mob and explained that Port Augusta is made up of 36 different Aboriginal groups and the Dusty Feet Mob is inclusive towards them all. She stated their dance troop was created in 2014 to provide a medium for elders to pass on their knowledge to younger generations and as a way to communicate about Aboriginal issues, specifically regarding reconciliation. ¬†The group’s debut performance was at the Peterborough Art Cultural Festival in Port Pirie and since then they have been invited to perform at the NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee) Week and many other state and national events. One of their most riveting performances was alongside famed Aboriginal folk singer, Archie Roach, at the Reconciliation South Australia Event in February 2016

Film Maker Dave Laslett. 

img_2628-1What we learned, and what we shared in Port Augusta was life-giving and inspiring. And, even more was the quiet evening that we spent in Jesse and Chelsea Size’s home, sharing a traditional Aboriginal meal of Kangaroo Tails that Auntie Maria made for us. It was during this meal, as the sun setting in the sky and heat lighting was bolting here and there that Auntie Maria shared her personal story. A story of resilience, perseverance, and faith.

Auntie Maria must have been about my age, maybe a bit older, (meaning she was probably in her early 50’s). So she would have been born during a difficult time in Australian/Aboriginal history. Her people were originally from Maralinga but had to flee thousands of Kilometer into Oak Valley, Cundalee Mission in 1955 after the British Government, along with the Australian Government, dropped an Nuclear bomb on their lands. Some went north, east and west after the bomb to find comfort. Unfortunately, some never recovered and many who have lived through the travesty still feel the effects today with sore eyes or blindness.

Many of Maria’s family were taken to Mt Margaret Mission, Kurrawang Mission or Norseman Mission and placed there under the guardianship board when they were taken from their families. This is now known as the stolen generation. Maria’s mum¬†fled all the way to Perth where she had Maria. However, from what Maria was told her mother died when she was 3 months old. A¬†native welfare worker contacted Maria’s extended family and her oldest sister took her under her wing¬†with other family supporting.¬†Maria was born a half-caste and expressed her deep desire to know¬†her connection to country, to family especially around native titles, etc. Unfortunately, for Maria there is not a lot written about her mum so all she has to go on is what family tells her about who is family and where she fit in.

She spoke fondly of her childhood, growing up in and around Laverton, Mt Margaret and Leonora. She said she was a bit of a cheeky child, later returning to her hometown to see her name still etched into sidewalks and buildings. She said she respects and values her¬†culture and has a deep longing to connect with country but explained that her Brother-in-law, who raised her like his own, had a strong Christian faith and for that she was thankful, for no matter what may come her way, she knows that¬†Jesus is her rock. When all else fails, and she’s seen her share of failings, she falls back on her faith as her firm foundation. Auntie Maria’s story was so inspiring and it was an honor to even have heard a small portion of it.

*Mob is a word used to describe a tribe or family group of Aboriginal people. *Auntie or Uncle are the respectful terms to address an elder woman or man