Eliacin Rosario-Cruz

Abrazando Esperanzas

Month: July 2008 (page 1 of 3)

Owning the table – need for new concepts and metaphors

I’ve been fortunate to facilitate and participate in diversity workshops and anti-racism training in which people have been brutally honest. There have been tears, strong words have been exchanged and people have asked for forgiveness and help to overcome their racism.  This kind of openness does not happen easily at these kind of workshops and gathering. Many lack the language and nerve to do the hard work it take to uproot racism. We rather deal with placebos and easy tasks that only mask the real problem. In spite of our self-congratulatory assumption that we are beyond issues of race, the scars and the evil of racism still run deep through the veins of the Americas.

One easy common sugar-coated pill I constantly hear comes in the form of a seemingly inclusive metaphor: the “invitation to the table.”

“People of color are invited to the table.”

“If we want diversity, we need to invite some Latinos the table.”

“We’ve invited some African American to our table, but they don’t be part of it.”

“We want more women at our table.”

As open and inclusive this metaphor might sound, all it does is reiterate who is the owner of the table and who still have the power to decide whom to invite and dismiss.  While we all might know what a table is, the concept on many of these conversations is based on the rectangular-power table, in which the head of the table is the one who control the conversation and set the tone and agenda for the gathering.

We need new metaphors that would convey a non-threatening, non-oppressive language for healing and transformative conversations and relationships. Some new concepts might be the one of coming around the fire for story sharing,  the Pow-wow, Hawaiian Luau, the potluck…

We are in dire need of new alternative concepts in which everyone come to a place of respect.

What other concepts or metaphor would you suggest?

diversity is more than sprinkling a bit of black and brown here or there

Mark does it again with this new satire piece at the Jesus Manifesto. While funny, it is true and very sad.  This part in specific touch very close to home –

These young men, though all around the age of 30 and white, are
diverse in other ways. “We value diversity. In fact, we’re
theologically diverse. We’re all from different denominational
backgrounds within evangelicalism,” says Lewis, who is a pastor of
“Aquatic Community” in San Francisco.

Aaron Johnston, pastor of the Journey Community in Ann Arbor,
Michigan, believes that even greater diversity lays ahead: “We’ve made
it a point to say that we’re open to women and people of color. In
fact, there is a Latino guy who is interested in joining us, I think.”

In the discourse about diversity many, most, almost all of the current new expressions of church/christianity (call it emerging, emergent, new monastics, missional, neo-submerging-with-an-anglican-and-reforming-flavor; you get the point) have lots to say, but their expression and work toward it is minimal, to say the least. Some of these groups sprinkle a bit of color here and there and keep pointing to the same yellow and brown sister and brother in order to avoid criticism, while they avoid doing the hard work that takes for real diversity.

I have personally broached this subject with some of so called and self-proclaimed leaders/spoke persons of these movements as of How many Blacks, Asians, Latinos/Latinas are part of your group/movement/gathering? Most of the time their answer is a list of 6-10 names which come accompanied of a self-congratulatory grin, as if they can prove to be champions for diversity because they know a handful of people. Now if I were to ask how many white middle class folks are part of their gig, the answer would be totally different. They would not be able to give me a little list of token people.

This is a very important issue to me as a latino father to 2 beautiful bi-cultural kids. While for some this just an accessory part of their conversation for me and many others, this is a reality we still struggle with and among our white privileged sisters and brothers. I’ll be processing more of this subject in posts to come.

Now enjoy this funny satirical piece.

group of white men around the age of 30 challenge “everything” : Jesus Manifesto

A group of white men around the age of 30 launched a new network yesterday that sets out to challenge “everything.”

Jarrod Lewis, one of the coordinators for the network believes that people are looking for “something different.” Says Lewis: “A few years ago, I started looking around and noticed that there are a lot of Churches, but not a lot of people actually living in the way of Jesus…I mean REALLY living the stuff, you know?”

And so, Lewis began blogging on his site “Breaking Lewis” about the need for radical change. Armed with Apple laptop, he would go to his local Starbucks, order a machiato macchiato and proceed to challenge the status quo. Over coming months, his readership grew into the hundreds, and be began to connect with folks who shared his concerns–and hopes–for the church.

Read more…

Celebrating Nelson Mandela

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. 

 – Nelson Mandela

Mandela celebrated his 90th birthday on July 18.

Photos of the Mustard Seed House

The Mustard Seed House (MSH) is an intentional Christian Community in Seattle. I am very fortunate to be one of the original core families and conspirators in this liberated space in which we try to embody God’s Kingdom value as a new kind of family.

Here are some photos of some of our gatherings, activities and ordinary family life. There will be more added soon. So keep checking them out.

Photos of the Mustard Seed House (via Flickr)

A Vote for Barack Obama is a Vote for Jesus : Jesus Manifesto

Mark have done it again.

A Vote for Barack Obama is a Vote for Jesus : Jesus Manifesto
A vote for Barack Obama is a vote for Jesus…not that I agree with everything he stands for. I mean, I am an independent sort of thinker. I am firmly convinced that God is neither a republican or a democrat. But Barack Obama transcends such distinctions. He flies high over such petty concerns on shimmering gossamer wings. Golden light emanates from his perfect form. His smiling eyes looking down upon me with a look that pierces my soul! I get lost in his smile, and long for one of his chiseled arms to hold me close while the other smites a damning blow to poverty and oppression.

Read more…

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