Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of five columns written by Ron Byler, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. executive director, to mark 100 […]
Here are five things worth paying attention to this week. These are designed to expose you to a perspective you may not normally come across in your daily lives.
1. Dia de los Muertos
Last week at Goshen College the Latino Student Union did a chapel surrounding “Dia de los Muertos,” or “Day of the Dead.” Students shared traditions from their families, sang a song of remembrance and created “ofrendas” that honored loved ones who had passed. As we think about our loved ones and families soon after All Saints Sunday (also as we approach the holidays), I hope we can remember those who have passed on and what parts of their lives, faith and witness we can remember and seek to emulate.
2. Turmeric and lemon cake
While I have blogged previously about loving all things pumpkin, even I get sick of sugared squash. By the time the holidays roll around, I’m honestly pumpkin-ed out. If you’re looking for something new that’s sweet and zesty, try this lemon turmeric cake.
I have been trying to talk about Lizzo for months now but haven’t found the proper forum. Honestly, this probably isn’t about the proper forum either. If you’re sensitive to explicit language, clean versions of her music are available, but it might also mean that she is just not for you. If you are unbothered and want to wade into the waters of self-acceptance, love, body positivity and feminism, check out NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert featuring Melissa Viviane Jefferson, known professionally as Lizzo. Think rap meets soul meet jazz flute meets your confident best friend. The core of Lizzo’s music is learning how to love yourself as you are, so if those are words you need to hear, check her out.
4. Giving thanks
If you have a roof over your head, are able to pay your bills, have good family and friends, and find meaning in the work you do, you have so much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving season. I often find myself taking these things for granted. If you’re finding the holidays stressful, or wish you were someplace else doing something else, remember that there are people this season who wish they had family to be frustrated with, would love to have your leftovers or need to be thinking about a place to sleep for the night instead of celebrating. Orienting ourselves toward those on the margins helps us remember how Jesus would have us interact with those with whom we come in contact every day.
5. Save the Paseo
I recently learned, thanks to Rebecca Barrett Fox’s excellent blog, that there were a group of citizens who opposed a street in Kansas City being named “Martin Luther King Boulevard” and wanted it to go back to the name “The Paseo.” Then, a group called “Save the Paseo” entered a black church and disrupted a rally supporting keeping the King-named street. The supposed point was for black pastors and other Christian leaders to tell “Save the Paseo” that they were racist “to their faces.” A lot of things sound like they are going on here, but I think the lesson not-so-learned is to take a step back and listen. Since when is it OK, as Barrett Fox puts it, for white people to enter a black church with hostility? If you’re afraid of being called racist, reflect on the reasons one might have to call you racist. If you can’t hear it, maybe you’re the problem, not the people who see the problem.
Joanne Gallardo is pastor of faith formation at Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship in Goshen, Indiana.
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