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Friday roundup: Five things worth paying attention to this week

12.7. 2018 Posted By: Joanne Gallardo 281 Times read

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.

1. White supremacy and the illusion of “equity”

I recently came across this article, which opened my eyes to the covert racism of the popular “equity vs. equality” meme that made its rounds on the internet some months ago. In the picture, we see the pitfalls of everyone being “equal.” With a little extra help, all persons can experience “equity.” At the root of this is the idea that people who are disenfranchised are inherently in need of some assistance. Take a look at the article and see for yourself.

2. The Longest Night

This year, my church is doing a Longest Night service for those who have experienced loss, transition or other forms of grief during the year. In this service we both lament and reflect. A sacred time for me during the winter solstice/longest night is reading “Blessing for the Longest Night” by Jan Richardson:

All throughout these months
as the shadows
have lengthened,
this blessing has been
gathering itself,
making ready,
preparing for
this night.

It has practiced
walking in the dark,
traveling with
its eyes closed,
feeling its way
by memory
by touch
by the pull of the moon
even as it wanes.

So believe me
when I tell you
this blessing will
reach you
even if you
have not light enough
to read it;
it will find you
even though you cannot
see it coming.

You will know
the moment of its
by your release
of the breath
you have held
so long;
a loosening
of the clenching
in your hands,
of the clutch
around your heart;
a thinning
of the darkness
that had drawn itself
around you.

This blessing
does not mean
to take the night away
but it knows
its hidden roads,
knows the resting spots
along the path,
knows what it means
to travel
in the company
of a friend.

So when
this blessing comes,
take its hand.
Get up.
Set out on the road
you cannot see.

This is the night
when you can trust
that any direction
you go,
you will be walking
toward the dawn.

—Jan Richardson,
from The Cure for Sorrow

3. Springerle cookies

Looking for a new Christmas cookie? Monthly I attend a women’s knitting circle that ends with dinner and dessert. One woman brought her yearly springerle cookies. This does involve a little extra work as you need a special mold to shape the cookies. These can be found on Amazon or a baking store. Here’s the recipe for some anise-flavored goodness.

4. Instant Family

On Thanksgiving Day, my dad and I gave this movie a try. There was a lot of laughing and crying throughout the theater over those two hours. Pete and Ellie are a couple in their 30s who decide to start a family. Ellie finds herself being drawn to foster care/adoption. After receiving the “instant family” of three foster children, the five of them go though the emotional roller coaster of learning to live and love together. I recommend this to anyone who has ever thought about fostering, those who have fostered children or anyone who wants a heartfelt family movie this season. Here’s the trailer:

5. The present of presence

One thing that has been impressed upon my heart this season is the gift of being present with people. I have received the gift of presence very recently and hope to spend this holiday season offering my presence to others. In a season that’s often consumerist, self centered and superficial, I encourage people to seek out the presence of others this week and beyond.

Joanne Gallardo is pastor of faith formation at Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship, Goshen, Indiana.

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