Still Processing the Election

Here are some responses to the election outcome that I thought were exceptional, and which reflect my heart in the midst of the situation.

I’ve seen several people I know and love comment that there are “checks and balances in place” with regards to the amount of damage our future president could do. The overall sentiment is, “It won’t be that bad” or “I’m not worried.”
I can’t speak for everyone, but personally, I know there are “checks and balances” in place. I also know we will soon have a president whose campaign promises include building walls to keep our neighbors out, deporting image bearers, and stopping and frisking my children and friends. Will checks and balances prevent those things? We’ll find out.
What’s important for the majority of us to understand is that the people who are legitimately fearful, are so because of the CULTURE Donald Trump incites. A culture that promotes racism, grabbing women by the you know what, degrading the physically handicapped… Essentially a culture of hate.
So when you see someone saying they are scared, you should know they are likely not referring to your “checks and balances” mentality, although those are legitimate concerns, BUT scared of living in a culture that hates them. Hates their very flesh, the color of it, the makeup of it, and the differences of it. They are afraid because the imago dei in them is being assaulted by the future president and the CULTURE he has fanned the flames of.
I say this out of love for us all and a deep desire for understanding. If your skin hasn’t been the target of hate, perhaps it’s time for ears to listen to others whose skin God wrapped on differently than yours. We could all use a little understanding.

–Lindsy Wallace, fellow CM homeschooling mama in Miami (Light Breaks Forth) on Instagram

 

Friends, as we think about this election, I want to remind you that one of our candidates ran on a platform of removal and exclusion – “we’ll build a wall” – being the notable claim.

Problem was, he attracted folks to him who had much broader ideas of exclusion, and Trump was endorsed by KKK and neo-nazis with hopes of “making America great again,” or as they interpreted it, regain white power.

I am well aware that is NOT why most Americans voted Donald Trump into the office of President. No one wants that to be the reason why he’s in the White House. (I am not at all calling you a neo-nazi if you voted for Trump – I know there are always many complex reasons that go into supporting one candidate over another.)

BUT I know as a white woman, it can be hard for me to put myself in the place of minorities in this country. What does it feel like to have dark skin? White privilege can feel like it doesn’t exist anymore – surely we’re in a post-racial age, we rationalize. After all, wasn’t our last president black?

In this election, here’s what white privilege looks like: it is the privilege of not caring who won, not being concerned about the ramifications for you and your family, not wondering if you’re welcome in this country.

I pray and hope that Donald Trump’s is a normal presidency like any other. But what I hope MORE than that is that the church of Jesus acts like Jesus, who spent his days with whores, dropouts, criminals, and Samaritans, the most hated minority in the region. He spent his time with those on the outskirts, the marginalized. And who did he condemn? The rich, the powerful, the hypocritical – like me.

I hope we actively look out for those whose voices are not as powerful, and that we say we’re sorry early and often. We all have things to #confess

-Liz Grant (Literary Artifacts) on Instagram

 

Let’s start by noticing and listening to those who are hurting…

From personal interactions, I’ve already encountered minority students and women who are suffering a lot right now and wondering how so many people can overlook and even support a man who has said blatantly misogynist and racist things. Let’s listen to one another, be present with those who are feeling afraid and care for one another without having to argue our point. We can listen. We can care.

Let’s notice and listen to those who might be feeling shamed…

In all likelihood there are people in our congregation who felt the weight of a difficult choice and voted for Trump. That act alone doesn’t make them a bigoted or hateful person. In fact, some may be feeling a burden of shame or fear given the post-results fall-out on campus and around the country. Can we notice and listen to them without judgment? Can we be present with them and even hear the heart behind their choice? Can we care? We can.

Let’s be wise and a light to those who are openly prideful/hateful…

It is not the nature of our Savior nor of us as His followers to overcome hostility by force of hostility. Darkness cannot dispel darkness. Only light can do that.. Light looks like loving those who are hating as well as those who are hated. But we must be wise in the face of pride. Let us not become mired in heated arguments online or anywhere else when love is our point. If we would prove our point, we must ask the God Who is Love “Father, what does love look like right here and right now with this person?”. And then we must obey.

Let’s rely on the truth of the gospel…

We have One King in the person of Jesus Christ. This truth is not meant to short-circuit any grieving we or those we love may be experiencing. It is simply true that neither we nor this election has escaped Jesus’ watch. And we may take comfort in the fact that God, at any time, can raise up a leader, guide a leader or remove a leader according to His will.

-Kyle, a friend and campus pastor

 

For a seed to come fully into its own, it must become wholly undone.  The shell must break open, its inside must come out, and everything must change.  If you didn’t understand what life looks like, you might mistake it for complete destruction.

-Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way

Whose words have ministered to you during this time?  Whose words have challenged you or your perspectives?

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Wednesdays with Words

“Enfeebled in body and fretful and discontented in temper”

Instead of accepting the relations, friends, and neighbours that God sends us in the course of our lives, the devotee of Beauty chooses for himself, and cares to know only those people whose view of life are the same as his own. So with regard to places, he cannot tolerate for a moment things which are unsightly and unlovely, so he does not go where working people and poor people have to live. In the end, he misses the happiness to which the Beauty Sense was meant to minister. For happiness comes of effort, service, wide interests, and, last and least, of enjoyment; and when people put enjoyment, even of beautiful things, in the first place (and indeed in place of all else), they miss the very thing they seek, and become enfeebled in body and fretful and discontented in temper. […] [W]e must not let any better-than-my-neighbour notions get into our heads; and in the next, we must make it our business, as much as in us lies, to bring Beauty to places where it is not.

–Charlotte Mason, Ourselves

I wonder very much what Charlotte Mason would have made of our despicable new President-Elect and the kind of culture he is shaping for the unsightly, unlovely, poor and marginalized people in this nation.

The Mind at Work

You know that one book…It starts with Norms and ends with Nobility?  Its author’s last name rhymes with sticks?

(Anyone who happens to read this blog and is not into classical education is rolling their eyes right now, cause they’re like “No, I do not know that book.”  Sorry.  I do think you should read it though.)

Yeah, that book.  It’s a very fine book.  Here’s a quote about the concept of dialectic that I am in love with, because it is doing me so much good.

(Sidenote: you could compare “dialectic” to the words “dialogue” or “debate”.  Other large-and-in-charge words ahead; slow and steady wins the race when it comes to reading and comprehending N&N.)

Socrates identified dialectic as the form of the activity of thinking–the mind’s habit of challenging the thoughts and observations originating in itself or in other minds and of engaging in a desultory [unfocused] dialogue with itself until the issues are resolved. […] By making his students conscious of their dialectical thinking processes, Socrates hoped to assign them parts in a dramatic dialogue that otherwise occurs unconsciously and haphazardly in the thinking mind.  Once the conversation between Socrates and his students took on the dialectical form of mental activity, learning became possible.  Man could now visualize and oversee his own mind at work.  The very form of these conversations provided Socrates’ students with a model for how their minds ought to work.  Whereas dialectical thinking may occur at an unconscious level in all men, education makes man conscious of how his mind works when engaged in an activity of thinking.

–David Hicks, Norms and Nobility, p. 67

the-mind-at-work

So to narrate this a bit, we learn two main things from this section:

1. My mind is probably always engaging in some amount of dialectic/dialogue with itself, even if I don’t notice it.

In fact, without education to establish in us the habit of noticing our mind at work, it will be an unconscious and haphazard process.  This was a light bulb moment for me.  The last year of my life has been extremely dialectical, as I have wrestled with belief, theology, orthodoxy and practice in my own life and in the life of my church.  Most of that experience felt haphazard at best, utterly anxiety-ridden at worst.  My heart, mind and spirit were up to something (under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, of course), but I didn’t have enough perspective to know what it was.  It felt as if my most deeply held beliefs were under attack, and I wanted to protect myself.  I could not “visualize and oversee [my] own mind at work.”

2. My mind ought to work in a certain way when faced with a conflicting belief or viewpoint.

This is comforting.  Cunning old Socrates gifted us with his method of dialogue (which I still don’t really get) as a way to educate the student in overseeing her own mind at work.  This can only instill confidence and peace, because a process that works is at work.

I ought to learn more about Socratic dialogue.  Everyone in a church with a lot of milennials could probably use to learn and then teach how to oversee the mind at work.  I think I’m technically Generation Y, but I do not feel at all confident in my ability to think for myself.

Here are some resources I’m planning on perusing in order to help myself out, if you’re interested:

Forms of Instruction Park III: Socratic Instruction {Expanding Wisdom}

Andrew Kern on Socratic Teaching {Circe Podcast Network}

Parents’ Review Articles on Socrates {Ambleside Online}

All of chapter 6, called “On the Necessity of Dogma,” communicates truths that challenge and comfort me.  It illuminates the need for that persistent discomfort that comes with real learning.  We would never feel the need to learn anything, if we never felt that dissonance which alerts us to contradiction; we would never explore that contradiction, nor come to a deeper understanding of truth.

All this to say, if I sense my mind gnawing on something, trying to figure out a way to digest it, I don’t need to be anxious.  This is good and right!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God, which passes understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

-Philippians 4:6-7

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Repentance Everyday

Kierkegaard prays:

You that gives both the beginning and the completion, give your victory in the day of need so that what neither our burning wish nor our determined resolution may attain to, may be granted unto us in the sorrowing of repentance: to will only one thing.

We’re in the final countdown to the first day of our new school year.  I am chock full of burning wishes and determined resolutions.  I have thought so much about my will in the last six months.  I have been praying fervently for this new year.

But Andrew Kern also said it: “The only thing we should worry about everyday is repentance.”

I repent that I have not willed only one thing.  I can tell that as I have diligently planned and purchased and prayed, my grip has gotten tighter and tighter on my vision for my homeschool.

Truly, the only thing that I need to do everyday is repent.  I need to will everyday to seek first the kingdom of God, and when I fail, I repent.  Put this on repeat and keep moving.

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