We evangelize self-help as salvation. The much quoted/much maligned “pick-yourself-up-by-your-boot-straps” is the end result of a culture that places heavy expectations on what you can do on your own, and specifically as a means to explicitly call against systemic change that may dare to entitle someone to something they may or may not deserve.
https://media.mywtenfold1.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2020/09/08100257/logan-weaver-UoXvjzgTOyk-unsplash-1-scaled.jpg17062560Layton Williams/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2016/01/NEXT-Logo-FINAL-Horizontal_lato-1030x229.pngLayton Williams2020-09-08 10:04:162020-09-08 10:04:16Self-Help Individualism Helps. It Cannot Stop the State From Murdering Black People.
Whether it’s navigating emails, phone calls, texts, push notifications, news channels, or web sites, involuntary over-excitement sums up the challenge I feel the need to lean into today. But where do I start? I have to make conscious, consistent decisions, otherwise the “cares of the world” in the Parable of the Sower will too easily “choke the word” as I am overwhelmed with the scope of voices vying for my attention. Thinking of the above verses from Hebrews, I am struck with the notion of being “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses”. Who are the witnesses I can listen to and learn from?
https://media.mywtenfold1.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2020/09/02111938/johnlewis.jpg273383Layton Williams/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2016/01/NEXT-Logo-FINAL-Horizontal_lato-1030x229.pngLayton Williams2020-09-02 11:24:422020-09-02 11:24:42A Gracious and Tenacious Spirit Amidst My Cloud of Witnesses
Do we even believe that a new creation—namely we people of GOD—is possible? Do we believe the good news of Emmanuel (God-with-us)? Do we want to be changed? Are we willing to let go of who we think we are for who we are created-to-be? We are a people created to desire justice, peace, and right relationships with all of creation as we all live in the DIVINE who simultaneously lives in us?
My privileged rest has the opportunity to take up Jesus’ yoke and be there for those who cannot find a way right now. For those who are fretting. For those who are frustrated. For those who feel powerless. For those who are disenfranchised. I need to listen, learn, and be present where possible to extend Jesus’ grace in solidarity to bear the burdens of my siblings in Christ and neighbors. I know my skills and resources, and I know I am blessed. I can do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with my God.
https://media.mywtenfold1.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2020/08/14090018/ana-cernivec-ZzFUHsc9PCo-unsplash-scaled.jpg17102560Layton Williams/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2016/01/NEXT-Logo-FINAL-Horizontal_lato-1030x229.pngLayton Williams2020-08-14 09:03:312020-08-14 09:03:31What Is Your Yoke?
Feeding 5000 in a patriarchal system means feeding 5000 men; can we see what’s wrong with this snapshot of helpless disciples and their inability to act? Looking upon this humanity demands a compassionate and humane response – they need to be fed. Not counselled, not removed, not reasoned with, not dismissed, not sent empty away: Feed them. Don’t imagine the dozens of reasons as to why it can’t happen, feed them.
We know this because, in many ways, America has been in an emergency long before COVID-19. As the recent protests have brought into the open, there are entire communities that live in constant crisis situations that have been ignored for our entire history. Black people have been saying for decades that police officers were getting away with murder, that drugs and weapons were planted at crime scenes, that police reports weren’t telling the whole truth. If it weren’t for iPhones and pent-up lockdown energy, Americans wouldn’t never have listened, because it gets in the way of our positive outlook on who we are and what we have done.
https://media.mywtenfold1.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2020/07/21140557/aaron-burden-9C8r4QUwZRQ-unsplash-scaled.jpg17452560Layton Williams/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2016/01/NEXT-Logo-FINAL-Horizontal_lato-1030x229.pngLayton Williams2020-07-21 14:06:412020-07-21 18:15:47America’s Optimistic Spirit is Killing Us Because We Don’t Know What Faith Is
When the people who fill our pews (and our clergy too) love the ideals (even as corrupt as they can be) of these yet to be United States more than the ideals of the kingdom of God, how do we reclaim our allegiance not to flags and founding fathers but reclaim our fidelity to a God who already told us that they were jealous, and that idol worship, graven images no matter how noble the human may be is sin against God?