#AdventUs: A Word on Birth

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I love the church. I know that I’ve said many things and written many words that may cause some to wonder, but my emotion and passion about things such as church, faith and life together stems from my deep and abiding love for God’s church. I define God’s church not as a specific denomination but as an already but not yet reality where people who recognize their identity as beloved children of God gather to worship and grow. These people then engage in their communities – local, national and global – to seek change and transformation because their faith rests in a  God of new life and healing and restoration. This is the image and practice of church that I love and this is the church that I fight for.

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#DearBlackMen: A Word of Love

I love black men. When I heard about the #DearBlackMen effort to share love letters following recent happenings, I knew that I had to participate. As the year closes I wanted to take a moment to send some love to the men in my life, most of whom happen to be black.

To my father and father figures…

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I think about the men that have raised me, from my biological father Walter, to my step father and to my godfather. Each of them came from hard lives, lives that were rife with trauma and despair. Yet, they all seemed to persevere, to rise from ashes and truly become roses that have grown from concrete. They have taught me the importance of hope – of believing in the impossible, in the unseen. They have created lives for themselves and their families that many within our society believe is not possible for the Black man.

To my brother and those who have allowed me to be their sister…

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My brother Cole is my best friend. He is the Yin to my Yang and he has introduced me to a collective of young men whom I have grown to love as brothers. I count my cousin Nathan in this group as we are more like brother and sister than cousins. Even though these men are younger than me, they embody unconditional love and respect. They constantly teach me the importance of loyalty and bring abounding joy to my life.

To my uncles and those who have nurtured me from afar…

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I think about my uncle Karl and my uncles from the “rooms” – the men of AA and NA who became family and watched me grow. Their wisdom has been invaluable and I am often reminded of how they loved me as one of their own. I thank God regularly for the love that they lavished upon me and as some have gone on to eternal rest, I carry each of them in my heart.

To my friends…

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I have a couple of male friends who have spoken hope into my life during the darkest moments. Brady and Ulysses are men of honor. They are men who care for the women in their lives without limits. They are respectful and giving and kind. They show me what it means to be a man today and continue to hold me accountable to becoming the person I have said I want to be and the person they know that God has called me to be.

To my lovers, who shall rename nameless…
I have a deep and abiding appreciation for black men that I have had the honor of being in romantic relationships with. I love their skin and their smell and their pride. I love the way they protect me. I love how they love me – mind, body and spirit. I love them.

To all the black men I have encountered and I have yet to meet:
Remember that you are made in the Imago Dei, in the image of God. That the Creator and the Creator alone defines your worth and identity.

Remember that you come from a line of ancestors who survived the Middle Passage and that this reality makes you stronger and more powerful than you could ever imagine.

Remember that your passion, compassion and creativity have inspired generations upon generations and that you have changed the course of history.

But most importantly, remember us, your dear black sisters, who have held you down, had your back, supported you, nurtured you and will continue to lift you up, regardless of what happens. And you know why? Because we love you. Forever and always and there is nothing you can do about it. Period. End of Story.

Love,

Me