White People Are Useless and Detrimental, But I’m Not Racist

Sarcastic titles may not be the greatest idea, but I got your attention no?
This is the message I picked up from the blog I stumbled upon today. I’m not into bashing, so please know I’m not trying to hate. I think the blog is worth a read and you should consider what’s being said, then make your own opinions without just adopting my experience as fact. (DUH. use your brain!)

Here’s the blog!

The concept is that white people go to Africa, take pictures and leave the place exactly like they came to it, rather than actually making a difference or positive impact like they set out to. I can’t tell you what I think about that, as I have done ZERO scientific research on the after effects of short term missions trips, or what kind of impact people actually make when they get there. What I can tell you is based on my international experiences. This blog is a series of photos posted of white people in (what looks like) Africa, then the administrators of the blog add some kind of snarky caption. It has (likely inadvertently) become a platform for bashing anyone who goes abroad.

“If you were serious about the mission you would fund the project instead of paying for airfare, food, lodging, and souvenirs. Oh, that’s right, the project is an excuse to stamp your passport and buy souvenirs”

These are some pretty far-end-of-the-scale blanket statements and growing up, I was always taught that blanket statements are made to be wrong. (which is a little bit ironic, but also true)

Here’s what I actually want to say:

You were not given privilege just to feel bad about it! Go! Go to Africa, or Asia, or Europe, or Australia and do what you think will help the world. Before you get there, learn (at least part of) the language and the cultural cliches/etiquette.  While you’re there, look in to the eyes of the down and out, the dieing and the oppressed. Mourn with them for the injustice they have been subject to for the same reason you have been subject to privilege; you were each born to someone in a similar position. Before you walk away, ask them about their story. While you listen be inspired by their joy in spite of lack, by their courage to fight for life in conditions many would prefer death to. Be touched by this genuine soul who is sharing with you the singular most precious item they have – their story. They bare their soul to a stranger, because at the end of the day we all long for human connection. Despite hunger, thirst, physical pain, emotional wreckage, homelessness, disease, nakedness, disabilities, and the many other plagues that sweep most of the world, connecting with a person who genuinely and deeply cares for you can re-route your ship that is full sail toward destruction. If the only thing you do overseas is use enough of the language to connect with and encourage or uplift someone, I’d say that new stamp in your passport is pretty weighty. Hope is a powerful thing my friends, and we all posses the potential to release it.
What ever you do, DO NOT come home the same. Be changed by your experience. Be moved, and in turn move. Join a movement or organization, build awareness, raise funds, invent a useful tool for the situation you experienced, open your eyes to the same poverty here at home and know that you are changing the world. A mustard tree once sat very small in the hand of someone with hope, who planted and nurtured it. This tree now sustains the lives of many through food, shelter and means of commerce.

In closing, I have left the great United States of America, and while I was out I met people. I listened to them, cried with them, prayed with them and talked with them. One of these beautiful souls I met decided to become a follower of Christ. In the Christian world, that changes all of eternity and offers hope for hopeless situations. So while I didn’t build a library or haul in heaps of food, I am not a doctor who healed disease or an engineer who built a clean water well but I did deeply and positively impacted someones life. Isn’t that the point?


If My Story Were Written


With the recent explosion of (what we call) social networks it’s apparent that most of our efforts are based around building community. We do it through Facebook, reading and interacting on each others blogs, searching hashtags and making new friends on instagram and all kinds of other platforms for connection. All this so say, I am deeply thankful for my friends and community.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to video chat with one of my longest standing friends, whom I hadn’t seen in nearly a year. What a breath of fresh air. He’s a pretty spectacular human being. As a performer in musical theater, he is naturally a great story teller. We caught up on the happenings of life, as much as possible via the web. throughout the whole conversation the way he shared what God has been doing in his life and the seasons he had recently been through, it filled my spirit with hope. It was the kind of conversation you could tell God was present for. I don’t know if you have ever experienced that sort of sensation but at the very least it holds your attention and you just know there’s something, beyond the actual words spoken, that is being told to you. God is saying something too.

In my case, hearing the victories Lance had just been given and celebrating what God had done to change his life so intimately lead me to think, “It’s got to be pretty close to my turn for this kind of breakthrough” ….
I held the thought loosely as I try not to dwell, but it kept rolling around in my head and changing shape. Something about that initial thought seemed like it is the way I feel, but it’s not the truth. I don’t doubt that breakthrough and greater things are exactly what God has planned for every moment of my life, but I’ve come to this question as my conclusion.

If my story were written, like they are in The Bible, would it say, “She was blind to the things God was doing.” or “God covered her eyes to these things.”
Ultimately have I just been so focused on the circumstances that aren’t what I want them to be, or is God doing things without letting me in on it, intentionally? I want to believe it’s the later but I guess I would know better if I had been spending more time hanging out with Him.

One part of this revealing conversation with my friend that really stood out, is how devoutly he and his friends have been laying every last thought before The Lord. Seems pretty simple, or at least a relatively basic part of living a Christ centered life. It takes a kind of awareness though, an intentionality and focus that I don’t think I’m alone in lacking.

“This is what it’s supposed to look like.”
That’s what God told me during this video chat sesh. Not that my friends story is flawless, but that every one of our stories are meant to be just as un-real, as if it couldn’t have been written any better, and that it starts with putting every moment in Gods hands. Not theoretically, but literally and in the moment consulting God on every choice, even if its a toss up between Arbys and Burger King.


How often do we blame our circumstances? How often do we complain about the struggle of the day? How often do we let frustration fill our scope when the truth about all of these things is that they have nothing against the author of history?

How different would life be if only we found the discipline to shift our focus?

Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first, it is ridiculed. In the second, it is opposed. In the third, it is regarded as self evident.

Don Charisma

«Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first, it is ridiculed. In the second, it is opposed. In the third, it is regarded as self evident.»

— Arthur Schopenhauer

DonCharisma.com-logo-4 Charisma quotes are sponsored by DonCharisma.com – you dream it we built it … because – “anything is possible with Charisma”

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“Social Media”

Facebook is a lot of things. It’s networking, and sharing. It’s the land of soap boxes and dirty laundry. It’s knowing exactly where your friends are when they post. It’s photos and “status updates” that usually have nothing to do with any kind of actual status. It’s likes and followers, popularity and ego. It’s marketing and advertising. It’s trending and it’s the news.

What it’s not is social. I’ll be one of the first to admit that shamelessly, I often find myself lonely. I adore my son and have many loving people around me but there’s so much business in every moment of life that keep us from truly connecting. From the to do list to the buzzing laundry machine and the boiling over pot of my attempt at gluten free pasta (which is actually very simple, unless of course you over complicate everything…but that’s a blog for another day) there seems to be an intimacy that is clearly lacking. How did yet another at come to a close before I checked in with a close friend to see how they’re doing? How have I gone so long without seeing any of the people I love most, who live outside the walls of this home?

Here’s me getting bold and calling you out a little. If the inconvenience of reaching just past your “friends list” and over to your dial pad is too much, why did you bother adding me in the first place? If we are all brutally honest our friends list can usually be broken into 3 parts.
1. People we feel obligated to add to our friends list
2. People we want to keeps tabs on (i.e. Stalk) but who aren’t really friends
3. Actual friends. However this category is nearly always the leanest.

So I’m signing off for a while. I would encourage you to try it too, just for a short while.

We are all guilty of wishing there were more hours in the day but the truth is, we would probably just spend those hours on Facebook, reading posts and links about things we forget before the day expires.

Here’s what I think I’ll do instead.

Play with my son, undistracted.

he loves playing with phones and that can become quite contentious when I just want to finish my post

Invest in actually connecting withy friends
No, group messages don’t count.

Read a new book
I got a coffee from Barnes and Noble today and then realized how much I have missed my local library.

the true origin of intimacy (which means to be known, and who knows us better than the creator?)

Now I’m sure I’ll probably “escape” into mindless phoning at some point throughout the day, but maybe I’ll try playing Lumosity more, or something a little less…activating than Facebook. For those of you who want to remain, or get in touch my email address is a good place to start.


What would you do with an extra hour of life every day?

It’s All In Your Head

I’m comforted to know that my heart is in the right place. There’s a guy who works at the restaurant with me and every time we interact, or I even walk near him, I have to seemingly restrain my body from reaching out to grab him while my mind screams “SEXXXXX!!!” That’s where the thought ends, immediately, And the red flags go up so I re-center my thoughts to a more productive frame. I am fully aware that this is not what I’m really looking for, and though I’ve been here before I’m certain that I’ve learned from my mistakes. Carnal instincts can be strong but my mind and spirit have grown stronger. Knowing too intimately the consequences of even entertaining these thoughts, it’s a lot easier to move away from this state of mind than it has been in the past.

Other times I am sitting alone and a group of young men walk past. They seem nice and I can’t help but acknowledge that I am deeply hoping they will strike up a conversation, sit for a moment – or a while and even if we don’t exchange names….maybe we could just exchange a few thoughts? It never happens. Not more than a single “hello” anyway. I don’t mind, I’m used to unfulfilled hopes at this point.

Occasionally I’ll meet someone who really sparks my interest. Maybe he’s a musician, dancer or some other kind of artist and I am intrigued. Maybe he has traveled to, or has a passion for the same countries as I. Maybe he’s just a genuine person and his transparency grabs my attention. In these sort of encounters I often imagine what It could be like to simply be taken to dinner and treated well for a change. Most of the time this happens when I see how happy my other friends are, in their adoring relationships that round out a lovely, happy family where even their new baby is smiling in the photo. I’m not ignorant to the natural challenges and struggles of relationships, but I do know that despite the rainy days, the rainbows are worth it.

Sometime a it’s as simple as sitting around a campfire with my whole family, having known all of these people since the day I was born, and still feeling un-known. Are you picking up in the theme? Intimacy, in any instance outside that of a mother and her son, is about as vivacious as the high desert.

No matter which of these circumstances I find myself in, numerous times each day, I always come to this thought: that my longing is so misplaced. I want to be in a place where I want nothing more than to know the presence of my God. He is so good and adores me more than any human is capable. I so want this, but the struggle come when from all the way back to the begining of creation. God himself said it was not good for man to be alone. Clearly He knew that man was not ALL alone, and yet for the first time in history He still said it was not good. Where is the healthy balance for me? I do deeply long for community with God, and while I know I could put more effort into making a place for that, it’s in my nature to long for a companion and father for my son. I can’t fight the longing, so how do I balance it and what do I counter balance it with?

And lastly, why am I asking the blogging community this instead of takin it to God himself, who holds all the answers and wisdom?