Essays

Short personal, cultural, and journalistic essays for those on the margins of faith

A Letter about White Privilege

Dear Cara,   Remember the first time you heard the word privilege? You were little, and there was something that you’d done or didn’t do. As a consequence, you lost some privileges. For a short time, life was more limited,…

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I’m Here for That

Right now, my favorite song is probably “Here,” by Sho Baraka. Besides having a bright, expressive piano chord progression, the song has an infectious hook that doubles as a liturgical affirmation:   Love over hate, love over hate – I’m…

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Challenging Us Versus Them

The airplane descended slowly to land, passing by mountains covered in cement homes, gravel and dirt roads, and the ever-present shanty town aluminum roofs. Nausea set in as our team exited the airplane into the dimly lit airport, gathered our…

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Understanding the Struggle of Minorities through The Warmth of Other Suns

Developing empathy, studying history, and listening to the stories of people different from me is vital to be a flourishing citizen. And books like The Warmth of Other Suns by the Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson have helped me, as…

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Looking Back to the Honeymoon

I am just a girl—twenty-two, in a too-short black dress littered with roses. My husband’s arm is around my back and he is grinning. I smile shyly, too aware this is my honeymoon. A coy deference seems important here. These…

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Friendship in the Dark

“Out of the darkness, came a small voice… ‘I’ll be a friend to you.’ ‘But I can’t see you,’ said Wilbur. ‘I’m right up here.’”   It’s the end of August, and I’m standing in a circle of teachers. At…

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A Sheltered Racist

I played basketball in middle school and high school, and we played this one team twice a year. One of their players was big-eyed, spoke loudly, and had an intensity about her that was fierce. I’ll say it again, fierce….

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What Am I Willing to Do about Racism?

In my first weeks of my first year of teaching, when I was still adjusting to being the only white person in the room, I asked the kids to get out a pencil. A boy in front—so dark the students…

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Hitchhiker Hospitality

Not too long ago I was a wandering and weary graduate. Having been in school for over half a decade, my identity had become subsumed with being a student. No one warned me I might feel purposeless and lost after…

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The Terrible Justice of Children

My children play war. Not a day seems to pass without swords or guns, knight costumes or military hats, the sound of explosives exploding in some pretend space in our house. Legos line up for battle in forts defended by…

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