Associate Blog

Learn about Associate Life and the wonderful work our Associates are doing around the world. Could God be calling you to Associate Life? Contact a member of our Associate Life team to begin a conversation.

Click here to donate to the Associates’ Fund.

 

TRUE FRIENDS GIVE YOU ROOM TO GROW

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

I’m going to sit this right here:

“Sometimes, you have to stay silent, because no words can explain what’s going on in your heart and mind.”

Let that sink in:

“Sometimes, you have to stay silent, because no words can explain what’s going on in your heart and mind.”

Understand one thing — this is not the “silence is complicity” silence. This is the silence that is necessary if you want to keep that card that allows you to walk in both worlds.

Some of you – who are probably not reading this – have no idea what I am talking about. But those of you who do, please stay with me.

During the past several weeks, I have been tested by a number of people who apparently think (operative word) that they know more about what I do than I do. This can be very distressing, especially when I understand that they only see a small glimpse of my world.

Probably what troubles me the most is that I wonder if there is something about me that speaks to this idea that something within me is lacking?

So, today I pay homage to my two strong parents who taught me that the world may not accept me for who I am, but that I am enough!

 

“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.”
― Alice Walker

Posted in Associate Blog, News

CHADWICK BOSEMAN: A BEACON OF HOPE

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

We never really know the struggles of others.

Those words resonated deep within my soul this weekend, after hearing about the death of Chadwick Boseman.

How did a global superstar – who portrayed historical icons Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, and the revolutionary King T’Challa (aka Black Panther) – keep such a secret for four years?

How did he continue to film blockbusters while battling colon cancer?

How did he keep focus?

Twitter: Chadwick Boseman @chadwickboseman 
Twitter: Chadwick Boseman @chadwickboseman 

I have no answers to those questions, but his private struggle with the devastating disease could not have been easy. His determination to visit and encourage children fighting cancer while privately fighting the disease himself is awe-inspiring.

What I do know is that sometimes the people with the biggest smiles are struggling the most. What I do know is someone somewhere is going through something.

That is why it pays to be kind, to say a prayer, to share a hug, to be a blessing to someone.

Last night, I traveled (via television) to that fictional country of Wakanda – Black Panther’s home nation — built on Vibranium, a fictional metal known for its extraordinary abilities to absorb, store, and release large amounts of kinetic energy.

Right now, amid all the chaos in our world, we could all use our own personal Vibranium to build a world that is stronger, better, and more just.

Posted in Associate Blog, News

OPTIMISM -vs- HOPE

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

Someone recently asked if I am optimistic that we can redeem the soul of America (as it relates to the racial construct).

I paused before giving my answer: “No. I am not optimistic, but I am hopeful.”

Then, I found myself processing the difference. What I discovered is what I always recognize during these kinds of self-reflection: the difference is in the definition.

I subscribe to the teaching of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks who says “optimism is the belief that the world is changing for the better; hope is the belief that, together, we can make the world better.”

I like the rabbi’s view of hope as an active virtue. I believe that, together, we can create a structure that is beneficial to all Americans; close the “value gap” (which Eddie Glaude Jr. describes as the idea that white people are more valuable than Black people); and find a better way forward.

I can’t be optimistic at this point because I realize that there are people who are invested in preserving the current systemic structure, in sustaining the value gap, and maintaining the status quo.

Are you optimistic or hopeful?

Posted in Associate Blog, News

Reflection on 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12

I have pondered the meaning of the gospel reading for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Times. It is the beautiful story of God appearing to Solomon in a dream.

Prior to this passage, there was deception afoot. King David is close to dying and Adonijah, son of Haggith, declared himself king. The prophet Nathan aligned himself with Bathsheba, mother of Solomon and wife of King David. He directed her to speak with King David and claim the throne as was promised by her spouse. King David remembers his promise and declares Solomon king.

Solomon is a young man and has just had kingship thrust upon him.  One can only imagine the thoughts that ran through his mind.  God does not abandon Solomon to his fear, but appears to Solomon in a dream. God poses the question to Solomon, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.”

Solomon explains to God that he is not prepared; he’s too young and does not know how to run a kingdom of such vast size. Amazingly, Solomon asks God not for wealth or personal gain. Instead, Solomon asks for an “understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.”

Putting myself in Solomon’s place, I think: what would I ask from God?

My list is so long, that it shames me in the face of the simplicity of Solomon’s request.

This is a powerful message. It reminds me that God is already providing for me. Instead of focusing on what I could possibly want, Solomon reminds me to ask God not for material possessions, wealth or success, but to live my life in such a way that honors him and his kingdom on earth.

Associate Patricia Herrick

Posted in Associate Blog, News

We Have the Power to Redeem the Soul of America

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

COVID-19 has laid bare the systemic oppression that is at the root of inequality in America.

Civil unrest has highlighted what Black and brown people have known (since forever): that we have been historically denied constitutionally guaranteed rights, on the basis of the racial construct.

If you’re anything like me, you may have found yourself trying to figure out how you can move the needle toward (what seems to be the ever elusive “thing” called) racial justice. Some are still searching for a way to make a positive difference. Some are still wondering if they CAN make a difference.

I say to you: Yes. You CAN!  As a source of motivation, I offer these words from the late Congressman John Lewis (written shortly before his death and published in The New York Times on the day of his funeral, July 30, 2020):

“Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble.”

The question now is: Are we willing to do the work?

Are we willing to admit that the declaration of our country as a beacon of freedom (a nation where there is equal justice for all) is a lie?

Are we willing to admit that the forced removal of indigenous peoples and the institution of slavery marked the beginnings of a system of racial injustice from which our country has yet to break free?

Are we willing to admit that deep-seated systemic inequities that disadvantage people of color are still woven into the fabric of our institutions?

Acknowledging these truths are necessary, IF we are serious about dismantling systemic racism and working to repair centuries of harm inflicted on an oppressed people.

As more Americans are awakening to how systemic racism has cheated generations of Black and brown children and as our nation experiences this racial justice reckoning, it is up to us – ordinary people with extraordinary vision —  to create the “more perfect union” that ALL Americans deserve. It is up to us to create a future of harmony where everyone can benefit.

We can start by heeding Lewis’ instructions: vote and participate in the democratic process; study and learn the lessons of history and accept that the truth does not change; continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe; put aside hatred; stand up, speak up  and speak out, when you see something that is not right.

Together, we “can redeem the soul of America by getting in … good trouble, necessary trouble.”

Posted in Associate Blog, News