Friend Birthday Party
Date Night at home
Your 7 Days?
Friend Birthday Party
Date Night at home
Your 7 Days?
I’m positioning myself as a Note-Taker right now. After all, as discussed in this podcast, I want to be an ally to my brothers and sisters of color. And an ally doesn’t show up and take over. They show up and follow the lead of those who already know what they’re doing.
So, in case you want to take a peek at my notes, here are some things I’m pondering after Charlottesville.
Grace is scandalous. Let’s figure out where we are on this walkway, friends. And then let’s not take over. Let’s be like the group of white allies that stands in the front of a people of color’s non-violent protest and says, “You have to get through us to get to them.”
After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh and the temple servants living on Ophel repaired to a point opposite the Water Gate on the east and the projecting tower. After him the Tekoites repaired another section opposite the great projecting tower as far as the wall of Ophel.
Nehemiah 3:25b-27 (ESV)
Last time we saw some builders working on the angle, corner of the wall – remembering He alone is our Cornerstone. Today we see one new builder along with two groups of volunteers. They are working opposite the Water Gate on two separate sections.
What is something you would be beyond grateful to be delivered from by any means? If things are going pretty well, what is something from which you desire another to be ransomed? More pointedly: what would you like to see redeemed in our current world scene?
Friend, whatever you just thought of is likely how He plans to use you. If you are in the fight of your life, what do you think your desire will be as He walks you through it? Usually that area becomes something we can’t stop running our mouths about. When we’re delivered, we want to share about our Deliverer.
If your loved one is broken, you are now part of the club that understands the idea of “if only it could be me instead of them.” It truly can be harder to watch and feel helpless, huh? But if He shows you something, you can believe He wants to include you in how He’s working there. So pray. Pray like the persistent widow. Don’t stop praying. He really does care.
And in our current world scene? There are likely several things that could pop in your mind just from the last week. Poverty, systemic racism, human trafficking, threats of war, brokenness and addiction and loneliness.
Here’s where we should together remember a word from our definition above: release. We will be released from all this one day. And as He draws all people to Himself, He often does it by releasing them from their bondage in this harsh world. Hallelujah.
This man whose name points to a Redeemer had a group of people helping him out: the temple servants living on Ophel. If you glance back at our map you’ll see Ophel labeled near the temple. It was a fortified mound or hill inside the city. The servants living there had easy access to their place of service. And so do we. As we consider the people He has put in our lives and the areas of bondage in our world, we can know opportunities for service are right at our front door.
The second group of volunteers listed are the Tekoites. Tekoa is a city of Judah, best known for being the prophet Amos’ hometown.
These men traveled back to Jerusalem to throw in on the rebuilding effort. Their section was near the great projecting tower. This tower has been listed twice in the previous few verses, but this is the first time the word great was used to describe it.
Great here is gadol – high, prominent from gadal – grow up, advance, magnify, promote. And it is in reference to migdal – tower, podium. Oh could we? Could we grow up into Him Who is the Head in order to use any podium He hands us for His promotion?
It seems to be the way we throw in during our tenure here as He continues to make all things new.
It’s 2nd Saturday time! Grab your canvas bag and shop local.
At Wichita Art Museum enjoy Yoga on the Lawn this Saturday August 12th from 9-10. This is for all levels – come & stretch!
Don’t miss this week’s Market-To-Table Culinary Experience at Old Town Farmer’s Market this Saturday the 12th. Market runs from 7 to noon, but the Kids Eat Right experience begins at 9:00.
Also this Saturday enjoy Customer Appreciation Day at Kansas Grown Farmer’s Market at 21st & Ridge. Tasty samples, drawings & prizes, along with special savings for you, their customer.
Watermark is hosting a couple of authors throughout the next week. Marci Penner will be featured for an author talk on her book Kansas Guidebook 2 for Explorers tonight, August 10th, at 6:00.
And Heather Harpham will be giving an author talk and signing of her memoir Happiness Wednesday, August 16th, at 6:00
Fun! This year’s Avenue Art Days Launch Party is this Tuesday, August 15th from 5:30-8:00. Park at East High and meet under the I-135 underpass near the murals. You can enjoy food, art/artist reveals, tag-line contest, and live music. If you’re wondering if you’re invited, you are.
Next $1 Wingnuts Game is this Monday, August 14th
Our next Candid Conversation on Race is this Monday August 14th at Rockwell. It will be the final installment of Race: The Power of an Illusion, exploring “whiteness” and privilege, and featuring a facilitated discussion following the film viewing.
Ooo...Fall Gardening Classes this Monday from 5:30-7:00 pm at Central. Registration required.
KMUW is hosting another Engage ICT this Saturday August 12th from 2:00-3:30 at Rockwell Branch. They want to hear your thoughts on your neighborhood and any community needs. Come throw in while kids are entertained with an art activity. People are awesome.
Learning Circle Classes are on:
Rise of Superheroes this Monday from 6-7:30 pm at Central.
Plus Resume, Networking and Interview Skills this Tuesday from 5:30-7:30 at Evergreen.
And Make a Website this Wednesday from 4-5:30 at Central.
Let’s learn something new.
Have a great weekend!
Worshiping in the mountains
We made it to Wyoming
And South Dakota
This was our view
Custer State Park
Crazy Horse Monument was incredible
Mt Rushmore, baby
On to KC for Dave & Buster’s
And a Royal’s Game
+ Aunt & Uncle time
Your 7 Days?
Final Friday is on tomorrow (and check out Downtown Wichita’s new web design)
Reverie will be hosting Kenzie Alizabeth’s work + coffee & conversation
And see Josh Johnico at Gallery Alley beginning at 5:30.
For more participating galleries, check out Final Friday’s Facebook page.
Wichita Art Museum is hosting Tai Chi on the Lawn again this Tuesday, August 1st, beginning at 7 pm.
Senior Wednesday at WAM on August 2nd will feature Docent’s Favs. Enjoy checking out what each docent’s favorite works of art are in the museum.
Tonight Wichita Parks & Rec and Downtown Wichita are hosting Naftzger Park Open House from 5:30-7:30. The new redesign will be discussed – come throw in your ideas.
Looks like the last free swim day will be this Saturday, July 29th, at Evergreen from 1-6.
Do you know about Building Bridges Through Books? Very cool.
Are you interested in becoming a Master Gardener? There is an informational meeting on Tuesday, August 1st from 10 – noon.
Robert Rebein Writing Workshop this Tuesday, August 1st, from 4:00-5:30 prior to his author talk and signing of Headlights on the Prairie at 6:00 p.m.
And catch Camp Watermark – Read It! Play It! this Wednesday, August 2nd, from 11-1:30. Registration required.
Last day to pick up prizes for summer reading is tomorrow, Friday July 28th, at the Library. Don’t forget! (I’m talking to myself.)
Tomorrow’s Summer Throwback Movie is The Princess Bride.
Have a wonderful weekend!
It’s been a while since I worked through the topic of Racial Reconciliation in this space. Then on Friday I attended our City Library’s second installment of a book club series on Candid Conversations. The first session met to discuss “Between the World & Me.” This time we talked through “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.”
And, whew. It was a significant discussion. I of course do not know the beliefs of the 20 that attended, but I know what we talked through matters to God. I’m grateful that our city is tackling this pressing issue in both a civic and spiritual dimension. Because there is no distinction for those of us who want to love God and love people. If unjust practices are being waged on our citizens from the top down – almost exclusively on our brothers and sisters of color – then it is an affront to God and shows us an area in which we can focus our love.
But I should probably back up. I wrote before on this topic after watching the popular Netflix documentary “13th.” And while this video was an incredibly eye-opening starting point, I cannot recommend highly enough the thorough, well-researched book itself. And I still have 100 pages to go. But I am not letting that stop me from bringing this conversation into this space even now. It affects too many people and those of us it doesn’t seem to directly affect are too unaware.
It is impossible to do the research justice in a blog post, but the basic premise is how, beginning in the 1980’s, a War on Drugs was declared. In order to fight this “war,” billions of dollars in federal funding were pumped into the police force across the country, offering perks and bonuses to those who bought into this militaristic regime. Not coincidentally, funding for government programs such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Department of Education were cut during this same time.
Then came the increasingly lenient procedures on who police may stop and frisk – and how. Whereas before a warrant was required to search a person’s property, now anyone a policeman subjectively deems “suspicious” is game. And the courts have held up officers’ rights to this, all the way up to the Supreme Court, in order to fight this war.
As you can imagine, certain types of people have been deemed suspicious by police. This is called profiling. And if you follow someone long enough, eventually they will not come to a full and complete stop at a stop sign or not leave their blinker on long enough when changing lanes or have a taillight go out – which requires being pulled over. And searched. And even though the vast majority of people pulled over will have nothing on them, eventually you will find those who do.
And although they are likely not committing any violent crimes, but in order to wage war on drugs, they will almost always do disproportionately long prison time with “tough on crime” mandatory sentences. Like 5-10 years for a first time, nonviolent offense. This happens to those of all races, of course, but it happens mostly to young men of color. Unfortunately, unless an officer is careless enough to say, “I suspected him because of his skin color,” there is almost never any legal push back for the reasoning.
And this is how African Americans are only 13% of the U.S. population but can somehow represent 40% of our prison population.
Unfortunately, this is all just the beginning of the vicious loop in the War on Drugs. When time is served and nonviolent drug offenders are back at it trying to get on with their lives, the deck is overwhelmingly stacked against them. Now that they are labeled a felon, it is difficult to get a decent job, and often their driver’s license is revoked, making finding any job difficult. They can be disqualified from federal housing assistance and even food stamps. As you can imagine, it’s tough to get your life back when you owe debt for legal fees and can’t find gainful employment. Many give up and get swept back into the system.
Here is where people like me need to be reminded of some important things: Our struggle is never against flesh and blood, but against evil that animates systems such as these. I have no doubt that most in authority seek to serve those they lead. The facilitator of our discussion Friday night has served in both county commissioner and legislative seats of government and sought for juvenile justice reform – and she pointed out inaccuracies when they came up.
But, friends, if ever there was a time to pray, I think we have seen that it is now. We are divided and often confused and need some serious discernment for this day in which we live. Will you pray with me? Actions to be taken can only flow rightly as our hearts break for what breaks His and as we wage war in the heavenlies for justice.
“Next to him, Binnui son of Henadad repaired another section, from Azariah’s house to the angle and the corner, and Palal son of Uzai worked opposite the angle and the tower projecting from the upper palace near the court of the guard.”
Last time we looked at three builders and the rich goodness of their Hebrew names. In particular how to observe and choose rightly – but rest in Him. Today we see two new builders mentioned and have a need for the map again:
Do you see the red circle number 9 with a crown above it? That is the palace or house of the king mentioned in our verse today. If you scoot your eyes to the left to the number 8 you see the placement of Azariah’s house, which is where our first builder, Binnui, began. Our text says Binnui worked to the angle and the corner. Corner in Hebrew is pinnah – bulwark, tower, cornerstone.
If you haven’t had much construction experience in your life you may not have thought about how important a cornerstone can be in a building. The idea is based on the foundation of a masonry project. We know anything to do with a building’s foundation is significant. The portion that connects to the shifting earth and supports the rest of the structure is of vital importance.
The cornerstone, then, is the first stone set when building this foundation. And to which all other stones will be set in reference. It holds the building’s entire weight, yes, but also determines the structure’s position.
Next on the rebuilding scene is Palal who works the other side of the angle to the “tower projecting from the upper palace near the court of the guard.” It is so great that the word upper in this verse is elyown meaning “high, uppermost, lofty, (as a title) Supreme.”
If you didn’t already know, One of God’s Hebrew names it is El Elyon: God Most High. Indeed, no other upper palace compares to His throne room. And yet the most spectacular truth is He chooses our hearts to be His ultimate temple as He brings the Kingdom among us.
One more fascinating Hebrew reference in this small verse. When describing Palal’s work it references the court of the guard. Guard or prison is translated from the word mattara – ward, prison, target, originating from natar – meaning angry or bear a grudge.
Oh you can easily see where this can take us, yes? What a prison we make for ourselves when we hold onto our anger like a shield. Rather than admit the hurt or fear behind it, we cling tightly to what feels just. Only to become a target for our enemy.
I won’t pretend to know all the details of your hurts. But whatever it is, friend, grieve it in His presence. For your own sake and the joy of your heart. Anything else will be shackles around your ankles, creating a prison for you wherever you go.
But what joy and liberation comes from forgiveness. Believers, let’s refuse to hold grudges. Let’s be quick to forgive so we don’t become a target to our enemy. Ponder again what all He has forgiven in your heart and ask Him to forgive others through you.
Because His fame and our freedom are worth it.
At Watermark come see David Grann Thursday, July 20 for an author talk and signing of his book The Killers of the Flower Moon.
The Crowsons will be playing their Bluegrass Music at Watermark tomorrow, July 21st, beginning at 6:00 pm.
And next up for Camp Watermark: The Camp That Shall Not Be Named. Register to bring the kids on Wednesday, July 26th, from 11-1:30 for a literary youth camp for ages 7-11.
And coming up at the Wichita Art Museum: Mid-Kansas Jewish Federation Summer Film Series “Dough.” Come Sunday, July 23rd at 2:00 for this free event.
Wichita Parks & Rec is hosting a Trash Cleanup for Pawnee Prairie Park this Saturday the 22nd from 9-noon. Come help make our parks clean and beautiful.
The next time to swim for free is this Saturday the 22nd at Linwood from 1-6. (Thanks Wichita on the Cheap!)
Up next in the KEYN Summer Concert Series is Annie Up. Come to the lovely Wichita WaterWalk tomorrow the 21st from 6:30-10. Meander, dance, and enjoy food and drinks.
Come see Rodwick Pocowatchit on July 22 at 1 pm at the Mid-American All-Indian Center as he discusses his films for the Indians in the Arts exhibit opening.
The next Market-to-Table experience at Old Town Farmers’ Market is with Reverend Cindy Watson. Come at 9 am to learn and eat fresh.
Tonight join the Learning Circle: The Art of Poetry from 5:30-7:30. This 6-week course on learning more about appreciating poems is free but registration is required.
Tomorrow’s Summer Throwback Movie is The Mighty Ducks
And at Westlink, come learn more about Amelia Earhart from 2:30-3:30 this Saturday the 22nd. “Scholar and performer Ann Birney of Ride Into History will present this historical performance as Amelia Earhart in honor of Amelia’s 120th birthday.”
See all Upcoming Library Events here.
Have a great weekend!