Category Archives: Social Justice

Do the Unthinkable

In light of everything that’s been in the news lately, a couple weeks ago I decided to do the unthinkable. I called my black friends to talk to them about race.

As a white person, I was taught that you don’t discuss race. It’s rude. It might offend, so don’t talk about it. What pushed me over the edge was that I keep seeing African American people on TV talking about what white people think and how we act, and they have it wrong. I’m not like they say we are, and neither are my white friends. It’s frustrating to keep hearing accusations of what people like me think or feel, or what our life experience is like and no one seems to care if it’s true or not. One day I realized, if they are misunderstanding me so much, it stands to reason I’m misunderstanding the African American experience and thinking just as much. So I called. I was scared, but I did it anyway.

They weren’t offended as I feared they might be. In fact, I was thanked. I think I got that response because I didn’t call to explain my point of view or give rebuttal to what’s being said on the news. There are plenty of people doing that in the media and social media. I called to find out their experience, their perspective, and their thoughts. Everyone wants to be heard.

I believe that’s a big part of the racial tension in our country right now; everybody wants to be heard, but no one wants to listen. Making matters worse, it’s the people on the fringe that get all the press. Remember the bell curve from math class? It looks like this:

bell curve

The point of a bell curve is that, given a large population dropped into a situation, the distribution of that population will fall in this pattern. In the current situation the people on either end of the continuum (as pertaining specifically to race issues) are the ones that are most outspoken, and therefore that we see most on TV and ranting on social media. That’s a total of 5% of the population (I’m estimating here) talking loudly while the rest of us, of all races, are just trying to keep our heads above water and understand what the heck is going on. Think about that. 2.5% of the population shouting “White people and cops are evil and trying to kill off black people!” and 2.5% of people shouting “Black people are criminals and don’t contribute to society!” while the rest of us know there are good and bad in every group, and most of us are trying our best to do what’s right.

So what’s the answer? Have the conversation. As a white person, I learned a lot listening to my black friends. I had no idea there was as much prejudice as there is because I’ve never heard anyone talking about it, except the ones that are screaming that I’m evil because I’m white. (OK, they don’t say I’m personally evil, but that’s what I hear when I hear them screaming because I’m human, and we take things personally.) I learned a lot, and I’m glad I made the calls.

I’m encouraging my white friends, call your black friends and have the conversation. If you don’t have any black friends, take a minute to think about that. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not calling you a racist. It’s a statement about our culture that it’s possible to live in a country that is something like 12-14% African American and not have your circle intersect with theirs. There’s a lot more to be said about that, but that’s for another day. For now, have the conversation. Ask the questions, and listen. Be humble, and don’t accuse, don’t defend, just listen. Don’t make the excuse that you don’t know them well enough to ask, either. One of the friends I talked to is someone I’ve only known for a few months, and she was willing to talk to me and appreciated that I asked. We’ve had a couple conversations about this, and I’m continuing to learn.

I firmly believe it’s time the majority in the middle take back our country from those who are screaming. Let’s learn that they are the fringe and reclaim our culture, not to what it has been, since it is definitely flawed in race relations, but to something better, grown out of mutual respect and understanding.

Do the unthinkable. Have the conversation.

 

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Even a Hero Needs Heroes

It is no secret Tracie Loux is amazing. I’m guessing everyone who has ever met her realizes she’s amazing. Who else could champion the cause of a newborn with Down’s Syndrome to the extent that not only did he have adoptive parents before he was discharged from the hospital, but the whole bill for his adoption was paid for by an army of total strangers? Who else would spend the night at a hospital to pray for and love on a newborn baby girl so that she wouldn’t feel alone until her adoptive parents arrived the next day? Who else could have a newborn found for a homestudy ready family even before the family has completed their paperwork? Yeah, she’s like that, and we all know it.

You probably know that Tracie and her husband John, along with their three children, moved to Kansas City, Missouri a few years ago to be part of the International House of Prayer. (This means that, rather than having a full-time good paying job, complete with benefits, they have a full-time ministry job and live on missionary support, which they raise themselves.) You probably also know that three years ago they adopted a newborn baby girl domestically, and then adopted two special needs toddlers from Ukraine a year and half ago. You may even know that while she was busy adopting three little ones herself, she was helping 37 families complete their own adoptions, and has several more families in process, including three that are already matched and waiting for their babies to be born.

What you may not know about Tracie is what kind of vehicle she drives: a ’99 minivan with almost 140,000 miles on it. Yep, a minivan with seating for seven, for a family of eight. Being ever resourceful, Tracie and John ditched the middle two-seater seat and replaced it with a three seater seat, and now they are able to squeeze three teenagers and three toddlers in car seats into the back of their minivan. I can only imagine how fun it is to climb over the middle seat  to get to the back, either to sit or to buckle a toddler into a car seat, realizing that the aisle the manufacturer left to access that back seat is now occupied by seat #8! You probably don’t know the condition of this poor, overworked minivan, either. To be honest, I don’t know any specifics, but I heard how it sounded last year, and even I know a car isn’t supposed to sound like that!

So why am I telling you this? Because this family has been praying for a larger, more appropriate van ever since they became a family of eight, and I believe it’s time. They don’t just WANT a new van; they truly NEED a new van. As I wrote in my last post, so much good be done when we all get together and give even small amounts. Let’s join forces and get this family the van they so desperately need! What they really need is a 15 passenger van because, not surprisingly, they hope to rescue more orphans. When the right van becomes available it will be important to act fast, so I’m starting the money end of things right away. Our initial goal is to raise $10,000, but the more we raise the better van we will be able to get them.

There are a couple ways you can give to the Loux van fund. The first is to use the PayPal button on Tracie’s blog. The second, in case you need your gift to be tax deductible, a check can be sent to: Tekoa 211, PO Box 214, Beaver Crossing NE 68313. Attach a note to the check (don’t write ON the check) that the check is for “Loux Van”. Whichever way you choose to donate please contact me with the amount you gave so we know when we know what we have to work with. You can contact me on Facebook (Dorean Beattie) or through email (dorcb@yahoo.com).

Tracie has been such a hero to so many of us, and this time she is the one that needs some heroes. Together we can do this!

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Filed under adoption, God Stuff, God's Love and Mercy, Social Justice

Stone Soup Babies

It’s common knowledge that there are many children who have no permanent home and no “forever family”. Worldwide the estimates are in the millions. In the United States, numbers run upwards of 100,000. Like many Christians, I want to be part of the solution for these little ones, but have found it a daunting task to figure out how to help. The need is so big, and what we are equipped to do seems so small. While costs vary widely, the average range for an adoption in the U.S. is about $20,000-$40,000.

In the last week, I witnessed a financial “miracle” which enabled a family to do an emergency adoption. There was no wealthy benefactor that paid for the adoption; there were 182 heroes. These people gave anywhere from $5-$1200, with about half of them giving less than $30. All together, it was enough to fully ransom this little life, saving him from a life potentially spent in foster homes. Watching the Facebook updates posted by the amazing Tracie Loux over the course of a week, and seeing just how quickly we all could find money when properly motivated was amazing. (Click to visit Tracie’s personal blog here , and click here to see her adoption blog, where you can find information on newborns needing familes.)

All this got me thinking. Sure, $40,000 is a ton of money, but if we all consistently did a small part, we could make a major difference. For instance, the community at the Intertnational House of Prayer in Kansas City is made up of about 4000 people. This  includes IHOP-KC staff, IHOPU students, and FCF congregants. Sure, the missionaries don’t have piles of money, and the students don’t either. But, I’m guessing nearly everyone would find an extra $10 a month to throw in the adoption pot. Do you realize, if all 4000 of us gave $10 a month that would be $40,000, or one adoption a month fully paid for? When you add in the fact that some adoptions are closer to $20,000, just this one community could fully fund anywhere from 12-24 adoptions a year!

I realize that when you’re living on a tight budget even $10 can be a stretch, but think of it this way: The following are all about $10. Make one of these sacrifices in your monthly budget, and you could be part of a couple dozen kids having homes this year.

Things that cost about $10

a trip to Chipotle
two trips to Starbucks
a movie ticket
a sale price pizza
an everyday Tshirt
a cheap seat at a Royals (or other team) game
a car wash (with wax)
1/3 of getting highlights in your hair
1/2 a pedicure

Things $10 is less than

a  CD
 a bargain video game
a cheap haircut
a DVD
a trip to the zoo
a monthly gym membership
a shirt from American Eagle

So, what do you say? Can you spare a pizza to give a kid a home?

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Filed under adoption, Family, God Stuff, God's Love and Mercy, God's Wisdom, IHOP-KC, pro-life, Social Justice

A New Year’s Challenge

Well, here we are again. A new year, full of promise, hope, and dreams. At least for this week. If all goes as normal, by this time next week everyone will have gone back to thinking and feeling just like they did last year, and the year before that. My guess is that this happens because we get all excited at the chance to “start over”, only to discover that this year is pretty much like last, failing to realize that it is our decisions that shape how the year goes. One of my favorite bloggers, Randy Bohlender, founder of The Zoe Foundation, has an awesome idea of how to make this year better than last year. He published a challenge which, if you are brave enough to try, will not only change your year, but your life and the lives of others for years to come. Read about it here, and then give it a try. You’ll be glad you did!

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Filed under adoption, God Stuff, Social Justice

Justice for Emma

There is a little girl who has stolen my heart. She was born half a world away to a mother that drank while she was pregnant. When this little one was born she was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which led to her being abandoned to a state-run orphanage where she received minimal care or attention, and no specialized care to help with the issues of FAS. It was not this little girl who sinned; she did nothing to bring this on herself, and yet she is the one who is suffering. That’s not how things are supposed to work in the economy of God; it is injustice.

God’s plan to bring justice into this little one’s life began earlier this year when a loving couple from the US traveled halfway around the world to adopt her into their family, and raise her in love and the knowledge of God. Just this week doctors in the US confirmed the diagnosis of FAS. We had prayed the original diagnosis would be wrong, but that was not to be. She has suffered much in her short three years of life, but God has a plan.

I can’t say I know exactly what God has in store for this little one, but I know that it is good. Before taking the trip to adopt the little girl, God whispered to her momma what to name the child. As she bowed at the altar before God, she heard, “Emma,” which means “total and complete restoration”.  I believe there is a miracle of total and complete restoration for Emma. The One who named her will not abandon her now. She needs advocates before the throne, to approach the Ancient of Days in confidence and request justice on her behalf. Please join me in praying for Emma, that God would fulfill what He says about Himself in Deuteronomy 10:17-18–

  • “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow….”

And also Psalms 37:28–

  • For the LORD loves justice, And does not forsake His saints;

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Filed under adoption, God's Love and Mercy, Social Justice

Adoption is Greater than the Universe…

While I’ve been silent on this blog for quite some time, it hasn’t been because I haven’t had much to say. Quite the opposite, really. I have so much in my heart it’s hard to weed it out and put it in any form that makes sense outside my own head.

The last few months have been a time of focused attention to the plight of orphans and to the topic of adoption. The reasons these topics matter so much to me is rather involved and really too personal for such a public forum, so suffice it to say it fills my mind and heart, day and night. While adoption isn’t an option for us at this point in our lives, that doesn’t keep it from burning in my heart.

I recently finished a photography project to help raise funds for an organization that is about bringing together birth mothers and adoptive families called The Zoe Foundation.  You can see the project here (then click on “buy a calendar”. While you’re at it, why not pick up a copy? One hundred percent of the money goes to The Zoe Foundation, and you’ll be blessed with a whole year of photos of beautiful children and their adopted families.

The title of this post comes from a teaching by John Piper on the subject of adoption. It’s a beautiful teaching, and only takes five minutes to watch. You won’t be sorry!

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Filed under adoption, God Stuff, God's Love and Mercy, God's Wisdom, Photography, pro-life, Social Justice

Quote of the Day

“In order for the church to say it’s pro-life it has to be pro-child.”–Randy Bohlender

There’s not much else to say, is there? He made this comment in a promo video for The Zoe Foundation. You can see the whole video (it’s just a couple minutes) here.

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Filed under pro-life, Social Justice