Active Liberation

Giving Rise to Hope in Zimbabwe

Posted on Dec 19, 2019

Alliance Active Hope partners in Zimbabwe, the African Baptist Churches of Zimbabwe (ABCZ) and the Zimbabwe Theological Seminary (ZTS), give rise to hope in a risky, fragile context. In the past few years, Zimbabwe has suffered significant political and societal challenges. Economic conditions are weak, and the country is facing the worst hunger crisis in a decade. Due to extreme drought and climate change, Zimbabwe is confronted with a water crisis so severe that the average water flow over Mosi-oa-Tunya (Victoria Falls) has decreased by almost 50%.

Yet the ABCZ and ZTS continue in their mission to give rise to hope in their context. 

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Vivaldi in the Favela

Posted on Nov 25, 2019

"The orchestra and the violin changed my life!" That is the testimony of each of these young people photographed above-Wanessa Nicolly, Lucas Guilherme, Anderson Felipe, Larissa Rafaela, Luiz Henrique, Ranyelli Candido, Mauricio José, Anderson Cauan, Gabriel Alexandre and João Victor-all violinists in the Orquestra de Câmara do Alto da Mina (Chamber Orchestra of Alto da Mina), Bultrins, Pernambuco, Brazil.

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Journey to Tbilisi

Posted on Oct 11, 2019

This past June I had the opportunity to travel to Tbilisi, Georgia, with a delegation from the Alliance of Baptists to meet with Bishop Malkhaz Songulashvili. The bishop had recently spoken at my home church, Broadway Baptist in Fort Worth, TX, and after describing the ways in which the Yazidi people are continuously targeted for genocide by the Islamic State, he threw down a challenge which rocked me to my heels by saying, "You need to come and meet these brave people and hear their stories for yourself."

I was thrilled at this opportunity to meet with the bishop again. What I wasn't thrilled about was coming face to face with these brave people whose stories I knew would be difficult to listen to and absorb. But I did go, I did listen, and everything I learned was riveting.

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Have You Helped Welcome a Refugee? Sign On Now to Protect Refugee Resettlement

Posted on Sep 22, 2019

The refugee resettlement program is in grave threat of being dismantled through a very low refugee admissions goal to be set before September 30th. Decision makers urgently need to hear the moral voice of faith communities and stakeholders who have participated in the refugee program and helped resettle refugees. 

Read the letter to go to Members of Congress, State Elected Officials and Secretary Pompeo and sign on here.

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You are light. Period.

Posted on Sep 09, 2019

This summer, I've celebrated, laughed, had water balloon fights,argued, talked, sung, cried, and run into the ocean alongside youth who are both wonderful and exasperating. And I am convinced, time and time again, that they are the light of the world. They are the playful and musical and thoughtful and messy and radiant image of God. They are "rascally inventions of holiness abounding," in the words of Gregory Boyle, and they remember that they belong to each other, on several occasions being quick to remind me of this.  "Aww, what cute friends," I said to JJ and J and a few other youths as they walked in a stumbly line together ahead of me, arms thrown over each other's shoulders, tripping and giggling and running into things. "We're not friends," J said matter-of-factly in the way she says most things, turning around sharply. "We're family." Then she turned back around and kept prancing forward with her family, some literal and some chosen.

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Racial Justice and Multicultural Community to Study White Fragility

Posted on Aug 29, 2019

The Racial Justice and Multicultural Community of the Alliance of Baptists is beginning a study of White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism,by Robin DiAngelo (with a Foreword by Michael Eric Dyson).

In the introduction, Robin DiAngelo writes: "Socialized into a deeply internalized sense of superiority that we either are unaware of or can never admit to ourselves, we become highly fragile in conversations about race. We consider a challenge to our racial worldviews as a challenge to our very identities as good, moral people."

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Report from Cali: At Home among Peacemakers

Posted on Aug 08, 2019

On July 15 I arrived in Cali, Colombia, to attend the Global Baptist Peace Conference, along with 400 other peacemakers from more than 30 countries around the world. Though many of us were visiting a city and country new to us, the spirit of hospitality was surely in that place, because we felt at home as we shared stories, skills, and resources, and as we prayed for each other, thereby creating new bonds and deepening old friendships.

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Life-or-Death Religious Freedom

Posted on Jul 26, 2019

We talk a lot today about religious freedom. Recently, such conversations have devolved into discussions such as whether the owner of a bakeshop in Colorado was required to provide a personalized wedding cake for a gay couple as required by state law. The merchant claimed the statute deprived him of his free exercise of religion. Or whether a monumental cross erected in Maryland to honor veterans of World War I violated the constitutional prohibition of an establishment of religion.

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Savoring What's Growing

Posted on Jul 11, 2019

Every time I take the path between the Parkway House and the Tuck House, the two outposts of QC Family Tree in this West Charlotte neighborhood, I find newly-ripeblueberries on the large, lush bushes planted by Mt. Hermon Baptist Church in 2013. 

I always take a handful and eat them one by one as I walk. The spice of the warm, ripe, fresher-than-fresh berries lingers on my tongue long afterwards.
 
Likewise, I find that each day here brings small moments to savor. A young artist attending one of two monthly Community Meals happens to sit down next to another neighbor who, she learns, is also an artist. Before long, they are exchanging poems and Facebook addresses.
 
A young man walks into Midday Prayers and is warmly greeted by name. "We haven't seen you in a while. " So much is conveyed in those few words: We know you. We see you. You matter.

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