Yo Soy Kristy

Reflections On Faith From Liminal Spaces

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Posted on July 7, 2013

“Maybe at the heart of all our traveling is the dream of someday, somehow, getting Home.” – Buechner

Next week, my husband Eric and I will close out a long season on staff with a ministry called Cru. When I started serving with them as a single woman right out of college, I had dreams of being a missionary to China. Then I met Eric who had a call from God to go to Central Asia so I quickly and joyfully changed my plans. A year after we married, we had the privilege of moving to that beautifully forgotten part of the world. It is still the place I love most that we’ve ever lived. A few short months after moving there, though, we were left clamoring to find a new home in another country as our visas were unexplainably denied. After seeing a few pictures on the internet of a new city in North Africa, we made the decision to move there with the hope of staying long-term. But just a year after that, we found ourselves on a plane heartbroken over the loss of a dream, wondering what God might have for us back in America.

The Prophets and Mission

Posted on July 6, 2013

“The prophets saw themselves as God’s gift to God’s people.” -Arthur Glasser

I’ve always thought the role of a prophet was a heartbreaking role. All I have to do is read the first three chapters of Ezekiel to see what a devastatingly sad lot in life he had.

I’ve been taking a class on missions, and as a woman who has been serving as a missionary since her early 20’s, the class has felt relevant to me. What’s been most significant has been to see God as a missionary God through the whole Old Testament as well as the New. Reading the entirety of Scripture through the lens of “Missio Dei” has helped give me eyes to see that the Lord has always been a God for all nations and people.

But one key question it surfaced for me was then what role did the prophets play in God’s mission? I always thought of the prophets as people that God sent to call the Israelites to repentance for idolatry and immorality. I’m learning that there was more to their purpose than just that.

Humanity’s Amnesia

Posted on June 11, 2013

It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was sitting in the living room watching tv. My grandfather sat across from me, staring at me strangely. Occasionally, he would ask me questions like, “Are you lost?” or ” Do you need to go home now?” I was only 8 or 9 at the time, and I mostly just thought he was teasing me. I remember he finally got up and left me alone while he wandered the neighborhood asking neighbors if they had lost a little girl.

It was shortly after this that our family learned that my grandfather had Alzheimers. It was really frightening for me growing up to watch someone I loved slowly lose his memory. It impacted me and definitely left a mark on my life in different ways.

I was reflecting on this whole experience the other day at church when Gideon, our pastor, shared this clip about a couple whose husband would have lapses of amnesia.

Submission in Leadership

Posted on May 28, 2013

“Courage is to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.”

Brene Brown shared this definition in her now famous TED talk on The Power Of Vulnerability . When I first listened to her share this a few years ago, it captured my attention and drew me in to wanting to see how this applied to my ministry within the Latino community.

But thinking about vulnerability in leadership is still a fairly new idea to me. As a woman and an ethnic minority that’s served in ministry for the last decade in a majority culture context, what I’ve noticed most is that ethnic minorities usually feel the need to prove themselves in leadership roles that are typically filled by majority culture people. Rather than lead out of vulnerability, there is a need to make sure others know they deserve to be in the positions their in and to make sure to not show any of their weaknesses to others.

Grieving to Maintain a Soft Heart

Posted on May 5, 2013

“Do you have any identification?

Her tone was intimidating. A couple of other ministers and I were on a new campus that morning wanting to get to know the area and maybe meet some people. But as soon as we stepped out of our car to walk towards the college, campus police had stopped us.

I found myself in front of a woman who seemed bent on letting me know she had a lot of power and that I looked like quite the problem. “You look suspicious to me,” she continued and told us all that she was chief of campus security and she had major issues with us. Me, suspicious? I thought. I felt more like a lost freshman than a danger to student life. But she persisted in her interrogation and insisted that we weren’t allowed to walk around on her campus.

In that moment it did feel like her campus, and I felt like I was watching her shut down our ability to set foot on it. We all gave her our identifications, told her who we were, why we were there, and if she could direct us towards the student life office. But none of this mattered, she continued to speak in demeaning ways and then finally asked us to leave before we even made it out of the parking lot. It wasn’t exactly how I had envisioned my first step onto this new campus where we were asking God to open doors.

As we got back into our car, I remember having to make a conscious choice to let myself feel frustration and disappointment at how we were just treated. When people with power come in heavy handed unnecessarily I often feel like just shutting down emotionally, assuming the worst about humanity but not letting myself get upset about it.

To Be Known

Posted on April 15, 2013

I can remember pouring water over the priest’s hands as he prepared the Eucharist. It was one of the many little acts I did as an altar girl for our Catholic church. I remember each Sunday after spending the whole mass next to my priest, thinking he must be so close to God. Why does he seem so far away from me?

As a kid, I really wanted my priest to know me. Yet at every interaction, he always seemed so deep in thought. Deep in reflection. Far away from me, the little girl right next to him at the altar on Sundays.

So one day when the whole congregation was praying at the end of mass, there I was standing next to him as he began to pray and give the benediction. Everyone out in front of us was holding hands across the aisles. In an act of sheer bravery, I slipped my hand up high to reach into his, all the while staring at his face wondering how he would respond. He smiled while his eyes were still closed. Relief flooded me as I settled and bowed my head to pray.

Our Lives Are Full of Holy Saturdays

Posted on March 31, 2013

“Our lives are full of Holy Saturday experiences.”

That phrase struck a chord with me as we sat in our church’s Holy Saturday service. The congregation was invited to stop and reflect on the space between Good Friday and Easter. The space between death and life, loss and hope.

It was meaningful as we sat in the darkness with all the lights off in the room. The contemplation was tangible as we listened to scripture read about Joseph wrapping the body of Jesus and placing him in the tomb.

In the midst of this, though, there was one sound that did invade the somber moment. It was the loud snoring of my daughter sleeping in my arms. She walked into the service earlier smiling, not at all able make sense of the quiet faces. When she realized there wasn’t going to be any playing or singing like our normal Sunday mornings, she leaned back into my chest and within seconds was fast asleep, snoring. I felt bad for a second, knowing my cute kid was disrupting this sacred time. I quickly embraced it, though, and was reminded that as much as I want space to grieve and want to teach my girls to make space for it, they can’t hide the life that just radiates out of them all the time.

Estoy Cansada: Reflections on my own Reconciliation Blues

Posted on March 14, 2013

“I’m tired of walking on egg shells with ethnic minorities. I don’t ever do anything right.”

“As a majority culture person, I never feel like I’m enough in ethnic minority ministry.”

“Im tired of talking about racial reconciliation, justice, and power. Can’t we all just love one another and that be enough?”

“I’m tired of being viewed as the angry ethnic minority.”

“Working at relationships with majority culture ministers is just too hard. I’m done trying.”

“Bringing up pain in my cross cultural relationships typically gets me labeled as ‘the problem’. I don’t want to be the problem anymore.”

As majority culture or ethnic minority ministers, have you ever said any of these things or felt these things in your cross cultural relationships? I’ve been in many conversations over the last couple of years as the ministry I serve with has tried to navigate these dynamics. Truth be told? I’m tired. And I think many of you probably are too.

I read a book called Reconciliation Blues last week. It talked about different people in our history that have fought for change and reconciled relationships over the years. It shared about people like Martin Luther King and John Perkins, people whose stories inspire me and make me so grateful for those that have sacrificed so much and have walked some excruciatingly hard roads.

Word Became Flesh

Posted on March 9, 2013

And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only son from the Father, full of grace and truth” John 1:14

I once had a college minister tell me, “How could we as humans have known God if he had not moved towards us, put on flesh, and showed us who he was in Jesus?”

It was this verse and experience that came to mind this week as I spent some time with a group of Latino ministers who desire to raise up the next generation of leaders on the college campus. I was so inspired by them, was moved by their faith, and was given a picture of the kind of person I want to become as I seek to follow our redeemer into the broken places of the world. It was a beautiful time.

But I noticed over our time together that there was also a sudden and growing ache in me that was awakened over those few days. As I met different men and women who were leaders in this ministry and saw how they shepherded and cared for the younger leaders in their midst, I often found myself near tears. I was feeling pain but wasn’t sure of the source it was coming from in me.

There was one specific moment that was particularly telling of what was going on inside me and helped me get to the root of things. I was with several women listening to them talk about identity and how they related to the story of Moses that we had been reflecting on together. One of the women in the group vulnerably shared with the everyone, “I’m afraid to even say this out loud, but much like God was calling Moses to stop hiding and step into the calling of leadership, I think the next step God is calling me to is to be a leader in this ministry.” I was overcome with emotions as she spoke, hearing my own timid voice in hers, knowing that I’ve felt that same reluctant spirit in me as God has called me to step out into more.

Right then another strong Latina leader looked at her and said, “Yes, it is time. You’ve been hiding from this for long enough. Its time to be the leader God has called you to be.” It was such a powerful moment for me to see an older Latina mentor speak worth into a younger leader to draw her out and call her to fully live out the story God was inviting her into. I wanted to cry, and I wasn’t quite sure why.

Listening and Seeing

Posted on February 26, 2013

In my previous post I shared what has been disturbing me lately about vision and how we leaders treat it when things look like they are dying in our midst.
So, in light of that, if listening and “seeing” are indespensable in keeping us from falling into selling our people junk food vision, how do we cultivate that in our ministries and lives?

I think, obviously, we need to nurture the deeply spiritual in us. Are we listening to God’s voice in our life? Are we growing in being able to discern his movement in us? But beyond listening to God in the inner places of our life, are we listening to the voice of the people we are meant to be serving too? Are we allowing God to shape our vision of the future by the way reality is impacting the people we lead today? God not only wants to speak to our hearts personally through our time in solitude and prayer, but I think he also wants to speak to us through our relationships. Are we listening to others, especially those most impacted by our decisions? Do we try to understand the world through their experience and let that inform our leadership and direction? And are we listening to voices different than our own, believing that God may desire to use these people to break down our egocentric vision and broaden the horizon that we seek to lead our people towards? How else can we see more and farther if we don’t have the ability to listen to whats right in front of us?

As for seeing, it is true what Sanders says, “Eyes that look are common. Eyes that see are rare.” Are we able to see beyond the status quo of our ministries? Are we able to “see the unseen” so that we don’t just lead people into a future that continues to affirm the way things have always been?