With nearly 8 million people leaving the American church a year, we need some renegades closer to the margins, building bridges, creating safe spaces to question, wrestle, rethink. Plenty of churches exist to serve the 20 percent already connected. For them, I am grateful. Enough shepherds are on the ground for those sheep. They have a deep well of leadership, and my absence will not even be felt. They are brothers and sisters, and I’ll see them on the other side.As for me, I’m throwing my lot in with the other 80 percent, the ones with their arms crossed, their hearts broken, their worth unrealized. The ones who shake their fists and shake their heads, but still crave hope and redemption, because we all do.
It seems that any kind of after-school activity must have its own year-end celebration, complete with baked goods. Kinderkick had a ceremonial presentation of certificates. Ditto for Little League. In the past, I have attended year-end ceremonies for Girl Scouts, karate, and swimming lessons. My children have “graduated” from preschool, kindergarten, fifth grade, and eighth grade. Nowadays, “graduations” mark every blessed event no matter how casually our children meander through the endeavor. Not only do I feel like all this ceremony is a little mawkish (tiny mortar boards for 4-year-olds, anyone?), but these myriad mini-rituals drain the real celebrations of any meaning whatsoever.
The irony is, as a digital dad and strategist, the more inroads I make blogging, traveling on business, and taking speaking engagements, effectively furthering my career, the farther away from my son I’m flung. I’m no expert at fatherhood, but people are paying me for my opinions about being a dad — and the more time I spend as a professional dad expert, the less time I spent with my child. I’ve let the paradox coil itself around me, but it leaves me completely disoriented. And so it is for any parent who wants to provide for their kids by stepping outside the home. We strive to give our kids what they need and want, but it often means being around a bit less.
It is obvious that the two offenders saw the victim as some one that could be treated as a thing. This is not about sex, it is about power and control. I guess that is what I am getting at. Sex was probably not the hardest thing for the two to get, so that wasn’t the objective. When you hear the jokes being made during the crime, it is the purest contempt. So, how do you fix that? I’m just shooting rubber bands at the night sky but here are a few ideas: Put women’s studies in high school the curriculum from war heroes to politicians, writers, speakers, activists, revolutionaries and let young people understand that women have been kicking ass in high threat conditions for ages and they are worthy of respect.
Because no one can afford to fully replace themselves at home while they are at the office and because, when it comes to more important tasks like selecting afterschool lessons and resolving playground disputes, no one wants to replace themselves, working mothers have famously picked up the slack for both partners, subsidizing our market with their free labor, enabling our companies and institutions to charge artificially low prices for their goods and offer artificially high salaries to their employees.
Can we please stop the media hype on this issue and focus on where the line gets blurred? When Moms (or anyone, for that matter) get dependent – emotionally or physically – on a drink or a drug to “get them through the day”. When that relaxing glass of wine (or pill) starts to erode your ability to function? Or your peace of mind? A Mom who is drinking, or taking needed medication, is not automatically putting her kids in danger, and the media hype about this issue only drives the people with a real problem deeper into the shadows.
It’s true that these conversations are difficult to have, because the dynamics of a relationship are so complicated, all the more so when kids are involved. As much as I like to smugly point out how my non-traditional family role hasn’t emasculated me in the least, for instance, there are complaints I swallow because I could see them leading to a conversation where my wife begins a sentence with, “I work my fingers to the bone to keep a roof over your head…” and I just don’t want to go there. Likewise, my wife respects my sensitivity about being told what to do, since that’s what our children do to me all day long.
But as the bus makes it way from stop to stop, I begin to notice something. People are eager to find seats and every single day, every seat is taken…but nearly every single day…one seat remains…the last seat taken. Can you guess what seat that is? Yes, it is the seat next to me. It is the last seat taken. Nearly every single damn day. Do you know why? Do you know why? …It’s because I am a dark-skinned Black Man…and people believe I am dangerous