I so appreciate the letters and comments from readers saying they enjoy the Pick of the Clicks. I always appreciate good reading recommendations from others, and I enjoy sharing these. But every now and then I get a letter from a reader saying they were upset with something I linked to, and so from time to time I want to say this:
1. I don’t 100% endorse everything I link to. I post things I think are worthy of your time in reading and thinking about.
2. Having said that, reading beyond our scope of comfort should, hopefully, make us more critical thinkers with more compassionate hearts.
So without further ado, here are some links to things I came across this week which moved me to think and to pray and, in some cases, to applause. I hope they will do the same for you.
Bravo to Lucy Hawking (daughter of Stephen Hawking) for her open letter: Dear Katie Hopkins. Stop Making Life Harder For Disabled People.
This anonymous op-ed piece, Pregnant at Harvard, broke my heart this week (I wrote some of my thoughts on this on Facebook here) Oh, how I long for the compassion, gracious, healing arms of the church to be extended to this woman, and the tens of thousands who walking around smiling and achieving, but screaming inside.
Alex Tribou and Keith Collins put together infographics in this piece: This Is How Fast America Changes Its Mind. It made my mind reel to see the stats on how quickly the tide of opinion has turned on issues like prohibition, abortion, interracial marriage etc over the years. The infographics read like a speedometer on the proverbial bandwagon.
Sharon Hodde Miller’s essay on The Dumbing Down of Brave deserves a read. It is the virtue de jour to hail people as ‘brave’, but what do we really mean by that? Sharon writes:
“Speaking a difficult truth, for example, is not always brave; sometimes it is just honest, or loving. It can even be judgmental, or intentionally outrageous.”
I agree. Courage is “is facing one’s fears for the expressed purpose of love.” Our world needs more real courage.
In the wake of the conversation generated by Bruce Jenner’s announcement that he is transgendered, Leslie Leland Fields posted an essay she wrote on Becoming A Man, in which she talks about finding her identity as a wife and mother in the wild open waters of Alaskan fishing. She writes:
I don’t remember which day I became a woman on the water. The years blur together. But I became a man first. It happened in a blow, piloting a small skiff alone through 50 knot winds. Or maybe when the nets were so full of fish we could not lift them from the water. We picked them in the water, then, throwing hundreds, thousands behind us into our skiffs for days, until we could no longer stand…
…Then, one day I became a woman again. I don’t remember exactly when. Maybe when out in the skiff with a baby ashore, my breasts filling with milk as the skiff filled with fish, knowing there was a helpless other who needed me more. Maybe when I started accepting help, then asking for it from my 6’2” crewman who was twice my weight, choosing to preserve my back for all its other uses.
Read the whole thing. It’s magnificent.
Tim Matsui just won a World Press Photo Award and a Documentary award from Pictures of the Year International Award for his project The Long Night, highlighting sex trafficking and under age prostitution in America. However, Matsui says that winning awards is not the point, changing the world is. I appreciated this photo essay in which he talks about Natalie and Lisa, the two girls he followed in his documentary, and his hopes for producing media that doesn’t just produce sentiment, but produces lasting change. BRAVO, Mr Matsui.
Natalie Snapp has some excellent thoughts on how we can have better friends by being better friends. Her post Because A Heart Sister Doesn’t Hold Stuff Over Your Head has a lot to say about friendships where the hurts we cause (and endure) become guilt-bludgeons over friendships. I am looking forward to this book.
This, from Amy Simpson, in which she reflects on the ways that her mother’s schizophrenia touched everyone in her family, is hopeful, helpful and wise – Schizophrenia and Some of My Favorite People.
One thing I know about doing ministry in the context of mental illness is this: simply talking about it is like dropping rain in the desert. Telling a story of hope is like planting flowers in the newly softened ground.
ALL THE YES to this from Jen Hatmaker: I, as a white mom of two black children, do not share Baltimore’s pain. Instead, I grieve with you. This is such a beautiful example of being a peacemaker: peacemaking doesn’t mean shushing loud voices, but paying close attention to them so that people don’t have to shout to be heard. Jen wasn’t born with this wisdom or sensitivity (none of us are) – as a privileged white girl, she has had to learn it. And we would do well to pay attention and learn, too.
And this, from Dorothy Greco, is one of the wisest and best things I’ve read on marriage: Yes, Marriage Will Change You. Whatever you say to your spouse on your wedding day, don’t say “don’t ever change.”
Then, this: 19 One-Liners That Sum Up Parenthood Perfectly.
From my little corner? Just one offering from me this week, on why it’s hard to pray for Nepal (but I’m trying anyway). And I hope you caught Emily Dixon’s excellent essay on learning a new way to talk about sex: moving from shame to celebration.
Thanks for reading, all.