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“Ya’at’eeh” is how 2020 Presidential Candidate Mark Charles, a dual citizen of the Navajo Nation and the United States begins every address; and that is how I hope he starts his time at 2pm CST at the Free & Equal Presidential Debate. It is a signal to those in the room and watching on video that the boarding schools, war, genocide, land theft and forced relocation of his people did not strip his tongue of its elders. No amount of soap in a native mouth can cleanse a soul of its origins.

He then gives his four clans. “The Dine’é are a matrilineal people and their identities come from their mother’s mother,” Charles says. His mother’s mother is American of Dutch heritage so his words translate to from the wooden shoe people.

Mark Charles is running for President of the United States and you should pay attention for 4 key reasons.

  1. “We the People” has never meant #AllThePeople.

There is not a single female pronoun in our constitution. Natives are specifically excluded in its claims and assertions and contends that enslaved Africans are noted as 3/5 of a human being. Natives are familiar with broken treaties, women are well acquainted with lower pay and institutional elements of patriarchy, and Black Americans did not need to see 13th to know that slavery was never actually abolished. Mark Charles pits himself against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. America did not need be made great again as Trump proclaimed; nor did it need to be proven great already as Secretary Clinton argued. …

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The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump; and you should know that ain’t nothing going to happen.

I got a phone call in 2010 from my Mom. She said that one of my friends was found dismembered in a suitcase at the bottom of a lake in my hometown near the North Carolina border. She told me not to make a fuss about it because nothing was going to happen. This was rumor in my community. My friend was in a romantic relationship with the sheriff’s daughter. He was black and she is white. …

Photo by Micheile Henderson @micheile010 // Visual Stories [nl] on Unsplash

So what’s your question? That’s what my professor said to me 2 weeks ago at 8pm. This was Research and Methodologies so narrowing in on what we are asking is essential. It was in that moment I realized I didn’t have any. I had convictions that I was hoping to find evidence for; and that’s not the same as genuine curiosity.

I don’t know if I admitted this out loud but my face certainly gave it away. His response was concise, “in research, you’ll always find what you’re looking for”. And he was right. And because our brokenness and blind spots are not confined to one compartment of our lives, later that week I found myself trying to figure out what that high pitched whirring sound was coming from our car. …

Does Your Pastor Know Who Greta Thunberg Is?

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Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden arrived via boat in New York City Global Climate Strike September 20–27. This protest against the profound impact of air travel by coming to the shores of the country most responsible for the climate crisis came on the heels of an epic Democratic Town Hall devoted to this issue. Yet, her journey and this movement are under the shadow of the only major political party in the developed world that refuses to take responsibility for the environmental destruction downstream of unprecedented and unbridled consumption in the United States. …

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I had a few realizations during spiritual direction and counseling last week. One of them was that I am afraid to truly desire anything. That’s because I’m afraid that if I put myself out there and really want something and it doesn’t happen, then I’ll just be disappointed. So why have any hope, trust or anticipation for something I want at all?

Instead of hoping for myself, I just dismiss myself completely or distract myself by doing something that would bring me affirmation and momentary respite from the constant obligation and demands that I feel on my person from parenting, work and marriage and God (at least my twisted version of Him…Selah). …

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I usually sing three songs for Maia before bed. One is called, “We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder” a song I grew up singing with roots in the constant tension of physical enslavement and spiritual and physical freedom my people live in, with and through. The second is called, “I Know It Was the Blood” which my little wooden church in Brodnax, Virginia would only sing during communion. And the last is Maia’s first lullaby that is a mix of Mandarin and English and introduces her to intercession for her cousins and the children of family friends. The most important thing for me is that time between now and when she knows Jesus is as short as possible. …

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Photo by History in HD on Unsplash

When my wife asks me about something in social media, I know it must be important. So when she said, “tell me about Trump showing up at some church” I know whatever happened made it beyond the “too busy” filter and into conversations in bedrooms and around dinner tables in the United States and beyond. This is especially true if you claim to be a Christian in America today.

Per David Platt’s own letter to his church about the incident, President Trump showed up at Mclean Bible Church towards the end of the service. Trump appeared backstage after a sermon he had not heard to receive prayer from a pastor he did not know in front of a congregation he did not belong to prior to a communion he did not partake. I use this phrasing intentionally to underscore the reality that I do not believe that President Trump had any interest in receiving prayer, intercession, or being part of this faith community. If he was anybody else, he would line up after service to pray with designated intercessors, get a contact card and be asked about where he lived so that he could join a small group bible study to get more involved. And because of where Trump is with Jesus, he would have likely been put in an Alpha Course to ask basic questions about his beliefs and be invited to follow Jesus and be baptized as a public sign of this private decision. …

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Contrary to what you may be thinking, this article is not whether or not you know the talking points for and against Roe v. Wade and whether or not the Alabama law and others on the way are constitutional or not. This isn’t about whether life begins at conception or any point after. This isn’t about whether or not you are pro-life or pro-choice and tactics on how you win an argument for either side. …

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“Why the fuck did you make us watch that?” is what one courageous young woman of color who refused to code switch and openly showed the anger, sadness, pain and frustration usually reserved for men and women who look like her after watching “Documenting Hate: Charlottesville”. She said yes to the invitation I made at the beginning of RecWeek, our week-long Experiential Discipleship program, to bring our whole selves to Jesus and to one another. And I am deeply grateful for the gift that she gave as we engaged in lament, confession, and reconciliation among a diverse crowd that rarely if ever witnesses healing interactions after volatile exchanges about race, white supremacy and power. And that is where I find Jesus most active in the work that I am privileged to lead. …


Jonathan Walton

Beloved | Husband | Baba | Poet | Author at IVP | InterVarsity Staff | Leader of Prayerful Resistance | Developing Emotionally Healthy Activist

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