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Showing posts from September, 2018
God will not abandon us.  God will not abandon us.  And we are the living testimony of this truth.  We are there; we are here; you for me; I for you; each one of us  for each and every one of us. Yes, God will not abandon us. And we are the living testimony of this truth.
- bshivers

Objectification

Objectification - We train our boys in its art from a young age.  We tell them that in order to “get ahead” in this world, they must always and only look out for themselves. In order to do that most effectively, we teach them how to view everyone and everything in their path as objects to be used to advance themselves, to fill their felt needs, to meet their desires. Anything less is a sign of weakness, and as we all know, there is nothing worse than appearing to be weak.  If people are seen as objects and not human, it is easier to neglect them, abuse them, assault them, rape them, imprison them, deny their right to exist.  If nature is seen as an object, it is easier to neglect her, abuse her, assault her, rape her, imprison her, deny her right to exist.  We teach this world view in subtle ways throughout their lives. We use phrases like “boys will be boys”, “look out for number one”, “be tougher than that”, “never let them see you cry”, “stop acting like a girl”, “you deserve it”, “go ou…
For all my friends  who felt the sting  all over again today as if for the first time I have no words to make it better but I promise  to be here, to listen to you, to sit with you, to hear you, to believe you. You are courageous, heroic, enough.
- bshivers
Be quiet.
Listen to her story.
It may be difficult to hear it.
Rest assured,
it was much more painful to live it.
She doesn’t need your commentary.
Hear her.
See her.
Believe her.
- bshivers

Story, Narrative, Perspective

There are people you will encounter today who have stories, narratives, and perspectives you will never understand.
Listen to them.
Lean in as you do.
Honor their humanity.
Believe what they say.
This may make you uncomfortable.
This may make you rethink things.
This may bring you to some difficult questions and even more difficult answers.
Let us not dismiss someone else just because it is hard to consider the truth of their story, narrative, and perspective.
- bshivers

Purity Culture and American Toxic Masculinity

Purity culture and American toxic masculinity combine to create a poisonous stew often resulting in negative self-image, damaging views of sex and human sexuality, and dangerous sexual practices and experiences.
This is the environment where many young men learn to never talk about sex or to only talk about sex using crude slang and dehumanizing images.
This is the environment that breeds the deafening silence that can lead to abuse, harassment, assault, and expected sexual favors.
We must do better.
We must learn how to talk about sex and sexuality in an open and honest manner that leads to a healthy understanding of self, of others, of relationships, of sex, of being.
Do not dismiss  his story; you know, the one where he  was unjustly arrested  because of the color of his skin: her story; you know, the one where she  was molested  and threatened to stay silent: their story; the one where they were afraid to use the bathroom  that matches their gender identity. Do not dismiss these stories because they make you uncomfortable, uneasy; because you don’t understand. Do not dismiss their stories. - bshivers

Let no one

Friends,
let no one,
no one,
tell you
that you
are doing your life wrong.
Let no one,
no one,
discount
your story
or the manner in which you tell it.
Let no one,
no one,
claim
that somehow
you aren’t worth the effort.
Let no one,
no one,
minimize
the impact
you have on your world.
Let no one,
no one.
- bshivers

Woman of Samaria

We shame her. We call her a sinner.
But we don’t understand her story. We don’t know the life she’s lived,     the ones she’s lost,     the loneliness she feels.  The one to whom she was married  died too soon. Then his brother,      his brother,     his brother,      and his brother, too. Now where does she belong? From where will her worth come? We shame her. We call her a sinner. But then  someone speaks. Someone tells her,    reminds her,  everything  she has ever done;     all of the good, all of the bad;     all of the struggles, all of the pain;     all of the laughter, all of the tears. Someone sees her. There is no shame. Just a reminder that she has been seen;     an assurance of pardon,     a word of acceptance,     a spring of living water        that will never run dry. Her one beautiful life has not been for naught. She has been seen. Her truth is known, and it is life  springing up from within. - bshivers
seek
do
and 
be
kindness.
begin by being
kind
to yourself.
it may be your
one
radical
act
of resistance.
- bshivers
I hate  to say it, to admit that it’s true, but no matter how many times we hear it said or whisper it to ourselves, it may not get better. There are struggles, there are challenges, there are diseases, there are disadvantages that may never go away. In the face of this reality  we must promise to never leave one another abandoned, isolated, forsaken on this often treacherous journey we are on together. It may not get better, but we will not be alone. - bshivers
An elephant 
sits  upon my chest. She is a beast  of my own design. She feeds on the fruit that falls from the branches  of anxiety rooted deeply in an overactive imagination. She is not actually there, but her weight and her presence  are unbearably real. She limits   movement  and  ability to breathe. Her name is well known. It is  Worry, or perhaps, Regret. - bshivers

What If

What if  unconditional love really meant love without limits? What if unconditional love was no matter what, no matter who, no matter when, no matter where? What if life was meant to be a joyful response to this unconditional love not a lifeless, loveless, listless, guilt inducing catalog of dos and don’ts? Dwell here in the knowledge that this is no what if wishful thinking. This is. Live  in the comfort, in the peace, in the hope of this unconditional love.
- bshivers

Will They Be Seen

Her offering plate
a plastic cup extended from neath her bowed head. His place of worship  a cold marble threshold  upon which he offers his nightly prayers. Their community of faith grass, trees, stars, universe with whom they commune alone. The rest of us pass by leaving them unnoticed, eyes diverted, so as to not inconvenience ourselves with their truth  or to acknowledge  the painful privilege of our own. Before passing judgment, before speaking a condescending word,  before deciding they aren’t worth it, remember  they are someone’s child; he is someone’s son; she is someone’s daughter.  All are the beloved. Will they be seen  today? - bshivers

Be Gentle with the Scars

Evidence
of untold battles fought,
evidence
of life lived fully.
Some scars are visible;
some are known
   only to the one who bears their mark.
Be gentle with one another
and with our own scars
for they tell the story
of the struggle
to be.
- bshivers

Re—membering

In a life full of  words,  noise,  clutter it is difficult to  re-  member  our self,   our true self,    which     has always been,    since      our beginning,    but now seems    a faded     memory,    an alternate     reality.  We have been master students, quick learners,  in the science of   forgetting.  It is demanded  of us in this  never enough,   try harder,    be more     world, in which  we   live,    or   simply     exist, in which  we are    dis-   membered. Perhaps salvation  is in the discovery   of the path    to the true self, where we  come back   together,    as one,    the one, who  has always been,  since   our beginning.  May   this be     the moment of     our salvation,     our remembering.          -- bshivers