It starts with you and me

Compile a list of everything wrong in this world, then place your sacred name at the top

Oh The Places You Will Go part 1 July 2, 2015

Mark 6:7-8 Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts;

I will say I did not follow our Lord’s order word for word, I took two bags change of cloths and some money but other than that I did what my Lord asked of me. Y’all might not know this but I am taking part in something called the New Faces of Ministry tour New Faces Of Ministry Tour . This means I signed myself up for an eleven week long tour de ministry, thus far I am finished with my first leg of my journey. Hi-fives all around for a month of almost non stop travel and speaking on the joy and struggles of the ever changing landscape of ministry. I am amazed to say the least. This world we live in is one of the beautiful and terrible things I have the honor to be a part of. Now sit back and enjoy a short recap of all that I have been thought over the course of June.

Bonner Love!
One of my first stops was the Bonner 25th Celebration at Davidson College. For those of you who do not know what the Bonner network is like the link found right here Bonner! for more information about this organization. The question I asked myself was what kind of role I, a seminarian, can play in the lives of students and young adults that are fully committed to active service in their community. The answer to that question…I still don’t have one. What I can speak on is the openness of the community of young adults some of which are barely out of their teens and yet have a better understanding of the current state of the world than I did at their age.
I spent three days getting to know some of these students, their schools, and respective Bonner leaders. At times I had deep metaphysical conversations trying to deconstruct the divorce between Faith and Service and put that understanding into digestible packages so those students could understand the kind of strength a faith driven service had. Then there were times when all I did was listen to both the happiness found in the service of others and the unrest with the state of society.
Like any other celebration there was your standard fare of workshops and debriefs which all related to what kind of impact the Bonner organization has had on the lives of everyone that has taken part over the past 25 years. One of the events that stood out to me was the workshop with a woman by the name of Emerald. She worked for an service program called City Year Here’s a link for City Year She focused on the inherent struggle faced by inner city and urban school teachers…How do you educate children in a system designed to fail. The workshop was interactive which made it even more heartbreaking. One of the Bonner students who said she wanted to become a teacher was at an utter lost for words when she realized that education for inner city children is an uphill battle. The workshop did not turn her off to the idea of becoming a teacher but it did help her to kind of understand the kind of Herculean task City Year educators face when they take part in this program. I have nothing but the up most respect for everyone that has taken part in this organizations. I could only hope for 25 more years filled with Bonner Love!

 

J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, & Black Prophetic Voice May 14, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — qmason1991 @ 1:30 am

qmason1991:

Here are some words on the Prophetic voice according to a good friend of mine

Originally posted on Wine and Bread:

6149981330_484939a38a_z https://flic.kr/p/ansgbS

“All we want to do is take the chains off
All we want to do is break the chains off
All we want to do is be free
All we want to do is be free
All we want to do is take the chains off
All we want to do is break the chains off
All we want to do is be free
All we want to do is be free” – J. Cole “Be Free”

After a bachelor’s degree, years of teaching black and white youth, and the beginnings of a theological education my soul still seeks comfort in melodic truths of Rap music. All the intellectual knowledge in the world cannot appeal to the wealth of emotions awakened in artist J. Cole’s lyrics, All we want to do is be free. All we want to do is take the chains off… Cole and Rap as…

View original 847 more words

 

What Does the Prophetic Mean to me. May 8, 2015

When it was proposed to our to class answer the question “What does the Prophetic mean to you?” Ezekiel chapter 37:3-6 instantly rang out in my ears:
“He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
Ezekiel in the valley holds a special meaning in my own understanding of the Christian faith. The first time I heard this particular narrative I found myself awestruck. There was so much apparent power in the words of the Lord. The prophetic is that which is diametrically opposed to the status quo. The prophetic falls outside the all too narrow confines of natural science; it cannot be bound by nature. It is like fresh water, that one breath you finally take after surviving something tragic; it is the first cries of a newborn child; G-d commands the prophet to stand before what appears to be a valley of death and suffering and orders the prophet to bring forth new life solely on the words of the Lord. When the people of G-d have been stripped of the very fiber of their being; that raw and naked nature has become the norm, G-d sends the prophet to circumvent that way of thinking.
What an insurmountable task, given to a more then average person, yet still the prophet did speak. With the spirit of Lord breathing down their neck telling them to do better, they spoke of new life and ushered in a metaphorical act of re-creation and resurrection into the valley. The breath of new life cries death to what once was and restoration and beauty to what is new. The status quo has stripped humanity of its ability to see each other as worthy of divine Love. Within the USA context it has become status quo to disregard the lives of those of black and brown skin. Recent events have taught us the say truth that you can kill a black person in the USA and almost certainty get away with it as long as you are perceived as white. #BlackLivesMatter movement is a direct response to the open season on people of color. Any prophetic movement is bound and determined to be in constant opposition to the oppressive forces of that given age. The prophetic does adhere to the bipartisan narrative of pleasing people or pleasing G-d. The prophet will always chose G-d, even if that means they are perceived as being cold and unloving. The prophetic voice I hear gives me the courage to say I’m more than willing to burn this country to the ground if that means the restoration of human dignity. To borrow words form William T. Sherman when he wrote to Prof. David F. Boyd at Louisiana State Seminary
“They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it… You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth — right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war.”
While W.T.Sherman was referencing the rising conflict between the Northern of the United States and the Southern half, I can not help but to call his words this day. The Civil War was not a war of northern aggression nor was it only fought to free the negro from slavery. It was a war of restoration. The restoration of the negro dignity, restoration of the Union, and above all else, the restoration of our countrymen humanity. Jesus proclaimed freedom to captives, be he did not say it was going to be easy.
One can argue that the prophetic has no place in the age of modernity, that the prophetic is strictly a construct of the Jewish tradition and that the status quo of today is nothing like the valley of sun-bleached bones. In some respects it is true that the prophetic we find in the Old Testament has no place in the modern age. But what we are forgetting is that the prophetic we have today is a hybrid of what we find in the Bible. No longer is G-d calling one person to bear the burden of the prophetic but rather the prophetic transforms into a fueling station of people’s movements. Our eyes have been opened to the common strife of humanity. Vox populi, vox Dei, the voice of the people is the voice of G-d. The people are tired of crying out “How Long?” Today the chant has become “There Will Be Hell to Pay” and G-d in the form of the Prophetic is the endorser of the check.

 

Surprise! I am still here! September 7, 2014

Filed under: Journey/ mission,Life updates,South Korea — qmason1991 @ 11:55 pm

Greeting one and all and thank you for baring with me.

So, it has been about a month and a half since I set foot back in the United States and much has happened in the short amount of time. I will be the first to say that transitioning back to state side life has been as easy as I thought it would be.
 The inner workings
The last three days spent in Korea were by far some of the most important days, the last 24 hour for that matter seem to mean much more to me then some of the truly amazing things done during our time there. It strange for me actual put into words what the last 24 hours was like but it did move my heart. I want you, my reader, to understand that I went into my YAV year never once expecting to save anyone. I knew that my time in Korea was limited  and with that limited time I was to learn, grow, and report back what I knew. I feel like I can safely say I did all three of those things. The last three days of my time in Korea were something special and they will always be held dear to me. Looking back I alway knew that my time in Korea would actually mean something, not just to myself but to all of those who have spent the last year living this mission vicariously through my post and pictures. With that being said I want to thank each and everyone of you that have read or looked at my blog over this long long year and for those of whom this is your first time reading my blog this thank extends to you as well.

 

People too often forget that it is your own choice how you want to spend the rest of your life. June 25, 2014

Filed under: Journey/ mission,Life updates,South Korea,YAV1314 — qmason1991 @ 1:00 pm

Hello everyone!

Guess who still alive and blogging! This girl right here! So it has been quite sometime since my last post and a lot has happened since then, so bare with me on this one!

First things first 

I and the other YAV’s are down to our last four weeks here in the land of the morning calm. That’s right folks…oh how time flies while paradoxically standing still. I personally have many mixed feelings now that the time for my departure from this place grows ever closer. One emotion I can clearly identify is that of sadness border line lost. Strange you may think…its not life or death.  I will not be truly losing anything of importance simple because everyone will still go on living their lives once I am gone. But here in my point in the matter, that way of thinking is simply not true. There are  so many people that have made a real impact on my life and vise versa. My time here is almost over and I will now have to leave them. In essence it is almost like a death or some real lost that we all will feel. It would easy for me to say its okay I will see them again someday but I am prone thinking realistically when it comes to relationships.  I know in my heart that for a good number  of the people I have grown to love here in Korea, these last four weeks will be the last we truly see of each other. This seems really pessimistic of me but think about…really truly think about it…..and you will know too the feeling of lost I am coming to know. With that being said I know there are a few friends I have made  that I am more then sure our friendships will transcend the globe. This brings about another point I want to make;what is the meaning of friendship. I will not be the one to claim I know the perfect means to a perfect friendship but what I can say is that ..it takes real work and sometimes one party is not as willing as the other.

Give thanks. 

I can’t help but think of all the times in the ten months when I was asked to give thanks. I also can’t help but thinking about the  times I was not… in fact…. thankful. Korea has been and still is a question of… am I really thankful for this time I spent away from the people I love and the world I knew; I’m I grateful for the apparent sacrifice I made?  In fact yes….I want say yes I am. I am so thankful for everything this year has given me and yet there is still a shadow of a doubt within my mind.I want acknowledge that and  put it out there that is a small part of myself did this year for selfish reasons. I will not lie on that matter. That withstanding I feel that we are all guilty of this sin of selfishness. All to often we forget that a lot of what we do is for personal gain clothed as selflessness. It is within our nature to do selfish things to better ourselves and say sorry later. This is why I will not let myself be full thankful for this year in Korea, not until I can give back twice as much as what this year has given me.

I leave you with this:

I want my words to be like iron in your spine, for there will come a day when the weight of the world will rest solely on your shoulders and in that moment you will know why you still stand.

 

Everything whispers “I love you” April 26, 2014

Filed under: Life updates,South Korea,YAV1314 — qmason1991 @ 6:02 am

Hello again!

It has not been to long since my last post but hey its my Blog and I do what I want too…

 

The stranger in the strange land had a birthday and this is how it went:

Anyway guess who had a birthday…this girl right here. I have successfully made it to another year, some of my friends about there know just how much of a stunning fact that is. On my birthday I spent sometime to myself reflecting on the past year and all of the ups and downs and near misses my 22nd year brought my way. It is strange when I look back,  if I did not know any better I would say it was almost reckless of me. The number of times I truly risked life and limb would not translate to adulthood but it does for me. This past year I brought both my body and mind to its upmost limits and then some. I did this because I wanted to prove to myself that I could rely on myself and others. Let me brake it down, in 2013 I managed to put in axe through my foot, crack my skull, fracture my face, got two small but major burns, cracked my right ankle, managed surviving my last year of Warren Wilson, picking up and answering a call to move to Korea for a little,  and a host of other thing that are not blog worthy. Gosh that is a mouth full. What does this have to do with coming into adulthood, well everything. I will admit it, I really needed all of these stressful and painful things to happen in order to know I could survive. Being an adult is not the easiest thing and too all of the adults reading this right now my hat is off to you. I have had to rely on others and myself more then I have ever had too in the few short years leading up to true freedom.  So yeah. Freedom

 

Leave your light on and call the homeless back home. April 1, 2014

Filed under: Life updates,South Korea,YAV1314 — qmason1991 @ 12:54 pm
Tags:

Lil sis again

Greetings again one and all! 

Spring has sprung  in the Land of the Morning Calm and let me be the first to tell you how lovely all of the plum blossoms are. From the last time I have posted thing have changed quite a bit, mostly for the better. There is so much I want to fill you all in on. Lets all take a deep breath and dive right on in:

Never once did I want to brake my mothers heart 

The past two weeks have been a double edged sword for me. I have had to juggle two very important thing is my life. My family and my dreams.  I have just been accepted  into McCormick Theological Seminary on a sizable though conditional scholarship which means I can afford to be a seminarian! Happy dance time! This is all well and good but it came with a price I was not wholly expecting. When I told my mother about getting accepted  and getting a scholarship she was so very happy and proud. I swear she looked like one of those birds of paradise with her chest all puffed out exclaiming to the world…”Look what I made….look at the product of all my years of hard work. I have ANOTHER successful child.” I want to say that my mother is holding her head a little bit higher and standing a little bit tall in the face of those who say her children were second best. This might hold true externally but deep inside I know all to well that I have in some ways, broken my mothers heart.

If anyone could/would had told me five years ago when I got my acceptance letter to Warren Wilson College that upon accepting, I would be placed on a life path that was bound to keep me always at arms length from my family. That by happenstance and job choses it would mean little to no physical interaction with my family for the better part of my late teen and early to mid  20’s; that I will always just be out of reach of my mother love, robbing her of my young adult life,  I am not to sure I would have so readily accepted the offer but even still I am not to sure I would have turned it down either. It is times like these where I really wish I can have a birds eye view into the future so I can reassure myself that I am in fact making the right chose the right path. Since that is theoretical  talk I am going with what has always worked for. I have decided to keep moving forward with the life I have chosen. I know that my mother will no longer try intervene in my life and I also know that its about time I come to terms with the fact that maybe my family home is not where my roots want to lay.

Family  is wholly what you make it.

Now that I have been talking about family I think its a great time to talk about the loving and caring friends I have made while here in Korea. Korea has two major family oriented holidays the first being Lunar New Year or 설날 “Seollal” and the other being the  harvest festival or Chuseok 추석.  Both of these holidays I feel like I have written on but I want to expand upon how they help me come to better terms with my own standing as a year long expat. I was able to go to to the homes of two very different and special people and their families welcomed me as one of there own. It was comforting to know that even though I stood out like a sore thumb I was still viewed as a new child that finally decided to come home for once.  I was asked to take part in very sacred and important rituals. I was welcomed at the table and treated as an older daughter. This might seem strange to some of you that have not been exposed to the Korean culture of sharing but over the  Lunar New Year I shared a single cup with the other people around my age. I know! I know!  It sounds strange but its not and I assure you this family had more then enough cups for the whole family. What I hope you all come to understand is that this showed and extreme amount of intimacy and willingness to view me, the 외적인 (foreigner)  as one of there own. Over Chuseok I was able to bare witness to the reuniting of a family. I partook in an extremely long car ride were mom tired her hand at translating Korean into english so she could better express herself to us. I was so touched and moved, I almost cried when it came time to leave my new family. I still keep in close contact with both families and truly miss the time I spent with them. Leaving to go back to the states with be hard but well worth it. The real point is that this concept of what  “family” is is  transient. My mothers love knows no bounds within this world. I felt the love of my mothers through the two new mother I met here and Korea, the love of siblings too.  Take from simple that family is solely what you make it.

Always!

 

 
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