From Navel to Knees: Naming the Unspeakable

“Ayuda!” My feisty seventeen-month-old daughter has mastered the art of asking for help, in Spanish no less. When Sam turned one my husband and I enrolled her at Spanish immersion childcare center not far from our house. During the week her sponge-like brain is absorbing a language different from the one she hears at home. Effortless bilingualism, the school calls it.

Language helps us make sense of ourselves and our world, and as a parent I take the responsibility of setting a strong communication foundation seriously. In her infancy I learned to narrate even the most mundane tasks like making toast and folding laundry. I sang her to sleep with made-up verses to the tune of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

Now that she’s a toddler, words are easy and important to share with her at this stage of mimicry and exploration (though we are realizing the impending need to filter what we say more often!)  At her upcoming check-up her pediatrician undoubtedly will ask us, “How many new words does Sam have?”

Even for the youngest among us, naming is powerful. Sam delights whenever she sees a dog (or any animal for that matter) and can shout her favorite word: “Puppy!” Each time she does so we feel a surge of pride that she is learning to communicate with and about the world around her.

Read the rest of my blog post over at Unfundamentalist Parenting. 

A Pro-Faith, Pro-Choice Response to Rev. Rob Schenck’s Anti-Abortion, Anti-Gun Agenda

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Rev. Rob Schenck, an evangelical pastor known for his extreme anti-abortion activism, has recently had a change of heart on the topic of gun ownership. He is speaking out about the rise of gun ownership among his white male evangelical peers in the United States. His piece “Should Christians Own Guns?” is the cover story in the May issue of Sojourners magazine. He writes:

I’m deeply concerned about American evangelicals. I believe the increased presence of firearms among American evangelicals, including pastors that are now armed in the pulpit and ready to shoot into the congregation if necessary, signals a serious moral crisis in the church. Those who should be all about the good news of God’s saving love for humanity are instead being led astray by a popular gun culture that contradicts the teaching and model of Jesus and the apostles. – See more at: https://sojo.net/magazine/may-2016/white-evangelicals-have-one-highest-rates-gun-ownership-us#sthash.nJqrjmuw.dpuf

I appreciate Schenck’s admonition of our fear-based culture that causes us to suspect those we encounter. When our knee-jerk reaction is to perceive the stranger in our midst as a potential threat rather than as a child of God, we have lost our focus on Jesus who modeled radical love and hospitality. This is, indeed, a moral crisis.

Read the rest of my response on the Huffington Post Religion Blog