Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Black Jesus!

For Christmas I would like to share some of my recent artwork dealing with Jesus Christ.
Happy birthday Jesus!!!
I pray that you will be with the poor, the lonely, the humble, 
and the weak on this beautiful day.
I also pray that people will be willing to help those in need,
just a Jesus of the oppressed would (and did) do.

A Black Jesus
This poster, with an image of a Black Jesus, is designed to represent James Cone's theology in my Make it Plain art exhibition.  James Cone was a theologian who made the idea of a black Jesus famous.  Cone was responding to the images of a white Jesus and a white God that supported the oppression, murder, enslavement, and oppression of blacks. James Cone responded with the idea that Jesus represents the oppressed peoples, and Jesus therefore was seen as black.

Cone combined the ideas of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.  He took Malcolm's ideas of self love and a added them to Kings philosophy of loving others.  Cone  used MLK Jr's Black Christian theology.  James Cone is known as the founder of Black Liberation Theology (which still had some grit if you read his actual sermons).

The church responded to Cone with the idea "God is not black; God is raceless."  Keep in mind before Cone, God was seen as white often with blonde hair and blue eyes....sorry, God is not European (don't worry I know Jesus was not biologically African either).

For Christmas I would like to wish Jesus a happy birthday and thank him for teaching us to love those our society sees as bad, evil, poor and untouchable. 

European Jesus from

People who have heard of James Cone in response to the anti Obama campaigns, have heard incredibly distorted views of what black Liberation Theology actually is saying.  These same people seem to forget the circumstances that men like James Cone and Malcolm X were responding to and living with on a daily basis.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Best Church Ever!

Ok so Emmaus Road Community Church in Laramie Wyoming may not be the best church in the world...and maybe I shouldn't encourage a competition between churches...and this project is inspired by the church I grew up in.  Anyways, this post is about how much the community and members at Emmaus Road rock.

Three days ago, on Sunday, I announced that there was a family in town that could really use a little help.  I had a wish list consisting of one item per person and asked if the congregation would help out with the gifts.  I gave a little background such as the family just decided to go without Christmas presents this year and that they went several weeks without toilet paper a while back.  The family is currently living in a 5th wheel as well.   I told the congregation that I would love to do more than just the gifts but it would really depend on how many people could help...It was a small service since all the college kids were away, so I was not expecting a lot... However, we will be doing much more than the three suggested gifts. 

Here is a bit of what the church helped the family with in three days. 

 Each family member will get 1 stocking filled with...
Personal Hygiene Items 
Hand sanitizer
And a couple small candies.

A Coffee Gift Basket for Mom
Diane from church knows her coffee (and the mom) and offered to get some gourmet coffees.  She found one decent size bag of coffee, 12 single servings in assorted flavors, and 4 flavored dairy creamers.  Go Diane!
I added a scarf for decoration/warmth, a candle, two mugs and a coffee travel cup to the gift basket.
If you haven't noticed yet, I love gift baskets!

$40 for a Medical Alert Bracelet for the Daughter
The daughter in this family has several serious medical conditions and really needs this bracelet.  When I asked the daughter what her and her parents would want this was all she wanted for herself.  She was much more excited about her parents getting gifts.  We still wanted to get her a gift that was for fun and not a necessity.  So we made...

A girly Gift Basket for the Daughter
This basket includes a candle, nail polish, lotion, body spray, shower gel, a loofah and some festive candies. 
Again with the gift baskets :) 

An Amazon Kindle Card for Dad
The dad in this family loves to read.  He has a Kindle, doesn't have room for books, and doesn't have money to buy more.

A $100 Wall-Mart Gift Card for the Family
One church member donated a $100 gift card, which will be perfect.  

A Christmas Tree
The tree was donated from a lady that I work with.  
She works at a greenery and was actually looking for a family to give some leftover trees to.
Although this family does not have much living space, the tree will be perfect outside or inside.

$5 from the Dollar tree worth of decorations.
It was simple but really kept decorating the tree from being a family burden.

That was three days worth of love and there is still one more day.  We have around $200 left to spend.  I am looking at purchasing  

A Meal or Two or Three
One gal from our church wanted to buy the family a meal. I am not sure what this will be yet.
I would also like the purchase $50 worth of groceries including
A Christmas Dinner
a small ham
instant mashed potatoes
corn and beans 

3 Movie Tickets
When you work as hard as these guys are, and have their entire lives, you need and deserve to have some fun.

University of Wyoming Gear
The dad is a huge Cowboys fan and I was told by my pastor that he would love anything Cowboys.
I am not sure what this will be yet, but probably a sweatshirt, a hat, or gloves.

An Electric Blanket
Living in a 5th wheel in Laramie Wyoming's weather gets cold.
An electric blanket will keep them from midnight runs to get more propane, keep them warn and save money all at the same time.

2 More Gift Cards
One for the daughter and one for the parents.  
This will be the remainder of the money.

And I gave the daughter (who is a close friend) a small painting

Hey God, I would like to close with a short prayer.  
First of all thank you for placing this family in our lives and town.  Thank you for blessing them this Christmas season.  I pray that you would help these gifts make a significant impact and help this family pay off some of their medical bills.  I pray for the mother and daughter's health and the fathers strength.  Please please please lord help this project expand so that we can make some major changes in the community.  This is for me, but I would love to see our church do this for more than one family in the future.
Thank you for softening the hearts of those you have blessed. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Critical Thought Tuesday: Ignorant vrs. Naïve

I would like to address the difference between naïveté and ignorance.  Though they have similar denotation, their connotations are different.  I think there is a difference and this is how I distinguish the two...

Naïve – Is the term I use to describe someone who may have never been exposed to something or never had the opportunity to learn about it. It is not their fault and noone chooses to be naïve

Poster created by Felicia Follum in response to the described situation.  Read more.
For example when I moved to Wyoming and people found out I had a boyfriend about one person a day asked if he was white or black before asking about him or any other question. As I later learned when people don’t know how to place you into a schema, they sometimes ask what may weird or naïve questions (though I was not offended, many people would have been). These questions are so that they can understand something they have not been exposed to.

Ignorant – is a term I use to describe someone who is presented with an idea and chooses to blatantly ignore it. Oftentimes showing contempt or anger. This is typically more of a choice. Once someone is offered the chance to become aware or educated, but they reject it without showing any thought, remorse, or confusion in the response to cognitive dissonance.

The person above would be naïve, just trying to figure something that is new to them out where as the ignorant person may respond with “good, I am glad he is white” and yes this did happen.

Another difference is that between being respectful and blatantly rude, whether it is an un-acceptance to realize that people have different beliefs or using terms that everyone knows are offensive. The distinction become a bit cloudy, for example old people tend to be naïve rather than ignorant.  However, I do think that there is a distinction, that goes beyond someone disagrees so they are ignorant.  It has little to do with opinions, and more to do with how we express, form and process opinions.

I wanted to share how I use these terms and what I mean when I use them.  Are you intentional when you use these words?  How do you distinguish between the two?  Is there a difference at all?