We Are One

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26-28)

 

There’s a lot going on in the world right now. Presidential elections, threats of war, blatant and pervasive misogyny, racism, and xenophobia. At the heart of it is all is the fundamental misunderstanding that we are all different breeds when we all share the same bloodline.

A month ago I returned to the states from a two week trip to Kenya. My heart has been heavy with grief in the time since my return. I am mourning the loss of humanity that plagues our country.

When people are run down on the street for opposing points of view or shot because of the color of their skin, there is a disease that infiltrates the minds of the “greatest nation.” We believe that we are irreconcilably different, that there is no salve to the pain that we feel. No solution to the fear. It is fear that drives us to kill our brothers and fear that divides families.

We fear the conservatives and we fear liberals alike. We argue over semantics and fight over legal trapezes, while African American teenagers are shot in broad daylight because they looked “suspicious” for their skin color or bomb threats sweep through our campuses as students try to make their voices heard. The loudest sound is violence.

It is normal to see a murder when scrolling your newsfeed, common place to see black bodies slain on the television, even more common to make terse jokes about racism and hide behind a veil of ignorance that says if it’s a joke it doesn’t matter. But it does matter. Because segregation is segregation no matter how you slice it.

I will never understand the plight of African Americans on a personal level, and I will never be ignorant to believe that I could share in the pain of isolation — centuries of fighting simply to be recognized as human, targeted because more pigment somehow equates to a more violent person in the minds of the xenophobic – but I cannot stand by while our brothers and sisters are slain in the street because of misunderstandings of God’s design for humanity.

God designed us to be one.

Not one up, not one better, not one less – but one.

How good and pleasant is it when God’s people live together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)

For the past year my heart has mourned in tenfold what I have felt my whole life.

I cannot understand how we could ever justify a system that places any percentage of God’s creation above the next when each of us is fully known and created by a God who created culture. I have been stunned by our lack of response to the violence in our world within the church. We cannot continue to fear what we do not understand.

I wish I had some sort of extensive thesis, or extremely persuasive argument to make you believe it, but the truth is, no one will ever believe in equality until there is a radical transformation of the heart.

This has become increasingly clear to me as I have been processing my time in East Africa. The world is a small place. We say that a lot, but we often don’t understand what it means. But, like I wrote last week, we are all connected, we are all one – and therefore, it doesn’t matter if there is 12,000 miles or 12 miles between us, we need to be fighting for the humanity that we have forgotten. We need to be fighting to understand, to learn, to know the plight of our brothers and sisters from every background.20414154_10213976682917662_5065182618558825172_o

On the night we said goodbye to our new friends in Kenya I wept the entire time. Fat, warm tears that coated my cheeks until they were sticky with red dirt. I hugged all of the babies at the orphanage close, kissed all their heads, told them I loved them and wept because I had to leave them.

I made my way over to my friend who worked at the orphanage, and looked him in the eyes.

“Why are you crying, sister?” He asked.

“Because I am sad to leave,” I said.

He smiled at me and I cried harder.

“Get strong sister,” he said, “get strong so you can come back.” He traced a line down his forearm, along the vein, “this blood is the same as yours. We are one. Go back to America and tell them we are one. Get strong sister.”

And of course, I cried harder.

Throughout my time in Kenya the Spirit had been pressing one thing on my heart: the unity of God’s creation. No matter if we are across the world or in the house next door, we are one. We were all designed to be one. We were all designed to love one another as a unit.

So in response, I would like to offer the cry of my heart these past weeks (and months, and years):

To everyone who feels overlooked and forgotten: I see you. To those of you who feel like your voice isn’t being heard: I hear you. To those of you who feel small and insignificant: you are known, and you are deeply loved. We have the same blood, no matter the color of your skin, no matter where you come from – you are so loved. I am sorry for the ways that you have been hurt and I am sorry for how complacent we have all become. I know that I cannot understand what you have been through, the obstacles that you have had to face for reasons that are inhumane at best, but I want to listen. I want to fight for you and I am fighting for you.

It can be hard to see the light in the midst of darkness, but I have faith that there is something bigger than the turmoil of our world and the corruption of our society, because no matter how many corrupt politicians or evil leaders come into power none of them can be credited with the creation of the world.

So let’s love one another, and let’s serve one another well. That’s what we were created to do. Before the color of our skin, our gender, our abilities, our socioeconomic status we are a family. So let’s fight for each other as the brothers and sisters that we are.

“Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:2-3)

Until next time, wonder on.

 

Advertisements

Spring Break in Tijuana: Three Lessons I Learned

Two weeks ago I was in Tijuana serving alongside nineteen other twenty-something-year-olds. And to be honest, it wrecked me.

Back in the Fall I was asked by my church to accompany our Spring Break missions team to Tijuana as the videographer. I’m lucky to have a few friends on staff who know my heart for Latin America and were pushing for me to go on this trip specifically, but because I was going to do a “job” (or at least in my head that’s what I thought), I didn’t think much about it until we arrived.

We stayed in Mexico for five days (a nice balance since it was a total of five days driving across the country there and back) to serve the team at Centro Shalom. I knew no one on my team — with the exception of acquaintances I had formed through mutual friends — and to be honest, my heart was postured pretty poorly going in. I believed that my week would be spent in the background glorifying a mission without playing a real role in the work itself. I was wrong.

Here are things that I am reflecting on after spending a week on mission in Tijuana. Continue reading “Spring Break in Tijuana: Three Lessons I Learned”

Nuremberg, Germany

The Freibott family roots drink from the same river the city of Nuremberg was borne of.

A city whose history stretches back through centuries, founded around the 1040 building of the castle of the duke of Bavaria, King Henry III. The settlement became a Bavarian city and saw the flourishing of arts, a thriving educational status, a blooming industrial commerce, and the rise and fall of the Nazi Party. During World War II the city saw Nazi rallies and trials, the bombing of the city, and the Allied trials of the Nazis. Since the war-torn state of the 1930s the city has rebuilt itself and its reputation and is now a beautiful Bavarian city in the southern part of Germany, allowing its history to direct its empathy and its contemporary status as the second largest Bavarian city.  Continue reading “Nuremberg, Germany”

Isle of Wight, U.K.

A few weeks ago I had a magical weekend, and I’ve finally got a spare second to reflect.

After a full week of classes in Cambridge, my friends and I took off for the Isle of Wight, an Island “forgotten by time,” as they say. A place of retreat into natural beauty and the sights and sounds of what I have always imagined to be the quintessential English town, all by the sea.

I was first made aware of the Isle of Wight by one of my professors from my home university who grew up on the island. She mentioned that I had to make a trip down while I was in England and after a little research and some help we figured out how to make the trek. I gathered a few friends from my program here and we were off. We left from London in the morning to arrive in the historic town of Portsmouth for a Ferry to Ryde.

From the moment that you arrive, it is a picturesque affair.
Continue reading “Isle of Wight, U.K.”

London, England

Remember a few months ago when I visited New York and basically thought it was the greatest place on the entire planet?

New York was a special place for me because it was messy and full to the brim of people. I love the idea of a city bustling with thousands of faces – of stories – from every corner of the world; and that’s exactly what London is: a city with millions of people everywhere.

One night, I stood at the corner of what had to have been an eight-way intersection and laughed like a madman because I was in extrovert’s paradise. Continue reading “London, England”

Reflections on Summer (And My Summer 2016 Plans)

Its time to talk about my summer plans!

I haven’t talked much about this summer yet, honestly, because it terrifies me, slightly. But, we’re all friends here, and in the spirit of transparency here it is.

I have been accepted to the Pembroke-King’s Programme at the UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, WHERE I WILL BE STUDYING FOR TWO MONTHS THIS SUMMER!!!

Yeah, Cambridge. 

Continue reading “Reflections on Summer (And My Summer 2016 Plans)”

20 Things I’m Bad At As an Adult

As I am writing this it is 8:30 pm and the sun is just now setting, casting the empty white walls of my apartment under the spell of an orange and pink sky. I am thinking about the color palette of a coral bedroom with gold accents, the idea of an ocean-themed bathroom and a farm-themed kitchen space, matching furniture and plate sets, and the idea that one day I will be grown.

In this moment I can hear the bustle of a fan on the floor beneath me because my washing machine went out two days ago and saturated the hallway carpet and linoleum floor with lukewarm water that has tainted the entire apartment with the stench of stale water. This recent washer debacle coupled with my recent two week “tour” of the Northwest, has led to a series of conclusions.

When my washing-machine started spitting its contents onto my recently cleaned floor, I made a startling observation – I called the rental agency via a series of alternate phone numbers and after receiving no reception, I dialed my Mom.

My Mom.

Continue reading “20 Things I’m Bad At As an Adult”

An Ode to the Southwest

I have recently been blessed with an array of job interviews and networking opportunities. Almost like clockwork, the second or third question that interviewers on my campus ask is: “where are you from?”

In that moment, there is always a hesitation on my part, a moment where I genuinely consider the question and wonder which answer to give.

me – “Well, originally Arizona. But my family moved to Washington my senior year.”
Continue reading “An Ode to the Southwest”

Midtown New York

bridge
Silhouettes in Central Park
central
My media team enjoys a casual stroll through Central Park
city-through-trees
Buildings reach up to the cloudy skies

At the beginning of my Spring semester I accepted a job as a contributor to the campus yearbook, The Chinook. I was honored when our Editor asked me to be a representative at the College Media Association conference in NYC.

I would spend four days in the Big City with other team members who work for the Office of Student Media, learning media strategy in the morning and exploring the city at night.

The conference itself was fascinating, but the city took my breath away. Continue reading “Midtown New York”

Unworthy

IMG_0415We live in an era of comfortable Christianity where girls strut through church pews in yoga pants with calligriphied-tattoos of “worthy” on full display trumpeting the slogan of the redeemed while they sip their skinny vanilla lattes from Starbs (hold the foam, there’s hidden carbs in aerated milk). A society which neglects the truth of the gospel in exchange for a lie, we are the Romans 1:25 church.

We are so uncomfortable at the recognition of our unworthiness. In a world where we strive to classify every person as good and holy, it is suffocating to actually believe what the Bible says about our human condition – there is no one righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10). This means that with every fiber of my being I am wicked, to the core, there is poison in my heart and venom in my veins. There is nothing redeeming about me, my sins are blacker than night and thicker than coal. I am unworthy. Continue reading “Unworthy”