Courtney Ray

Faith or Fractions

I couldn’t be the only one investing in the relationship. But I did try hard. I called and she would cut the conversation short. I’d ask her to hang out and she was always too busy. I would offer to come over and it was always “a bad time”. Fine.  I could take a hint. That was the end of our friendship. After I moved away, I found other friends. Over time she had truly faded from my regular thoughts. But one day I got a call from a vaguely familiar number. “Can we talk?” To say I was surprised would be an understatement! But I obliged her.

Tightrope Walkers

The supposed existence of reverse racism aside (a concept whose legitimacy I don't want to spend time debating in this article), it is undeniable that as a systematic concept, racism flows primarily in one direction. So preaching to a predominantly minority congregation about what they can do to facilitate improved race relations can be a tightrope. It can easily veer off into directions that may be ill-received: akin to lecturing women on what they ought to do to prevent misogyny or assault.

Tired of Having Conversations About Racial Tensions? Me Too.

We had just finished a discussion about the diversity section of our textbook. The conversation had been lively and respectful, but it was clear it had become slightly uncomfortable for at least a couple of folk in the class as we discussed nuances of class, race, and privilege. There were a few white participants who genuinely wanted to understand some of the distinctions that were being made in our exchanges. They had never thought about some of the subject matter content. After our hour was up there was still a lot that remained unsaid, yet it had definitely been a productive class.

Circle circle. Dot dot.

A scourge that was found in playgrounds everywhere, children feared catching it. Most likely, you or someone you knew in your youth had it at one point or another during your childhood. Highly contagious and communicable by mere touch or even being associated with someone who had it, one had to take extra precautions to avoid the affliction. One could either stay in isolation or be vaccinated to prevent contacting it. Thankfully the shots were cheap and easily obtainable.

Stand Still and Move‏

Fifty years ago this week, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott. For those less well versed in American Black History, this action is often looked at as a result of happenstance. Ms. Parks was tired. She refused to give up her seat to a white passenger simply because she needed to rest that day. The fact that she sparked a massive movement was more coincidental than intentional. But the truth is, this incident was deliberate and orchestrated. Ms. Parks and her civil rights husband lawyer were part of a team that meticulously planned the moment.

Yes Means Yes

I’m not proud of having snatched the mic from a 4’10” elderly church mother, but it had to be done.

Neighbors on the Blue Marble

Much ado has been made about the Mars "discovery" of liquid water. Of course, it can't be confirmed yet because of our fear of contaminating any sources of water with life from Earth. Knowing that any observed life is actually native to Mars is very important because, well... It'd be a major discovery--life on other planets!

Authentic Uncertainty‏

Three of the most disturbing words to have to utter. "I don't know."  We have an aversion to uncertainty and especially to admitting it to others. The advice is often given that young professionals should "fake it til you make it" and "never let them see you sweat". Essentially, even if there is uncertainty, act as if it doesn't exist.

The Problem We All Live With—Even Adventists

I taught in NYC public schools. After completing undergrad, I went to the NYC Board of Education to apply for a job. They needed teachers—as long as you had a bachelors degree in anything, you could be hired! I was put in a classroom the very same day I went to the school. I had no time to prep. I taught one one class I was qualified to teach (science) and two others I wasn't (math and technology). We didn't have books the first half of the year! We never got materials for science lab or computers for technology class.

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