Here are five things worth paying attention to this week. These are designed to expose you to a perspective you may not normally come across in your daily lives.
1. Kobe Bryant
Many sports fans (even those not very into sports) were deeply affected by the sudden death of Kobe Bryant late last month. Like many celebrities, Kobe Bryant had a complicated history. Part of Bryant’s history is being accused of the rape of a young woman early in his career. This case was settled out of court, but the case remains well documented. This blog post brings to light the aspirations and dreams we pin onto celebrities, and how inconvenient truths can cause cognitive dissonance.
2. Fawn response
I hadn’t heard of this term until a few weeks ago. If you have a history of trauma, one of your reactions to the disappointment or anger of others is to fawn over the offended party. Maybe this is repeatedly telling them how great they are, offering to do things for them or losing yourself with the interest of making others happy. This is an unhealthy response and sometimes has the result of making others even more upset with us. This article is really helpful in terms of controlling this reaction. The point that hit me the hardest? Learning to sit with the anger and disappointment of others.
3. Show us
The theme for Lent this year, according to Leader magazine, is “Show us.” This is also the theme for Goshen College’s Lent devotions, posted online every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Ash Wednesday to Easter. Allow these reflections to help you, as Leader says, “slow down and breathe in the life of Jesus.”
4. Polity of love
Something happened among Mennonites recently that I had been wondering about for some time. First Mennonite Church in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, is a dual-affiliated church, relating to both Illinois Mennonite Conference and Central District Conference. One conference has clear polity regarding pastors performing same-sex marriages, the other doesn’t. Recently, Michael Crosby, the pastor of the openly affirming church, married chaplain Laura Brenneman and her wife, Jo. Michael’s credentials are fine with Illinois Conference, Laura’s are not. If this is causing you some cognitive dissonance, you’re not the only one. Illinois conference cited the oft used line of defense, “not even all gay Christians agree on gay marriage.” No matter where you fall on the spectrum of beliefs regarding this situation, ask yourself, what is our polity surrounding love? What does forbearance look like?
5. Maraschino chocolate chip cookies
About twice a year, I have an argument with someone over the merits of Maraschino cherries. We usually end our heated conversation with agreeing to disagree. I think Maraschino cherries are delicious. Yes, they taste fake; yes, they remind me of banana splits; and yes, I could eat a whole bottle of them. For those of you who are fans but maybe don’t share my level of devotion, here is a recipe for Maraschino cherry chocolate chip cookies. Use as much or little of the offending fruit as you like. But as I said with the pumpkin spice craze, at least give it a chance.
Joanne Gallardo is pastor of faith formation at Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship in Goshen, Indiana.