Going for the Goal! {#WorldCupWives}

April 24, 2014

It seems Billy has interpreted my World Cup Wives project as the dawn of an actual interest in the World Cup. He keeps trying to talk to me about the upcoming games, and he recently suggested we watch “The Road to Brazil” on… get this… a special soccer channel that has recently appeared on our television.

He just kept saying, “Look, there’s Maradona. Look at him go!” as this man from the 80s dribbled (that’s the right word, right? I’m a basketball girl!) up the field.

To which I responded, “Wow… look at his shorts!” That’s a trend I certainly hope never returns.

But I do love me some hype, which is one of the reasons I introduced Billy to this World Cup game from Coca-Cola® on the Dollar General website.

Basically, you get to take a turn playing the striker (which is not, as I originally thought, like a bully who leg sweeps people, but what I would just call “the kicker”) and the goalie. I am terrible at this game.

Of course, it’s hard to concentrate when someone is squatting beside you, hovering and waiting for his turn. When I abdicated the keyboard, I couldn’t figure out why he was looking at me until I was like, “Oh yeah, here’s my chair, too.”

But the game is simple. You try to slide the ball to kick it past the goalie before you take a turn moving yourself as the goalie back and forth to block your opponent’s goal attempts.

So the hubs had some fun trying to advance his beloved Argentina through the “Going for the Goal!” game. Naturally, I liked that it includes digital applause when you score.

I have a feeling our own “Road to Brazil” will involve more of the Coca-Cola® game and, of course, Coke itself. Well, maybe not for the kiddos... We’ll have to let them try the new Tropical Mango POWERADE®.

Give the game a try and let me know if you’re able to score! Of course, what I really want to know is which team you choose? Any other Argentina fans out there?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. However, I only share products or services I think will interest my readers. The opinions are all mine.    

Standing on Church Bridges

April 21, 2014

When we choose cross-cultural marriage, we have chosen to become people on a bridge between divides. Whether we like or not. Whether we meant to or not, we no longer “fit” easily into the cultural norms for individual groups.

One of the areas where this reality seems to be most challenging for many couples is church. Unfortunately.

We’re all familiar with the situation. That often quoted, heart-breaking statement about the most segregated hour of the week.

While many of us are connecting in at congregations with space for us all, most of us are admitting that we will not grow old in congregations similar to those in which we were raised. There’s the reality that we’ve chosen a third way.

Multicultural families are standing on the bridge between cultures, reminding us that there is another way to love God together.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m still moving through the book Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes. Over and over again, I’ve been amazed when it’s pointed out how my cultural background has influenced my understanding of the Bible. My marriage has opened by eyes countless times to this same truth and has served to expand my view of God.

When we talk about racial division or reconciliation in the church, we often hear how its an opportunity for the church to be a witness in a world that hurts and wounds one another in the area of race. And I believe that. It is certainly an opportunity to testify to God’s restorative power and the call to unity.

So maybe I’m just selfish, but over time, I have been drawn back to multicultural faith because I have seen that when I only worship with those who are like me, I only see one sliver of such a big God. I have found so much awe and peace in the fullness of God. And I have discovered so much excitement and adventure in the the reality that after spending my whole life seeking God, there is more of God to know.

Perhaps the best way to collate my thoughts is to say that I see both individual and collective benefits to pursuing a more diverse body of Christ. For me, I come to know God in new and powerful ways. For the body, we experience God’s redemption of pain unleashed by the fall.

So what do we do to bridge these divides? After all, everyone and their mother has been talking about this topic for quite some time.

Well, I won’t claim to have the perfect answer. My response is simply to make the first move. Go to a church that’s different from how you grew up. It doesn’t have to be a total 180. I think for many of us, something too far outside our comfort zone won’t be sustainable.

In my experience, I’ve been to a couple churches that actually had much in common with my church of origin. The main difference was the background of the congregants, and I was moved by some of the ways their experiences influenced their faith.

We cannot sit back and claim to be ready for unity. We cannot simply say we are waiting for “everyone else” to desire unity. What is often the underlying message there is that we want unity when it means that others come to us.

We must walk humbly, step out and join our brothers and sisters. We must choose to bridge the divide. And sometimes it may mean a bit of loss: pieces of our identity, our traditions, or even letting go of some of the ways we believe when presented with a different view of our God.

Still, I believe that God desires for the Church to be united. And we must take that first step onto the bridge.

Where do you see divides in the church? What steps are you taking to build bridges?

This post is part of the April 2014 Synchroblog: Bridging the Divide. Here is the full list of posts: 

What Divergent Taught Me About Raising Bicultural Kids

April 17, 2014

Clearly, the Divergent book (and now amazing movie) is about race and ethnicity. No, just kidding. I don’t think it is. Or is it?

Well, it does offer some interesting perspective about how much comfort people gain by categorizing people.

For those of you who have no idea what Divergent is, I’ll give a quick, Sarah-fied recap. Post-destruction Chicago. A mythical past of an America torn apart by war. A desire to purify human nature by dividing society into five factions, each one focusing on a positive human attribute.

Amity faction exudes kindness. Dauntless are brave. The smart ones are Erudite and the selfless are Abnegation. Finally, Candor are honest. The Divergent, however, do not fit neatly into one of these categories according to the society’s fail-proof serum test.

The leader of the Candor, Jeanine Matthews, says, “The future belongs to those who know where they belong.”

When the main character, Tris, is labeled Divergent, she is told, “You’re different. You don’t fit into a category. They can’t control you.”

In general, categories make us feel comfortable. We use them as shortcuts in our brains to help us understand the world.

But this gravitation towards factions does reinforce the point that my children, who may identify with a several different cultural groups (white Latino, American, Guatemalan, and 2nd generation immigrants for starters), may feel uncomfortable. Or maybe… the more frustrating reality is that their multiculturalism may make other people uncomfortable.

It’s like the man looking at my white husband and exhausting his list of explanations why a white guy would have an accent and say he’s Guatemalan. When Billy responded “no” to all his questions about missionary-status, all he could say was, “There’s something you’re not telling me.”

Divergents threaten the system.

People who don’t easily fit into our categories can make others uncomfortable. Sometimes they experience dismissal: “Oh, you’re not really black.” They might be excluded from all groups like the Faction-less in Divergent. Or they may be confronted with confusion or abandonment when people walk away, unsure of how to understand someone outside their paradigm.

Typically, the multicultural divergent find each other: missionary kids, immigrants, biracial/bicultural kids, etc. Countries of origin may be different, but the experiences overlap enough to offer community.

But I am constantly inspired, interested and encouraged to see how much those of us who don’t fit easily into a category are growing in number. (And I include myself because while I may ace the census with clear responses, I have a divergent heart.)

This cool National Geographic project shows some images at what our future multicultural society will look like. So maybe Divergents don’t threaten the system. Maybe we are building a new system.

A Fútbol Love Story {#WorldCupWives}

April 14, 2014

There once was a boy.

And he held a remote.

And that's how soccer (or fútbol, for the purists among us) entered our lives.

Katie and I are excited about those of you who've already signed up for our summer fun with World Cup Wives. The first newsletter has gone out, so if you're in for the good times, make sure you join us!

We wanted to introduce ourselves in this first video post and share the debut of soccer into our lives. Enjoy!

(Note: If you're reading this via email or RSS, you may need to click here to watch the video.)

What's your fútbol love story? We'd love to hear how soccer was introduced to your marriage or some of your stand-out moments.

Share in the comments or, if you're a blogger, share a link to your own #WorldCupWives video or post! And sign up below to join our WCW community!

Image Credit: Rama V, CC

See all the World Cup Wives posts here.

7 Tips for Cross-Cultural Conversation

April 10, 2014

We desire to be culturally savvy. Right? I know I do.

I want to interact with folks who are different from me and say the right things, convey my genuine interest and make others feel welcomed and cared for. That's what I want.

Our family has lived in a predominately Central American and Mexican community in South Los Angeles, a tourist district of Buenos Aires, L.A.'s Filipinotown and our current, predominately African-American neighborhood of Atlanta. We've returned countless times to my small-town home in Kentucky and to my husband's hometown, Guatemala City.

All these cultural exchanges have offered me ample opportunity to stick my foot in my mouth.

And I'm so grateful for the friendships that have repeatedly offered me grace... and taught me a few lessons along the way.

At the end of the day, I know I'm not alone. Perhaps, like me, you have a heart for multicultural relationships and you hope to engage these friendships with grace and dignity.

Therefore, I want to share a couple tips I've gleaned on this journey. These suggestions are collected from my personal experiences. I hope they will benefit you as you move through this multicultural world and enjoy a beautiful mosaic of friendships.

This is the introduction to a short guide I wrote entitled Why I Don't Ask "Where are you from?" {7 Tips for Cross-Cultural Conversation}. Get yours for free when you subscribe!

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