Into all our lives troubles come. Sometimes we feel so alone and discouraged, like there’s no way we’ll be able to get through it. But Jesus is someone who walks with us. All we need do is reach for His hand.
When trials and tribulations show up, we can turn to Him.
When storms come on and rough waters surround us, we can pray, pray, pray for God’s deliverance.
When we feel lost or overwhelmed by discouragement, God is still with us. Jesus doesn’t forsake us.
He comes and powerfully calms the storms. He quiets the waves and restores peace and order.
Sometimes we feel so hopeless and sad. But pray and trust in the Lord. Pray and trust.
Don’t lose hope. Help will arrive.
Sometimes we feel trapped, like there’s no solution. We’re in a box and there’s no way out.
But Jesus can bring a breath of fresh air. He or other people can point to solutions. Their walking with us helps us breathe easier.
Cry out for help! Let God and all the world know you’re hurting.
Help often comes when you least expect it. Sometimes from sources you’d never imagine.
Jesus himself will walk alongside you and comfort you, or sometimes the Holy Spirit comes by.
Light can show up in the darkest places, unusual places we weren’t thinking of. And we can be lights in the darkness too. We can reach out to help others going through. We can smile, or give a hug and show we care.
As the Lord Jesus taught us, it’s pretty simple: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22: 37-39).
Everyone is welcome in God’s Kingdom. It’s a place of peace, love, and justice. Equity too. You’ll also find joy and have lots of fun there! A good place to experience God’s love and the kingdom is at God’s table, where all can eat and give thanks together.
All people are invited and all are welcomed, with open arms, caring smiles, and acceptance.
The foundation of God’s kingdom is love, that we love God and other people completely. And we see that God loves us and our fellows do too.
It’s love that surrounds us and sustains everything in God’s awesome and amazing kingdom. Giving and receiving such love brings new life, true life that never gives up or leaves us.
This kingdom life is a brand new way, different from all we see clamoring around us, different from all that went before.
This new life is possible only in God’s kingdom, not in the world around us, so full of hate and greed, violence and terror, racism and injustice on every side.
In God’s community, we lose our focus on self–me, myself, I. We start working for the common good. Instead of “I” we begin thinking, behaving as “we.”
We start to help one another, embrace each other, begin to bear some of others’ burdens.
These great transformations come from Jesus’ teachings. Trying to follow him changes us. Forever.
A brand new life grows in us from the Lord’s tiny seeds he plants in our minds and hearts.
It’s like the big sheltering tree that grows out of a nearly invisible mustard seed.
Thanks be to God for the kingdom he gives us, where we are transformed and live lives full of purpose and joy, love, goodness and justice for all. Doesn’t a new kingdom life sound good to you? Ask God to enter in. Grab hold of his hand.
Hi there! I haven’t written in awhile–because my life has been very, very busy of late. You too? And so it has gone with life in the U.S. and throughout the world, I guess. Even today, time won’t permit me to write a lot. But I wanted to share with you a few kingdom- and equity-related images and just offer some brief words about each.
Above is my depiction of the Wall of Moms we saw in the Portland, Oregon, protests. These were moms and non-moms (but initially organized by a mom) who wanted to show up as a large group at the protests to form a wall of protection around the young protesters. “Moms are here! Feds stay clear!” was their chant. What a good, heartwarming sentiment and what a bold action! Hats off to you, moms of Portland and protectors of the vulnerable everywhere!
This image illustrates the second commandment Jesus gave us (after “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength”): Love your neighbor as yourself. There are so many ways to do this, and loving our neighbors is very much needed everywhere today. And so essential in God’s kingdom! Of course, the most important thing is to remember to do it, and do it even if it’s a little hard or awkward!
This drawing shows people and angels offering food and help (a hand up) to others. Let’s look for opportunities in our own lives to lift people up and make sure they have the food and other necessities of life they need. Let’s use our imaginations to figure out how to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly. YES, WE CAN!
When we stand up for justice and equity, we increase their presence and force in the world. Let’s keep on keeping on with work for equity and against racism that will “let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24)
We can proclaim liberty for ourselves and for others who are being held captive by racism, sexism, and other forms or oppression. When we show up to protect others, to love them, and to lift them up, we are helping defeat the forces that hold us and everybody down, and helping bring about the day when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a life-giving stream that never ends. Let’s do it whenever and wherever we can!
This story of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit, of receiving the divine help we need to do the very difficult work of growing equity and ending racism, is an ongoing journey and always being continued…
Many people today are asking, as the early followers of Jesus did, “What can we do?” St. Peter replied that the answer was to repent and be baptized, “and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” We are not saying that to do the work of antiracism everyone needs to repent, for clearly BIPOC people in the U.S. and around the world have been the victims of racism, colonialism, and white supremacy, not the benefactors at all! Those who need to repent are all who perpetuate and/or benefit from these wrongs, from white privilege and racist practices, whether willfully and actively or by their silence and complicity.
Nor are we saying that everyone needs to be baptized (though if you want to follow Jesus, it IS a very blessed, joyful, life-giving sacrament). My prayer is that everyone will hear the call of God and receive the gift of the Spirit for themselves, their family, their friends, and community. The life the people of The Way entered into after the Holy Spirit came to them was one of togetherness, teaching, sharing, and giving. They all prayed for, protected, and provided for each other “as any had need.” And “they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.” (Acts 2:44-47)
Included in this blog are a number of “art sheets” celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit into the lives of the early Jesus followers and into our lives to help us. Other images relating to the just, loving, bold community of The Way and to our own antiracism story are available in the previous blog, “The Coming of the Holy Spirit.” Feel free to print them out and color or paint them. Send us copies of your images if you’d like (we’d love to see them!) Or send photos of your own original artworks on any of these topics relating to doing justice, growing equity, and dismantling racism: firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s start a movement with our antiracist art and self-expression!
And they were—as we are trying to be—empowered to live lives of peace, justice, mercy—antiracism and equity—because of the grit and audacity, strength and power given to them by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit can help us always keep in mind the life and teachings of Jesus and also connect us with one another as a community of love, justice, understanding, and power, striving for equity and an end to racism. We want to act from and be about truth-telling, love, justice, and mutual understanding. We pray for Christ’s story of death and rebirth to give us courage, hope, and inspiration. And we need divine power to be with and be transformed by our rage and grief–and our frequently not knowing what to do or how to go about it.
The disciples and early followers of The Way were visited by powerful forces of nature: strong winds and flames of fire. These forces (the Holy Spirit in action) brought them the ability to understand what other people were saying, even when they spoke different languages. Also the passion, desire, and commitment to teach and tell others—without ceasing—about Jesus’ teachings and the kingdom of God he proclaimed. It is often said we need to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. In this work especially, we need the power and encouragement of the Holy Spirit to strengthen, embolden, and uplift us.
Included in this blog are a number of “art sheets” celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit into the lives of the early Jesus followers and into our lives to help us. Feel free to print them out and color or paint them. Send us copies of your images if you’d like (we’d love to see them!) Or send photos of your own original artworks on any of these topics of relating to doing justice, growing equity, and dismantling racism: email@example.com. Let’s start a movement with our antiracist art and self-expression!
This story of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit, of receiving the divine help we need to do the tough work of growing equity and ending racism, is ongoing and always to be continued… Look for more in our upcoming blog, The Coming of the Holy Spirit 2.
What are we working for and building up in Equity Kingdom? Our mission is to grow equity and racial justice everywhere, and to be the love and justice of God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. In communities that reflect God’s kingdom here on earth.
Racism pervades nearly every feature of life in the U.S. and other countries too. Our goal is to transform these unjust, racist aspects of life and to dismantle systemic racism and the pain, loss, trauma, and death it causes. Our focus is especially on truly safe neighborhoods for all, affordable health and healthcare for all, and free education for all at all levels. Our educational mission is to work toward free public education that supports all students at all levels for success in their programs/chosen fields, and eliminates racist disparities in access, affordability, school resources and quality, and graduation rates.
But how to make changes in education as we know it and bring about these antiracist educational goals? Of course, whether we’re students, parents, teachers, or staff, we need to be involved at the schools we are part of and try to organize for change. We must truly listen to each other, share our own points of view, and start to acknowledge and validate one another’s perspectives. For me, I know there is much unlearning to do along with the learning so important to understanding each other better. Only after unlearning what is unjust, racist, and wrong in our thinking can we begin to bring wholly new ideas, discussion, and curricula to the table, to talk about equity, justice, antiracism, biases and stereotypes in ways that will be helpful in community building and community decision-making.
To begin, shouldn’t we also deeply listen to our young people and all people? To really understand what’s in their hearts and on their minds? We all—people of all races, genders, ages, cultures, and backgrounds—are made in God’s image and deserve to be honored, treasured, uplifted, and treated with respect. We all need to be supported and encouraged to develop our human potential and follow our dreams and goals. And education in many different aspects and forms has a key role in fulfilling this mission.
Many cities across the U.S. are beginning to look at their budgets to reassess and reallocate monies that have been going to law enforcement; they are starting to ask how these funds could better serve the community. Let’s think especially about education. We want to advocate for and put in place policy changes that provide resources, programs, and funding to bring free quality education to everyone who wants it (including at the preschool and post-secondary levels) and provide every kind of helpful supplemental program to assist people in graduating from high school, college, or other programs they want to pursue.
One of the greatest teachers ever was Jesus. His disciples called him Teacher, and so did the multitudes of his day, as well as billions of people after his death and resurrection, continuing throughout the generations and millennia since then until now. Jesus taught us so very much about life and how to live it. But, first and foremost, he taught about love. He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
What about how we treat our neighbors and other community folk? Jesus taught, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31) He also said, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. (Mark 10:14) Let’s never forget that the kingdom of God belongs not only to us today but to all the children, grandchildren, and people of the future. I pray that our actions and decisions we take today and in the days to come will be acceptable in God’s sight and will stand the test of time.
A question to keep asking in our country and communities is Why in the world do we continue viewing and treating people of different races differently?!? Why in our world are some privileged over others? Why do white people receive more of the good things of life and get special benefits, perks, and decent treatment, while black and brown sisters and brothers are denied material blessings, even life’s necessities, and cast aside, often brutalized and killed? So many times in our nation (and our schools), we place multiple obstacles in people’s paths, limitations on what we believe they should aspire to and accomplish, and what students can imagine and achieve, We’ve pinned on others stereotyped messages of inferiority, low expectations, and failure. When will we stand up and recognize their God-given talents, strong minds, kind hearts? When will we truly encourage self-esteem and confidence in all our children and every person?
These things are, after all, the birthright of all people the world over, as children of the most high God. In Equity Kingdom, we look to and work toward the day when “creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Romans 8:19)
In all our work, and especially our mission of education—of learning and unlearning—we employ traditional tools of civic engagement, community involvement and organizing, marches and protests, as well as voting. But we also bring the nontraditional self-expressive experiences of the visual arts, writing, drama, dance/movement, play, as well as artistic/creative parades, processions and protests. (In this spirit, I want to encourage anyone who’s so inclined to print out the line drawings on our site and in blog posts, and “become like children,” color or paint them in any way you’re moved to. Or better yet, make your own drawings and paintings. We would love to see what you come up with! You can send them to me, Artista Anni, at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can hardly wait to check them out!)
In Equity Kingdom, we try to keep in mind the old saying, “Each one teach one.” Also Jesus, the good shepherd, who left 99 sheep who were safe and secure and went to bring back into the fold one sheep who was in danger. We find that the transformational activities we engage in, in our workshops, connections with each other, and other community events can open everyone’s hearts and imaginations to new visions, dreams, and goals. We find that insight, wisdom, courage, and commitment are often awakened and encouraged too.
This picture and its biblical text remind us of the importance of Jesus’ teachings and all that he has said to us. (John 14:26) We are reminded too of the gift of the Holy Spirit, who comforts us, teaches us and connects us with each other. In thinking on equity, keep in mind: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” (Romans 8:14). And “the kingdom of God is … righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17)
Be well! And stay tuned for new posts coming soon about the Holy Spirit and how it can help us love and honor one another, and together build an equitable world.
Everybody wants to feel safe. No one wants to be afraid or to have their family, friends, or neighbors feel anxiety or fear in their neighborhood or their home. In theory, this is why we live together in community: to help and protect each other. And some would say this is why laws are passed and enforced, to help keep people safe who are “doing the right thing.”
And yet our cities in the U.S, and many other places around the country and the world, are not safe at all. On far too many streets and street corners, there is gun violence, police brutality and murder, racist and gender-related attacks and killings, school shootings, raids on and arrests of immigrants. Not only in the streets, but in our workplaces and homes too, there is more violence: abuse and/or oppression of children, women, elders, people living in poverty, transgender folks, undocumented persons…
George Floyd wasn’t safe in his community, nor was Ahmaud Arbery or Rayshard Brooks. Neither were Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin, and so many others… Breonna Taylor wasn’t safe in her home, nor was Atatiana Jefferson or Aiyana Jones, and so many others…. They couldn’t breathe. They weren’t allowed to live out their lives. There are so many, many other victims of racist violence and murder. It is important to know their names and their stories. Say their names (see saytheirnames.com) So many BIPOC men and women have been murdered, killed unjustly by the systemic racism that infects every aspect of life in the U.S. Demand justice! We need to demand equity now!
No human beings want to live under this stress and violence. None can grow and thrive and live out their dreams amid this reign of terror and fear. But also, most importantly, all this abuse, violence, and savagery is part of systemic racism in the U.S. It affects blacks, indigenous folks, and other people of color disproportionately, in vastly lopsided and excessive numbers. Equity demands that we turn these inequalities around, transform the toxic, traumatic, and barbarous environment surrounding so many of us, and not stop our work and organizing until all people in our country are safe in their neighborhoods, workplaces, and homes. We declare that we ALL must be able to live in safe, just, unbiased, and peaceful communities, not just those with white privilege.
God knows our need to feel safe and promises us safety in many places in scripture: “The beloved of the Lord rests in safety—the High God surrounds him all day long—the beloved rests between [God’s] shoulders.” (Deuteronomy 33:12) And speaking of our communities, the Lord declares, “You shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your households together, rejoicing in all the undertakings in which the Lord your God has blessed you.” (Deuteronomy 33:7)
God tells us also how one day we’ll be able to live without violence, anxiety and fear, together in safety and peace: “They shall live in safety in [the community], and shall build houses and plant vineyards. They shall live in safety, when I execute judgments upon all their neighbors who have treated them with contempt. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God.” (Ezekiel 28:26)
But often many of us want to ask, “So what is God waiting for?” And when is “one day” going to come? How can we work toward and hasten the day when all people will live in safety and not need to be afraid? And what can we do to end the racism and inequity that causes Blacks and other people of color to bear the brunt of the violence rampant throughout U.S. society and to be denied the protections routinely afforded white people?
In many neighborhoods and cities across the country, people, movements, and organizations are starting to reclaim and rebuild their communities. We applaud these efforts and their ongoing work. It is the work of doing justice and of being God’s kingdom here and now. We remember and hope and pray for God’s proclamation of safety in Ezekiel: “The trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase. [People] shall be secure on their soil … they shall live in safety, and no one shall make them afraid.” (Ezekiel 34:27-28)
With a vision of the great worth and sacredness of each person, and looking to and trusting in God, it is our prayer that we will be able to build community, do justice, grow equity, and be God’s kingdom on earth. We are working for and moving toward the day when this promise of God will be true for ALL people throughout the U.S. and everywhere: “You will be confident, because there is hope; you will look around you and lie down secure; you will rest, and no one will make you afraid. Many will seek your favor.” (Job 11:18-19)
Hi there. Welcome to Equity Kingdom! I’m Anni, the founder of Equity Kingdom and maker of most of the artwork seen on this site. A white female, now an elder and granny, I have been an antiracist, artist, and writer since childhood. Throughout my life, I’ve tried to listen and learn from everyone I meet and share what I learn with the people I encounter along the way. I love to explore ideas about equity, race, justice, and peace with people of all ages, races, and cultural backgrounds. I believe that much of the learning (and unlearning) we need to do related to equity and racial justice happens best in community with other people, often in nonverbal ways, through spiritual reflection, art and other forms of creative expression, visioning, and play.
I’ve long been an antiracist, marching and protesting against systemic inequities, learning, teaching, and organizing around institutional racism for several decades. But when George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020, my reaction, like that of so many people, was immediate, visceral, and impassioned: We have to do something! We must stop this and all kinds of police brutality and racist murder of blacks, which has happened over and over for hundreds of years in the U.S. No more! Enough is enough! We cannot unsee or forget this outrageous, horrific disregard for human life! It was suddenly overwhelmingly clear that we need to go beyond our reactions of the past and take strong steps to dismantle and put an end to racism NOW.
To this work I bring my background as a white antiracist artist, writer, and teacher, and the experiences of racist abuse of people in my interracial family and circle of friends. Add to these the atrocious record of systemic racism against Black Americans and people of color around the globe, also the Christian, moral values of racial equity, love, justice, and God’s kingdom. This combined mix of powerful elements has become the community antiracism approach I call “Equity Kingdom.”
Equity Kingdom focuses on equity, racial justice, and community through the lens of God’s kingdom as described in the Bible. We use the visual and dramatic arts, play, and various forms of creative expression, along with scripture, to transform our understanding and vision of racial equity and loving our neighbors. We also draw on the literary arts and inspirational activities to serve people of all ages, races, and backgrounds with community explorations of racial justice and equity through
Creative parades, processions, and protests
Bible study and scripture illustration
Prayer and other spiritual practices
Make yourself at home, and explore our site. Participate in antiracist and visioning workshops; check out our antiracism resources; join a creative procession or protest; create equity artwork, publications, and play experiences; and work together with us on the various equity projects and missions we support. Join us and lend your voice, your talents, your ideas, and your vision to this community of love and justice, Equity Kingdom, as we work to dismantle racism while we do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.