Liberation is a praxis: the action and reflection of [people] upon their world in order to transform it.

– Paulo Freire

My faith changed the moment I learned that Jesus’ purpose on earth was to overturn systems of oppression. There was no way around this revolutionary love, which evolves into revolutionary action. And the road to agitate, to disrupt, to challenge systemic oppression is long, difficult, and, at times, lonely. It is a road less traveled, and I’ve found myself wondering if it’s worth it.

As I reflect this Lenten season in preparation for Easter, I invite you to join us as we explore various topics and demonstrate some of the ways that we as a community, along with we as individuals prop up systemic oppression and social injustices. Now in our third year, we at Diverging offer weekly reflections from brave souls within our PAAC community to bring us into the revolutionary nature of what it means to follow Jesus — an invitation to turn our world upside down with courageous love.

Let us ask the questions together, and be transformed as we hold space for and stand in solidarity with our siblings across a multitude of communities. What does it mean to give up our privilege? How do we gently (and not gently) call one another in to bring revolution in our communities so that we can see a transformed world?

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

– Isaiah 58:6-7 (NRSV)

Prayer

May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships,
So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done,
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

Lent Editorial Team

This would not be possible without our amazing leaders and editors for their hard work and dedication! Big thanks to our editors (read about them below!) — Grace Chan McKibben, Grace Park, Raya Kuo, Violet Lee, and Virginia Duan; Diverging Liturgy Editor-in-Chief Symphony for her constant support and input (I had SO MANY questions); and most of all, the 12+ writers and artists for sharing rich reflections and opportunities to create change.

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Grace Chan McKibben (she/her) is executive director of a civic education and community mobilization organization in Chicago. Born in Hong Kong, she still keeps in touch with her home city via family and friends. She and her husband Tom have been married for 28 years and have four young adult children. When she is not working or volunteering, she can be found singing, cooking, baking, reading, and crafting.

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Grace Park (she/her) is a senior, studying Secondary Education English at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, but her heart for people extends beyond the high-school classroom into the arts. Grace is a musician/song-writer (@over.whelmedbygrace), aspiring to decolonize worship music as a Korean-American in the Church, through theology and practice.

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Raya Kuo (she/her) is a 1.5 gen Taiwanese-American working in NYC. She grew up in a Taiwanese evangelical-ish church, and is learning to love and liberate as a progressive Christian. On weekdays she thinks deeply about how tech can address societal issues; on weekends she paints, cooks, and treks out to the laundromat. Her faith journey is confusing, hard, dynamic, and frequently makes her pause in wonder.

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Violet Lee (she/her) is part of the 2nd generation Chinese diaspora, and she is a massive nerd at heart. She can often be found drinking coffee, reading programming textbooks and liberation theology, and hosting dinner parties.

Virginia Duan (she/her) is a writer incapable of writing in brief. She swears. A lot. She loves the injudicious use of ALLCAPS, is #teamoxfordcomma, and always stans BTS. You can find her work on various sites like Romper and Mom.com. She’s the Entertainment Section Editor and a Staff Writer at Mochi magazine and chronicles her mishaps at Mandarin Mama.

  • Sushi Au (she/her/they/them) is in constant search of adventure and growth, finding home wherever she goes. Sushi loves experiencing new cultures and connecting with people, which means leaving pieces of their heart around the world. When not moving around or out in the wild, Sushi contemplates intersectionalities of identities; social justice and love; ways to leave the world a better place; home and belonging; how vests function; and what peak to climb/hike/backpack next.

  • Symphony (she/her) manages communications and PR for a nonprofit at the intersection of public health, urban planning, and the built environment. She lives in Brooklyn, NY but her heart is really for Manhattan’s Chinatown. Her current side projects are cheers to the mess and the Thin Heart Brigade (coming soon!). She is a plant mom and has recently picked up Chinese calligraphy.