18 Oct

Children and Bullying: The Social Economy and Third-Way Choices

Child's shoes on a sidewalk

“crocscircles,” photo by celinet, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license

There’s nothing like spending an entire year of your childhood perched on the edge of a sidewalk to put the damper on the boundless enthusiasm of youth.

This particular sidewalk, right outside the hall door from my third-grade classroom and at the edge of school property, represented for me the boundary between the forces of order and the forces of chaos.

I was a victim of bullying.

Now, Carl—not his real name, but the name I’ll use for him—Carl was my bully and stood out in my mind as a Neanderthal. He stood a full head-and-a-half above our third-grade peers, thick-framed with untamed, long hair. Carl, for reasons he never shared, picked me for his target that year. I lived only two blocks away from the school, but Carl would catch me after about a block, day-after-day, to knock me down and shake the contents of my backpack out on the ground.  It’s not like I gave Carl a run for his money.  I was a scrawny, asthmatic kid.  It got to the point where I would anticipate Carl’s arrival and throw myself down and empty my backpack myself to save him the trouble. Read More

30 Apr

Anne Lamott: Tell Your Story

A great word from writer Anne Lamott…sometime I’ll tell you how childhood bullying has affected me as an adult.

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should've behaved better.


02 Mar

Forgiveness is the currency of the Kingdom

An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind [mp3]

Mennonite Church of Normal Sermon: Sunday, February 27, 2011; Luke 6:27-36 & Romans 12:14-21
When Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you,” he meant it not as a suggestion, but as a command. This hard teaching of Jesus flies in the face of our society’s notion of justice, namely “getting even” with someone who does us wrong. While it may seem that forgiveness makes us weak, it turns out that forgiveness is the currency of the Kingdom and there is a great interest rate on loving your enemy.

For further study see these resources: