Systems of Separation

This week, we’re joined by Rev. Michael S. Chen, with Linda Royster, MA co-hosting alongside Dr. Dan AllenderAs we lean in to listening to one another’s voices, we’re examining the impact of the oppressive systems on our individual and collective stories, and naming the more subtle systems of division, comparison, stereotypes, fear, and distrust that may impact our ability to truly listen.

Why are these conversations so important? As Michaen Chen points out, without the perspectives of others who also bear the image of God, we will have an impoverished view of who God is.

Further Listening:

About our Guest:

Michael S. Chen (M.Div, Princeton Seminary) is currently a PhD student at Eastern University in Marriage and Family Therapy. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Rachael, and their three children. He currently works for the Impact Movement, a college ministry dedicated to developing Black students. With nearly 20 years in ministry, his focus has been on pastoral counseling of individuals and couples through anxiety, addiction, self-esteem, differentiation within family systems, racial identity development, and issues surrounding calling and vocation. In the future, he hopes to develop the concept of trauma-informed campus ministry. He recently completed the Allender Center Externship, and has begun facilitating story groups. For fun he enjoys spontaneous dance parties, coaching little league baseball, and recently achieved status of Legend Trainer in the GO Battle League of Pokémon GO.

Episode Transcript:

Dan: The conversation of how, particularly for those in a white world who identify as a white person, how we engage, a world different than ours when there is such proclivity to either assimilate other worlds or ignore, or be far more dismissive in a very, direct and antagonistic way. That’s part of the conversation that we began with Linda Royster, Linda, welcome. Again, I will say that as a member of the leadership team at the all center as a therapist, as a trainer teacher, and overall, is just a very wise woman. It is a delight to have you back.

Linda: Thank you. It’s a privilege to, to join again.

Dan: And we have a guest who’s been on before, but I think deserves another lovely introduction. Michael Chen, Michael. Good to have you with us, Michael.

Michael: Thank you.

Dan: Is a doctoral student in marriage and family at Eastern University works for Impact Movement. And generally is just, I don’t know. I mean, it’s probably not a very helpful way of putting it, but just sort of like the essence of human coolness. Would you agree with that, Michael?

Michael: I would not, that would not be the top of my list necessarily of…

Dan: But you have had to have heard that before, right? I’m not the first ever…

Michael: Heard similar things.

Dan: Okay. So let’s just say there’s some degree of uniformity, of perspective, but way more than the interesting things that you do. There’s just a very interesting presence. I was gonna say thing, but that’s crazy. A very interesting presence that is right. And we also need to say that you are the partner/spouse of the beloved co-host who’s on maternity leave. Rachael Clinton Chen, and you guys have had some changes.

Michael: Yeah, just last week, we welcomed to the world Evelyn Grace Chen and we have been out of our minds with delight, exhaustion, joy, flooded with all sorts of hormones. And just over the moon, I think, at her arrival. We’ve just been, even in a short week and a half, you know, feels like a rollercoaster of emotions, feelings, sensations, feeling the, the fragility of, you know, the, the newborn days we ended up in the ER, eight hours after we were discharged. They were sort of afraid of dehydration. But everything is fine. She’s gaining weight, she’s sleeping a lot better now and yeah, we’re, we’re just so delighted.

Dan: Well, and how are your boys? How is Racheal if we… we’re gonna get to this important topics, but I just, I don’t think, I don’t think most of our listeners can bear just jumping in without hearing a little bit more.

Michael: Oh, she’s doing so well. Phenomenal. Such a natural mother. Just her beauty and radiance has just struck me in so many different moments of, just quiet moments, some frantic moments as well, but… And our boys, you know, 10 year old Silas has just so ached and longed for like a little sibling. And, the first time holding her, he started crying and he is like, this is the first time I think I’ve ever cried tears of joy.

Dan: Oh Gosh, what a…

Michael: To be there, to be there, to witness that, really sweet, really precious. So we look forward just for, to see them grow up together and, go on adventures together. And this is yeah, really beautiful.

Dan: Well, I have never heard you anything but profoundly co coherent, but, you know, given, given the nature that we’re asking you a week and a half after the arrival of Evelyn to be talking about a pretty complex and difficult topic, whatever portions might feel a little less on your part than you would wish the absence of sleep certainly does have an effect, nonetheless.

Michael: Yeah. Such profound weighty topics. It’s a, it’s a lifetime conversation together.

Dan: Thank goodness. Well, I wanna just return, and ask you Linda and I’ll do the same just where we were and what we’re inviting Michael into.

Linda: Sure. So the primary statement that we’re engaging is why it’s important to listen to the marginalized. And in our last podcast, we talked about just kind of the bias and the statement in itself. It kind of reveals a particular perspective or lens, as to, why it’s important to listen to the marginalized. And we talked a little bit about one being part of a so-called marginalized community. I don’t find it anything extraordinarily odd or wild to listen to my community. Of course, we listen to the people in my context, in my community. And so part of what we named at the outset of the last podcast was just identifying that we will shift through perspectives in this podcast as we did in the last. And sometimes there will be the so-called, perspective of, of white folks that will sit at the center and then it will be perspectives of BIPOC communities that might sit at the center. And so we just wanted to folks to have kind of be prepared for the shifting that we will move through as we talk about why it’s important to listen to each other. And we talk through like some components of, what we noticed in the story of the woman at the Samaritan woman, the woman at the well, and what we observe and the interaction between, this particular woman in Jesus and how we can, what can we observe of that interaction that feels important for how we live into our worlds, on a day to day. And then lastly, we end it with some ideas, some thoughts of why we think it’s important to listen. We name humility as being important and important requirement to listen to the so-called other, acknowledging that we have need is important. And having a willingness to mature, as are, are all important components to help us listen well and recognize the importance of listening to others.

Dan: Yeah, and the, the only thing I added that to me feels important to join with what you said is context evolves meaning, and without understanding context, truth is not truth alone as if it stands utterly apart from the reality of incarnation, living in a particular world time place in a particular body. So the fact that many Christians approach truth as if it doesn’t bear a context, and we didn’t go into this, but things like a feminist voice needs to be present in order to disrupt something of the inevitable power of patriarchy. So without a feminist view of certain realities, we’re going to have a kind of overarching view that actually is from a context, but also from a context that often excludes other voices. So whether it is a feminist voice, whether it is indeed a queer voice, whether it is, a racial voice, et cetera. So to step back and to go, we may not understand, we may not agree, but there has to be that humility to say, I don’t stand at the center. There has to be a passing of the mic and again, that’s a poor metaphor, but there has to be a sense in which white, older men who were the ones when I went to seminary who wrote the books, and this is an embarrassing moment to say, I remember the day that somebody in seminary said Augustine was not a white man. And I remember looking at him like what? And the guy said, where did he operate? And I said, in north Africa, even then I didn’t put the two plus two together. And yet the assumption without it being judgemental was, I’m primarily being taught by white, old dead men. And to realize that one of the key figures was a north African opened again, that blindness, like, I, the fact I was shocked by that is in and of itself such an indication of implicit bias. So with all that Michael jump in, where’s your mind going?

Michael: The question of, of mutuality, I think, um, is certainly at the center of, uh, kind of like what we need to understand to think more deeply as followers of Jesus and one of the quotations, I think that has one of the thoughts that has helped me from Bonhoeffer. And I’ll read it here and maybe we can discuss a bit from Life Together, in a Christian community. He says, “Everything depends upon whether each individual is an indispensable link in a chain. Only when even the smallest link is securely interlocked is the chain unbreakable. Every Christian community must realize that not only do the weak need the strong, but also that the strong cannot exist without the weak, the elimination of the weak is the death of the fellowship.” So in a sense there, I think he’s saying we, we actually need one another in a very profound way, um, that we’ve sort of relegated, what we would consider weak to the margins, excising them, sort of keeping them, keeping certain communities at bay. Not realizing that there is a certain death, there’s a certain cost, in not being that unbreakable chain where differences, are actually intermingled and interlocked in a, in a very profound and significant way. And so it really, if each cultural expression, each collective expression bears something of the image of God, then without that expression, without that voice, without that perspective, I actually have a very impoverished view of who God is. And there’s a certain death in that. There’s a certain loss in that, it’s certain impoverishment, that comes from that. And so my view of God actually remains very small, emaciated. And so it really is with sort of intentionality and putting ourselves into places that require us to be, interlocked with one another, to see one another, to be dependent on one another. I think this is, getting at the meaning of what Christ came to do.

Dan: Years ago, a good friend who was involved in I’ll use the broader euphemism prison ministry, engaged by going to be of help engaged folks. And it became clear as he described the first several encounters with the folks that he was ministering to, that he thought he was there to help. But what he began to gain a sense of is that he had something to offer as all human beings to, but there was a wisdom among those he was serving where he began to put words to the fact of how patronizing he had entered into that work. And when he realized soon in that he was actually gaining so much more from the care from the engagement and from the wisdom of those men than what he was offering. And that when that shift began to occur is when the impact of his own life on them changed, particularly. So when you walk in, we know this, we know this to the Nth degree when you walk in to be of help, even though it’s a legitimate and deep desire, if you’re not there to be helped, that’s what I’m gaining. Again, from that brilliant quote from Bonhoeffer.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely.

Linda: Part of, part of what I begin to wonder with the quote that you read, is that I begin to wonder about why does mutuality begin to feel so threatening, to some communities, because what you describe sounds beautiful on the one hand and totally doable and preferable, but for some, it is incredibly threatening and, and I’m wondering why do you sense that, that to be the case?

Michael: It’s a, I think really profound question. Like I actually actually been wondering about, and what I love so much about the Allender Center is that we’ve been talking about stories, stories, not only of our individual lives, but much more so now collective stories and, you know, what is it about the story of a community where the narratives of scarcity, you know, has come to override a narrative of fear, has so come to override anything else. And, you know, can we trace out to the extent possible with grief, with curiosity where trauma has actually brought a sense of scarcity and fear, that any entrance of the other might threaten our own existence as a collective reality? What are those things that cannot be spoken of, that remain, in the fragmentary nature of memory, of story, can we unearth, can we excavate, can we actually talk about those things, that have produced, so much fear and hatred, xenophobia, exclusionary laws, et cetera.

Linda: So, what I’m hearing in the background of that is the sense that we, or there’s some communities that secure a very, precarious sense of safety and any kind of tinkering with that. It becomes a threat of the threat of grief, the threat of displacement, the threat of moving from abundance to scarcity, all of that begins to get activated when a very, very fragile sense of security, starts to be poked.

Michael: Right. Right.

Dan: Not to take us off, but life is way more fragile than what most of us want to account. Michael, just, I didn’t realize that you had gone back into the emergency room, and as soon as I heard that, it’s just something like, oh, no, something has in, in some sense, marred, even the glory of Evelyn’s birth by that threat. So the fragility that you named as the reality, I think for most of us, we spent a good portion of our lives, trying to escape mortality, reality of death, the reality of poverty, et cetera, cetera, cetera. Yet, the other reality for me is what’s it like when you don’t have a scapegoat, part of security is built on the power power to not be at fault, to have explanations for personal, relational, familial cultural problems that we can then dump on someone else versus bearing in some sense, the primary response ability is the log in my own eye. And even though that passage in Matthew seven, it is between you and another human being. I think the reality is that it’s a structure to be looked at. Do I take the log out of my eye first, making the assumption, whatever the problem is, I’ve got the log, you’ve got this speck. That even though it is so built into the warp and woof of scripture and how we are to engage when it actually comes down to, I can’t find my keys and Becky’s at fault, as small matter, if we then extrapolate that into a larger cultural, we need, or so it seems scapegoats and often the other becomes the useful dumping ground for our unaddressed issues.

Michael: Yeah. When trauma, traumatized people live in that sense of unresolved, with the unresolved nature of, of these wounds and they have power, it becomes so detrimental, to people, on the margins or even even the creation, the entrenchment of people in the margins. So it is really important here to talk about power and the nature of power in these conversations.

Dan: And for me, one of the things I’ve learned from both of you is how whiteness has set up a kind of inherent conflict between, those of Asian descent and African American descent. And that, again, it may not be the newest idea. I think I have known something of that reality, but actually seeing it play out where the model of minority is used. Often the phrase used for those of Asian descent often then are contrasted with African American, who haven’t succeeded as significantly as the Asian community. And then how the conflict then that gets set up between, an Asian world and an African American world, then often somehow takes the focus off of who again, when I say the word create, it’s not like somebody went and planned this and executed it, but how systems evolve is systems work for those who are at the power core center, I’d love for both of you to respond.

Linda: Sure. Well, you know, the, the statement, that African Americans haven’t succeeded as much as Asian Americans, I, you know, that lands, that lands with me, in an very uncomfortable, uncomfortable way. And I don’t know if that’s a true, I don’t know if that’s a true statement, but what comes to mind for me is that the barriers that have been put in place for African Americans is really the difference. Not that African Americans don’t have success or don’t have great success across the board. I think that some of the barriers that have been put into place and to keep African Americans from moving to places of success are, sometimes deeper, wider, longer standing. And that I don’t want to move into comparing the trauma. The trauma that Asian American folks have experiences. I don’t wanna compare. I don’t wanna compare that. And yet I do want to acknowledge that there have been profound barriers put in place. Um, and so, yeah, so the model minority myth, in conjunction with African Americans being considered the bottom of the rung, least desirable group of people to identify with, it’s both a misuse, a profound misuse and a profound evil. And so being considered as part of the model, minority will allow for a certain kind of success because through the misuse and the power of naming it pressures, it pressures this group to perform in the myth so that some success or peace, although it might be a false sense of peace can be garnered. Whereas African Americans are not… African Americans receive a different kind of violence, and that can set up angst between African American and Asian American communities, who gets a few more crumbs. And who’s gonna fight over the crumbs that white-ness or white supremacy or power structures give one above the other, curious about what you think about that, Michael, and where, where your mind goes with that.

Michael: No, I think it’s, I think it’s very accurate and it is, it is quite a, it seems, it feels like quite a ploy to sort of pit groups against one another in a, in a way that is, through just through the comparison, right? Just to instilling a sense of comparison and be and distrust, you know, I think that’s, certainly true. And, you know, even in my own story, I’ve had to really work to name, you know, from an early age, anti-Black sort of sentiments coming from my father and just this drive from, an immigrant, you know, model minority mentality to succeed in a certain kind of way, academically, primarily. And so, you know, I think to be in this, on this journey with you, Linda has been very profound and significant for me, um, in the ways in which I think you model so well. And I would say like so much other Black tradition model, so well, just deep embodiment. Deep embodiment. And so to get out of our, our heads and sort of like the intellectual kind of pursuit, around certain around certain things and either academia or the church, even in the church world, actually to know what it means to be in our bodies, and all the glory and all the suffering, has been so profound and significant for me. And so, as you’ve named so well and beautifully that intersection of sexual trauma and racialized trauma, that so often the two go hand in hand, they’re so closely linked that set me on a journey, a profound journey of like, what has it meant? What has it cost for me as an Asian American man to be in this body and to bear certain narratives and stereotypes of emasculated, Asian men that has the… and doing a lot of research on that throughout history, the ways in which that has happened legally, geographically, socially through exclusionary laws. And so many other barriers that you named, has been very healing for me, very profound and significant for me. And so I’d say really on one hand, like needing to acknowledge my own story, my own history of anti-Blackness, my experience of that, but also like trying to really lean into, what you have offered in, you know, podcast teachings, workshops, conferences, your writings, I think has shifted so much for me.

Linda: It’s such a deep privilege and deep, deep honor to hear that from you, Michael. And to know that it’s, it’s been a painful journey to come to understand just how much systems of oppression seek to separate not only BIPOC communities, but everybody seeks to separate us and take us from ourselves and take us from our bodies. And that’s not to say that our mind and our ability to think, and to use our intellect is, you know, thrown out. But sometimes we’ve honored one at the demise and at the destruction of the other. But part of, part of this, this season that I’m in is understanding, like if I don’t reclaim my body, if you don’t reclaim your body, Michael, if you don’t reclaim your body, Dan, then then some ways we perpetuate that fall out of trauma. ’cause trauma, if it’s not cared for, will leave us separated or fragmented. And I think that we’re meant to be fully integrated people. That’s what it means to be whole. To be whole, I think, is to be fully integrated and systems of oppression work to fragment us and pick us apart.

Dan: And if I can step in that somehow the experience of emasculation as an Asian man, and you you’ve underscored that that has been both bound to legal structures, historical, but as well, the contrast to the African American male, is one of hypersexualized and interesting between those worlds. Again, we’re speaking of the masculine world. The white body, is not emasculated, but not often seen to be hypersexual in the same way. So there, there is this, I don’t know a better word for it. Brilliance in the power of evil to create a divide and conquer. We know that phrase almost from early years of life as long as there’s division, there’s a lack of cohesion, and the language that you’ve used often, Linda, Shalom has a power that isn’t just intimate, but has a power to flourish to grow good fruit. And evil’s deepest commitment is to make sure as men, I’m not this, I’m not that at least as a white man, I’m sort of comfortably in the middle between those worlds, but before we go much further, Michael, when you spoke about historical and legal, what are you putting words to in terms of the experience of an Asian male?

Michael: You know, early in the history of our country, it was primarily men, Chinese men coming to work, either the gold rush, on the railroad, and it became a threat, just the, the sheer numbers, and their presence became something of a threat, I think very much related to what we were talking about. Just the feeling of being overtaken, perhaps by, or displaced, right? And so setting up exclusionary laws, setting up labor laws to force them into, jobs often reserved for women, cutting off immigration for families, Chinese women. And so functionally, you know, you have a whole society of bachelors. And so the opportunity to provide for a family to start a family, is, you know, definitely a form of emasculation and, you know, some say exclusion, exclusionary laws, but they’re really like extermination laws. And so, and then, and then, laws against intermarriage, right? Against interracial marriage just to further cement that, um, you’re not desirable your body is not good and not welcome.

Linda: And that’s the crazy making chaotic, one of the crazy making chaotic aspects of oppression or patriarchy, is that on the one hand your body has value and on the other, it has none. So on the one hand value for what you can do for the system to prop it up.

Michael: Right. For the economy, for the building of the empire for…

Linda: Yes, yes. And on the other hand value in and of itself as an equal, value innate value, uh, it is, is not there not honored, not recognized, so it can become a incredibly crazy making world to live within.

Michael: Right. Right.

Dan: And then the Black body male vilified as the one who is sexual for the sake again of the economy, can produce more offspring saleable as slaves, and then eventually scapegoated in a man’s sexuality as the basis for lynching, for judgment, for threat, you know, it, again, it, I don’t think an individual created this, but systems create what is most beneficial for it itself. And that violence then you’ve endured Linda even as a Black woman, engaging in the larger system even created on behalf of the African American community.

Linda: Sure, you know, where my mind goes, it goes in this moment is, is to this word proxy, as you’re talking about the violence and sexual violence, done to men of color, women of color, is that the violence, the, how Black and brown Asian bodies are used as a kind of tool to create financial wealth as a used as a tool, for violence used as a tool for a kind of, kind of pleasure or sexual, degradation in the form of sexual pleasure. How bodies of color have been used as proxy, for people in power to play out their anger, to play out their lust to play out their vengeance, to play out what, whatever fantasy that has not been cared for, whatever wound rather that has not been cared for and then starts to fester, gets played out into people, regions, whole communities, nations, where they exert power to play out whatever unhealed wound is manifesting at the time.

Dan: Again, there’s such, it’s almost like, say it again and say it again, but the, the task here is to be able to own that when one came into the world, these were not the thoughts that are in the, in the presence of, of the mind and body of beautiful Evelyn, yet the cultural demands from all almost preverbal are being played out and systems are being taken in virtually like water for a fish, so that it becomes just the milieu, just the world we live in that the moment you start exposing this and going, you know, the African American men are, are not hypersexualized, but it’s created for a purpose. Asian American men are not, you know, decentered from their sexuality except for a larger function yet, somehow it stays over decades, centuries, centuries and centuries, and then filters into the engagements that we have with one another, without it even becoming conscious or aware. I’m curious how the two of you given that you have been involved together, for over a year, in a training process with a very vast BIPOC group, like what have you learned from one another, and maybe it’s repetitive to what we’ve already said, but I just, I just wanna make sure I’m hearing, what have you learned and what is it that you’re inviting me a white, old man and other white people into engaging as well?

Linda: I think I’d like to start by saying that over the course of my life. And given the region that I’ve lived lived in, I’ve not had a plethora of experiences of Asian American men and women, Asian American women given the, the location that I live within. And so getting to, um, leaning into friendships with Asian American men and women has, has, has meant my own growth and maturity in so many ways. So part of what I’ve observed of Michael over the past year has disrupted stereotypes that I’ve heard of Asian American men in the sense that Michael brings such power and such, fierce kindness to his community. And I consider myself as part of his community, the community of the Allen that are a community of friends. So he brings a kind of strength and ferocity that’s both tender and strong. And that is not the stereotype, that was spoken of Asian American men. When I was a little girl growing through my teen years and early twenties that I think is some ways a stereotype is still powerful today. But my experience of Michael is that he is a man of strength and power, right? And playful, brilliant, engaging, compassionate, right. It’s completely antithetical to the stereotype. And so as we get back to why is it important to listen to the so-called marginalized, being in relationship and friendship with Michael has helped me grow and mature in my understanding of God’s beloved community and people, I needed this friendship to help me have a larger, wider understanding of how God manifests God’s self.

Michael: Oh yeah. Thank you. That’s really sweet. And thank you for always making that space to do that. I think that the spaciousness, I always feel that with you, Linda amongst the group of folks that we’ve been working, that, you know, honestly, there haven’t been a lot of, models right there. Hasn’t been a lot of representation around what a sort of complex Asian American man might be like that just holds a lot of story, of desire of dreams. And, and so I think you’ve always making that space and I always feel that. So, one, I think one of the profound things that I’ve, I’ve gotten from Linda, and conversations too with, Rebecca Wheeler Walston too, is like Linda, you know, your connection to the continent. And this, this idea that, uh, we’re so much more than just the, the history of our people in the, in the United States, that there’s a long history but there’s that, there’s a longer story that we ought to seek out the ancient paths.

Linda: Yeah. Yeah.

Michael: And that our healing is connected to something of, that’s been revealed already. That’s been cut off. And so that’s been so much of my story in the, in the trauma of immigration, cutting of community, the loss of language, the loss of name, you know, the loss of a sense of place. So just in, even in that, those conversations that set me on another search, what, you know, what is it, what is it in my story? What is it the ancient way, the ancient paths, the ancient wisdom, that I’ve been so disconnected from and so, you know, through more sort of, genealogical work through, research, you know, a lot of my, a lot of my longing and ache, like to be sort of reconnected, to a name, to a place, to my father’s name, to, to my father’s place. Has been healed so much of the shame that I experienced in him not knowing English, or not speaking very well. Him really not being like this paragon or model of masculinity, has brought me back, to really seek out the ancient paths and to seek out, a sense of dignity and a sense of really facing, both the beauty and the brokenness of his journey.

Dan: And for me, both of you have called me to address my own ethnicity, my own whiteness, and yet the whiteness as one with the Jewish ancestry has a complex history as well. But the notion of the melting pot, you know, there’s a fear, obviously, in some sense of fragmentation, tribalism that to the degree you become, who you are in your culture versus the American culture will be a divided country. And the same kind of fear exists that if you stray too far into your historical long history, we’re opening the door to Shintoism, to Taoism, to Buddhism, we’re opening the door to African religions, et cetera. And so between America and Christianity, there is this desire for amalgamation. We are all alike. And as we spoke about, prior and the last podcast, essentially, that means that you’re all supposed to be white, but you can’t be white. And the American capitalist Christian structure is ultimately in one sense, a white world, you’re supposed to fit into language, dress, hair, way of being, and even speech, what language you speak, all that is part of the fragility fear, but the need for scapegoat. And what I I’ve had to name is what are the fears that I’m not even aware of the fragility? What happens when I’m not the center voice literal in the Allender Center and or as a white person in the broader world. And I think it is both terrifying and sweet, to be in a relationship with both of you as deeply honest, aware of the cost of engaging a more dominant culture, and who know how to honor and care for yourself to not be radically harmed, but yet knowing that there’s almost no way to engage this without some level of harm. So there’s just been, again, a sweetness that continues to be a gift that friendships, not just listening through a book though, the books that both of you have suggested have been extremely helpful, but far more listening to the face, the body, the voice, especially in the engagement, without that, without friendships, we’re not gonna see our world. And when our financial world, our neighborhoods our churches are some of the most divided realms. So that literally, it’s almost impossible to have friendships. We’ve seen the work of evil divide and conquer, even on geographic financial and other means. And this small, small effort is to begin the process of saying, we need each other, we, we need community, we need divergent communities. We need communities that disrupt something of the structures of the stereotypes that we have imbibed like water. And I thank you both for beginning that process for us all.

Linda: And part of what I would acknowledge is seeing some of your wrestling, Dan, and the parts of, and, where it’s cost you, in this world, of whiteness, where you’ve landed and what you’ve had, what you’ve had to give up to operate in that world, what you’ve had to reclaim over the course of this work of healing from the impact of patriarchy or impact of systems of oppression, like you’ve been on a journey and to see you lean in, probably more intensely than I’ve ever witnessed before, like that is, is encouraging, to see, and to bear witness, and that we’ve had a chance to be on this journey with you and see that it also costs you, to lean in. And that’s, I think that’ll be true for the audience. Anyone who leans in to really live out what it means to be in the kingdom of God, or to live as followers of Jesus, that there will come a cost. Cause we are living in a way that’s counterintuitive to the systems that we’ve been cultivated within. So it’ll cost us to lean in. Um, but I wanna, I wanna end, just by, by quoting something from Jeremiah chapter 6 verse 16, which is what, Michael was referencing earlier in some of the earlier, earlier workshops, we’ve been a part of, but it’s a script scripture that says, “This is what the Lord says. Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it. And you will find rest for your souls.” And there’s a warning if we don’t, but that’s where, that’s where I’ll pause.

Dan: Amen.