The Lego of 1981

It’s bold, cheeky and spot on. What it is is beautiful’ is a wonderful juxtaposition to the girl in her baggy pants, her scrawny laces and her rather insane Lego creation. But it is exactly beautiful. It forces you to appreciate real deep beauty, and not - easy to falsify - surface beauty.

-Josh Summers, Lego’s Beautiful 1981 Ad Campaign”

Mr. Summer’s is referencing this 1981 advertisement for Lego; it is a brilliant piece of advertising and frankly a surprising one to me, given Lego’s moves to create gender specific play sets.

For Christmas this year, Eloisa got Legos from her grandparents. The set was not a small one and I believe my mother saw in my face that I thought it was almost too big of a set, so she offers me this gem:

I know this one has a lot of pieces, but this was the only one that was gender neutral. All the other, smaller sets were either princess castles for girls or spaceships and race cars for boys. Also, they were color coordinated, so the girls set was pink and the boys set was blue. This set has a male and a female character and doesn’t have a theme, so she can make what she wants.

What this communicates to me—in direct opposition to the 1981 ad—is that children of a certain age have fewer options in what their Legos can create, which is sad. Add to that the fact that if my daughter wanted to play with spaceships (please, God!) and race cars, she would have to do so with a boy’s” set, in gender-appropriate” blue. Lego’s simplicity in the 80s was its biggest strength and, now that they have a huge business, it feels as though they have lost some of that childhood curiosity that they once worked so hard to create and engender in their products.

Read, Think, Share, Repeat

The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.