In the beginning… not THAT beginning. It might surprise you to learn that, at its inception, Blood:Water’s founders and board members wrestled with the question of whether or not to be affiliated as a Christian organization. Even as the name, “Blood:Water,” finds its roots in the story of a man whose blood and water mingled when his side was pierced, in a grand display of human sacrifice for the flourishing of others, it was a difficult cycle of conversations.
The Kingdom of God is open handed. It is not a land of hoarders and collectors. It is not a place where anyone wonders if they will have something to eat while others die under the weight of their bloated indulgences. It is a grandiose vision of God’s kingdom, and perhaps in the “already-and-not-yet” spectrum of this vision, we feel like we are more on the side of “not-yet.” Still, the abundance of God’s kingdom is here already. We have it all around us. We are sinking in it.
Introducing Maddie Klaus, our new Graphic Design Intern! She is from St. Louis, Missouri, but she has been here in Nashville for the last few years attending Lipscomb University. She is an only child who is close with both of her parents, and she is very grateful that they have been so supportive of her ambitions.
Blood:Water exists because we believe that all human beings were created in God’s image and deserve basic rights: freedom, health, common decency, and tolerance just to name a few. Partnering with sub-Saharan African grassroots organizations, we can sometimes feel distant from the racial issues prevalent here in the US, but we have seen how stigma and prejudice of disease, poverty, and identity can impact people’s lives at the most atomic and subatomic levels. We are just as responsible as any other organization or person for making the world a better place for everyone starting at an individual level. Therefore, we condemn the acts of injustice perpetrated every day against Black Americans, whether intentional or not, systemic or overt, historic or current, in the US or abroad.
Throughout our time supporting African led organizations, we have observed and experienced destructive stigma associated with disease and poverty, and we fight against the diminishing and demoralizing power of false characterizations and quick judgements based in fear. It is with grave moral seriousness that we condemn the acts of racism taking place not only in the United States, but also in many other parts of our world.
We will feel the urge to grasp for all that is slipping around us. Our hands will reach and our arms will contort to catch what falls. Our eyes will blink and blur from the spray of dust born of a million pieces of an old concrete life falling to the new earth that shifts around us and below us, sticking to our eyelashes.
Aside from being able to provide our own insight to other organizations, we look forward to learning more about the region and pursuing the connections we made through the conference. We have been formally invited to be a member of the Africa Philanthropy Network (APN), which will expand our accessibility to other philanthropic organizations into the Southern African region.
The physiological description of the brutal death of Jesus has always challenged me. There is something about John’s telling of Jesus’ crucifixion that felt connected to the work of helping people gain access to clean water in communities where a virus found in the blood stream was doing it’s best to destroy the immune systems of it’s targets.
The most important thing to me is to equip and empower people. I want to help people, yes, but I don’t want them to depend on services provided. The fact that Blood:Water’s entire mission revolves around supporting and equipping local leaders to transform their communities is what connects most deeply with me. It’s not about us and what we achieve, it’s about the impact we can make when everyone gets stronger.
Today we find ourselves in a unique space. Over the last few weeks and months, we have wandered into a “new” environment. It is not new to everyone. And I hope we can explore this newish place together because I think we can both learn something and grow something in the midst of this new experience together.