“Unity” That Is Predicated Upon My Exclusion

sarahBy Sarah Matsui, a re-post from The Mennonite

People pray to each other. The way I say “you” to someone else, / respectfully, intimately, desperately. The way someone says / “you” to me, hopefully, expectantly, intensely…
Huub Oosterhuis

Zach (not his real name) and I are still friends.

When I was living and working as a teacher in Philly, Zach remembered the challenges he had experienced during his one year teaching.

Without my asking, he cooked delicious dinners and invited me to a break from my usual peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and instant ramen. In retrospect, his were among the only nutritionally sound meals I ate during my first year of teaching. He also made a point to ask me how I was doing and how my students were doing, and he prayed for us. Continue reading

Learning From Counternarratives

LearningThe “achievement gap” is often presented as an isolated phenomenon, and it has become a misleading euphemism for the workings and product of historic oppression, structural injustice, and institutional racism.
Sarah Matsui, Learning From Counternarratives in Teach for America: Moving from Idealism Towards Hope (2015)

True generosity consists precisely in fighting to destroy the causes that nourish false charity.
Paolo Freire, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1972)

When Sarah Matsui graduated from Penn, she was accepted to the competitive Teach For America (TFA) program, a two-year teaching odyssey in urban and rural schools all over North America. More than $300 million strong and heralding education reform through meritocratic slogans like “Work Hard, Get Smart,“ Data-Driven” and “Closing the Achievement Gap,” for the past 25 years TFA has successfully recruited the highest caliber graduates from top U.S. schools to heroically stride into the nation’s most under-resourced classrooms. Continue reading

Vision in Action at First Mennonite

Mennonite Vision in ActionA Vision in Action story given by Sarah Matsui at First Mennonite.

After the sermon or music is concluded, the Worship Leader and Vision in Action storyteller go to the podium. The Worship Leader introduces the Vision in Action: In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus invites us to pray: “God, may your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.” In our monthly Vision in Action, we hear stories about how people in our community live this prayer – how they shift, reform, transform, revolutionize, and nudge the world so it becomes more fully the realm of God. Today, Sarah Matsui will share her story with us as we take our morning offering. Please pray with me: Creating God, may Sarah’s story open our imaginations to the many ways in which you partner with us to bring about your realm on earth. Receive these offerings, which are also a part of this great work. We rejoice in what we have been given, and in what is ours to give. Amen.

My first Sunday here at First Mennonite was Pride Sunday. When I can, I’ve been coming back every Sunday since. Continue reading

Your tears know where they come from.

lix nBy Sarah Matsui

For: Liz Nicolas, one of my dearest people and one of the most distinctly human individuals I know.

Dear friend, your way of seeing can be
as much burden as gift; I know
you know.

When tears threaten to swallow you whole:
Know you will not be overcome. Learn and relearn to
find the counterweight you need. Continue reading

the word you’re looking for

sarahSarah Matsui was born and raised in Hawai’i, raised some more in Philly, and is now living in San Francisco. She did not grow up in the church though is now part of the church, and she cares deeply about intersections of faith, identities (race, gender, language, sexuality, cultural, etc.), justice, and reconciliation.

The church I am attending sent out a letter today (3/13/15) that overall I was excited about, and thankful for. But it also invited further response. In an optional survey response they requested, I submitted the following note:

“Firstly, I am thankful for our church, this board, and for the direction indicated by the board letter. Secondly, a question: if the board has come to the conclusion that our church’s practices have been causing harm, not leading to human flourishing, and excluding LGBTQ people from belonging in the body of Christ, would a logical next step be to issue an explicit apology to the LGBTQ Christians attending our church and/or to the broader LGBTQ community?” Continue reading