The Seeds of Reparations
If reparations were granted tomorrow, would BIPOC communities be prepared to receive an increase in wealth?

This digital editorial is in collaboration with Connect.Faith, a creative community based in Pleasantville, NY.
Dea Jenkins
Creative Director
Creative Director
How should we collectively repair? Who should be at the helm of this quest for repair? As we ask questions around reparations, our concern should emphasize the "how" of repair as much as the "what". For those who believe financial recompense should play a role in how the United States repays its Black and Indigenous citizens for years of slavery and genocide, the need for education arises. Without adequate educational backing to support an increase in wealth, poorer Black and Indigenous communities would soon find that money would not outpace ignorance.

I once heard an author state that if everyone in the world received a gift of the same amount of money, rich people would be richer and poor people would be poorer. This editorial is a brief biblical exploration of how the acquirement of wisdom acts as preparation for an increase in wealth.
Matthew 13:12
"For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away."
If We Were
Genesis 28: 10-22


wisdom searches
across the divide
haves and have nots

aim is - not run
from one to the other
either side lacks wisdom

we should continually
make our way
to the middle

if we were wise
we would know better
than to enslave one another

we slay

if we were wise
we would recognize
the ills of collective history

they taunt

if were wise
we would run and run and chase
after good sense

it eludes

if we were wise
we would know

if we were wise
if we were


1. Read the following prayer as a centering practice:

Lord, may we have wisdom to rest, stopping in places where we can be still enough to meet You in the spaces where Your presence lingers.

2. Go on a walk and find a place that you can return to frequently during this series. This will be your meeting place with God as you journey through Genesis 28. In a journal, write about why you chose your particular place.

Matthew 13:19
"When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path."
How does scripture inform our approach to national, local, and individual debts? Typically, when we search scripture for financial models to follow, the concept of "Jubilee" comes up. However, what do we do when debts are no longer easy to track and are even more difficult to quantify? Scripture still has sound wisdom to offer us, though we may need to take a more expansive look at familiar passages.

Amongst Bible readers, 'The Parable of the Sower' is a fairly common passage. This parable is shared in three of the four Gospel books, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. This is an indication of the parable's significance in how we understand the Kingdom of God and God's word. The emphasis in the story is on the reception (or lack thereof) of the word-seed. How can we understand "the word" that Jesus speaks about?

If we view scripture as expansive and relevant to today's realities, might it expand to cover our questions around reparations and wealth building? What would happen if we were to imagine Jesus sharing this parable in a committee gathered to discuss reparations? If Jesus were speaking to potential recipients, what would He share with them? Imagine that the plan for reparations was going to include a financial component. If we understand God's kingdom as one of abundance, could we consider that 'The Parable of the Sower' might also counsel reparations recipients on how to receive recompense?

"When anyone [receives an increase in riches] and does not understand it, the evil one [that is, ignorance of how to turn riches into wealth] comes and snatches away what was sown. This is the seed sown along the path [of our daily lives]."

If reparations recipients do not adjust daily habits to support an increase in riches, how can they keep, grow, and multiply newfound gain? The reality is that many Black and Indigenous communities have lived in abject poverty for many decades. Any form of reparations that offers monetary increase must also teach recipients financial management, investing, and saving.


1. Make a habit of recording any dreams that you have during this series. You can simply write them out in a journal. Pay attention to any repeating dreams or symbols that come to you over the next several weeks. Be sure to include your day dreams as well.

2. Choose one recent dream you’ve had. Search online for symbolic meaning behind any major themes of your dream. In your journal, record what you discover, then spend a few moments listening for God’s commentary on your dreams. Pray for a deeper revelation of images or symbols that stand out to you.

Practice 1
This prompt is an invitation for BIPOC communities to begin their wealth building journey through visualization and planning.

Create a vision board. Your board can be physical or digital.

If someone were to hand you $100,000 tomorrow, what would you do with the money? Rather than just write out your plan, find visuals that represent what you'd like to do with the financial gain.

Consider these additional prompts as you are planning what to include on your board:

1) Does your plan include saving and investing any of the money?

2) Does your vision include generative pathways for your financial increase to multiply over time?

3) How does your vision create wealth for your family and/or community?

Bonus Prompt
Couple your vision board with a detailed budget.
A great place to sip coffee and do some excellent people watching. Not only is the food — such as the paper and twined wrapped sandwiches — fresh, local and good, but half of the space is a thoughtfully curated shop full of curios, culinary treats and modern crafts. Make sure to wear your hipster sunglasses, and do try the delicious Mango-Mint shake.
Matthew 13:20-21
"As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away.
"The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who [receives gain] and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root [that is, no example of how to manage their gain well], they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the [newfound gain], they quickly fall away."

Are we stretching scripture too far here? When asking this, it is helpful to consider the framework that Jesus offers in support of 'The Parable of the Sower'. Recall that Matthew 13:12 reads: "For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away."

This seems a bit harsh. Didn’t Jesus mean to say something along the lines of: “Whoever has should give more, even if it diminishes their abundance. Whoever does not have, expect to receive”? Why would Jesus say that more will be given to those who already have and announce further poverty to those without?

"A person who has no root" can also be considered a person who has not yet gained wisdom in a particular area. This person has no firm ground upon which to stand. Whether we are discussing spiritual groundedness or financial knowledge, the creed remains the same - without wisdom and groundedness, any gain would "immediately [fall] away". The opposite holds true as well - where there is wisdom, gain receives the opportunity to take root on stable ground.


1. Where do you imagine the ladder is in this scene? Either draw a sketch of the scene as you envision it or write out a short description of what you picture when you read verse Genesis 28:12.

2. Write about a divine encounter that profoundly shaped your life. What about the encounter marked it as an experience with the divine? What made the moment significant for you and how has it had a lasting impact in your life?

This writing prompt is an invitation to reflect on a skill that you acquired and developed over a period of time.

Bring to mind a skill that you have that you are proud of. Tell the story of your journey in learning that skill.

1) Tell the story of what it was like for you when you first tried to learn the new skill.

2) Tell the story of a recent time when you needed to use that same skill.

3) In a final reflection, consider the differences in your mindset, attitude, and ability between the initial stages of learning the skill and the more recent times that have demonstrated your growth in utilizing the skill.

Bonus Prompt:
Have you had doubts about whether you can acquire the wisdom needed for you to gain financial competency? If so, write about these doubts and try to find the source of your fears. What is causing you to doubt?


1. What has God promised you that has not yet been realized? Sketch or write out the vision in as much detail as you can.

2. How have you seen God bringing this promise to fruition so far? What about the process remains a mystery to you? After journaling, ask God to clarify what your next step is in pursuing the promise.

Why did the Lord choose to introduce Jacob to the Spirit realm first through a dream? Perhaps the answer rests in studying Jacob’s very nature. As “Jacob”, a name meaning “supplanter”, he is one who cannot rest - even at birth he clenches the heel of his twin brother, Esau, as they emerge from their mother’s womb (Genesis 25: 20-26). At the nearing of his father’s death, he collaborates with his mother to manipulate his way into the family blessing (Genesis 27). He will not rest in honoring tradition, but instead believes that the family inheritance would fit best upon his own shoulders so that he can maneuver through a fabricated layer of safety for his own wellbeing. It is only when Jacob is still, when he must finally rest because he is not able to see his way forward with the coming of night, that the Lord finally reveals Himself to Jacob. Jacob, in his most vulnerable state at the dawn of night, is finally able to receive, and is finally able to see more fully than he ever could with all of his own ingenuity and cunningness. 

Ironically, though, his clever nature is not discarded nor completely eradicated, even with the coming of his own transformation. When he will finally be ready to be known as “Israel” he will be rewarded for his perseverance, a trait that surely derives from his agile mind refusing to refrain from considering all possible angles by which he may win, succeed, find shelter - live. Jacob’s ultimate preoccupation is with finding safety and prolonged covering, but it is only through entering the one space where he is rendered powerless that he comes into the promise that will grant him his heart’s greatest desire - to truly be known and cared for.

The will to direct a course of action that will not render one forgotten is embedded within all of Jacob’s desperate actions. He fears not just for his physical life, but also for his very essence. Jacob’s resounding question throughout Genesis is, “Who am I?” Am I one who emerges second, after the initial joy of seeing a child enter the world for the first time has already filled my parents’ hearts? Am I one who must pass for another if I am not to be left outside of the family blessing, because I was born second? Am I one who is unknown by a God my forefathers claim as their own? Am I one not recognized even by my own kin? Am I one who must labor for that which I love, because I struggle to believe I am enough to receive great blessings? Am I one whose very name signifies my inner struggle to overcome that which is laid before me?

In Genesis 28, the Lord does not yet answer Jacob’s unspoken questions, but He does plant the seeds that will lead Jacob further into his path of self-discovery.
Matthew 13:22
"As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing."
"The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who [receives gain], but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of [the kind of] wealth [that promotes greed and deception] choke the [gain], making it unfruitful."

What would happen if BIPOC communities had opportunities to learn how to build collective and generational wealth? What if they could focus on more than mere survival, and instead turn their attention to starting and developing businesses, starting and running world-class schools, repurposing old and forgotten buildings, reimagining our ecological systems, etc?

What would happen if BIPOC communities had opportunities to learn how to invest in their own neighborhoods and families in such a way that wealth would spread beyond mere individual gain? Wealth that only benefits the few is stagnant and bound to peter out. But wealth that expands to feed and clothe the many, to educate more than a select few, to invest in the dreams of the young and old alike, is a type of wealth that could fuel the rebirth of negated communities.

This is the type of wealth that we should seek as a nation. This is the type of wealth that allows for many to thrive. This is the type of wealth that can begin to mend centuries-old and multifaceted oppression.
This prompt is designed to help you visualize what may be holding you back from building wealth.

Make a diagram of all of your debts. If you do not have personal debt, take a more expanded view and consider debts held by a community you are part of. This can be a great exercise for communities to do together. Wealth is built through relationships, and learning how to build together is essential for BIPOC communities.

1) Begin by making a list of all of your debts. Include the name and details of the collector(s), the amount(s) owed, interest rate(s), due date(s), and other pertinent information about the debt(s).

2) Create a comparison chart of your streams of income versus your total debt. How does this visualization help you to picture how your debt stacks up against your income?

3) Create a pie chart of all of your monthly expenses and your debt(s). What does this visualization reveal to you? You may choose to do this for annual and/or businesses expenses as well.


1. Can you imagine that God is saying to you the same words shared in Genesis 28:15? Create a visual collage that reminds you of a time when God clearly demonstrated that God is always with you.

2. What did this memory make you feel? Is this a memory that comes to mind often for you, or do you often forget that God has promised to remain faithful to you? Practice remembering God's faithfulness by finding a simple token that reminds you of God's constant presence. Keep the token near you for a week, pausing two to three times a day to say a simple prayer of gratitude to God for being present.

Genesis 32 reveals that the unveiling of the Spirit realm is a lingering gift for Jacob. In Genesis 32 we see that Jacob’s sight has been forever enhanced when Jacob is able to see what no other in his camp can perceive - chiefly the Lord’s host of angels filling the in-between places of before and next. This altered ability to see within the thin places of the world enables Jacob to understand the wisdom of dwelling in spaces where the Lord’s presence is revealed; the places where the spiritual and the physical cease their dichotomous living and instead fuse into the expressed totality of full life.
Did Jacob leave the dreamspace through soft emergence or did he startle awake? How strongly did his dream images linger in his mind?

The weight of his experience pressing on him, he utters, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” This awareness is the key to Jacob’s life story. Jacob’s ability to perceive the Lord’s presence and the Lord’s hosts of angels is forever altered. In this way, Jacob’s dream is a revelatory apocalyptic vision. It is an initiating act that will ultimately lead to his transformation into Israel. The leading question at the close of Genesis 28 is what will it take for Jacob to be transformed? What will be required to produce his becoming?


1. Create a mind map of five to ten of your biggest dreams. Which of these dreams seem too farfetched or grand? If you are excited about the ideas, what steps can you take that will help bring those dreams into reality?

Good Soil
Matthew 13:23
"But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
"But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who [receives gain] and understands [how to manage it and how to put it to work]. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."

Handouts are not the answer to this nation's history of slavery, segregation, and oppression. We must integrate knowledge and wisdom into our relationships with one another. If we have wisdom, we will understand that any nation that oppresses some of its citizens is in essence suppressing itself, because it can never reach the fullness of its potential to care for and nurture all who live on its soil. It will always stop short of true abundance if it continues to perpetuate cycles of trauma.

However, a nation that comes to understand this will also have the opportunity to learn how to care for those who have the least. This form of care cannot be charity. It needs to hold the muscular weight of the type of support that can allow people to thrive in such a way that their increase can create new social structures that are supported by collective knowledge and wisdom. This is dignity. This is true reparation for crimes too numerous to count and too insidious to ignore. This is the type of repair that will allow a nation to heal itself.

The only question remaining is whether Jesus would be able to say of us, "blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear." (Matthew 13: 16) Or, would Jesus say that we are like the political and religious leaders of His time, stating that, "You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive." (Matthew 13:14)

May we come to understand that a nation's acquirement of wisdom is equally as important as individual attainment of knowledge. If wisdom is absent on the individual, local, or national level, all other levels will suffer its absence. However, if a nation can gain wisdom and help its all of its citizens acquire knowledge, all can profit.


1. Research the meaning behind several names that interest you and list out 3-5 alternative names for yourself. After choosing one, write about an alternative life you could imagine living based on your chosen name. Are there elements about this alternative life that you would like to carry over into your current life? Choose one element from this alternative life and try implementing it into your current reality.

2. Schedule a time to return to the place you chose to visit at the beginning of the series. Before you go, learn about the history of the place. Did the location have a different name at a different point in time? Was it significant to a particular group of people? When you visit your chosen place, consider all the stories and histories that have entered that space before you and consider how your presence is impacting the space for those who will visit after you.

In Genesis 28, Jacob cannot know that his appointed encounter with the Spirit realm would lead to his transfiguration, but what he does know, he acts upon. He initiates an offering to the Lord by setting up a pillar, by renaming the ground on which he laid, and by promising an offering in exchange for God's revelation and provision.

Jacob cannot yet know that the promise of God will move far beyond his physical nourishment and care - they are only the beginnings of a life entirely inverted. Where before Jacob cared primarily for his physical well being (as demonstrated in his attempts to receive his father's material blessings), his internal drive towards self-preservation will be inverted as the nation of Israel is pulled from his inner being. In him will come the twelve tribes of Israel and ultimately the Christ, the full expression of both mergence and inversion.


1. Create an anthology of your dreams. This can include visions, ideas, dreams you've had while sleeping, dreams that you can turn into goals, etc. You may choose to include images, graphics, poetry, prayers, and drawings in your dream anthology.

2. Return to your dream anthology periodically. Notice how your dreams change over time. Notice which dreams keep recurring. Add to your anthology as you are inspired. This is also a great practice for creative prayer sessions.

Financial Health

1) Finny
WEBSITE | "Finny is a game-based personal finance education platform on a mission to empower adults to build good money habits." This dynamic platform offers insights and tips on personal finance, investing, and more. Start with Finny's 'Personal Finance Quizzes', or sign up for the Finny newsletter.
2) Financial Recovery: Developing a Healthy Relationship with Money | Karen McCall
BOOK | "After healing her own unhealthy relationship with money, and transforming her financial disaster into prosperity and security, Karen McCall created a recovery program she has now used for more than twenty years to help individuals, couples, and businesses large and small."

The Case for Reparations | Ta-Nehisi Coates
ARTICLE | Using the economics and social makeup of a historic neighborhood in Chicago, Coates offers a detailed look at why reparations are needed.
Social Wealth Theory

1) Intergenerational Wealth Mobility and Racial Inequality | Fabian T. Pfeffer & Alexandra Killewalde
ARTICLE | This brief article shares animated visuals that support the data on wealth mobility.
2) Racial wealth gap may be a key to other inequities | Liz Mineo
ARTICLE | Mineo outlines why higher education is key to dissolving the racial wealth gap in the US.

1) The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates






Das Maria
Munich’s year-round open-air  farmers’ market. Hardly a secret destination but well worth visiting, especially if you know which stands to hit. For quick, cheap and delicious grilled sandwiches made with generous slabs of French bread and ingredients like prosciutto, figs, mozzarella, goat cheese and more, head to Luiginos, an organic cheese stand that boasts the production of the “World Champion” winning Emmentaler cheese. Look for the yellow awning toward the eastern border of the market.
A great place to sip coffee and do some excellent people watching. Not only is the food — such as the paper and twined wrapped sandwiches — fresh, local and good, but half of the space is a thoughtfully curated shop full of curios, culinary treats and modern crafts. Make sure to wear your hipster sunglasses, and do try the delicious Mango-Mint shake.