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Shalom, my friends.


One of the pieces of advice I received from the editor of the site, Ashley Yancey, was to add a glossary.  As I was writing the dictionary, I realized that there also needs to be a space of clarity around terms of identity. I will consistently update this space on the site, but the explanations of words on (Shalom &Polepole) S&P are housed here.   I pray that the transparency of this page is helpful and also allows room and grace for growth as I, myself, become more awake and aware. 



Black  - for folks that identify as African descendants or of those coming from the African diaspora. A person can be from Africa and live in America, thus African American and identify as white. Just like a person can have brown skin and identify as Latinx. Black is an inclusive term for folks that identify with their African heritage (even if far removed) 

White - Because Caucasian is not an appropriate term, and American/European are national identities - white is someone that is of Euro-descendent, but can also identify as North African, Armenian, Persian, Arab, North Indian, etc. It, too, is a chosen identity. "White" also incorporates mixed-raced people that feel their lived experience is one of whiteness. 


Jewish -  I have friends and colleagues that identify as racially white/black/Asian (and also religiously Jewish) and those that identify as racially, ethnically, and religiously Jewish. 


LatinX, Afro-Latinx - a person that originates or is the descendant of those

from Latin America; Afro - a person that identifies as both black and Latinx 


Native and Indigenous - the original people of a community, country, or place. 


Other identities include Asian, Indian, Asian Pacific, Middle Eastern, African, European, Mexican, Hispanic, American.  


LGBTQIA, heterosexual, cisgender- lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, and asexual or allied, heterosexual, cisgender is someone that identifies with the gender of their birth sex


Able-bodied - describes a person without a physical disability or impairment. Able-bodied is inclusive of visible impairments (i.e., a person that uses a wheelchair), and also a person with a non-visible/non-apparent disability. 



Shalom - wholeness, restoration, peace, healing, firmly believing that life's events are working together for your good. It’s taking what’s broken and restoring it. Please watch the Bible Projects: Word Study on Shalom.  


Polepole - although it can be spelled pole pole or  pole-pole, in Swahili, it’s one word, “polepole.” It means slowly, gently, softly, quietly; be calm, take it quietly. Often folks will use it as to say “calm down,” and then others may say “everything is “pole pole” in Africa.”






Social Justice, Advocacy, Activism, Allyship - In S&P, justice is used in the biblical restorative justice sense. It’s the act of radically seeking fairness for others - it’s making other people’s problems our problems. It’s a lifetime commitment to love our neighbor as ourselves, which means advocating for those without and even trying to change the systems that create the injustice. It’s to be merciful and to resist creating and benefiting off of the exploitation of others. 


Some means of seeking justice are: Advocating is speaking up against inequity - usually on behalf of another person or group. Activism is a person acting - generally from the angle of the oppressed - to break down the walls of inequality. Being an ally is being a change agent for a group outside of the one that you belong to yourself. You build an allyship through trusted relationships. For more on the differences, please read "Are you an activist, advocate or an ally?"

Jeremiah 22:3 “This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right (advocate). Rescue from the hand of the oppressor (activism), the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner (allyship), the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place." 

the Word - the Bible (Old and New Testament)  

Plant-baseda diet that mostly consists of vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, seeds, and legumes. This diet includes few or no animal products, refined or processed foods. That said, a plant-based diet doesn’t have to be vegan, vegetarian, etc. and a vegan and vegetarian diet doesn’t have to be plant-based. 


Komorebi (木漏れ日): Sunshine filtering through the trees.  Compound of  (ko, “tree”, ancient combining form of modern  ki) +‎ 漏れ (more, “leaking, coming through”, the 連用形 (ren'yōkei, “continuative or stem form”) of verb 漏れる moreru, “to leak, to come through”) +‎  (hi, “sun; sunlight”).


Hara Hachi bu - (腹八分目) it literally means only eat until you are 80% full. Don’t eat until you are stuffed or full. If you need to unbutton your trousers, you feel sluggish, or need to take a nap - you are not practicing Hara Hachi bu. The goal is to eat until you are no longer hungry - not eating until you are full. 


Plan de Vida -  to the Misak indigenous people (Cauca, Colombia), it’s known as a LIFE PLAN. An autonomous plan created by a community that dictates how they want to live their lives. It’s fierce protection of culture, identity, activities, food, and authenticity. It says “no” to the development plan of "outsiders," and celebrates their unique culture. In Nicoya, Costa Rica, the meaning of plan de vida is "reason for living" or "the reason to wake up in the morning." It’s about creating and protecting your space and reason for being. 


Meraki -  a Greek word (may-rah-kee) used to describe the moment that you leave a piece of yourself (your essence, soul, creativity, or love) in your work. It typically refers to an artistic task, but I’ve determined I want it to be how I live my life.

Peripatetic - (per-ə-pə-ˈte-tik) from Ancient Greek (peripatētikós) - a follower of Aristotle, one given to walking. Aristotle used to lecture while walking. 


Jah - In short, Jah is the Rastafarian name for God. It’s used the same way as Jehovah and Yahweh. 

Watch this video for a deeper dive into YHWH.


I pray that this glossary and language guide not only helps you navigate Shalom & Polepole but is a conversation starter and language builder. Please drop me a line if you have any new words for me, thoughts on any of the terms above, or differing perspective. 


Blessings and polepole,  


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