What do you do when you share with 'friends' a current hurt that you are dealing with, and they dismiss it? When by their comments and reactions you see that even discussing it makes them uncomfortable, possibly because their discomfort comes from them knowing that some of their deeply held beliefs are keeping them from helping you, and may be the cause of your pain, or that you have been hurt by one of their idols.
No, I'm not talking about rape, although the reactions are almost identical.
I'm talking about when a Black person shares the pain of being Black in America with a white person. While white folks can say 'I don't see color', Black folks know that most white Americans do. And not seeing color is a privilege that Black folks don't have, and at this point in American history, Black folks cannot afford to have.
White folks can speak of 'The Green Book' as great because that one 'savior' helped that the one needing help. Black folks know that in those states, cities, neighborhoods, there was so much Black pain that wasn't considered. So much pain. Invisible pain- to those that are color blind.
Christians are not called to be blind in any way; we are called to be wise. As Jesus showed, while church clergy may be blind, a neighbor is not color blind.
At the start of the movie, N’Jobu laments the pain and oppression those who are descendants of the Black Diaspora have experienced. He speaks of ME as being his people and within the first few minutes of movie, we black Americans are told we belong.
We, the descendants of the African Diaspora, do not have a home. Our cultures, ethnicities, and even families were stolen from us. Not only were these things taken from our ancestors, new identities were imposed on us. When we Africans stepped foot on American soil, we were given new identities. We were no longer Africans but became slaves. Our names were no longer culturally African, they were “Christianized”. We became Peter, John, and Toby and our only purpose for existence was to give our bodies holistically to another to do with it whatever they desired. We became the culture-less. For centuries, these new identities were impressed on the descendants of the Diaspora. We would eventually be granted our humanity, but we would continue to live our lives daily questioning the value of our lives.
Does black life matter? Yes. Wakanda Forever.
Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.
Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.
As I read this story I get so many emotions.
Is this really the USA? The place that complains when a person kneels to protest abusive behavior?
Is this really in my generation? I thought we had moved and were moving away from this barbaric behavior and thought. Did I let go of MLKs rope? Was I supposed to continue marching and protesting...bringing to light this type of abuse? And, does this target that seems to be on the back of Black males here in the USA also reside on my back?
But, now that I am a Christian, how do I look at the killing of people that look like me? What am I to think of a person that advocates the murder of folks that look like me? Am I called to do more than pray? In both the OT and NT there is evidence of the persecuted running at times and also rising up and fighting. Which am I to do?
Lastly, what am I to expect from friends and family- particularly my church family? Is 'just preach the gospel' the answer? Would 'just preach the gospel' be the answer for me if I saw you and/or people like you being targeted for abusive treatment? Would I be able to sit back and blog?
What exactly is a neighbor called to do?
As I read this headline I was taking a short break from preparing to teach a bible study class on the following day. Suddenly, the class seemed less important than what was implied by this article. The study is important, but less. It occurred to me that we have enough information about our Lord Jesus to be salt in this world- we just have decided not to. So, more information isn't our need. Instead, we do need to get up from the couch and go outside of our homes/comfort zones, and preach the good news as we were commanded to.
What is keeping us from doing that? Fear? Laziness? Unbelief? I'm not sure why, but meanwhile:
What happens if we eat 'all' of the dessert...every time?
What happens if we have sex with every one that attracts us?
What happens if we hurt every one that offends us?
What happens if we go after every dollar that attracts us?
What happens if we can be rude or inflict punishment on anyone that offends us?
What happens to us?
That, is judgement.