It’s heartbreaking knowing that no one will ever truly understand the pain, frustration, anger, disappointment, and yes, fear, that comes with being black. It’s also predictable that right about now is where many of you will stop reading because “Oh, here goes another black person whining. Get over it.” If that is how you feel, respectfully, move on to something else. Because I’m going to express my frustration anyway. I came across this article a few moments ago and it is titled, “After Charlottesville, will white pastors finally take racism seriously?” That’s not a rhetorical question. It’s also not a question that I know will be answered with a “yes” any time soon, if at all. But before I go any further, to those of you who do actively put yourself out there to stand in solidarity with us, your minority brothers and sisters in Christ, you are greatly appreciated! But to everyone else….How much of yourself do you see reflected in the following statements pulled from this article?
Statement: “Yet at the polls, white evangelicals voted overwhelmingly for Trump. Despite all of their verbal commitments to equality and racial reconciliation, 80 percent of white evangelicals went against the voices of their brothers and sisters of color.” 80%. Let that sink in…
Non-minority argument: “I didn’t vote for him because I like him as a person, I voted because I agree with his policies.” (Really? Policies that are rooted in hate, bigotry, sexism, greed, and incompetence, that’s what you voted for? That’s who you are at your core? Well, thank you for letting your ignorance and hate reflect in your approval of having this man in office. I applaud you for managing to do an impeccable job of doing your country AND THE GOSPEL a huge disservice. Pat yourself on the back.)
Statement from Dr. ML King “…all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained-glass windows.”
Non-minority argument: “Well, they shouldn’t make everything about race. They always want to play victim. Maybe they should try to better themselves, work hard, help each other. PULL THEMSELVES OUT OF THIS MESS THEY’RE IN.” (I’ve heard this in churches. I’ve heard this on my CHRISTIAN college campus. I hear it everywhere. Non-minorities telling minorities how we should feel, what we should be grateful for, what we do and don’t deserve, how we’re ungrateful, how we’re too sensitive, how we bring it on ourselves, how we need to stand up for ourselves more, etc. Because struggling to JUST SURVIVE in a racist system that people who uphold white supremacy created is easy enough?)
Statement: “White Christians will inevitably ask, “But what do we do?” This question perpetuates the problem. People of color did not create white supremacy; white people did. To ask a racial minority how to solve a problem they didn’t create and one under which they suffer only adds to their burdens.” (Because POC asked to be shamed for our problems as well as yours? No. Because we choose to be your scapegoat? I think not. Because we asked for our ancestors to be enslaved and broken just to be the foundation of wealth for a nation that to this day prides itself on its inhumane efforts of devaluing and belittling POC just to make itself feel superior? Because we willingly chose to suffer through segregation? Because we take pleasure in feeling like we have to defend our anger of having our basic civil rights ignored?)
Statement: “Evangelicals who prostitute the faith for political power remain in the pulpit and are given wide latitude to stir up racial resentment in the guise of “race neutral” language.”
Non-minority argument: “I’m not a racist. I don’t see color. I believe in equality for everyone.” (STOP perpetuating the illusion of “color-blind racism”. It does not exist and it never will.)
Take a moment and ask yourself, what have you actually done to help alleviate/combat/discourage/etc. the oppression of POC? You can talk about it. Hate it. Denounce it -verbally or silently. But it doesn’t mean anything if you continue to be a perpetrator in the silencing of the voices of POC. It doesn’t mean anything if you are too afraid or concerned of what your non-minority friends will think of you for standing in solidarity with your minority brothers and sisters. It means absolutely nothing if you are too afraid to challenge your white fragility and your white privilege. Evangelical Christians, check yourself. Because we are tired of doing it for you.
Reference: Tisby, J. (2017). After Charlottesville, will white pastors finally take racism seriously?. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/08/12/after-charlottesville-will-white-pastors-finally-take-racism-seriously/?utm_campaign=buffer&utm_content=buffera747b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_term=.e303fdd3437a
Bold: showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous; daring. If you know my youngest sister, then you definitely know this to be true. She is the epitome of boldness, always one to stand out. And not that she intentionally places herself in the spotlight. Because she doesn’t. It would seem that the spotlight is usually drawn to her. There’s just a magnetic bond between the two.
This is the girl who will have you rethinking your life with a mere expression. This is the girl who confidently jokes around with adults and gains their immediate affection. She is a spit-fire, but she’s also sweet (but of course, she would deny it). She is comfortable and wonderful in her own skin. And she will also speak up and put in their place those who would underestimate her wisdom and intelligence (adults included).
Robert Frost is quoted as saying, “Freedom lies in being bold”. Well, my baby sister is one who is most at ease with being herself completely and unashamedly. It is this boldness in her that compels you to get to know her. This same daunting boldness is also the inviting kind that will have you jamming out to K-Pop with her simply because she doesn’t give a care about what anyone thinks of her music preferences (and because she has impeccable taste in picking out great K-Pop songs and artists!) And it’s the mesmerizing kind that will leave you in awe.
So this is a mini-series I’ve been contemplating for a while. And I’ve decided to do a short piece on the 6 members of Windomnation (aka, my fam) describing one quality about them that I feel heavily shapes who they are. So to kick things off, the first piece is on my middle sister (name withheld for privacy reasons, ya know.)
Her quality is passionate. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines passionate as being “capable of, affected by, or expressing intense feeling”. Not only does she express intense feeling, she has the ability to affect how those around her interpret what is being portrayed. Her voice is one of her most powerful weapons. Music is her love language and passion is what drives her to test her limits. The intensity with which she performs is awe-inspiring.
Never one to be content settling for mediocre, she strives for excellence. And her continuous excitement for life and all the possibilities awaiting her in her musical journey promise a fruitful and rewarding experience. Beethoven once said, “To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.” She understands that her voice is a treasure, one that deserves to be heard. One that relentlessly pursues challenges and opportunities. She understands the beauty of nurturing a gift that God graciously provided her with. Because for her, sharing a gift void of passion is a terrible injustice.
“Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive, and even spiritual satisfaction.” – E.O. Wilson
Two years later and this place is still vividly etched in heart.
So I’ve recently become consumed by MercyMe’s new song “Even If”. This song is challenging for me for a lot of reasons. But I think we can all relate to some degree. Yes, it’s a message of hope. But it’s also a message of pain, desperation, and submission. The chorus alone is enough to humble the pride of the flesh. It says:
“I know You’re able and I know You can,
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if you don’t
My hope is You alone”
IF. We sometimes have the tendency to get so caught up expecting that He WILL but only in HIS timing. But what happens when He won’t? What do we do? We get angry. We get frustrated. We are confused. We throw tantrums and try to negotiate with Him. “God, all I’ve done is pray.” Or, “Jesus, you see I’ve been struggling. You see I’m weary. Where is my rest? Why won’t you lighten my load? I thought You were my refuge!” Why? Why? WHY?
It’s in these moments, the moments that the answer is NO, that we come face to face with our arrogant self-righteousness. It’s in these moments that He is watching us closely to see how we react to not receiving the favor or relief we thought we deserved. He watches to see if our faith in Him is contingent upon His “Yes’s” and the battles we win. It’s in these moments that our faith is put on trial. We are forced to confront and battle, not just our flesh, but the lies the enemy tries to implant in our hearts. The enemy whispers, “Why would He save you?” “You think faith is enough?” “If He really wanted to save you from _____, He would have done it by now.” “God doesn’t care”.
When He gives us a NO, we take it and we cling to who He is and remember that He is good no matter what. We take that “no” and we praise Him and thank Him for knowing our needs better than we do. We take that “no” and we continue to have hope.
“But God when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul”
Even when He won’t, it doesn’t mean that He stops being faithful or that He ceases being good. When He won’t, disappointment is permissible. Doubt is impermissible. Faith and hope are obligatory. Only He knows His plans for us. So when the answer is “no”, choose to say “it is well with my soul.” Because His “no’s” are a blessing to us just as much as His “yes’s”.
“Art is the color and textures of your imagination.” – Meghan Trainor
“Texture gives us a beautiful contrast in the midst of a mundane world.” – says I
Alright. So today we couldn’t have been any more obvious about being out-of-towners. Like, it was glaringly obvious. We did all the typical touristy stuff. The day started out well enough. But then we trekked over to Rosslyn Metro Station and got our Metro cards. We spent at least a good 10 minutes trying to figure out the subway maps because, of course, DC has to make public transportation difficult (says, the Michigander). So we ended up getting on the wrong subway line and ended up further back in Virginia. We got off somewhere in the boondocks and had to take a subway in the opposite direction to get to DC.
We get to DC and the first thing we see is the Washington Monument (what Blaire and Taylor fondly refer to as the Jenny Memorial for all you Forest Gump fans) and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. Then we walked…and walked…and walked some more in the 90+ degree humid weather and headed over to the Potomac River. We passed the Korean War Veterans Memorial and Roosevelt Memorial along the way. Across the Potomac we spotted the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. We then journeyed BACK to the Washington Monument, so that we could get to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the MLK Memorial, and The Three Soldiers statue.
We also saw a Marine 1 helicopter land right in front of the White House and there were people lined up. I don’t know if the Commander in Chief was coming or going but next thing we knew, there were a couple of Marine 1 helicopters leaving the grounds. THEN, on the subway back, our family of 6 got separated because a few of us took too long getting to the doors of the subway. My dad and my two sisters had managed to get inside quickly enough, whereas my mom, junior, and I were left dumbstruck on the platform. The look of disbelief and amusement was evident on, not only our faces, but on other people’s faces around us. I’m sure quite a few people got a good laugh out of that. I know we did. Anyway, we found the other half of the fam waiting for us at our Rosslyn Metro stop.
Out of the entire day, we had TWO people tell us “excuse me” out of hundreds of people that passed by. A few were very nice and helpful. But overall, to say that this place is friendly would be a lie. Which is a good thing we’re not here for the people sooo, bye Felicia. Towards the end of the day, our feet were throbbing and we were trudging along like Walking Dead zombies. Our spur of the moment dinner decision was Panera Bread (always a good choice!) And we got caught in the rain a bit, but hey, it didn’t last long. Needless to say, we truly got broken in the first day in true tourist style. I’d say that was a success. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s adventures…
You ever discover something that’s just too hard to forget? No matter how morbid, weird, or appealing, it just embeds itself in your memory. The photos I’ve chosen to represent this week’s theme, Unusual, struck a chord with my curios side.
I believe that there are two types of people in the world. There are victims. And there are challengers. It’s all about perception. For example: I guarantee that when most people look at the image above, they will see the legendary myth of King Arthur’s Excalibur lodged in stone. But when I look at this picture, my mind goes a little deeper than that. I see symbols. I see Excalibur representing fear, injustice, pain and whatever else the devil may throw our way. I see the stone symbolizing Him who is our Rock, the One who willingly had His body pierced for our transgressions, the One who laid down His life so that we, the grass underneath, could grow and flourish in the world we inhabit.
So back to my main point. You have people who are Excaliburs, and you have those who are stones. The stones enjoy hosting pity parties, they love feeling sorry for themselves, they resist change. Excaliburs, they threaten the status quo, they fight and they fight hard, they resist being bound by hopelessness. And so they go to war until they pierce through the enemy’s offense. But the stones, they tolerate the blows. They let their wounds fester in hopes that someone will take pity and exert energy trying to remove the sword from their body.
But how can you expect someone or something else to come along and aid in relief when you don’t want it? Why willingly carry around a spirit of defeat? While God doesn’t promise that He will make all of our problems disappear, Excaliburs understand that He is not the cause of them. We as flawed, fallen humans get in our own way and set up obstacles for ourselves. Excaliburs own the part that they play instead of shifting blame. Stones, don’t be incapacitated. That’s exactly what the devil wants.
But also, Excaliburs, it’s not your responsibility to fight all of your battles. There’s a fine line between strength and insanity. Excaliburs, approach the stones in your life with bold confidence in the strength that Christ gives freely. “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” Ephesians 6:10. Stones, remember that you are not helpless nor powerless. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” Isaiah 40:29.
We, believers, will all be pierced in some way shape or form for some reason or another. And we will be pierced often. That just comes with the territory of taking up our cross. However, we have a choice. We can play the blame game, or we can own it. The victory in Christ makes that choice easier for us. We just have to get out of our own way to see it.
So…a stone? Or Excalibur? Which one are you?