I have come to a place in my daily reading where the Lord has me once again tapping the brakes and saying, “Slow down. Stay here. I have something to say.”
So many times I cherish these moments. These soft words. This time, I know I need it because one of the passages is Jacob wrestling with God (Gen. 32:22ff), and I have reached another place in my journey where I feel the exhaustion described in Jacob’s life at this point.
Most of the time, I would imagine, I can come across to others (not here) as someone who can talk about sports and some news events in the world. A typical white guy. Get me talking about baseball or Kansas Jayhawks or the Chiefs… just look out.
And that’s true. And there is a reason for it. It’s as far as most people want to go. Underneath is a longing for something deeper, more meaningful, and holds the possibility of beautiful change. This is where I truly want to go and it rarely happens.
“…I have concluded that for the most part such comments (“I don’t see color”) are an attempt to communicate a willingness to see beyond color. That’s admirable, but proclaiming not to see color does not get that point across very well. White people who are determined to confront racism in the outer world and in their inner world need to reflect deeply upon what it means to declare such a position. One’s skin color happens to matter and in their inner world need to reflect deeply upon what it means to declare such a position. One’s skin color happens to matter in a land that is stratified on race. So to declare that you do not see that color is not a compliment but a denigration. It says, I will not take into consideration your experience as a person living in that body with that skin, and I will assign you whatever is being assigned to help me in navigating this space with you. There is a definite arrogance inherent in this declaration that is actually proclaiming an intention to see persons of color as they imagine them rather than as they are.” — Catherine Meeks, The Night is Long but Light Comes with the Morning, p. 95
Almighty God, you created us in your own image: Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make NO PEACE with oppression; and help us to use our freedom rightly in the establishment of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, now and for ever. AMEN
We are a severely broken society and culture. It doesn’t show up in our GDP or stock market portfolios. We use money as a “leading indicator” in white America. We don’t take into account how we treat people. Ever.
“One of the main things that happens when humans allow themselves to step into the energy of this love is disruption. Its promise to disrupt the status quo is the main reason this type of love is not as welcome as it should be. It was the encounter with this kind of love that led Mahalia Jackson to declare in a song, ‘I told Jesus he could change my name.’ It has that type of force. It makes it possible for humans to stretch far beyond what they might have imagined before the encounter. It helps to solidify a new way to see and to be.” Catherine Meeks, The Night is Long but Light Comes in the Morning, p. 90
I bless the holy disruptions in my life. They have been unpleasant. Hard. Frustrating. Caused discord with others. Generally messed up my thinking. And I bless those holy disruptions.
There is a passage in Joshua where the Israelites are preparing to surround Jericho and Joshua sees a vision of man standing in front of him with a sword in his hand. He asks the man, “Are you with the enemy or with us?”
“We have to do far more than talk about racism, but thework of transformation must engage conversation. Transformation cannot take place in a vacuum, but it can emerge even from relationships that are complicated and painful. And even situations that are disturbing and appear mostly negative can result in change, sometimes almost without being noticed.This is a good enough reason to work at finding the courage to stay in conversation with ourselves and others around race and its many challenging threads.” — Catherine Meeks, The Night is Long but Light Comes in the Morning