I know that I’m going to come back to this topic later on, but I want to spend just a few sentences this morning addressing Charlottesville. The topic that I want to focus on is hope. As in, even in the midst of this crisis of perspective, there is hope.
When I first saw the news coverage as the protesting by white “nationalists” had just begun, I didn’t pay it much attention. It disgusted me, so I didn’t want to give my energy and attention to it. As thing began to escalate however, I couldn’t resist looking to read the horrors and view the pictures. I began reading articles posted by Shaun King, an activist that I really reading. I looked at social media posts from many of my FB friends who are very active in the struggle for equality. I looked at the reprehensible pictures. All of these things informed me, but none more than what I looked around and saw with my own eyes. I saw people, white people, standing up and saying, “This isn’t who we are. This isn’t right!” I dear friend of mine who adopted a child of color made multiple posts on the responsibility of other cultures to stand up for people of color in this fight. I could hear the distaste in the mouths of people that I know, people who would fight for our family if we ever found ourselves in a situation like this.
See, I live in Missouri, the same state that the NAACP issued a travel advisory for. Missouri has it’s issues, but to be painted with such a wide brush is disheartening to me. When we first moved here, the family that introduced themselves to us were white. They made us comfortable. The first church that I visited, Destiny Church, a Hispanic pastor shook my hands and welcomed me. Multiple white people hugged me and made me feel at home. They have loved our family! They have helped us grow. We worship together and pray together. I work in a district that is predominantly white among faculty and staff. Have I ever felt singled out? Not at all. I have only felt welcomed.
So to see so much rhetoric about “white people this” and “black people this” makes me think that we are missing the point of this entire thing. God didn’t create the spectrum of colors and cultures so that one could feel superior to any other. He expressed His love and creativity through the colors on our skin, hoping that we would see beyond any of that into what binds us all together. Our humanity and His Spirit.
Racism is a spirit. It is demonic. It is afflictive. It is still very rampant. The conversations cannot stop about this. We have to speak up! It doesn’t matter what we look like…the human race is threatened so long as we continue to allow ourselves to be divided.
But there is hope. I have hope when I have a discussion with my friend about what it will be like to have a black son in this world. It frightens him as much as it sometimes frightens me. I have hope when I have students who look at me as just another person and not their “Black Teacher”. I have hope when I can laugh and joke with my best friend, who happens to be a white male. I have hope when I know the hearts of those who love our own children and know that they would give their lives for them if necessary.
See, all of this “alt-right” nonsense is designed to get our eyes off of the prize. What is that prize? It is the glorious calling of Jesus Christ! In Him, there is no black, white or Hispanic. There is no Gentile or Jew. He looks through the eyes of love at each one of us and loves us with an unfailing love. That is my hope. Some might say that I’m taking the easy way out by relying on faith. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still speaking out. I will fight as God shows me. But my hope is in none of these things.
I won’t take my cues from what a President says or does not say. I never have. I won’t start now. I won’t take my cues from liberals or conservatives. I won’t take my cues from Fox News or CNN.
I will take my cues from what I see around me every day, and what my Bible tells me is the truth. I won’t trust in facts because sometimes facts aren’t the truth. The world around me tells me that everything is going to hell.
But I have HOPE.