We have had a tumultuous and turbulent few months! From violent reactions to folks being told to simply cover mouth and nose to an ever-troubling break from all that is real and true by a cult operating within the bounds of our country. Knee-jerk irrationality has become a disturbing way of life for some, as COVID-19 happily mutates and spreads. And yet, God continues to allow His acknowledging people to see His hand and grant us hope. From the police who joined protestors in dance lines to the actual prosecution of demented police officers. From the emergence of Republican opposition to sheer lunacy and danger, to an utterance of Black Lives Matter from said-same Republicans. From the spouting of a declaration to never change an offensive NFL name to the feverish efforts to rename a franchise – I can see the Lord’s hand. In the wake of this transformation of thought, mind and (prayerfully) hearts, reform needs to move beyond symbols and rhetoric to concrete ways to end the systems that continue to oppress. Examples of going beyond rhetoric can be found in Asheville, North Carolina, and Providence, Rhode Island; beyond words to action. Major companies are seizing the moment to stand on the side of RIGHT, looking at ways they can strengthen the notion of equality and pushing and weeding out policies and people that overtly and/or inadvertently promote the opposite.
But not all has changed. The governor of Georgia, a white man, has filed a lawsuit against the mayor of Atlanta, a black woman, because the black woman expresses her love and care for her citizens differently and from a place of concern, rather than politics. Such is a part of the insidious nature of racism, in that whites believe they know what’s best for EVERYBODY. John Kemp didn’t win fairly so he doesn’t even speak for a majority on the front end. Racism is more than the evil that is a mechanism to suppress and oppress factions of society in order to maintain and obtain power, it is also people, thinking themselves good,continuing to promote, exercise and harbor beliefs that the oppressed can’t take care of themselves, “so I must do it for you.” Kimberly Jones’ video emphatically said we want equality; equality of opportunity, equality of being. It is all so very exhausting! And yet, in the midst, God allows us to see signs of change.
In His infinite wisdom, God will be our judge, however, I believe consequences are in order for a great number of things: consequences for blatant corruption, consequences for blatant acts of racism and sexism, consequences for the hypocrisy of those who claim to know God, consequences for those who speak glowing, flowery, politically correct words of compassion while fighting to disenfranchise millions of voters and dismantle even the most basic of social webbing, consequences for those who take oaths to protect and serve just to further personal agendas of hate through inclusion; consequences for the inaction of those who truly know the Lord. One such consequence, for which I am praying, is that we vote our way out of this shamefulness in November – in the resounding manner that the niece of our most visible symbol of division says we must. (I’m also praying Ruth Bader Ginsburg lives six more months and beyond but that’s colloquy for another time.)
Unlike those great ones recalled in the documentary, “I Am Not Your Negro,”- the ones who were not afforded the opportunity to grow old - the Lord gave us grace and strength embodied in the lives of John Lewis, C. T. Vivian, Elijah Cummings, John Conyers, Joseph Lowery and, a wonderful cadre of others, who lived to be old men. Their gifts and talents were different, but they were all able to rise to the moments for which they were called. To me, this means that there are others in our midst whom God has equipped to move us forward, with all the forward-and-back movements of the movement, there are those with the strength, tenacity, humility, faith and patience to withstand a system stacked against us and a cult of people hell-bent on oppressing us. Many names come to mind like Stacy Abrams, LaTosha Brown, Karine Jean-Pierre, Angela Rye, Kimberly Jones, Emma Gonzalez, etc. . . . . . The old guard showed us how sacrifice and struggle work; how God can still be for us, as He sustains us while the cultish and misled of His free-will creation twists His words and intentions or simply ignores Him altogether. While the great cloud of witnesses just expanded and the Heavenly Family Reunion got more boisterous, my prayer is that we who remain will work to fulfill the charge that wehave; engaging our powers to push forward in doing our Master’s will (you know, “act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God,” from Micah 6:8). Hop in, there are many ways to serve. Find your lane and get to work!