Though I was never a missionary in the standard sense of the word, never proselytized or attempted to save souls, the engine driving me was the white savior complex. I thought the dark bodies living in the developing world needed us white, Western, Christians. The other Westerners I worked with believed we had it all pretty much figured out. We had the right theology. We had the right answers. We had the expertise. We were the so called “whole” condescending to help the “broken.”
Good theater contains a strain of that gospel antidote, that powerful tradition of trying to name and recognize our demons and human propensities. The earnestness in story that pairs what we believe with what we do, can serve as a way to handle truths about ourselves and our dealings that make us uncomfortable. Often written off as fluffy and as a less effective means of activism, the tradition of plays and musicals has the power to stage an inner confrontation in real time, asking the audience to contend with a hard truth or recasting a social norm we seldom question.
Significantly, official restrictions on Muslim women’s dress don’t satisfy these basic requirements. From Belgium to Kazakhstan to Kenya, education is unavailable and inaccessible to students who choose attire that the government disfavors. If they are forced to pursue studies in private institutions with sometimes inferior resources, curricula, and instruction, then education is more likely to be unacceptable.
Our conversations about the many challenges confronting us — poverty, immigration, racism, sexism, environmental destruction — must always begin with an acknowledgement of our shared responsibility to care for God’s people and God’s creation.
Holy Week for Christians represents a dramatic movement from pain to hope. We deeply feel and lament the pain Jesus Christ endured for us, but we also feel our personal pain and the world’s pain. Then we rejoice as that pain gives way to the eternal hope that is always available to us through the resurrection—a hope that is not just for ourselves but for the world. We say “Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!” with a joy that surpasses understanding.
It is also from this rage and this discontent that Black people in America created and orchestrated their own culture, ensuring that legacy and heritage would exist for their children. They gathered in “hush harbors” to worship their God and Maker, absent of slaveholder religion and influence, tapping into the untampered presence of the Holy Spirit and the deities of the Motherland. They took the slop and remains of the plantation and created a delicacy now known as “soul food”.
If it needs doing, will it
if it needs dying, kill it
Don’t spend more time disclaiming than proclaiming
Do the work and let the work speak for itself.
If you can, say yes. If you can’t, say no, and make sure your WHY can stand before God
My friends on the row want to end up like our psalmist. They need to be set free from the prison that they are in — the prison in their minds which holds them captive and will not let them go. A lot of my friends have had traumatic childhoods, leading them to be hypervigilant. They have trained their brains to listen for every little sound in order to keep themselves safe. That same hypervigilance is pure torture inside a prison where the cacophony of sounds demands their on-going attention. They deal with the replaying of scenes in their lives that were painful. Therefore heir minds do not know what it means to be at peace. They desperately need to be free from the prison in their mind.
I think Christians have to do organizing, because it helps us to broaden whatever kind of tunnel vision some of our own traditions unwittingly produce in this fundamentalist age. I often tell my congregation that organizing, justice work, is essential for Christian discipleship, because it helps our heart become less wicked. It puts you in relationship and conversation with both systems and individuals that you may need to learn from, or you may need to help transform. I think organizing is critically important in that way.
Gabriel: How do we navigate the differences between faith based and secular organizing?
Gomez: There is some power in faith based organizing. I saw 13 or 14 ministers and rabbis show up at the Oakland Airport, and hold an action, literally did a sit down around deportation, and the police did not mess with them at all. And so, I think that there's power in that. There's power in saying we are God's people and we have chosen to participate in an action, on whatever issue it is. It says if you touch us, know that what you're actually doing is you are touching the people of God. And so, I do think that it's a strategy.
But I find it very ironic when I see people of the cloth who are fighting for the rights of LGBTQ people, knowing that the Bible is often used as the deterrent to actually accepting LGBTQ people. And yet we need that, right? If we're ever going to change the face of what is good and holy, we need those people. We need those people to have our backs.
Jewish wisdom reminds us that we can’t be daunted by the world’s grief, but instead we are required to respond to it by acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly. We’re not obligated to complete the work of transformation, but we’re never free to abandon it, either.
The racist attacks spiked again after 9/11, particularly because Americans did not know about the Sikh religion and conflated the unique Sikh appearance with popular stereotypes of what terrorists look like.
Ramirez: I think like what you said, it's taking the side of the broken, the beaten, and the defeated. It’s knowing that when you say, “You just gotta lift yourself up by the bootstraps,” that not everybody has boots to be lifted up by. Justice looks like that. It looks like taking the side of the one being accused, the one being pummeled, not even just today, but throughout history because there are whole people groups who have been pummeled. Justice looks like giving people a taste of a true Jesus. Jesus would go to the woman at the well even if all of culture said not to, even if people looked down on him, even if it might have been bad for his reputation, that’s what he did. So often we like to tell good stories and take pictures of refugees and orphans somewhere else, but we very much like to ignore the causes that we should be fighting for here. For me, that's what justice looks like.
The vote comes in the wake of the church breaking ties with the Church of Scotland due to its more liberal attitude to same-sex relationships, as it moves closer to allowing clergy to marry same-sex couples.
Like Torrey, Korean Christians who support reunification see it as a political and religious goal. And although it’s an uphill struggle, they believe with faith anything is possible.
“He’s placed on an emphasis on women’s role in the church that is fast being questioned, even in the confines of the present-day convention, as that letter signed by women asking for something to be done attests,” Leonard said. “These were not moderate, liberal women. These were women who came of age in the SBC and who challenged his particular theology of marriage and spouse abuse.”
It is noteworthy that congressional chaplains do not demographically represent the American public, and quite strikingly so. Every congressional chaplain since 1789 has been a Christian man, and of those nearly all have been Protestant. Only one, the current Senate chaplain, Rev. Barry Black, has been a person of color. The only time that Muslim and Hindu chaplains have delivered prayers was as one-time guest clergy. It’s the same for women.
I just met with the three children of Martin Luther King Jr. on a number of occasions over a two-year period and eventually they decided themselves to resolve their differences, which had existed only in court with lawsuits against each other.