“The opposite of racist isn’t ‘not-racist’, it is ‘anti-racist’….One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space…’
-Ibram X. Kendi
The airwaves are saturated with so many voices right now. Opinions. Hatred. Hope. Fear. Love. Lies. Oppression. Cover-ups. All the things that make up a great television series, but a terrible America. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the “political type.” I vote. I pray. I have opinions. But honestly, I kept those things to myself, because what good is one more opinion? What difference would my tiny platform make? Who am I even talking to anyway? And is social media even the place to share them? I’m sure many of you are asking the same things.
While it may be tempting to turn the volume down and wait until it all stops being so….everywhere… I think we as Kingdom Believers are being given an opportunity. Not just to speak into the fear of a pandemic or the tragedies surrounding racial injustice, but to begin speaking in general. And no, not to speak our opinions, but to speak the heart of Christ. It is our turn, believers of every color, to fill the world with a Voice. It’s our turn to make Love the ultimate authority. It’s our turn because He is saying it’s our turn. He’s taught us how to be seated in peace and He’s been training us to reign in goodness. But what good is a Royal without a voice? Your decrees should, yes, of course, meet His feet first as He fills them with the frequencies and breath from His own mouth, but I encourage you…don’t stop there. I don’t claim to know all the answers, but I do know that a small voice is better than a loud silence. I am burdened to represent the true America, not the one media has portrayed. So let me begin by saying… this post isn’t about politics, it’s about humanity. I’m so convinced I am loved that He’s convinced me my words matter. I’m so convinced of His delight in me, that I think the lovesickness has gotten to my head and now I believe that these words can carry an authority to spark thought and life. May you also be so convinced that your voice can do the same. We need to share the Happy Gospel we know. We need to share the hope we have.
As the daughter of a military father, I was fortunate. The exposure to different places and people cultured my palate, my friendships, and my perspectives. I remember when we moved to North Chicago and there were a total of ten white people in my class. Not my one room class…my entire graduating class. The rest were Black and Hispanic. I remember it never phased me. I also remember being shocked at the time that the tiny handful of white people showed much more prejudice than I ever received by being the “minority” in the school. So, I didn’t have many white friends in that time..and my life was beautifully colorful.
Sitting here on Pentecost, thinking about the way that Spirit fell in a little room, my mind can’t help but wander to my dad. He received the baptism of the Holy Spirit when a black man laid hands on him. That same man would help disciple him, lead small groups with him, babysit me, and show up at my wedding. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but that black man was a voice to my white father who had racism in his family line. His story could have been different. Which would have made my story completely different. But because of that moment I got to grow up in a colorful world. I got to know a Jesus that was colorful, too.
I share that to say that our lives shape our perspectives and while mine was shaped by great men, not everyone has this story. Some people were shaped by perspectives that had hatred in their hearts. They were raised to know nothing less than the superiority they still walk in. And while this doesn’t excuse the ignorance and absurdity of racism, it does make you think of the power legacy has. As the word ‘legacy’ does, it makes our minds jump to the children. I, like so many, have been thinking of my son and how I long to raise him with so much love in his heart that he has no room for hatred. I think of books we could read about great African Americans. The conversations we’ll have one day about race and the mistakes of a nation. I want to tell him about the great “I had a dream” speech where “black kids will hold hands with white kids.” But then I realized something.
My life has gotten a lot less colorful over the years.
It hasn’t been on purpose. It’s just that most of my friendships are made in a church setting and those, too, seem to be far less colorful than I believe they will one day be. It dawned on me that he didn’t have little black hands to hold, and I didn’t have many adult ones, either. Sure, some. But none close enough to call “close.” It was then that I heard a whisper, “It doesn’t start in the home, it starts in a heart.”
He was talking about mine. My not-racist heart. But this not-racist heart has not been as bothered about the lack of color in my life as much as I should be. It hasn’t joined the conversation. My heart had grown cold to the tragedies of the world and all of its chaos. Especially in the area of racial equality, but not just there.
There is something different happening. Some may snub and scoff at all the protests, reposts and efforts, but I can announce that I am changed by it. I’m committed to pro-actively doing something. I don’t think we’re in this place because of a “trending” moment, but I do believe the Holy Ghost is using the seed of George Floyds life to bring an awareness and awakening to His bride. What is He bringing awareness to? Not necessarily our racism, but our lack of concern. What is He awakening? The empathy of one who loves. The empathy He had when He wept with Mary about their friend, Lazarus, even though He knew he would rise again. If we would lean in, we’d see that Hope and Grief do have a space in which they can dwell together.
So, teach your children. And yes, let it be in our homes. But let it first be in our own hearts. Don’t miss the moment. There is an invitation in this voice of chaos…right here where a man became a hashtag. There’s an invitation to stop co-existing with chaos. It’s an invitation to start leveraging the little you do have into that rolling and roaring storm. Leverage your little voice and little gifts. Leverage the authority you do have. And watch Him multiply the peace. Because it just takes a little seed of faith to move an entire mountain.
I wasn’t a part of the storm, but that’s not enough to cease it. I may not have had my foot on their necks, but I sure wasn’t saying anything from the sidelines. But now, I am choosing to open wide this heart and these arms and let the storm hit me, too. After all, He said, “Blessed are the Peace MAKERS, not the peace KEEPERS.” So, let the chaos come. This time I won’t be okay to just co-exist with it. I will speak to the storm, and believe that it will be silenced by the I AM in me. I will choose to make this world peaceful with the authority of my voice in Heaven and in earth.
Because, really, where do you end and I begin? We are one. His Kingdom is a colorful one.
Abba, thank You that Your Voice has no hint of condemnation in it, but full permission to enter into a place of deeper love. Heal our nation, but also send our churches and homes color. May there be a sacred mingling. Come touch our hearts with your living empathy. May we not wall up our hearts against those with differences, but instead invite them into our world and be willing to enter into theirs. May their be such a sacred mingling that there is no “my culture” and “your culture, “ but a beautiful “ours.” Let Your love melt the coldness in our hearts we didn’t know was there. May we use our voices like a beacon of light to show the path of true Love. In Your Name, Amen.
Tiny Sidenote: This is not a part of the “memorial stone series” I mentioned in my last post. I felt strongly to share and give space to many things happening in our nation. But in hindsight, I believe it may just be one of the most beautiful, accidental memorial stones of them all.