{receive & enter}

thoughts on the way

In moments of confrontation, of fear, of racism – Jesus offers us a new script.

In it white folks and black folks – but especially white folks – recover our sight to the ugliness of racism that has enabled us to snatch power and control for centuries.

In it young black men like Trayvon and Michael are released from the script that says they are thugs destined to captivity in jail or an early death on an urban street.

In Jesus’ script Trayvon and Michael see themselves – not in the hopelessness of those left behind but in the hope of a Savior who came to set them free, again.

None of lives without a script, of course. Which is why it matters so much which story we’re living.

This narrative – this American story – does not kill white people. It doesn’t even hurt white people.

This narrative keeps things the way they are, where despite very obvious and visible examples to the contrary, the corner on power in this country is still overwhelmingly grasped by white men.

The narrative, underlying and insidious as it is, protects white people from our racist hearts; says “just another gangbanger, what a shame.”

The narrative kills young black men, over and over again.

“All divisions based on race or class or even gender are transcended in the oneness of the sanctifying Spirit. The power of the risen Christ becomes effective to the extent that this vision becomes reality in the community.”

“In light of the cross, feminist theologians reflect that sociologically it was probably better that the incarnation happened in a male human being. For if a woman had preached compassion and given the gift of herself even unto death, the world would have shrugged: is this not what women are supposed to do anyway? But for a man to live and die like this in a world of male privilege is to challenge the patriarchal ideal of male domination at its root. The cross is the kenosis, the self-emptying, of patriarchy.”

“The truth of interconnection belies the effectiveness of war in all its guises.”

Nor do I dispute that there is sometimes no alternative but to fight. But addicted to the perceptual and conceptual lens of good versus evil, we apply the methods of a fight out of habit. It is that habit, and the lens that motivates it, that I am criticizing.

In a more and more obviously interconnected age, the habit of war is becoming harder to sustain.

“Nonviolent campaigns against authoritarian regimes are twice as likely to succeed as violent ones.”

Let America Be America Again

"America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!”

“When we focus on accompaniment, we realize what our work really is. Service is fundamentally about relationship, and as such it invites us to redefine work. Yes, it involves mixing concrete or ladling soup, but it also means walking with and listening to the suffering, sharing stories and laughter, tears and prayers. Understanding service as accompaniment reminds us to whom the house really belongs, and to Whom we really belong. A mission or service trip is always a potential pilgrimage, a time to surrender ourselves totally to God and God’s poor. Our agenda, our ego, our need to achieve and accomplish—we are invited to let it all go and to meet those we hope to serve on their turf, on their terms. This kind of surrender gives us the key to a chest of heavenly treasure, in which we’ll find, among other things, an unfinished house.”

“Service work, if it is to last, must be about accompaniment more than accomplishment. Yes, we want the house to be completed, but rushing it, doing it on the volunteer’s timeline, makes no sense in the long run.”