Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Happy Black History Month (from your white friend)

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Happy February my friends!

Welcome to the month of "heartbeats" (as my Ellie girl calls all hearts) and feels. Also, awkwardly enough for me, it's black history month.

It shouldn't surprise you that I'm a lot like the Swiss. I like to remain neutral whenever it's possible. I don't like conflict and I don't like uncomfortable confrontations. I don't like to talk about issues facing black people because... well. I'm white... and that's a little tense.

I recently happened upon this sermon by Anthony Moore over at the Village Church. (Whaaa?? A sermon from The Village archives by someone other than Matt Chandler?) I listened to it one afternoon during nap time while I meticulously folded the ever reproducing pile of baby clothes that is always on my couch. I was convicted.

He talks a lot about unity in the Church among races. And that apathy doesn't count as unity. He asks what we would be willing to sacrifice for unity with our brothers and sisters across races for the sake of the Kingdom. Would we be willing to live in a different neighborhood? Would we be willing to go to a different church?

Would we be willing to admit that the gospel is about more than our preferences in regard to hanging out with who we're most comfortable with, worshipping the way that makes US feel good, listening to preachers that WE most identify with? What are we willing to do for unity?

I mean really. I'm a stay at home mom. SAHM, if you will. I'm supposed to be wiping noses and butts and doing my thang. Am I really supposed to wrestle with this stuff?

_____

Mason tends to be more sympathetic about feelings than me. I'm not a big feeler. He regularly has to remind me that even if I think an emotion is silly or a little dramatized, that it is very real to the person that is feeling it and that most of the time, people cannot just change the way they feel, even if they want to.

On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an African American teenager was shot and killed by a white police officer. It's a really sore thing to bring up. We are all painfully aware of the chaos that happened afterward. There were a lot of feelings from a lot of people. There was a lot of anger and there were a lot of people who felt like the anger was a little over the top.

Personally, I was sad about the death of Michael Brown because he was a person with a soul. I didn't get into the politics of it and I didn't let myself feel the weight of how heavy that must have been to a lot of people. I didn't study the case, I don't have a verdict. But I do know that if the ache was heavy enough for millions of other people to feel it... there's something there that we need to talk about.
Rightly or not, people usually can't change the way they feel. The flame was fanned into a really big thing. 

Now it's Black History Month. Which means basically nothing for me in my day to day routine. Except for the things that Anthony said. I agree with him, that Christians should never be polarized into two camps, pitted against each other. (This applies to a lot of things but I'm not even going to open any more cans of worms today.)

White friends. We don't know. We've never been black. We think we know. We can perceive what we think we know. We can talk about it. But we REALLY don't know.

Black friends. We value you. We want unity. We say dumb things. We're sorry. Please be gracious with us in our attempts.

I'm intrigued with my friend Katrina, who has been posting movie titles that she recommends for helping the land of facebook educate itself about black history. I like concrete easy helps like that.

I know I've been pressing on sore spots, sorry not sorry. If I have to think about it, you do too.

Happy Black History Month, my friends.