Tag Archives: race-less life

Not My Problem

Image result for not my problem image

I am at a meeting of clergy for three days of specialized training in interim ministry.  Day one focuses on theories.  On the second day, the facilitator offered a few tools and way too many personal stories.  But, when we began a discussion about power and he wanted to move to his next slide, the group of mostly European Americans wanted to say more.  He sat down in his chair uncomfortably.  He had not prepared for this.

Without prompting, they begin to critique their own privileges and then someone said, “And we need to listen to those who don’t share the same experience.”  Another clergywoman saw this as an opportunity and began, “I am a black woman.  I am a minority.  I am powerless.”  She is perhaps 20 years my senior and of a different time.  She bears the scars to prove it and most of our colleagues can remember when she got them.  I had only read about them and watched documentaries.

But, I realized that it was not only age or time that created distance between us.  I could not agree with her statement.  And while the social construct of race would suggest that we think the same and share the same beliefs, it left me no other choice but to challenge its omniscience.  My heart was pounding by now; the words were throbbing in my head.  “Let us out,” they seemed to say.  I am not one to hold back truth so I let them go.

“I do not identify with the social construct of race.  I don’t believe that human beings are colored people, that there are beige, black, brown, red, yellow or white people.  I would not describe myself as a minority as we are all counted as human beings.  And I am not powerless.  I enter the world with power; consequently, no one can give or take my power away.”

So, apparently, I am an anomaly.  My comments were met with silence– though we have a Word- God who affirms our being down to the hairs of our head (Matthew 10.30).  Afterwards, another clergywoman thanked me for sharing my perspective.  She wished she could see as I did.  For me, she, too, was expressing powerlessness.   “These are not my eyes.  I am not in control of what I see.  I can’t see anything else.”

She went on to talk about the fights that she had engaged in for the rights of others.  I expressed that I had also chosen not to start there.  I do not have to live on a battlefield.  I have rejected the fights of the past, decided not to enlist or allow anyone to force me to sign up.  No human being can tell me who I am or am not– and I don’t have to fight for my identity.

She started to credit her generation for my position but this too was rejected.  God had given me this vision: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3.18, NRSV).  This was not my problem because I accepted God’s promise.  I pray that you would accept it as well.

Receive this holy vision.  This is my prayer.  In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.

A Race-less Plan

IMG_9332God doesn’t need race.  God doesn’t use race to determine your future.  There is no r- a- c- e in God.  Jeremiah records the voice of the Lord and God takes all the responsibility for your hope and future.  It’s not based on our physical appearance or social approval rating.  No, God has big plans for you and I.

The prophet Jeremiah records the voice of the Lord and these words are worth repeating.  They are not aimless.  God is not fiddling around in holy pockets.  “Now what do I do with this person that I’ve created?” Scratching the head is not an option for the omniscient God.

Jeremiah has captured the voice of the Lord passionate and confident about the divine intentions of our life.  While we may not know, God is sure of the plan for our lives.  God says, “Don’t let the prophets and diviners that are among you deceive you and do not listen to the dreams they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them” (29.8-9, NRSV).

God interrupts, buts in.  “Excuse Me.  These people have the title of prophet but their gifts don’t work Me.  They may have a gift but I didn’t give it to them.  I have a plan for you.”  It is important to note that not all prophets or persons with gifts of sight have the vision of God.  Likewise, God does not need the input of race to determine your purpose in life.  Despite what stereotypes or prejudices see, they do not sit on an advisory board for God.

No, go to the Source.  Ask God because it is not just the beginning of something.  It’s not even a step- by- step process. God is not looking at you, the instructions and the extra parts wondering, “Now what do I do with these?”

God is not figuring it as you go.  God is not tweaking the outcome as you grow.  No, God has you figured out from beginning to end.  And it’s a race-less plan, fool- proof, stereotype- free. God’s got hope and a future for you that is all your own.

Just pick it up.  It’s been paid for, bought with the blood of Christ.  All you have do is pick it up, take up his cross.  Leave race behind and follow Christ.

Finding Ourselves When We Lose Race

not-until-we-are-lost-do-not-begin-to-find-ourselves-quote-1I know the story of race but I am not the storyteller.  I know the history of racism but I am not the historian.  I have had the experiences of prejudice and stereotyping but I am not their victim.  I know the world but I am not a citizen.  I do not belong in a racial category.

I do not come from race and it is important that I consistently make this declaration.  To be sure, it is a daily and on some days, an hourly commitment and rededication.  It is so easy to just throw up your hands and give up the search for me, to go back to what is and was.

But, I wasn’t born to pass on the story, to catalogue events, to repeat the traditions, to be socially colored black.  I was not purposed to live with race and to accept its signs.  I came to guide us out of race, to lose race by questioning its directions and social cues.  I found myself the day I asked, “Do I have to be black?”

Here are some questions that might help you on your journey toward racelessness:

  1.  What would you look like without race?  How would you identify yourself?
  2. Who are you apart from race?
  3. What do you mean without race?
  4. What is your purpose and place aside from race?
  5. What would your relationships look like if not for race, prejudice and stereotypes?
  6. How might your language be different without the experiences and expressions of race?
  7. If you did not believe race to be omnipresent, where would you go?
  8. If you did not think race was omnipotent, what would you do?
  9. If you did not accept that race is omniscient, what would you think of yourself?
  10. What does race do for you?

The secret is this: the questions are the answers.  Lose race and you will find yourself.

 

 

Approximately Ten Power Thoughts For Living Without Race

imgresI think about race and its absence in the presence of our humanity every day.  I pray for wisdom and ways to communicate the absolute certainty that God did not create us to be judged by the social coloring of our skin.  I have heard this message loud and clear from God.  Now, I cannot pretend that I have not heard it and I can not keep it to myself.

It has changed what I say and how I see people.  I would be lying if I said that I see persons according to race.  I just don’t believe it and I don’t believe in it.  I just don’t see it anymore.  Call me a race atheist.

I could write about it all day and platforms like Twitter allow me to do so @racelessgospel.  Here are ten power statements that I shared in 140 characters or less.

  1. Race makes copies but God makes originals.
  2. We must accept the newness that Jesus Christ offers whether society sees it or not.
  3. Race is not a personal introduction of who we are but a social conclusion about who we are.
  4. We do not look to the social coloring of our skin for meaning but to the Spirit that inspires us.
  5. Expand your vocabulary of our humanity and you will enlarge your vision of our humanity.  Race is just one word.
  6. Identify with God.
  7. We will need to choose bigger words, that fit all human beings. Anything else is small talk.
  8. God did not create you to be bound by the social coloring of your skin but to live in and through and by the Spirit.
  9. Don’t wait for race to tell you who you are. Find out for yourself.
  10. We must start to take down the segregation signs in our minds that cause us to divide our relationships and our reasoning into us and them.
  11. Bonus! (I couldn’t leave this one out.) Don’t allow society or culture or family to cram your humanity into a racial category.  You were not made to fit.

Five Scary Things About Race

2009-10-29-ghostsToday, persons are celebrating Halloween.  I’m not one of them and I have heard arguments for and against it.  That’s not the point of my writing.  Whatever the purpose, I just don’t see the point.  I can buy my son candy anytime and he doesn’t have to dress up for it.

Nevertheless, I thought that it would be a good time to address some truths about race that continue to haunt us (Insert ghost howling sound here.).  Like Halloween, we are very much informed on race, its beginnings and social meanings; still, we continue to entertain it.

It really is scary to believe that we could know that race is a social construct and not a biological reality yet continue to behave towards one another as we do.  While you are choosing which homes and businesses to target, I mean visit, take a moment to consider this list.  You may not be able to read it later because you won’t be able to sit still after eating so much sugar.  Trust me, you should read it now.

  1.  Race is a lie and human beings made it up.  Still, we use it to justify all forms of abuse and death, oppression and privilege.
  2. Race is matter of pride.  By this, I do not mean racial pride but personal arrogance hidden under the cloak of this social construct.  We simply think that we are better than others and race is used as a means to this belief.
  3. Race is a scapegoat.  Race is not the real issue but our relationships.  We have used race to avoid the real work of forming cross- cultural communities for hundreds of years.  There is no excuse for letting our skin prevent us from getting close to each other.
  4. Race has a life span.  It is kept alive by our mouths.  It is not eternal.  If we do not give voice to it, it cannot survive from generation to generation.
  5. Race is not a mystery.  It is not some spooky ghost that invades our lives when we are born.  We need only close the book and stop telling the story.