1. People got Silent.
2. People got Pissed- "we should not be talking about this in church"
3. People got Embarrassed- "I don’t understand why we have to bring this up?"
4. People got Defensive- "Well, what about Black churches ?"
5. People got Offended- "I don’t see color. You know, God doesn’t see color."
6. People got Mad- "You're being divisive"
7. People got Apathetic- "I don’t really care, doesn’t really affect me"
8. People got Distant- "You’re making us Blacks look angry"
9. People got Dismissive-"Yes, well I can empathize with pain, we can all agree that we have experienced pain"
10. People got to Thinking- "How am I maybe complicit in this narrative?"
11. People got to Questioning- "Why is the American Church lagging, hesitant to take a stand or speak publicly about this issue?"
11. People got to Talking-"Can we form some sort of small group around this?"
12. People got to Listening- "I would like to learn more"
13. I got to Confronting… the issue
14. I had to Unlearn Some Things.
What did I really believe, who told me what to believe and how did they spin what they told me? I stopped using corporate worship as the vehicle that drove my entire faith and I took extreme measures to unlearn some damaging narratives so that I can objectively study the cultural backdrop of Christianity, the context of Jesus, God’s plan for humanity and how I fit into that narrative.
15. I Had to Learn What to Align My Identity With.
I took extreme measures to disassociate my racial identity with anything tied to being limited in scope or effect. I took unapologetic measures to walk away from the whitewashing (whether implicit or explicit) of Jesus, Christianity and church. I take extreme care in making sure I have a firm understanding and grip for myself on my faith so that those who may not get it, or who believe I am banking my eternity and present faith system on a fairytale will know that my response to their questions are authentically mine and not just based on my regurgitation of someone else's re-imagination or interpretation of the Christian faith.
16. I Had to Come to Grips.
Racism in the American church commissioned slavery. Most of the founders of this nation and of its church were slave owners and they mis-used the Bible to justify chattel slavery in America and Jim Crow segregation laws. I learned that the church has not fully dealt with that history as a whole, instead we have sidestepped it and called it reconciliation, but erasing reputational harm in theory alone does no real good.
17. I had to Detox from Colorblindness
Period. No more colorblindness. Why? Read my post "Overlooked" for the answer to that one.
The detox was painful. I didn’t come away from this unmarred. My grandfather was a Pastor. My Grandmother is a founder of a large prayer ministry. I am a church girl. Breed by Christian schools and churches. I am an insider. Detoxing was an incremental disconnection over a few years for me, and I lost a lot of connections. Hard truths are uncomfortable. People like their comfort and pacifism and I had became a voice that exposed areas of homogeneous apathy. Some Black people thought I was too militant, some White people thought I was too divisive, some people needed a social justice platform to promote their ministry savvy and cozied up. All kinds of people told me "This is too exhausting to tackle good for you girl! You can tackle away! Imma just stay over here not talking."
There were a few people that genuinely wanted to understand, but not a lot by any stretch. When the community you go to to talk about spiritually disconcerting things doesn't want to talk about the disconcerting thing where do you go?
My faith was absolutely shaken to its core, and that is exactly what I needed. I ultimately, left my position on church staff, but I grew deeper in the understanding of my faith, my identity, my purpose and in the understanding of how even I had been blind and implicit. Yes, the detox was isolating, scary and boy was it heavy, very heavy, and but it was also necessary, is very necessary for cultivating a level of consciousness necessary to dig your heels into anti-racism.
And I have never been more certain of my identity than I am now.
1. Have you been able to freely and confidently discuss racism and its tie to the church with your faith group?
2. Given the current climate of America, how necessary is this conversation?
3. How do you see yourself intersecting the idea that things are better, racism does not exist in the church with the racial disparities that are present in our society?
4. What are some feelings you have about why the American church generally speaking is not approaching this topic? How does this/has this impacted your faith?
5. Have you ever analyzed the narrative of Colorblindness?
5. What's next for you?