Every day, I wake up wondering what the day will hold for me. I awake with the question, How long God? How long will they continue to kill us? How long will injustice prevail in the face of the black men and women locked in the racist system called america?…How long?
I then make my way to a seminary campus, which is 95% white that’s located in the midst of an 88% black community. Within the classrooms of this seminary, I hear about Luther, Wesley and Calvin but quite honestly the talk about the theology of race is usually an uncomfortable subject with tremendous scares attached. The notion or better yet audacity, that an evangelical God is concerned about the social welfare of black folks and the poor in general is shelved (by some) for what can be denoted as the need to preach the Gospel faithfully –“whatever that really means.” A Gospel that is disconnected from the “least of these” is not salvific, not the Gospel and simply useless.
I spend most of my days peddling through seminary courses with utter disbelief of how disconnected the church has become to the plight of the real world. We peruse through our seminary world in a microcosm of theological vanity, searching for new vocabulary to tell people how to share and love while injustice becomes the norm of the day. As James Cone asks, “Is it not time for theologians to get upset?” Where is the anger? Where is the prophetic preaching for change? Why is the liturgy not representative of the chaotic state of emergency that we live within? Why are there not prayers for systemic change being rendered for the community that embodies those who are being murdered disproportionately by cops? God cannot be pleased with the senseless murders of young black people by those sworn to protect –Black Lives Matter!
We live in a world that has managed to reduce the lives of black folks to replaceable inconveniences –we get rid of one, another replaces them and becomes another inconvenience. The value of black life in a theological sense is couched for the love of all. Blame is lobbed at the feet of those whom the system has targeted. We expect those caught in the trap to get themselves out. Think about that…they are caught in a trap and we want them to get themselves out. The whole intent of the trap is to ensnare not to free so we as the church must take the initiative to radically bring about freedom.
“It is expensive to be poor” laments James Baldwin but “exhausting to be black in america” replied one of my white brethren.
It is a call from God that ushers in a revolutionary experience of Shalom even while sitting in this midst of the powder keg called america. It may be hard to see the image of God in a riot but it is problematic and sinful to sit silently, while injustice reigns.