Tag: black lives matter

The Apology Every White Christian Needs To Give To Black America

I am white, I am Christian, I am the problem, and I am sorry.

I have sinned against you and God in thought, word, and deed—even more so, in the brutal absence of thoughts, words, and deeds rendered on your behalf.

Where words of fierce solidarity were desperately needed, I have been cowardly silent and withdrawn. Where you have been crying out to simply be heard, bestowed justice, and afforded basic human rights, I have been tone-policing your every move while sitting in the comfort of my white Christian couch, staring down my nose at your plight.

My ignorance to my own white privilege, my apathy to your suffering, my comfort in comfortable living, and the worship of my status—all complicit evils to the undeniable hell you have been living.

History tells the disturbing and diabolical tale, I am the reason for your slavery, your continued discrimination, and your unending quest to grasp what God has already bestowed upon you—equal value, capacity, dignity,  beauty, and worth in every way and in all things. You don’t just matter, you are the majesty woven into God’s tapestry of life.

I have declared peace where this is no peace—to your destruction and my shame.

I have highjacked Jesus and turned Him into my personal cruise director, sipping Christian cocktails while the conservative evangelical Titanic plows through and vomits out hatred, bigotry, racism, and greed from sea to shining sea. Not just towards you, but the LGBTQIA community, women, the impoverished, and the immigrant included (to name a few).

At times, I have assumed the worst in you while blatantly dismissing the obvious systemic and intended desire within significant segments of my faith and country to erase you.

I have not resisted nearly to the needed measure, but rather have even participated in a faith system that has been the source of more discrimination, abuse, and destruction of your being and community than perhaps any other racist evil manifestation on earth.

I have become the onward Christian soldier who pierces your side as you hang on racial crosses.

I have blindly turned my brain, conscience, soul, and mind off at church and in society—numbed and satisfied with only having, at best, a passing knowledge and compassion for your history, story, suffering, divine worth, and life experience.

My shrinking back at the Thanksgiving table, the church picnic, the office water cooler, the Facebook comment thread, and the sideline at soccer practice. My carting off the kids to schools where diversity in status, intellectual intelligence, emotional intelligence, and color of skin is subtly, but surely discouraged. My laziness and chilling absence in being an active force for equality in the public arena with my words, my votes, and my resistance. All, scream of my resounding confession—I am the reason for your living hell. George Floyd, just another page in the nightmares of your story.

When you were thirsty for equality, I was watering and walling-off my privilege—using God and the Bible to rationalize my evil.

When you were naked and vulnerable as a despised minority, I looked away sitting on my hands, and therefore exploited you and raped you of your humanity.

When you were hungry to create a world where all are given equal value, opportunity, freedom, and worth, my irresponsiveness and complacency stole from the table of your divine affirmation and significance in order to fatten my own.

I am appalled at myself as I come face to face with the personal responsibility I have surrendered, the indoctrination I have allowed, and the contamination I have embraced through the spiritual justification of hate spewing out of the sewers of America, largely from the toilets of right-wing, conservative Evangelical Christianity.

I repent and agree with God—until my voice and actions of non-violent solidarity are as loud, numerous, and desperate as the cries of your oppression, I have deeply failed in being Jesus, living His Gospel, and extending His Kingdom to you.

For Jesus did not consider His heavenly privilege with God as something to be used to His own advantage. Rather, He made Himself a minority by taking the very nature of the religiously oppressed, being made in true human likeness and meekness. Being found in appearance as humanity, He humbled Himself, standing in fierce solidarity with the least of these unto death—even death on a cross.

As Jesus has done for me, I will do also for you. We are all equal, affirmed, and loved in His sight—period, the end of all debates.

Black America, my heart is sickened to the core at the evil racism I have allowed and therefore have adopted as my own.

For I am white, I am Christian, I am the problem, and I am deeply sorry.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave.

In America, Breathing Has Always Been For White People

No breath, no life.

Without oxygen, most everything withers and dies.

For those struggling to fill their lungs, every move, step, and aspiration is rendered difficult, diminished, and uncertain. Life is squelched and the marrow squeezed out. Freedom to live is shackled and choked, if not completely made impossible.

Sadly, in America, breathing has always been for white people. 

Breathing freely, deeply, and peacefully has been assigned to the privileged. The United States Constitution in manifestation truly reads, “We the white people,” and “All white men are created equal.” 

For actions speak louder than words.

With every lynching, enslavement, murder, displacement, beating, pillaging, and discrimination, everything that brings true life and living is reserved and restricted by the white man for the white man.

Breathing has always been for white people. 

Breathing while jogging through a neighborhood, never worrying about being deemed a threat, wrestled to ground, or even murdered.

Breathing while in the cubicle, never fearing mistreatment, false accusations, exploitation, the subject of racial humor, or the recipient of bullying.

Breathing while driving, never fearing being profiled, pulled over, misled, unfairly treated, assumed guilty, unjustly handled, violently treated, wrestled to ground, beaten, or even killed.

Breathing while eating at a restaurant, never having to notice the eyes fixed upon you, feeling the attention to the color of your skin, fearing the abuse of your food, the diminished quality of service, and the obvious avoidance of your presence.

Breathing while your children attend school, never carrying the anxiousness of their undeserved  negative treatment, personification of wrong-doing, internalization of inferiority, the onset of depression, and consistent unfair treatment. 

Breathing while dealing with the legal system, never fearing being falsely accused, legally abused, criminally exploited, assumed guilty, the object of falsely placed evidence, the diminished or restricted access to proper legal support and counsel, or having a police officer kneel on your neck to the point of your death. 

Breathing while shopping, never feeling the weight of people’s attention as they automatically fear that you might rob them or steal something, or sensing the surprise in their eyes as they assume you can’t afford what they are selling. 

Breathing while enjoying success, knowing that people will never wonder what special circumstance, allowance, crime, or bending-of-the-rules were required for you to get there. 

Breathing while moving into a new neighborhood, job, or church, never fearing the likely rejection, gossip, passive aggressiveness, or flat out resentment that will soon follow.

Breathing while protesting, always knowing that everything you do will be framed as righteous, inside the lines, and justified by the cause, as you’re labeled a “good person” and never a “thug” like all the others. 

Breathing while pursuing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, never carrying the weight, facing the unfairness, and suffering the oppression of a system clearly and intentionally bent towards the benefit, progress, power, and privilege of white, male America.

For in America, breathing has always been for white people.

Lynching, choking, suffocating, wheezing, and struggling to catch your breath has always been for everyone else.

 

Grace is brave. Be brave. 

Do Black Lives Matter?

When the Ferguson incident happened some weeks ago, I was quickly prompted by several people to give some kind of response.  Of course, it was clear that more than anything, they wanted to see if what I had to say agreed with what they had to say about it all.  When I took a neutral stance and stated that I hadn’t formed a clear point of view yet, many were even more frustrated with me, and some went ahead and decided for me as to what I believe; putting words, thoughts, and feelings in my my mouth and heart that I did not, nor still do not have.

I am not an expert in race or race relations, nor have I been a victim of slavery or birthed into a racial minority. I have very little frame of reference as to what it feels like and means to be a black person in America. Equally, I have never been a police officer or a part of our legal system. No one in my family has ever been in either of these arenas.  I have very little frame of reference as to what it feels like and means to be a police officer of part of the legal system in America.

We are so quick to speak and slow to listen in our culture. And furthermore, we often place our agendas, experiences, and emotions above the truth about things, or the seeking thereof.  I know have been guilty of this myself in other issues. I became so sure that I knew the truth before I in fact, knew the truth.

I have no clue as to the complete truth about the Ferguson tragedy, or any other. I have read the same articles and reports as you. But for me, the final conclusion is… I wasn’t there at the incident and I was not a part of the legal process.  Does that make me a racist that I don’t declare war on white police officers and our legal system? No. Does it make me a cop-hater and one who does not value our legal system because I don’t automatically side with officers and juries involved in any and every shooting or incident? No.

But here is what I do know…  When there is perceived to be an error of people in practice or thinking (such as racism) the predominant reaction is to quickly swing the pendulum the other direction, often over emphasizing things in an effort to correct things.  In my own line of work, this happens frequently. When there is an error of people in their practice or thinking about God or the Christian life, some quickly swing the theological pendulum in the other direction, unintentionally creating another theological error in order to bring correction to a previous one.

Yet, what is needed is not over correction, but to find true correction.  Not a mark north of north, but true north.

The truth is, the only statement, call, declaration or battle cry we could ever rightfully imagine coming from the mouth of Jesus, our Creator is ALL LIVES MATTER.  I understand where people come from when trying to bring justice to a perceived injustice. But, this is the only message that will bring us to the center, to the truth, and to the solution of racism of every kind and color. Otherwise, we will just be a perpetual, swinging pendulum of racism. When our practice and thinking in America aligns to ALL LIVES MATTER, then and only then will people be free and racism disarmed. Only then, will justice flow like a river, and all men be judged by the quality of their character not the color of their skin.

Do black lives matter? Of course they do. All LIVES MATTER…. police, victims, perpetrators, black, white, brown, rich, poor, enemy, friend, born, unborn. ALL lives matter. Until that is our song, our anthem, our heart, our cause, our banner, our focus, our resolve, we will fall short of God’s heart and continue to have racism (and injustice) of every kind and flavor… black against white, white against black, asian against hispanic, and on and on and on.

Because God hates racism and injustice of every kind, ALL LIVES MATTER, equally.

© 2020 Chris Kratzer

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