Institutional Humility and a Strong Black Identity

August 28, 2020

Our churches, our communities, and our organizations need institutional humility as much as any of us as individuals need humility; and our churches, communities, and organizations must support strong Black identity as much or more than any one of us does on our own.

But whose job is it within our institutions and how does a church behave with humility?

Institutional Humility?

White people, white institutions, and white power continue to operate from within our fragility, in part, because we create a world in which we never have to encounter a strong Black identity. Using money, structure, rules, and process we ensure our fragility encounters only encouragement and support, rather than challenge and confrontation.

When will we not only allow ourselves to encounter a strong Black identity but also celebrate it, support it, encourage it, and to LISTEN to it?

When will our church be willing to hear the Gospel proclaimed and understood by our siblings, sisters, and brothers who lives embody a strong Black identity?

White power tries to force BIPOC people to choose between fundamental affirmation of the imgao dei in them and excommunication or even martyrdom.

Layers of Violation and Identity.

We are working against white supremacy but only the vitriolic kind. What about the gentile forms, the velvet glove covering the iron fist?

What will it take for the white church to realize these traumatic layers? It’s more than violence. It’s more than history. It’s more than violation of Black and Brown bodies. We are forcing people to present themselves within a narrow band of acceptable being in order to safely inhabit our spaces.

Seeing our sin. Living with Discomfort.

We have slashed the number of HBCUs we support. We work for the appearance of anti-racism rather than the substance. We try to prove we’re good people and that we’re better than “that.”

Yet when we encounter a strong Black identity, we immediately push back. We get defensive. We get offended. We cry. We enact compassionate displays of care and concern for Black mental health. We don’t listen and let it change how we are.

A Strong Black Identity in the Church?

What could it look like if the white church stopped keeping Black organizations under the control of white budgets?

What could it look like if the wealth our church built off of stolen land and stolen people was directed by and for the needs of Black and Indigenous people?

Working toward Beloved Community.

There is so much more to say and much more to discuss – come to the Racial Heresy group to be a part of the conversation.

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