How do we maintain and retain power in whiteness in the Church? How do we dethrone the standards of whiteness as the measure by which all other experiences are judged? What will it take to bring Black voices to the center of our Faith?
“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, ‘Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.’ But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid his fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.” – Jonah 1: 1-3
Too many times in my life I’ve known where I’m supposed to go, I just don’t want to go there. Like Jonah, God’s call at those moments is clear, and, like Jonah, my response is resounding, “Hell, no, I ain’t doing that!” I run the other way. I stay silent. I sit on my butt and wait for others to do the work. I tremble in my fears and succumb to the rationalizations and lies I tell myself about how everything will be alright…especially when racism, White Supremacy, and all their associated violence are concerned.
What is keeping me in the belly of a whale when I should be marching to Nineveh? What is keeping us, the Church, silent when we should be speaking God’s truth?
The Lord has told the church, especially us White members of the Church, to speak God’s truth in Love to those in the grip of the systemic sin of White Supremacy. But, like Jonah, we don’t want to go there. We “struggle” with upsetting White Comfort. We “struggle” submitting to Black Power. Over and over again, we center whiteness in our church, our communities, our stories. We ignore or rewrite our history and we succumb to our fears.
The Lord has told us where to go and what to say. It’s time for us to step out onto the Road to Nineveh.
This season on Racial Heresy, we confront the barriers, excuses, and reasons, both mine and the church’s, unpacking what is keeping us out of Nineveh and how we all might transform our inner Jonah into a Racial Heretic.