Jesus and Justice
I think there are some good points on the situation today. Bruxy makes a dramatic statement of western civilization being largely “built on demonic energy” -- from the slaughter of the indigneous populations and slavery to modern examples of racism, war etc. The dangerous part is how so-called western Christian civilization used the ways of the world, the ways of conquerors and tricky deceitful treaties to conquer lands and subjugate peoples.
In the final part, there are good points on how Jesus several times used women as the center of several of his narratives, which was so counter cultural to 1st century times. In Luke 18, he even used a woman as a modal for his disciples to follow, and several of his parables appealed to female audiences, something the rabbis of His day would generally not do.
Among other things, this talk focuses on the violence that’s been permeated by our western Christian civilization. Not just of how blacks have been treated in the United States but also on how Indians have been similarly treated in the Canadian legacy. And most importantly, the spiritual forces at work motivating this approach.
As a white, I was shocked and appalled at the death of George Floyd, or as referred to in this presentation, an execution of “hate in slow motion”. And as not being a person-of-color, I have tried to begin to educate myself on how non-whites viewed this same footage. As this sermon brings out, sadly, the latter is usually, “I’ve experienced similar.” And “things aren’t getting worse, they are just getting filmed.” This presentation offers a reason as to why demonstrations continue to take place weeks afterwards, both in the States and worldwide.
While it’s a difficult discussion to have, South Africa has come to terms with its racism, as has Germany. Seems it’s time for other countries to do likewise?
(Moderator: TH, I reposted your comment as a "Comment Page" below so the link would show. Links in "Comments" don't link.)
What I have had to deal with has been a tangent of that (latins vs Anglos) but in my experience, the Latins I’ve lived and dealt with over the years have not ever voiced or expressed anywhere near the same kind of grievances I hear from blacks in the US and Canada. I’m not saying that whites (and here I should include Spaniards and Portuguese, the Dutch, the Belgians, the French, the British etc. etc. who all had colonies all over the place outside Europe) in general do not have a collective generational burden of guilt. To deny that would simply be naïve. But at the same time, I can sincerely say it’s never been an issue for me, and in the places I’ve been, I haven’t experienced what I would qualify as race-related anything. The Latin American countries I’ve lived in have been pretty well homogenized in that regard.
For example, a couple in Rio had a little boy just starting kindergarten (these were American Baptist missionaries who were friends of my parents and who I visited with a time or two, both of them white, but who had been living and working in Rio for some time) who had a best friend named Jose. He would go on and on about him and naturally, his parents were eager to meet him when the opportunity came up. They had to take him something at school one day and met him out on the playground. He went over to the fence and they asked him to point Jose out to them. “He’s over there,” he said, pointing to a group of like ten or so little boys. “Which one is he?” they asked. “He’s the one with the red shirt,” was the description, even though Jose was the only black boy in the whole group of little white boys. But their son didn’t distinguish him by his skin color but rather by the color of his clothes. They were deeply impressed by that, and generally speaking, that was the experience there in Rio, where there is a pretty good mixture of blacks and whites. Of course, as you go higher up in society, there is definitely racism, but at the normal mortal, street level, it’s not an issue. And that’s been my experience too. I’ve often been the odd gringo among Latinos, in the minority myself, but only one time, in all my years in Latin America, did I talk with someone who had a chip on his shoulder and who expressed resentment over the race issue (in highly politicized Chile).
All that to say, the talk and discussion was enlightening. I guess that in a situation where the two racial groups are thrust together or if not thrust together, live in the same town and the differences are highlighted rather than sublimated, I can see how race and history could be a very very very thorny issue.
But here is where Christianity really comes into the picture powerfully, as only in the church is there even a hope of ever truly leveling the playing field to where, like someone in the discussion very poignantly pointed out, the issue is not so much that here is a white man killing a black man, but here is a human being killing another human being, both in the image of God.
Yeah, in that sense, I don’t have a dog in the fight either. I grew up “never having a racist bone in my body”, and like you, have never really experienced (Or maybe better said, recognized) racism in my environment.
At this point in time though, my time of reflection is more based on this premise: As I make the effort to listen to the hearts of people-of-color (which also includes Latinos living here in the States) —and in particular Christians-of-color— the less I realize I really knew.
So whether it’s Little Wayne or Denzel Washington or the Black Christians who spoke on the video, I look at all of this as part of my education, and more importantly, my growing in compassion toward others.
TH, in response to what you wrote, “What is most interesting to me is how the narrative changes and what we’re told to believe”: I’m not unlike you, in that I too don’t like being told what I should believe. That’s why I enjoy exploring as many opinions on any side of any given argument, including pushing myself to read things that don’t necessarily jive with my existing mindset.
I wrestle with the racism topic, in part because I don’t trust my feelings on it. Due to past circumstances, it’s a topic that I haven’t really explored in my life.
As far as narratives in general and not wanting to be told what we should believe, I realize if you’re not listening to one narrative you’re listening to another. None of us has a corner on objective thought or impartiality, though that remains the goal. So I appreciate being able to bounce different opinions and conclusions around. It’s all been really helpful.
The narratives we perceive the world and other by can, and often should, change. I, too, don’t like being told what I should believe.
Granted my knee-jerk narrative is often what'd been previously "imprinted" from childhood, school days, etc. But like you said, GM, exploring the opinions on other sides of the argument that may not jive with my existing mindset is a good thing, an educating thing, a growing thing. Something that comes from open discussion with others. Thanks.