I sooooooo want to write about the following things; the idiocy of the general American public who need the Obama “fist bump” explained as being not of terrorist origin; the idiocy of the American lawmaking bodies in blocking anti-global warming legislation; the piglike self-centered short-sightedness that’s become the norm for human interaction; and oh, yeah, the rest of my ranting thoughts on femininity in the current culture.
To be honest though, I get so frustrated as soon as I think of any of the above things that I can’t work up the mental spit to articulate anything. Maybe I’ve been reading too much of The Angry Black Woman, but I am about two seconds from saying bump it all and going all Earthseed on folks. Minus the freaky space doctrine. And the whole bit about God being change.
Oh, never mind.
I think that one of the most interesting things about many of the counter-cultural movements is that they are often essentially just copycatted from earlier movements, then legitimized by their spokespeople. Said spokesperson usually comes from a background in which, left to his/her own devices, the system works. Kudos to them for recognizing that a system is not correct just because it works, but me being me, I still have to point a glaring inequity out. It’s that there are tons of people who already live completely counterculturally because the system never worked for them, will never work, and therefore has never been an option. And they get ignored until the golden boy or girl stands up and says something about how they live, at which point it becomes a fad, popular, catalyst for mainstream change.
Now my problem isn’t that life isn’t fair. (Although it isn’t, and that is a problem, but since I’m not five years old anymore, I better think of different words to say it with.) My problem is that often, these refugees from the system who’ve become parts of and joined movements/lifestyles/communities that live antidotally (as in, a living antidote to the poisonous byproducts of the world), never mention the folks who paved the way for them except for in the most sweetly marginalizing and inconsequential of “other” terms. This isn’t intentional. It’s just that it sometimes takes a while to free people from their bondage, especially if it’s not recognized as bondage. And the tendency for people who live in the extreme Western mainstream to view themselves as normal and everyone else as somehow deviant and in need of becoming more “normal” like them, is rarely recognized as bondage.
Which is, I think, why all these “emergent” and “new monastic” and “incarnational” churches and church movements that are getting so widely recognized these days can get away with conveniently ignoring all of the work, often in the same style and theology, done by black and brown and rainbow churches. Sure, there’s MLK Jr. quotes by the score, but what about the scores of Christians of color who are today hard at work and deeply in love? And then we all wonder why there’s still such a racial schism within the church, huh? Perhaps it’s because even the innovators, the people at the forefront of all the new things God is doing, are still often clueless about how deep that rift often is and how much hurt is still being handed out because of this issue.
And by the way, NO, random well-meaning white person reading this and thinking, “oh, well I have a friend/co-worker/employee/acquaintance/ministry partner/maybe-even-a-spouse who is black/Asian/Latino/Martian”, that is not enough. Not unless you also realize that nine times out of ten, that person is giving up a substantial portion and amount of their own culture, lifestyle and comfort to be a part of your life or organization, and probably puts up with ridiculously large amounts of intentional and unintentional hurt as well, from BOTH sides of the fence. But because we like/love/respect/appreciate/”have a heart for” you, and we believe that the benefits of knowing you often outweigh the cost, we don’t say this. We just suck it up until it doesn’t matter anymore and hope that by living our lives in your midst and liking/loving/putting up with you anyway, one day you’ll realize that not only we, but all that comes behind and before and in front of us, all that it means for us to be who we are and how we are, is worth just as much as you and yours and deserves respect, reverance, and acceptance.
Yet somehow, after all of that, when the topic of incarnational church comes up, the black church and other “ethnic” churches are nowhere in sight?
*And before anybody says anything, I know it goes both ways…but did you? And heaven only knows, the black church isn’t perfect, but still…