Perhaps you have seen or heard the question: Why is it when a Muslim shoots someone they are called a terrorist; when a Black person shoots someone, they’re a thug, but when a white person shoots someone, they are called mentally ill?
One thing the young white man in Charleston who went into Emanuel AME Church, not to study the Bible but to kill black people, gave us was the truth about his motive. He stated that he wanted to start a “race war.” He told those he was about to murder: “You rape our women; you are taking over our country; you have to go.” I’m grateful to him for naming the truth behind his act--for revealing his fear and hatred. There is no pretending that this was not a racist act, and though there will be pretending that he is a lone crackpot, we know deep in our hearts and psyches that there are white people in this country who are not looking forward to the day when the United States is no longer majority white.
There are many ways to enter into a conversation about this, but as a Biblically-based Christian, I would like to start with the young man’s use of the possessive pronoun “our.” Therein, I would suggest, is the heart of the matter. With the use of that possessive pronoun, he/we step into spiritual brokenness, for the earth and all that lies within it belongs to whom? God not us.
Racism stems from a time when white people bought and sold black people as if they were possessions rather than also creations of God. We treat the land and other creatures as though they belong to us rather than to God. There are countries, and men within this country, who treat women as though they are possessions to be given away or bought and sold rather than the ones created by God that there might be human community. Scripture makes it abundantly clear that we own nothing; nothing is ours; all belongs to God, including our very lives. Everything is on loan from God who calls us to tend to the earth and creatures and one another as God tends to us.
How different would the world be if we got rid of the possessive our?
How different would the world be if we understood that we all are created and therefore, beloved by God?
-- Pastor Dianne
(Our blogs the last several weeks were pre-programmed so not as timely as we would have liked).