A friend of mine asked me a question about why I did something.  Not strange really, since I often do/say things that others find odd or different.  However, this question isn’t one for which I was prepared.  At least, not from this person.  I’ve been watching certain programs on various aspects of civil rights as it pertains to the USA.  Whenever there is an opportunity to learn more about times in our country that deal with this topic, I tend to hope to sit and absorb.  Racial issues, civil rights, equality, giving a voice to the oppressed, community reclamation and empowerment, and the like are all issues that touch a part of my soul that always feels fractured.  My friend genuinely asked me why I watch and learn about things like the Jim Crow laws, or learn about people like Medgar Evers, Emmitt Till, Paul Robeson, etc.  The question shocked me.

I’ll be honest, it shocked me because I didn’t have a well-thought response.  For years and years, I wanted to open my eyes about the issues of oppression around the world, and then be used to help open others’ eyes.  It felt like a calling to me to be challenged about the tendencies of all people to be sexist, racist, bigoted, and broken.  When one’s heart is confronted with transforming truth on an issue, it becomes a part of your life.  But, I couldn’t answer his question.  After thinking about it, I realised that the reason is that something has to give inside of me.  Learning, in and of itself, isn’t wrong but for many years I was constantly trying to find applications for what I had been learning.  The last few years, not so much.  So, I’m rededicating myself to look for concrete ways to apply God’s perspective about these issues in today’s society.  There is much to pray about.

People are saying things like being post-racial in our country.  That somehow we’ve moved past equality with regards to race or gender in this time in society.  Of everything I see, we’re not even close.  In fact, I believe that we’re just becoming better at hiding and obfuscating the roots of our bigotry.  So I ask for the grace to see what, if anything, God is challenging me with here.  I thank my friend, who truly doesn’t understand why these issues are so important to me, for asking the question.  Now I’ve got some chewing to do.  My first task is to sit and read “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” by Dr. King Jr. and see where we still as a society fall so very short with regards to civil rights and equality.  Here’s to open eyes and listening ears to the community around me…

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