Comments on Charlottesville and beyond…
The past few days have brought, yet again, disturbing images of hatred, violence, destruction and death as our country appears to fall even more divided along racial lines. There is a culture of rage fueling the dark souls who are all too willing to unleash the chaos within on any fellow human being different from themselves.
We can look at these “groups” and dissect their “missions” under a microscope, but it seems as if racism is this magnetic particle which draws the extremists together and incites violence. Extremists (anyone who advocates extreme views or actions) are excellent recruiters…disenfranchised? We’ve got the answer, belong to us. We will nurture your hate. We will feed your frenzy. We will activate your aggression. We will help you hate.
Last night, I watched a video of a confederate statue being torn down by a mob. It brought to mind the day I watched the statue of Saddam Hussein toppled. Perhaps, at that moment, there was elation in the victory, but it doesn’t change a thing. The dead are still dead. The war rages on.
Slavery still happened.
Racism still exists.
Erasing history is an exercise in ignorance.
I feel as though I need to give some reference to the fact that I am the matriarch of a transracial family. Our experiences would require another post or two but please know, I write from a place of knowing. Initially, I would have been on the burn-it-all side of the argument, but is that just me wanting to be a “good” white woman? Wanting to stomp out racism is a good thing, I just don’t believe this will help.
I would love to eradicate what happened, but I can’t. I can’t give my children the richness of their heritage without teaching them what their ancestors faced in this country. I also can not understand my black brothers and sisters without visiting not only history, but the present, through their experiences. We need to ask ourselves:
- Does removing the Confederate flag or statues make a difference?
- Does it make us a less-racist society or does it whitewash our evils?
- Is it an act of political correctness or true repentance?
- Does removing the past protect our future?
- Does it change the heart of a man?
The sad truth is, nothing about banning the Confederate flag or tearing down statues makes the United States of America any more united.
Erasing history is an exercise in futility.
As a heartbroken and burdened Christ-follower, I’m instructed to bring it all into the light of the gospel. Jesus. Our perfect and innocent God, executed on a symbol of shame. A cross where criminals met their end. A cross designed to prolong suffering and death. And yet, we hold on to that symbol of shame over 2,000 years later. Why? Because HIS story is our story.
So it is with confederate symbols. For my daughter, that history is her story. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
If you would have told the disciples that future Christ-followers would be hanging crosses on their necks and walls, tattooing them on their bodies and placing them on their alters, they would have never believed it. Yet, here we are.
Erasing history in an exercise in dishonor
What are we to do?
Whether you live in Charlottesville or a place far from it, you are responsible. Responsible for starting hard conversations. Responsible for building bridges with those different from you. Responsible for speaking out whenever you hear or see injustice. Responsible for educating yourself. Responsible for uncovering personal biases. Responsible for tearing down our own symbols of racism.
In 100 years:
- What symbols will we have erected or made holy that future generations will be at war over?
- What are we elevating now that will serve to divide or disgrace those who come behind?
- Which of our words will reverberate in the minds of our children?
A love-laced legacy is lasting.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up :1-3 ESV