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Waking Up

And there was morning and evening, the first day.
 
I’m drinking a latte as I write this on my MacBook sitting on my comfy leather couch in my always 78 degrees house that sits on a quiet street with neatly trimmed lawns (well except for that one house) and geraniums in pots and pretty people who walk their kids to school and hang out by the pool and drink drinks in copper mugs.
 
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been waking up to the privilege and power that comes with being a white middle-class woman with a platform. A tiny platform, mind you – but even access to the Internet and decision makers in my church and city award advantage to me. I have leverage over my circumstances that have nothing to do with my effort, education, or eloquence, just the color of my skin.
 
I’m having a moment ya’ll. My personal and theological constructs are being shaken. What I thought to be true in terms of privilege and race, what I thought should be put on a pedestal, celebrated, and given grace is being shrouded. I’m looking at the Bible and Church and my faith community in a new light and asking tough questions.
 
Do I believe what I believe because it’s true or because it is the narrative I grew up with? Is my theology colonial? Am I clutching to the paradigms of my tribe while passing the wounded stranger on the roadside?
 
I don’t want to stay safe or stay the same. Well, that’s not true, I do want to safe, but I know I must not. I must listen and learn from The Other, I must see the world through fresh eyes and an open mind and heart, not because it’s trendy, but because I believe it is the way of the disciple.
 
–> Jesus rejected his privilege in order to set the captives free. He came to demolish strongholds – not just the ones that oppress us, but the ones in us that oppress others. <–
 
So what does this look like? I don’t know. I welcome your ideas. I’ve started by following a lot of new people on Twitter, subscribing to new podcasts, and reading books by people that do not look like me, talk like me, or live like me. I’m going to listen and learn and let their ideas shape me, just as I’ve let white middle-class suburbia in America shape me for the past 52 years.
 
Our country is on the razor’s edge, but I am hopeful! I believe in US! I believe in the image of God that is imprinted on each and every human being and that although things are not as they ought to be, that they can be, and someday will be. Amen.

5 thoughts on “Waking Up

  1. –I am not well spoken Cara, but I think we are inundated with “white guilt”– though none of us living today had anything to do with what the liberal media is telling us we should feel ashamed of. The last 8 years saw a lot of damage done. The way I see it, someone powerful with beautiful chocolate brown skin tones was given a platform like no other. God put him in that position of responsibility to honor and glorify HIM (God). In those years we were shamed of our founding fathers and the God fearing men and women who founded this amazing country that was the fertile soil for the word of God to grow. They didn’t do it all right but just think of Thomas Shepard, Richard Baxter, William Romaine, David Brainerd, Christmas Evans, Charles Spurgeon, John Owens and many more. Go back and read Of Plymouth Plantation. Shocking stories of these men striving for purity, godliness, and a genuine walk with the Lord– living out the word in maticulous fashion with hearts deeply in awe and in love with their Maker.

    Some time in the past few years, colonization became a bad word. Read the background of the person that started that buzz word- you will see the empty, world religion that promotes and has shaped his thinking into bitter envy and hatred.

    I hear what your saying and I feel that same tension- I would imagine most Christians in America do because we are so thankful to wake up HERE! But rather than guilt, I guess I am just so grateful and I wonder how I need to use that energy to serve Him where he put me— a German, white skinned, legalized American twice saved! (maybe 3 times actually- thats another story) How amazing to have been pulled out of Germany at 4 years old– seeing that none of my siblings know HIM and lead vacuous lives– to have the privilege to live in America where things just work! (as Jay would say)

    I am getting ready to read “Loving God with all your Mind”. I think it is going to have some good insights regarding this topic.

    At the end of the day I know the Lord is on His throne because I know the Word is true beyond a shadow of a doubt. I know He expects me to use my life to live for him, through him and to Him. Our church recently did a class on the 5 Solas— astounding. I think what I realize is I do have white skin, am middle class and do have Jesus and don’t do what I want to do! (Romans 7) What do I want to do more? PRAY.

    Keep living and loving and being thankful every day where God put you. Sell all you have and give it to the poor if it makes you sin. But I would also caution us to the many dissenting voices tearing apart Christians and Christianity along with civil war relics, covenant marriage, parenting, etc etc etc. Now is the time to be unified in Christ but Satan knows how to plant seeds of doubt, insecurity, and shame. He knows how to shame us when we aren’t blessed and he knows how to shame us when we are.

    You are an amazing person Cara! I have looked up to you for years :). God has gifted you with all kinds of administrative and teaching gifts and you are running the race to win! It doesn’t matter that you are white and middle class! As long as I have known you your passion is to live you life in such a way as to bring others to your best friend.

    I close this lengthy post with a favorite verse of mine that Jay has reminded me of numerous times when I feel distressed, questioning, restless on this earth (that is how we should feel– its not our home). Read Ecclesiastes, Lamentations and Peter. Lament, mourn, weep, be thankful, pray (or as DA CARSON says, “pray until you pray”), keep parenting, keep submitting under headship of your husband, keep loving your neighbors and all those that are hard to love.

    I love you and miss you sister.

    Jeremiah 29:5

    Jeremiah’s Letter to the Exiles
    …4″Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, 5Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. 6’Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease.…”

    MATTHEW HENDRY:
    “…. If they live in the fear of God, they may live comfortably in Babylon. In all conditions of life, it is our wisdom and duty not to throw away the comfort of what we may have, because we have not all we would have. They are directed to seek the good of the country where they were captives. While the king of Babylon protected them, they must live quiet and peaceable lives under him, in all godliness and honesty; patiently leaving it to God to work deliverance for them in due time.”

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    1. Thank you for engaging in this conversation my friend. It is an important one that the church must have. Racism is real and alive in our country today. If you do not think that is true, I would suggest watching the movies 13th and I Am Not Your Negro. We must not forget how this country was born and the things that were done in the name of our Lord to Native Americans and Africans brought here by force. Should we feel guilty for that? No. Compassionate I think is a better word. I want to understand what it is to be a person of color – not just black, but all colors, in this country. I don’t want to assume I know what it is like to be them. Instead of feeling scared or offended or defensive or angry as what may seem like a slight to our history or heroes I want to say to my brothers and sisters of color, “Where does it hurt? Tell me your story.” I will read more about the Puritans and the people you mentioned and check into the word colonization – I truly want to learn. The book “Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism” by Drew Hart is a good starting point. Also Thabiti Anyabwile is a black reformed pastor who writes for the Gospel Coalition and John Piper’s Desiring God website he has written some things that have helped me understand. Much love and grace and peace to you.

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