Latest Entries »

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

Advertisements

New Blogging Spot

My new blogging address is below.  I hope you will choose to follow it!
 
 
 

E~Journey Chronicles 43-1

 

Where do you start when you are living in the middle of everything?  Do you attempt to retrace your steps and find the beginning? or perhaps you just jump right in where you are and add important historical information in anecdotal form? Well, I would love to say that I have the answer to these questions but unfortunately I don’t!  What a bummer.  I want to write and so I do.  I want to write a book and so I continue to try, try and then try again.  I get started and then fall off.  I get started and then distracted.  What is the problem?

I honestly did not think it would be as hard as it is.  For starters I am no longer sure of what I should be writing about.  There is so much that needs to be said and shared and revealed.  Sometimes I am on internal information overload.  So here I am trying again, albeit a tad bit differently.  I am going to use this blog to write.  Here is the catch – my passion is developing leaders by helping them tune into the subtle influence of their race, gender, economic status and expression of faith on how they lead.  The challenge is that I am also living out a journey of faith with my husband and family in the battle against cancer.  On top of that I was just laid off in the midst of this crazy economic recession from a faith based non-profit that held my heartstrings even as it drove me nutso!  To add fuel to the fire we are transitioning ministries and now attend a new church and bible study group.  So HOW do I figure out what to write about? 

I would like to invite your feedback.  For those of you who have read my blog it would be great to get honest feedback from you.  If there are themes or a specific focus that has jumped out at you let me know that.  I’m going take all of the feedback to God intentionally prepare through fasting and prayer for a time of discernment.  There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors.  I have never done anything like this before but I have nothing to lose.  I have no formal training in creative writing and I’m certainly not a theologian (as you may have guessed from earlier blogs) but I do believe God has something to say through me to others and that it should be put in writing.

Should I be writing a book, articles on-line, magazine submissions or what?  Should I write fiction, non-fiction, religious or non religious?  Feedback, feedback, feedback is what I need. Whatever I write I will be writing most of it but not all via the blog so the process will be open to everyone.  I am sure that not everyone agrees with everything I say but that is why God made us all very unique individuals don’t ya think? :o)….those who have different views play a valuable role in my life.  They help me to grow in areas that would be destined for stagnation. So are you ready?  Will you walk at least a part of the journey with me?

I am ready to get started. 

Will you help me?

You can send your feedback via comments on the blog or to the eckwoodjourney@gmail.com email address.  I will be taking feedback until the end of April.

Never give up trying to change the space you occupy,

K. Joy Williams-Eckwood

Expressions of Joy 4/2010

Life Interrupted

I don’t know how to explain how I feel.  So many things swirling around in my mind.  I go from one thought to the next with no seeming focus on a clear destination.  It’s as though life is so fluid I cannot grasp event the slightest fragment of substance.  I want to cry today and that bothers me.  Everything is ok; nothing new or catastrophic has happened.  I keep moving forward day by day, moment by moment.  My heart is stretched taut from living. 

My life has been interrupted.

I am being redirected.

The future is unclear and hazy at best.

I am holding so tightly to my Father’s hand that I can the outline of my own bony fingers digging into his spiritual flesh.  I can hear the popping sound made between our hands as the sweat from my anxiety mingles with the perspiration of his love. 

He beckons me to trust him.  To commit my all to Him.  To trust him is to believe he is reliable.  I have learned that this doesn’t mean things will turn out the way I want but that despite the outcome his love always does what is best for me.  I think this is where the anxiety comes rushing in.  Do I believe that he loves me, truly loves me enough to do what is best for me?  Do I believe that I am worthy of his love? 

What is best for me?  What is best for my family?  What is best for us all?

My life has been interrupted and only he can sort it out.  I wait, day after day, moment by moment as the minutes and hours slowly, hauntingly tick by; suggesting that I have missed the mark.  I want to rush in and plan and organize but his spirit gently chides me to wait patiently; to learn the expressions of his love; to feast upon his daily provision; to release self condemnation and accept self actualization through and in him.

My life has been interrupted and today I continue to wait…..

Find the Meaning

What does it mean to die? Does the one who is dying know when they have drawn their last breath? Do they know that when they close their eyes they will never open them again?  Can they tell when the beat of their heart is coming to an end?  Is God speaking to them at that moment?  What is happening as life as we know it slips away?  What is dying about anyway?

I wonder how many times we actually think about what it means to be alive?  Do we consider  “living” as the pursuit and gain of material possessions?  Are we living when we spend our every moment trying to share the gospel as we know it?  Does living consist of a series of controlled and uncontrolled interactions with others?  What is the purpose of being able to move, breathe and to speak?  For what purpose has this been allowed?  And has that purpose become thwarted when we can no longer do one of those actions? 

What of the disabled?  Are they living when certain capabilities are hindered or do not exist?  What does the quality of life mean and who determines what quality is?   I never thought about these things so deeply before.  I never had to.  I would like to think I was a pretty good critical thinker but as I look back I realize that my thoughts were mostly superficial and focused on my immediate needs.  Death was far away and happened to other people.  As long as I served God and did what was right I wouldn’t have to worry about an untimely death or debilitating sickness.  That type of mentality was rooted in the “serve God and everything will be all right” type of preaching.

I think I understand that what was being preached and taught was an encouragement to serve God and to trust in His ability to protect and care for you.  Unfortunately I was absent on the Sunday that the elements of suffering were preached.  I was present though when we were encouraged to just understand that God is a mysterious God and that we can’t begin to really understand why He does what He does, but that He always has a plan and a purpose.  For real?!

I do agree with the preacher.  I agree with all of it.  It is all true but there must be room to discuss and share about the pain of those for whom suffering seems to increase with the cadence of life.  There has to be a dialogue that makes us uncomfortable because we understand that we really don’t understand.  Please don’t tell me to look to eternity for my healing, comfort and blessing when you are preaching to me that if I serve Him I can be healed, comforted and blessed right here.  Please take time to preach all of it.  Remind me that eternity may be the only place that I experience some of those things; that suffering is just as real as being blessed and that my suffering is not synonymous with sin.

It is ok to be faced with death and to freak the heck out.  It is ok to wonder why me or the one I love?  It is fine to seek answers and be angry when none seem forthcoming.  It is all right to struggle with continuing to serve God when He seems to have walked away, shut the door and closed His ears.  It is ok.  We are supposed to look forward to eternal life with God.  We are taught that we have a mansion in a city whose streets are laid with gold.  We are inspired to find peace in that there will be no more pain and no more suffering; that tears will cease and sadness will be no more.

How does one believe this when life has consisted more of suffering and hardship than joy and comfort?  How do you face death with joy and trust in God when you have had to struggle and battle most of your life?  How do you believe in a sudden utopia that’s totally predicated on the death of your physical body?  How do you grapple with trying to believe that because you die life will suddenly become better?  How does that work and what then does being alive mean?  What kind of life is going to be better after death? 

There seems to be this Christian expectation that we march stoically onward to face death with an implacable faith that cannot be dislodged.  Would somebody please tell me how this is done?  How do I accept that I am going to die and express that acceptance with joy?  How do I come to a place of acceptance void of anger and fear when life seems to be cut short?  How do I receive the news of impending death and suffering in the process with an eye towards liberty in the afterlife? 

I don’t have the answer but I and my family are living out an expression of acceptance that is not hinged on the expectation of others or even our selves. 

I got a call less than a week ago that someone I knew died.  He suffered from the same type and stage of cancer that my husband has.  I knew he and his wife from ministry.  We all attended the same church for a number of years.  His wife and I attempted to connect a number of times but were never able to synchronize our schedules.  She was one of those people that you love upon meeting a beautiful spirit and a kind heart.  When I heard the news I was devastated.  He battled for 14 months before life slipped away.

The doctors gave my husband 6 – 8 months to live.  Tomorrow will be the 8th month anniversary and he is still going strong.  He looks good.  He has lost quite a bit of weight but his spirit and mind are still strong.  He is still alive, still laughing and joking and still making plans for the future.

A week ago he woke up in the middle of the night in pain.  I woke up as soon as I heard him move.  I prayed for him and the pain subsided.  I lay there quietly after he fell asleep wondering what the hell God was doing.  Why couldn’t he just heal him and make it all stop?

 A day later he found a lump in his chest.  No answers on that until they do another scan. 

We talk about death a lot now.  It is a much easier discussion than it was a few months ago.  We talk about the whole journey of life and what if any point there is to it.  We talk a lot about the journey we have taken together.  The pain we have caused each other and the joy that has helped us overcome the hurt.  We laugh a lot together.  We both think we are pretty funny but we both know he is the funny one. 

This morning we had coffee together.  We talked about his healing being manifested in the fact that he is still alive and well.  We both spent a moment contemplating what that means.  No answers just thoughts. 

We put together a kitchen set from IKEA this week.  It was a hilarious experience.  We were up until 1 am fitting together furniture and making jokes about one another’s ineptness.  We laughed so much.  I wanted to know that whenever I needed his help he would always be around to offer it.  My heart hurt and my soul mourned for the friendship we have that God may allow to be taken.  Instead of crying I talked bad about his being challenged to read instructions properly.

People think I am gifted.  That I have many skills and talents and that I am a bright star but God and I know the truth.  Terry is the gifted one, he is the brightness and the joy in our home.  He is the one that brings laughter and joy into our midst and in the words of our son Joshua  “Dad finds a way to make everything fun”.  He is the great encourager the one who always found enough money to do fun things when I thought we were completely broke.  Whenever I had to preach I knew that as long as he was there I would do well.  I trusted his prayers and his love for me.  He would pray and God would hear and I would be ok.  I cannot imagine life without him.

I wish you could see him.  His spirit is strong but his body is weakening.  His eyes are bright and his mind focused but his body refuses to go as far as his mind wants to take him.  I wish you could see him and know him as I do.  His tenacity is incredible his ability to laugh at himself a gift.  He still prays and reads the word all of the time but he sleeps more than he ever has before.

I wish you could see him as he watches our daughter Zion play basketball.  She brings him such joy and his love for her is clearly evident.  I wish you could hear him as he proudly talks about all of his boys and how they are going to be all right in the end.  How he prays for them and speaks words of success and encouragement to them.  I wish you could see how much he loves his family, how dedicated to us he is. 

If you could see and if you knew these things then I think you would question God as I do.  Why not take someone who cares for nothing but themselves.  Why afflict one so committed to living for Christ despite of falling and failing and stumbling through?  Defies logic and boggles the mind.

Does God care about my pain?

The message bible shares this from Romans chapter 8:

22-25All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

 26-28Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Bold type is mine

Evidently something about this whole experience, the complete damn journey of life filled with suffering and pain is working out and into something good.  I don’t get it but I choose to believe it is true.  It does not ease my pain.  This knowledge has not prevented my tears from falling or my shoulders from shaking with grief.  It has not prevented anger from rising up inside of me and lashing out at God.  This belief has not mitigated my incessant need to mentally reason the pro’s and con’s of being a child of God.  The word has not stopped the human experience of living in and being a part of a world filled with suffering and pain.  In fact, what it has done is forcefully drive home to me the reality of what it means to live.

When I think about Terry dying I honestly see nothing but a big black void in my life.  Fear creeps up from the center of my gut and claws its way to my throat enveloping my soul and shutting down any attempt to breathe, leaving me gasping for air that seems thin and filled with the fumes of death.  My brain zeros in on the fact that there is no way I can be all things to my kids that I do not have it in my to fulfill the role he has played.  Fear reminds me that I will be alone and that Terry will not be there to encourage or comfort me when I am afraid.   When I think of life without him I sink into a panic realizing that I will not be able to grieve because I have to care for the grief process of my children; then I realize that I will probably fall apart into a blithering mess unable to care for them or myself.  When I think about Terry dying I feel abandoned and lost.  How can I possibly go on with my life without the person who has been so central to mine.

Then this week happened and a new reality hit me.

Even if Terry dies I still have to live and life will never be the same again.  Not only because he would be gone but because the specter of death resides so close to home.   With this new proximity comes a clarity that did not before exist. 

If and when he dies whether now or later I will still exist.  That existence demands some form of expression.  That expression can be defined by my choice to engage or not, I can choose to be reactive or proactive.  I can choose to engage or disengage.  I can choose to acknowledge or ignore.  I can choose to move forward with some form of emotional, spiritual and physical progression or remain still and become stagnate.  All in all it is my choice. 

For the first time in my life I became afraid of living more than death.  The thought of living has never before been coupled with the reality of death.  They are so closely aligned.  I now realize that to live means I will always be faced with the opportunity to die; whether by my choice or the by choice and action of others.  I will always be aware of the fragility of life, the preciousness of being able to walk and talk and breathe on my own.  I will forever carry the knowledge that my existence is like a whiff of air able to be snuffed out in a moment.  Lost to me is the false sense of safety and cultural bravado bestowed upon those untouched by death.  Forever present will be the reality that my existence is totally up to God.  That my days are in fact numbered and that I can no longer assume that I will die at a ripe old age. 

I also am now forced to accept that for me my human existence is meant to be shared in ways that are meaningful for others not just myself.  That to be alive is to be present to the suffering and pain that our human existence brings.  I am to pursue a seat in those places where pain cannot be ignored or pushed away; and to find a way to love in those places despite how I feel. 

I am overwhelmed in ways I cannot express as I realize that I am expected to continue on if my husband dies.  It may sound silly to you but somewhere, somehow I shut down any thoughts related to actually living without him.  For one thing the internal emotional pain became unbearable whenever I thought about him dying.  For another I just wasn’t able to comprehend life without him being a part of it.  I cannot say that any of that has changed and I am not sure it is supposed to.  Perhaps part of the living experience is being left behind with unanswered questions.  I don’t know.  I still don’t really get it but I keep wrestling with it. 

We are provided with many opportunities while alive.  Some we step in to and some we don’t.  We have the chance to determine which path we want to take.  Whether born poor, rich or middle class we all have choices that belong to us alone.  We can respond to the world however we want but the choice remains ours.  Though we may not control the systems we operate within the manner in which we choose to exist does impact those systems.   Though we may not see the fruit of our labor and though we may never experience the joy that seems so present for others there is a reality to God that cannot be ignored.

Death proves that God lives.  How else do you explain the human determination to continue to live not knowing when death will strike?  How do you explain the ability to laugh again when the one you love has been ripped away from your soul?  How do you explain the desire to give birth after losing child after child?  How do you explain the song of exultation and praise that bursts forth even in the midst of the deepest sorrow?

 The only explanation I have is that God is real and because of that even in the midst of the most horrible, emotional turmoil I have ever experienced, even if he allows my husband and best friend to die I will find a way to lift up my hands and praise him even while the tears course down my cheeks and my soul shudders with pain.

Somehow I will continue to believe in life while I join and watch my husband fight for his. 

Expressions of Joy

Copyright  2/12/10

 

 

 

Update on Terry

 Hello there everyone.  It’s been awhile since I have written so I thought I should stop by my space and give you an update on Terry.  He is doing well, all things considered.  He gained some weight over the last week and that’s a good thing.  There have been no remarkable changes, he just keeps going one day at a time.  We are 7 months into the 6 – 8 month prognosis and Terry looks great.  Of course he is skinny as a rail and he moves much slower but his laugh is still the same and his color is good.  He is now taking two different medications to combat the cancer and seems to be tolerating them both fairly well.  He has decided to volunteer at a senior center and play bingo with them once a week! I think this is a great idea.  He tries to take a walk once a day when the weather permits.  He has become sort of a couch potatoe without the meat :o) .   He reads the word almost everyday without fail and continues to strongly pursue God in prayer.  He drives and takes care of errands and does as much as possible in caring for our home.  I need yard work done soon but I haven’t told him that yet (go ahead and laugh that’s funny!!!).  Overall he is doing well and only just started complaining about not being able to taste his food again.  Small price to pay though in the bigger picture.  He has surprised everyone with the state of his health and we continue to pray daily.  Thank you so much for interceding on his behalf.  Don’t stop.  God is still listening and sustaining Terry through these prayers.  We are thankful for everyday that God blesses us with.  Take care of yourself and know that your prayers are not in vain.  He that prays in secret will be rewarded by God openly. 
 
In peace,
 
Joy
Did I forget to say how much I love you…. I thought about the words that rolled off of my tongue and through my lips this morning as my spirit wept with grief and my soul shook with righteous anger…but lest I forget ….before the sun goes down…. I want you to know I love you with a righteous love that is willing to forgive….willing to walk with you on this journey of reconciliation….lest I forget….before the sun rises again…I want you to know that God ordained the whiteness of your skin as he ordained the light brown of mine…. I love you with a righteous love that will continue to call you in to real relationship with me….Love is on my mind….. at the end of the day ……Love is all we really have

My Truth

I realize that my truth may not be one that you agree with.  I am ok with that.  I no longer know who reads my blog and who doesn’t.  I think my need to write far exceeds my need to please.  I have reached a place in my life where I can no longer afford to be anyone other than who I truly am.  As more of my truth begins to unfold I realize that my only hope truly is Christ.  He alone will love me, accept me and keep me.  When and if you turn away I am upheld by the truth of his love.  When you can no longer walk with me I am encouraged by the strong sense of his presence and when you no longer speak to me I am led by the sound of his voice.  My soul cries out unto the Lord for he alone sustains.  I am bidden to do his will at all cost.  Peace for me does not exist when living outside of his will.  I understand my God to be more expansive than what the bible alone tells me.  He spans the world and all that exists therein.  He is more than the three letters in the english language that make up his name.  He is beyond words, beyond rituals and beyond intellectual debates.  He is my life and he alone will I follow.  When I can find no one else to encourage me, I will encourage myself in the Lord.  Be at peace with God, Be at peace with others and you will be at peace with yourself.
I don’t know that I have the capacity to withstand anymore of whatever God happens to be doing.  I find myself unable to sleep again.  I’ve been up since four.  The things running through my mind are tearing me apart inside, causing me to question everything I know about God.  I have spent the last sixteen years raising my children as Christians, but the American Christian response to suffering and oppression is tearing me apart inside.  I am now watching my children struggle with the self hatred that manifests itself in low self esteem and lack of confidence while courageously fighting to do more than just survive.  I have spent years and years talking to them about the love of God and his total acceptance of them for who they are.  The American response to their blackness and their maleness has fought me every step of the way.  Now the battle is not just on American soil it is global.  The globalization of hatred against blacks is right here in both the cities I have grown to love, Tacoma and Seattle.  Immigrants, refugees and transplants from other nations have come to America, taken up residence and helped the white dominant majority to continue its covert subjugation of blacks. 
 
It is sickening.  It is being done in every church and in every faith based non-profit.  It is subtle yet glaringly obvious.  I am pretty sure that God is as sick at heart as I am.  I sit in churches led by white pastors who preach prosperity and success to all, submission to men and a call to take back America so that Christianity can flourish and control the earth.  I hear nothing preached or taught about their white privilege and how it has and will continue to benefit them.  I watch them pray for people of color and proclaim that they can have the same kind of success.  I hear them teach about submission and continually use analogies that support male dominance and progress while leaving women at home or relegated to lower paying jobs.  I hear them sound the horn for missions that will take members overseas but rarely address the startling numbers of homeless, hungry and destitute youth and families right here in America except on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
 
I am sick in my soul.  When I attend churches led by black pastors I find them preaching about accountability and success.  I hear a call for better attendance at services, more financial commitment and a promise that God will make it all right.  I hear a shout that encourages success in the everyday effort of living if we just pray more, believe more and pay our tithes.  I listen to story after story that oppresses and ridicules women in the church.  Using them as scapegoats and the butt of jokes as the pastor acts out what is supposed to be a divinely inspired message.  I watch as woman after woman, talented, gifted and better equipped is suppressed in the name of male dominance and black collectivism.  I hear, I see and I weep inside. 
 
Faith based organizations are not exempt.  I have worked in more than a few.  Here too the sickness reigns and all in the name of Jesus.  White privilege may be acknowledged but individual and organizational action required to dismantle and disengage from operating in it rarely happens.  Even when the structure is in place the insidiousness of sin rises to the surface in individuals and the systems they control to continue and support oppression.  All in the name of Jesus.  I watch as access continues to be provided solely on the basis of "the old boys/girls" network and packaged as "this is how God told me to do it".  I am sure God does not call us to use tactics that create exclusion but its happening on a regular basis.
 
Who will cry out?  Who will stand for justice in the church? Who will rail against Satan’s use of Gods people to propagate his agenda?  Who will resist the globalized push for blacks to forget the attempted annihilation of who we were and who we are?  This push to move past color and onward to Christian love has succeeded in creating a generation of black youth who are more economically deprived, spiritually empty, emotionally dry and educationally stumped than ever before.  Blacks still have the worst statistics in almost every area of research known to man.  When you contrast blacks against whites the statistics are heartbreaking.  Why are we still contrasting whites and blacks? because no other group that exists in America has more than half of its prison population as black males when they only make up roughly 12% of the total population in the country.  No other group is as sexualized and demonized by the media.  No other group risks being killed solely based on the color of their skin whether they have a weapon or not.
 
Ironic isn’t it, that in order to change the laws that are killing and oppressing people of color we must work within a system created by white slave owners, controlled by their descendants and designed to support their future generations.  Open your eyes, do you not see that Satan works intentionally?  He is not haphazard.  Once a design is in place he sits back and watches us pick up his cause and make it our own.  I find it interesting that all across the globe people with white skin have used lies, deception, murder and exclusionary policies and procedures to steal, kill and destroy the culture, history, progress and future of people of color.  This is true, it is not a made for television event.  It’s written down, there are pictures and stories that support what people of color know to be true and yet, we are told to forget it all in the name of Jesus.
 
If we forget we will die.  We will lose everything we are and ever hope to be.  We cannot afford to forget that our great-grandparents were slaves and that our grand-parents and parents lived through a post slavery era that was even more traumatizing.  We cannot afford to forget and yet, we are.  American Christianity, The dominant white majority Christianity has taught us how to forget our pain and oppression all beneath the blood of the cross and yet, we haven’t.  A paradox exists, it lives within us and has created what Doctor Joy Leary calls a cognitive dissonance.  We are at war within our minds, tossed to and fro like a battleship within our souls and torn to shreds within our spirits.  Our mind hears the preached word of reconciliation and hope soars.  Our soul becomes pummeled with fighting against the onslaught of temptations carefully constructed to systematically dismantle every family oriented, group focused, self healing lesson passed down from generation to generation.  Our soul cries out and the mind responds with the word and a promise that if we can withstand then we shall overcome.  Our mind hears the preached word of God and there is a rejoicing with anticipation.  Our spirit begins to falter under the heavy weight of unrealized expectation.  She shudders with the gross pain of carrying promises that are continually deferred.  She staggers like a drunk careening throught the streets of hopelessness and despair and yet, the mind continues to say the word of God will come to pass. So the spirit and soul begin to disconnect.  The soul connects with the mind and the spirit begins to fold in within herself.
 
I am grieved beyond measure.  Blacks, African Americans, People of Color or Negroes whatever term, titled or word works best for you are spiritually, emotionally and physically dying at the hands of white Christians every single day.  It is only the sheer determined force of will power combined with Gods immutable strength and grace that has allowed us to live and thrive even this long, but the fight has and is taking its toll.  Just the other day while waiting for the bus I watched a group of sixty something black women talking and gesturing.  My heart broke.  I recognized the signs of substance abuse and street life.  These are grandma’s and mothers who should be teaching and leading and nurturing.  American Christianity has taught us not to fight, not to advocate for justice.  Churches are threatened with closure for supporting politics and that threat is primarily levied at and followed through on black churches.  Every effort to organize against the powers that be are being thwarted through the white controlled criminal justice system. 
 
We are so oppressed that we believe our white brother and sisters in Christ who tell us that change is gonna come while we watch them refuse to step away from their privilege and access.  We are so oppressed that we help them to succeed and say nothing when they take credit for what we do, what we say and what we create.  We are so oppressed that we do nothing when we are passed over for promotion in our faith based organizations and then summarily excluded in every way possible from the decision making process.  We are so oppressed that we pray with our white brother and sister every day and say nothing when they engage in behaviors that are oppressive and disrespectful.  We are so oppressed that we do everything we can to affirm them even when they lie to our face.  We are so oppressed that we easily forgive without holding accountable even when they blatantly flaunt their privilege and access then apologize with a smile.  All in the name of Jesus.  All in the name of the gospel.  All in the name of Christianity.  A Christianity that is still selling black people and has taught us how to sell ourselves.  A Christianity that put us in chains and beat us until we were either dead, maimed, disfigured or completely submissive.  A Christianity that has taught us how to submit ourselves so well that we no longer stand up against the subtle expression of evil and dominance operating through white privilege and access.  A Christianity that has taught us how to question and second guess every decision we make while supporting male dominance predicated upon action without forward thinking.  A Christianity that discusses the love and comlete acceptance of God while refraining from acting in that love and acceptance.  A Christianity that heralds international missions and supports the ongoing denial of systemic oppression of all people of color. 
 
So the spirit and soul begin to disconnect.  The soul connects with the mind and the spirit begins to fold in within herself.

 
The soul is the place of emotional expression.  The place of romanticized love and sexual energy.  The soul can create a sensual experience out of almost anything.  The soul gives voice to our anguished cry of an emotional void so deep and cavernous that the heavens respond.  So then why are things getting worst instead of better? 
 
Our spirit (human spirit) communes with Gods Holy Spirit.  God does not engage us in our flesh which is what our soul operates out of.  Our soul feeds on the responses of the flesh to both external and internal forces.  American Christianity has intellectualized and categorized the gospel.  Our mind has been fed with the word of God which has been alienated from actually experiencing God.  Therefore, our soul has been allowed to roam and prosper unchecked.  Our lust for power is out of control.  Our sexual desires are out of control.  Our hunger and greed for money and food is out of control.  The soul is feeding off of a mind that has placed the gospel in a neat little compartment.  The soul is not corrected, disciplined or hindered because the gospel of the mind has not experience with the living God.  Gods Spirit is thus denied access to our spirit causing a dehydration of spiritual essence in our lives.  Our spirit hungers and thirsts for the living water that only the Spirit of God can provide.  Gods Spirit thrives off of our knowledge of the Word and uses it to bring us into a deep intimated experience with a very real God.  It is that experience that causes us to submit our ways to Him.  The disconnect for white Christians comes when the mind recognizes that God wants to address and call to action issues around privilege, access and oppression.  The mind then pulls the plug and shoves the gospel into the compartment so that the spirit does not have to submit or respond.  Even when the Holy Spirit manages to connect with the human spirit the mind and the soul have created such a united front that it takes a strong, intentional effort to engage spirit to Holy Spirit.  This is the disorientation that many white Christians experience when entering the realm of true reconciliation based on the word of God.  The desire of the soul is to satisfy itself.  It needs the help of the mind to do this without hindrance.  External forces such as socialization and culture all work to shape the response of the mind and soul to the gospel while the spirit cries out in hopes of being filled.  As the spirit continues to go unfilled she becomes submerged by the filth and corruption of the mind and soul.  The mind can be a terrible thing indeed, it has the capacity to collect, filter and store information without allowing that information to be absorbed by the spirit.  Because the mind and soul are willing partners in the game of self aggrandizement it is difficult at best for the spirit to prevail.  Hence the spoken truth of people of color.
 
Transformation cannot come without truth being spoken.  White Christians need people of color to speak truth but when that truth cuts across the grain of white privilege and calls into serious accountability the intellectual and self protecting mind kicks in with serious help from the self satisfying soul.  White Christians are in desperate need of evanglism.  They need people who can speak the truth of Gods word and call to accountability their actions and beliefs.  In the words of one old woman speaking to a white male urban missionary.  "How come God don’t never speak to black folk to go evangelize and minister to white folk, don’t white folk need God to, are they the only ones who hear from God"? 
 
The spirit of black men, women and children are desperately hurting and white bred Christianity continues to promote the lie that its the fault of people of color that they are struggling.  All of this blame without taking any responsibility for the millions of lives murdered so that white families can continue to live with safety, privilege and access regardless of economic status.  The spirit of black folks is folding within itself.  After years of preaching, teaching, believing and hoping we see that white Christians who say they are committed to reconciliation still openly choose to operate in oppressive tactics even when called to account.  The result is devastating.  Hope is deferred yet again and scores of young black children continue to perish emotionally, spiritually and economically.  White Christians who say they are committed to reconciliation and yet do not make any effort whatsoever to build tangible, committed relationships with people of color and actively pursue dialogue on identifying areas of white privilege are fooling themselves and dishonoring God.   But to do this requires a strength and determination of mind, soul and spirit in concert.  The battle is fierce to keep white Christians aligned with the secular point of view and in fact they have prospered in living and viewing life through this lens.  So why should white Christians advocate and desperately fight for change as though their lives depend on it? 
 
Because it does.  Let me add that there is hope.  Hope for blacks and whites.  Hope for all Christians but it is a hope that is based on truth.  A hope that calls out ugly things like lies and deceptions.  A hope that is focused on intentionally and systematically dismantling every system of oppression created by satan.  Hear me loud and clear; hear me well.  The oppressive, exclusive system we operate and live in is Satanically inspired and influenced.  How else can you explain the broad reach across the globe of the same types of tactics; stealing, killing and destroying in order to uplift, satsify and protect people with white skin?  Jesus refused to allow satan to uplift him (Luke 4:5-8), he refused to allow satan to satisy him (Luke 4:2-4) and he refused to allow satan to prove who he was and his self worth (Luke 4:9-12).  Instead he refuted him with his intimate knowledge of God based on his very real experience with Him.  Satan has moved from using one man to using a singular group of people to promote his tyranny and the ultimate expression of that tyranny is to have it expressed through those who profess to be Gods children. Just as he has used people with white skin to overtly and covertly oppress others across the globe he has designated people of color and especially black people to be the ultimate recipients of this terror.  Everyone loses in this game.  Everyone’s life is at stake.  Whether we are being used as oppressors or we are the oppressed we all have a part to play in refusing to live within the boundaries drawn by satan.  It is imperative that we who claim Gods name speak truth, live truth and promote truth.  It is possible for if it is not then God is a lie and His word is without power.
 
There is a change coming and it has nothing and yet everything to do with having a black president.  Obama is a symbol used by God to shout truth across the globe.  It is not Obama himself.  It is God who is calling all Christians to accountability and truth.  God who is calling leadership to task.  God who is demanding and account.  God who is pulling back the covers and exposing the flaws and ill intentions masked by fake smiles and empy promises.  It is God not Obama, not the democrats or republicans and not the mainstream church. 
 
My children have a right to live in peace.  My children all six of them have a right to love themselves for who they are.  Every single Christian has a responsibility to speak truth.  Every life depends on it.  Make no mistake we will all give an account.  Satan has deceived us long enough in thinking that we have time to get it right.  That we can take our time in addressing the spiritual and emotional sickness killing us every day.  God speaks to his children and he is speaking to you.  Let everyone who has ears to hear, listen to what the Spirit of the living God is saying.
 
As a note I spoke with my fourteen year old son last night who got caught lying about something relatively inconsequential.  I sat with him and went through the bible gently reprimanding him about lying and sharing with him how subtle sin can manifest itself in patterns of white lies.  Here is what he wrote roughly 5 minutes after our 20 minute dialogue:
 
Don’t Be Like Cain
"Sin"
 
Sin – it will consume you ’till you die
eating away at your life
 
Sin – will creep upon
then slowly take over your life
 
Sin – is death
a short term gain
long term loss
after the short term then what?
 
Sin- will always be in your life
the only way to beat it is to
use the workd of God
it will set you free
 
 
 

 
 

Weary

I am tired. I am weary with life. 15 years ago God woke me up at 3 am and told me that he was sending me to truth to people who knew him but were hard hearted and hard headed. He woke me up at 3 am everyday for like a week and kept me in the book of Ezekial and Jeremiah. It was crazy! I remember being freaked out and going to talk with a woman who became my spiritual mentor for a number of years. She began to spend time with me in prayer and led me into a deep understanding about Gods manifestation through holy spirit. But today, right now I am tired. I am weary with being strong, standing faithfully and moving forward.

I am exhausted with speaking truth and watching people choose the low and wide path, the easy road and everything except God. I rarely get to see the fruit. i am a tiller. I get sent to the hard places where rebellion lives freely and hasn’t been checked in years. Then I get the lovely pleasure of being prompted by God to begin speaking truth and calling people including myself into accountability. I am tired. My life sucks. I have debt that is crazy right now and not a dime to do anything about it. I want to live a peaceful, calm life where maybe my greatest challenge is deciding what I am going to wear that day.

I’m sick of giving all that I know how to give and receiving nothing. I don’t care that I sound petulant. I am tired and angry today. I am disappointed with myself. How come I can’t change my life and make things better, make more money? I do not know the answer. I have six kids and one of them is driving me absolutely nutty right now. They all have need of their parents but I am always the first line of contact. I’m mom. I’m supposed to know everything but I don’t. I can’t make life safe for them or better or anything. Sometimes I am gripped with terror as I think about my five young black sons going to and from school and work. I am terrified that a white police officer angry at the recent killings will hurt them, kill them and destroy their future. I am tired of having to fight back that kind of fear.

I am just weary with life. I don’t want him to die. I see the bones poking through his skin and the slowness of his gait and my insides scream out in anger. I am tired I don’t want to raise kids alone, I don’t want to deal with grief, I am not taking this well. Today is an extremely hard day. I am not that great of a person. I make alot of mistakes all the time. I try to do good but lots of times I just screw up and try to make up for it. Today I feel empty of hope. It’s not Satan ok? It’s just the wear and tear of life getting to my soul, spirit and body. I will come out of it but right now that is where I am.

He cried this past week. His legs almost gave out on him because they were so weak. He started experiencing headaches and dizziness. He said he could feel his body getting weaker and even though scores of people were praying nothing was changing. He said he was scared. We prayed. I interceded. We got him out of the house and we all felt better. He is still weaker and more tired.

No matter how much truth you speak there are always things you do not say, thoughts you keep in check and responses that are modified. Did I tell you how tired of church I am? I wish I had the resources to take a year or two off of work and just travel with my kids to do absolutely, positively nothing except enjoy life. I want to forget that racism exist, that my children are always subject to unlawful detainment, that I always have more bills than money. Mostly I want to run away from the heaviness in my chest. The heaving that happens when I work to compress the tears that threaten to overwhelm me once again.

I want to not care that people around me are crashing and burning. I want to do as others do and distance myself from the pain and heartache I see on faces. I want to disregard the blatant need for training and guidance in how to lead with integrity (transparency). I want to ignore the prompting of the holy spirit to dialogue on how faith, leadership and race intersect. I want to forget the pain of my mother and the disappointment in my father. I want to be able to ignore God and his incessant presence and voice. I am tired.

Eternal rewards. That is supposed to be my focus. Well today its extremely hard. We still have about six weeks before the first disability check comes. After I paid the mortgage and the few essential bills that I could I was left with just about nothing. I’m tired of living paycheck to paycheck. And guess what? I don’t know how or when its going to change. Find another job? where? the economy is so depressed I need a job to come sit in my lap. I won’t hold my breath waiting on that. Yeah I know, life is hard for everyone and I am just feeling sorry for myself. Yup your right but it doesn’t change how I feel today.

I just keep praying even when I don’t want to but some days my prayers are really simple and only amount to calling on his name. Today is that day. I have no words of encouragement for others, no words of strength or inspiration. Today I am tired and just want my husband to feel strong again and encouraged but I am too tired to be the one to strengthen and encourage him. Today I really and honestly with everything in me need God to honor his word and every promise he has ever given me. I need him to be God.