if only we could see
It makes me terribly sad when the tribe of faith I grew up in can mourn the loss of 5 police officers yet be dead silent at the losses of black men and women NOW and through the centuries. I see how the church being wedded to our empire has played a role. I see how white supremacy has been imbued, assumed, a given and yet routinely denied by those with privilege. I see family members and friends taking up arms, taking up the flag and not seeing how the wars (moral or actual) they are fighting have little to do with Jesus and everything to do with a pernicious empire. There is so much more to be said, much to be prayed, much to be done. Until we can acknowledge and face the “planks in our eye,” how can we hope to make the world a better place? While we project our fear and violence outward we undermine our own capacity for compassionate action. What follows is a muddled freestyle written down in an attempt to verbally process my own emotion. My anger, and my sadness, for my American Christian brothers and sisters who acknowledge Jesus with their lips but deny him by their sanction of the kind of brutality he suffered. If only we could see there was a path forward instead of retreading old paths that perpetuate marginalization, exclusion, hate and violence. I will keep standing for that possibility, even if it feels far-fetched. I’ll do this, because at the end of the day I have love in my heart, and I believe LOVE WINS.
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If only you could see
That supporting the status quo is a catastrophe
It’s sinking sand
Patting the system on the back is shaking the devil’s hand
Our nation’s got problems
And maybe start to solve ‘em
To act like we don’t got ‘em
So instead of trying to solve we ABsolve our officers
Our brothers and sisters
Mothers and misters
Who are Black, and blue.
Black by birth, blue from bruises of our collective abuses
And after deaths and shootings, lynchings and lootings the worst of these atrocities is
Our own justification.
We mourn the losses of officers, and well we should.
But since when did a badge make worth to blood?
Where is the outcry for those who die at the hands of these officers by the same people who mourn them?
After each act of violence... a deafening silence.
I’m not here to lead a revolution. Unlike our forefathers, I don’t think you can fight fire with fire and win.
Violence begets violence, sin begets sin.
And we’re steeped in this shit, generation to generation.
It’s in, our nation’s DNA. Sure there is beauty in the US of A
But there’s also brokenness, denial.
The same people who are praying for revival are wanting to “make America great again,”
Instead of being Cross-eyed they see Jesus with a gun.
Yet the kingdom they proclaim thinks the empire is the same
And so black men and women die.
Our collective mind works like our own.
The ego is elusive, refuses to be shown.
Even what is known can be ignored.
Which is how people can worship Mars and think they’re worshipping the Lord.
After a while it becomes easy to be
Seeing churches buying big projectors and screens while their congregants buy guns
And the marginalized? The poor? No solidarity from these ones.
We complain about our taxes and the “moral corruption”
And refuse to see the orgies of violence as eruptions
And expressions of what is wrong.
Police protect us, right?
Well I know many cops who do (or try).
But when you’re systems color-coded you’re better off if you’re white.
And we can’t acknowledge this because we actually are racist.
What if Jesus has more in common with a black, gay man than he does with me?
What if the subversive life he lived I can’t see
Because of my own blinders, my own lenses
That applies the words of God to ME thoughtlessLY
Rather than having an outward mindset working tirelessly
In the fire I see
To save lives not worry that we
Are killing each other and ourselves with our victor psychology.
I’ve got beef with the church I grew up in for the same reason I do with me.
At our worst we all tend towards entropy.
Instead of creating new possibilities
Others with a carrot that says if you pray this prayer and believe these things
Then you’re saved from God’s wrath and aren’t the worst of these
Liberals. Pagans. Infidels. Vegans. Unpatriotic folks.
Let’s fly our American flag and cast our self-righteous votes.
If only you could see
That you are what you fear.
That evil, if it lives at all, lives within right here.
If only you could see
That you create what you project.
You kill and maim the very lives you say we’re all sworn to protect.
If only you could see
I’ve been working on my plank.
While you’ve been ridiculing, excommunicating and ruling
I’ve been doing work that’s grueling
And that’s facing up to reality.
You keep hiding in your boxes, because you serve the God who breaks them.
The ark wasn’t big enough, the temple, remember, we make them.
We make the constructs, the rules, the systems, the tools,
And they’re working as designed.
The Jesus of our empire is a racist, homophobic, statist, oligarchist tyrant. And if that doesn’t concern you, you don’t understand.
How good. How subversive. How much a threat to the powers this man represents.
He was a nonviolent revolutionary.
If I could see Jesus right now, I think he would be a she.
A black woman speaking up against our democracy.
Not simply to tear the system down, but to show new life is possible.
Not the zealot, not the priest, not the highest, but the least
On the social strata, leading from the roots up.
If only you could see,
The empathy and compassion offered to you
Is a gift to be offered to others.
My anger subsides, my fear runs and hides, and I just want to talk to you plainly.
It felt good to rant, and I think you needed to hear it.
If only you could see that I love you.
I don’t condemn you, now go and sin no more.
Set down the gun. Set down the flag.
You belong to a kingdom that can take anyone from riches to rags
And back again, but not the same.
I don’t have a political party to give you, but a sense of call to be seeds in the earth.
Present to what is and also what can be.
But it’s important that we see ourselves with humility instead of arrogance.
You think you know the will of God, but a tree is known by it’s fruit… and you’re sour.
More than anything it makes me sad.
I see this potential… and… it’s just too bad.
You’re leading an entrepreneurial summit, attending the latest fad
Claiming you’re in touch with the Divine Father, yes YOU know Jesus’ dad
Denying love in action to those Jesus would have had
In his inner circle
In his embrace
Have seen a smile on his face
Of every orientation and race
We’ve replaced the loving village with police power.
We’ve sold out intentional community for the holy hour.
We’ve missed the overwhelming opportunity for diversity and allowed ourselves to become homogeny and monotony.
American Christians, here’s what you can do: REPENT, let Jesus have mercy on you. It’s already extended to everyone in need who is bleeding in the streets to your latest misdeeds.
You drank the cup of Caesar instead of Christ, but her mercies are new every morning.
To my black brothers and sisters,
Forgive me. Forgive us. Thank you for being the presence of Christ in my life. Exposing my violence, my fear, my strife, my complicity, my privilege and
The value of human life. Stripped bare of badges, trappings and positions, raw and real.
To anyone listening, I don’t know what comes next.
I ask for sadness, for a chance to reflect and collect what is good and beautiful, reclaim our soul.
I ask for lament, for oneness that can only be found in diversity.
I ask for the turning of hearts, of systems, the changing of tides.
I ask for the yearning of all to be for the common good and not for mere self-protection.
I ask for healing of our land, of our people, and the HUMANizing of our institutions until we are all free to be, live and love and stop creating hierarchy.
I ask, and so I stand.
We can stand united, hand-in-hand.
We just have to un-cross and lay down our arms.
If only we could see it’s possible.
Somehow, I believe we can.