White Women, Sarah, and Hagar

Dear white sisters,

We are long overdue in examining, confronting, and upsetting our significant role in the systemic racism of American culture.

The six women who acquitted George Zimmerman demonstrated the pattern of behavior that we white women have exhibited across the span of U.S. history … a habitual employment of racialized bait-and-switch that reminds me of the relationship between Sarai and Hagar, respectively the wife and the servant/second wife of father-of-the-faith Abram.

Read my full article on The Huffington Post.

Sunday Prayer

Lord, listen to your children praying;
Lord, send your Spirit in this place.*

We are gathered in your presence, Most High God,
longing for a word of healing and restoration.
Please take your place among us as
the Source of Comfort for the crying,
the Spirit of Eagle’s Wings for the exhausted,
and the Fierce Salve of Justice for the persecuted.

Lord, listen to your children praying;
Lord, send your Spirit in this place.

At times we fear, O merciful God, that hope and reconciliation
are merely pipe-dreams of faith, that your abundance
cannot surmount life’s hardships.
We long to be rescued from trouble;
we hope not to be troubled by your rescue.
Insist that we join with you in working for Love each day.

Lord, listen to your children praying;
Lord, send your Spirit in this place.

We hold out to you those times when we fail one another.
We hold out to you our fears and biases.
We hold out to you our plea
that you will remain faithful in being God, despite our failures.
O God our God, do not satisfy us today, but
urge us on to live as neighbors to one another.

Lord, listen to your children praying;
Lord, send your Spirit in this place.
Lord, listen to your children praying;
send us love, send us power, send us grace. 

*Lyrics by Ken Medema. This prayer is cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals.

A Tampon and a Gun

I am laughing and laughing this evening over the Twitter news that feminine care products are being confiscated from those entering the Texas legislature to hear debate on an abortion bill. It goes without saying that super plus tampons and winged pads pose a threat to the safety of Texas state senators. Licensed guns, on the other hand, are still acceptable accoutrement for those attending the legislative session, according to Twitter reports.

Laughing and laughing, because we are ridiculous: humanity in general, Americans in particular, and the socially-financially-politically-gendered elite most especially.

Laughing and laughing, just like I laugh when the mothers of “Toddlers & Tiaras” rage at judges who don’t award the Bestest Loveliest Most Supremest tacky crown to their two-year-old daughters who are wearing tens of thousands of dollars in make-up and glitzy dresses. My God, my God, what a commentary “T&T” makes on our society!

Laughing and laughing, because the Texas legislature too is a form of commentary — an indictment, in fact — on American culture. The #txlege unwittingly plays the jokester of the day, making an exaggerated fool of itself for needing protection from women’s tampons. And beyond itself (casting my net wide), the Texas legislature’s vigilance against women makes a fool of Florida too, where the trial of George Zimmerman highlights America’s violent vigilance against Black males who dare to walk to the 7-Eleven.

Because women and Black males are dangerous. In fact, they are the worst nightmares of every hetero white American man (with actual or perceived power & status). Apparently.

Which is funny.

In an enormously unfunny and life-threatening way.

I would add another layer of ridiculousness to this drama: Those who are having nightmares of young Black men eating Skittles on a stroll through the neighborhood, and of tampon rainstorms littering the ground with pink crinkly wrappers, are not only hetero, not only white, not only American. The men who are running scared are notably conservative Christian men.

White hetero conservative Christian men who believe — in all kinds of religious code — that the purpose of Jesus Christ was to sanitize the world and empower white Euro/American men to go & likewise sanitize the world in his name, until everything is white as snow. Not bleeding red. Not hued in blacks & browns. It is a warped Christology that has long been embedded within a privileged worldview.

Holy broken and oft-sacrificed God, help us!

One step further, one more layer into the absurdity that Texas and Florida represent: One of the significant institutions that has been built around (and, I daresay, will continue to grow because of) the white savior complex is the non-denominational conservative megachurch movement. All in the name of Jesus, mind you, but with the inherent function of preserving of white, male, American, conservative, hetero-ness of Jesus. You know, so that this same Jesus will continue to protect the world from women with tampons and Black boys with candy.

(There are many non-white megachurches, of course. Here, too, the salvation of Jesus is enacted as an authoritative hetero male ideology.)

May God in Her mercy pull the mirror out of Her purse to place it before us, so that we see ourselves as the fools we are: not truth-telling jesters in the courts of power, but blatant fools entertaining only ourselves…and poorly.

May tampons and Skittles be the gifts of prophets who will untangle our defensiveness from our Christology, our guns from our Jesus, our contortions of power from our holy humanity.

ROY G BIV

Today’s prayer prompt comes from Writing to God: Kids’ Edition, my second book and an engaging resource to encourage young readers in prayer. One of my favorite prompts in the Kids’ Edition holds endless possibilities for prayer:

“What’s your favorite color? What do you like about that color? As you think about your favorite color, can you imagine anything that God has in common with that color? For example, if you like blue because it’s a beautiful color for the sky, you could say that blue is beautiful…and God is beautiful too! Describe how God is like your favorite color.” (Paraclete Press 2012, pg 56)

Don’t be afraid of prayer-writing playfully in response to this prompt, nor should you be surprised if the prompt inspires a thoughful prayer from your pen. I hope that you’ll share your prayers as comments here; I’m eager to hear what colors you choose! Here’s my colorful psalm:

Flushed with passion

Bold as a tiger lily

Sunshine to my soul

Envious as the all-encompassing ivy

Lament in a 12-bar keen

Mysterious, ever-fleeting

Faithful and exposed like a bloom

How great you are, O God our God,
like a breath-taking rainbow!

Sunday Prayer

Our Sovereign, our Savior:
We praise your holy name
(your above-all-else-ness)
and we rejoice in your humanity
(your demonstration of the possibilities of dust).
Lead us in the ways of interdependence:
in our daily lives and personal ambitions,
in our corporate living and national pride,
in our congregational life and faith journeys.
Teach us again the humility of healing
and the total commitment of weeping.
We pray for deep & holy joy in the mornings:
for a dawning of hope & wholeness
not only in our own lives
but in the lives of those we love,
in the lives of our sisters & brothers in other nations,
in the lives of those who are unsettled from their homes.
Be ever a source of comfort and renewal, we pray,
and give us strength to your glory. Amen.

Prayer cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals.