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Showing posts from May, 2020

Rehumanization in Realtime: Waging War Against White Supremacy - Charles Lewis

White supremacy kills. One reason why white supremacy kills so easily is because its legacy is one of attempted dehumanization. I say “attempted” because if you are a human being then you are created in the image of God and no power of hell, like that of white supremacy, can take that away from you. However in its attempts to dehumanize – to make us less than human – real cosmic damage can, has, and will continue to occur. 400 years of lives being cut short and livelihoods being plundered; from the plantation to the parkway. It’s easy to cut human life short when you see said life as being just short of human. The dehumanization process happens by dictating what is truly human through a grid of whiteness, and by divesting persons of color of their freedom to flourish fully in the imago dei that God has given them. Dehumanization – by way of dictation and divestment, has been codified in American law for centuries and has left an indelible imprint on the American consciousness in

We can't breathe - a reflection from Rachel Wiggins

“I can’t breathe.” Who is saying these words today? George Floyd. Eric Garner. Black men and women murdered in the streets. Black women and men checking the news, re-traumatized again. People being rushed to the hospital. People knowing they can’t see their family member who’s on a ventilator. Nurses and cashiers facing another panic attack as their bodies try to cope with the stress of their jobs. You know where I can’t imagine these words being said? In the Garden. When I read of Adam and Eve walking with God, I picture full, deep, to-the-soles breaths. No stress making their breaths shallow, no fear tightening their throats, no arms or knees stealing life from God’s beloved, beautiful creations. Breaths filling in and filling out, slowly and deliciously exhaled. God is described in Genesis and throughout the Bible as “the One who gives breath to all living things.” God created us with BREATH. Today we see our breath stolen from us because of a physical virus

Exposed, Weary, and Hungrier Than Ever - a reflection from the Thompson household

I read this poem a few weeks ago, and it resonated: Exposed by Sarah Bourns We’ve all been exposed. Not necessarily to the virus (though maybe…who knows) We’ve all been exposed BY the virus. Corona is exposing us. Exposing our weak sides. Exposing our dark sides. Exposing what normally lies far beneath the surface of our souls, hidden by the invisible masks we wear. Now exposed by the paper masks we can’t hide far enough behind. Corona is exposing our addiction to comfort. Our obsession with control. Our compulsion to hoard. Our protection of self. Corona is peeling back our layers. Tearing down our walls. Revealing our illusions. Leveling our best-laid plans. Corona is exposing the gods we worship: Our health Our hurry Our sense of security. Our favorite lies Our secret lusts Our misplaced trust. Corona is calling everything into question: What is the church without a building? What is my worth without an income

Back to What Is True - a spoken word poem

This spoken word poem was inspired as a response to the Northside Church blog posts No More Opting Out and Two Unbearable Griefs ,  courageously and prophetically offered by two dear sisters in Christ in the wake of the Ahmaud Arbery shooting. Below is the full text of the poem: A.T. and S.K., my beloved Christian sisters, I couldn’t press on without you. I was stuck when I was reading your words until they turned my heart back to what is true. They set my mind back on the promises of God – even though I’m feeling blue. They reset my attitude and put me in a better mood. No opting out, no stepping back, doing so never stops the constant threat of attack. But trying to press on comes at a price, It’s like I’m rolling the dice – even as a woman, I’ve been harassed by the cops at least twice. Being well educated and speaking the king’s English just doesn’t suffice. All that matters, to some, is that my hair is too greasy and kinky to get lice. So, they think it’s

It Is Well with My Soul - Zoe Bastardi, Amaya Brown, Sarah Lorish, and Lucy Thompson

These young ladies began working on this video before any of us had heard the names Ahmaud Arbery or Breonna Taylor. Yet the friendship and fellowship that drew them to come together in this way serves as a hopeful picture to the church and the world of what racial reconciliation can look like. The racial makeup of this quartet is not contrived but a (super-)natural consequence of a commitment that our church would reflect the diversity of God's good creation. This commitment is far from perfected in our church, and we recognize that it comes at a cost, particularly to those called to place themselves in the minority and to act as "bridges" between communities. Yet we are called to bear that cost together, knowing that even "though trials should come," because of the work of Christ, we can still declare, "it is well with my soul." Let us be led by these young ladies, true sisters in the body of Christ, as we are reminded of the peace we experience

A Collage from Revelation - a reflection from Corinne Tucker

My Black Sisters and Brothers: I hear you. This week, I’ve heard you say: “I’m exhausted.” Silence. “I wasn’t ready to speak yet.” “I’m afraid.” “I’m more surprised when this stuff doesn’t happen.” “What do I tell him now - don’t go outside?” “It’s hard to look at white faces. It’s hard to look anyone in the face.” “Who do I trust?” “This grief is sacred. Don’t share it for white affirmation.” “March with us.” “This isn’t going to change. Until Jesus comes, this isn’t going to change.” “Do you care any other time? Or only when social media says to?” “I’m tired of talking about it. Do something.” “It’s not safe to live.” And along with your voices, I hear under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth? ” Revelation 6:9,10 God’s answer? And behold, there

Our God comes; he does not keep silence

May these words from God Almighty provide comfort and hope to those who are continuing to grieve: Psalm 10:12-18 Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, "You will not call to account"?  But you do see , for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;  call his wickedness to account  till you find none. The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,  so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more. Psalm 50: 1-4; 16-23  The Mighty One, God the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Out of Zion, the perfection of be

The ARC of Racial Justice - a Reflection and Exhortation from Pastor Matt Lorish

Here we are again. The video footage of Ahmaud Arbery is all over social media. It is a time for lament and a time for righteous anger. I write this blog post as a continuation to the initial posts offered by Northside Church members. My aim in this post is to help my fellow white brothers and sisters think about where we go from here. At the close of Jemar Tisby’s book, The Color of Compromise , he introduces a framework that he calls the A.R.C. of racial justice. Using Jemar’s framework, I’d like to humbly offer some application points that I think are important for me and my fellow white sisters and brothers at Northside Church to move towards. I also write this as a Christian pastor. Christians of all ethnicities are Bible people. The end-game for us isn’t just racial justice. The end-game for us is conformity to Jesus and honoring Him. Racial injustice is one of the areas in which we need God’s Spirit to change us, grow us and conform us (Rom 12:2, 2 Cor 3:18). My prayer is

These things hold together. A follow-up from Adrianne Thompson

Dear Northside Church family, As I've listened to and been helped by the Adam Young podcast The place we find ourselves, I've learned that when an individual is abused (sexually or physically) they, of course, experience significant trauma. *But if they have a safe place to go home to, and if they are believed and protected and justice is sought, their brain substantially heals. If not, the trauma of not being believed or protected is significantly worse than the initial trauma was. Here  Adam Young says "the essence of trauma is helplessness combined with abandonment by potentially protective caregivers." For those of you who rightly care about that on an individual level: have you ever considered the impact of this on a corporate level? Can you imagine the added trauma that has been endured by our brothers and sisters whose very real experience of racism hasn't been believed? That's some of what I was trying to get at when I last wrote . Yes, if yo

Where do we go from here? - by Christine Bor

Where were you God? Why would He let that happen to someone He calls beloved? But He was there, because He doesn’t leave us even in the darkest corners of this world or in the darkest hour. He mourns the sanctity and blessedness of the life and breath of His Image Bearer, Ahmaud Aubery, alongside us. But where do we go from here? Do not be surprised as if White America is not capable of the modern day lynching of a black man. And if you are surprised, keep asking questions of yourself. The death of Ahmaud Arbery should stir up grief over the loss of sacred life and deep abiding anger over the lack of justice in our country for centuries to protect our brothers and sisters of color. And if it doesn’t, I implore you to open your eyes and hearts to see color, the color that God created us with, the color that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made to be. And I plead with you to not stop there. But instead, keep going. To understand the implications of race and to know that it

March. And march with us - an exhortation from Pastor Stan Morton

Ahmaud Aubery Another unarmed black man has been killed by racists. This is a case of presumptive profiling. Once again black people all over this country got slammed in the gut, stirring old and new fears and reopening wounds. How do we respond? Retaliate? Violence? Hopelessness? How did our forefathers and foremothers respond to slavery, the KKK, lynchings, bombings, dogs, hoses, night sticks and jail? They marched. They marched through the pain, the barriers, the mobs, the deaths, the griefs, the despair as well as the streets. They marched. They marched to victories in sports, music, science, education, church, business, families and government. From Frederick Douglas to Madam C Walker to Barack and Michelle Obama they marched. We have always dealt with this and we will always be dealing with this. Hatred prejudice and bigotry toward those unlike ourselves is endemic to the human condition But we're gonna keep on marching until Shiloh comes To my white brothe

Lama Sabachthani- by Reinesha Jarman

Lama Sabachthani One more. 3 shots. One life.  One law. Two men. One’s rights.  Gone.  Endless tears. Heightening fears. Safe places.  None.  God’s peace. God’s grace. God’s favor.  Done.  — I am numb.  There are far too many words that I can say, but none will be heard. All will be analyzed. None heeded.  I am reminded of our savior’s cry “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭27:46 There is a deep seeded fear to be the “perfect” black citizen. To neglect the beauty in my culture. To keep myself safe. To change my vernacular. To be acceptable. To be wholesome. If not, it is to lose one’s life.  Lama sabachthani? Where did He go? Why is this happening? Again.  Why don’t you love my people? Why don’t you make them love my people? Why must we defend ourselves in life and death? Why must we die? Where do I find peace in this? Where do I find joy? God, where are you? Lama sabachthani? Reinesha

Two unbearable griefs- by Adrianne Thompson

To my American church family: If we need grace to bear with each other through Covid-19, you can only imagine how much grace we need to bear with each other as we try, as one family, to lament and grieve Ahmaud Arbery’s murder. Lord give us mercy. We must pray fervently because the enemy would love to help us to despise one another for so many things right now. There is so much to be grieved. There is so much to be enraged about. It is unbearable. Lord help us to do that well, and better, as one body.  For those of you I don't know, I'm grieving, lamenting, weeping, not sleeping, wailing, raging as a white mother of four children, one of whom is a black 12-year old boy. To the part of my church family who experienced such significant gut-wrenching trauma this week, I love you. I think I've only tasted such a small bit of the trauma still, and it is so utterly unbearable I can't breathe, sleep or stop crying. I pray God gives you spaces to lament and grieve safely