Source: Six things you should know …..
A couple of days ago, Jasmine Holmes posted an article or blog titled, SINGLE BLACK WOMEN IN EVANGELICAL WHITE SPACE: EIGHT THINGS WE WISH YOU KNEW. It was a wonderful article. She has also posted a Facebook Live video in response to comments and to answer any questions other may have about said article. You can click here to view the the video.
Again, Jasmine did a great job of writing from the experience of being a single black woman in evangelical white space. As I read her article, my headed nodded in agreement because of my ability to relate to most of her points. But, I wanted to keep going, though, hahaha! Most of my experiences in evangelical white space has come since being married and commissioned to serve the LORD in places where our family were literally the very few, if not only, in evangelical communities and churches. So, my husband and I wrote discussed and jotted down our own list, based off our own experiences in the ‘evangelical white space’.
Again, these are our experiences pertaining to this topic or being the minority in a christian community and what experienced or have observed, and what we think are important to know.
We are NOT the whitest black people that you have ever met.
Yes. Brothers and sisters have said this openly to me or my husband or to us both. Wisdom calls here. One, we realize that you may not realize the implications of such a statement, whether it is the intention or not. We have gently corrected and explained what we hear the person or persons are saying to us. A few things that we hear are:
-That the color of my skin makes us that different, like there is a line between the two us, even though we come together in unity in Christ as one flesh, one Bride.
-You think that I don’t like being black because I have become like you, white.
-You think that being white is the standard to be met or achieved. The standard in how to live in day to day life, you know because we are not like what has been depicted of “our kind” on t.v. or in the news. The standard in education, we talk educated, like you.
-We’re the ones who made it out of the ghetto or the hood. We are the ‘success’ story.
2. Our black sons are cute and adorable as long as they are little, cute and adorable.
I don’t know what or how this happens. But, I have observed this. Most times not in the most overt or obvious manner, it is definitely observable. When a black male is reaching teen years and voice is changing and facial structures change, their is the sharp awareness all of a sudden, that this once adorable little brown boy is now a black man. Sometimes, this plays out in the all of a sudden becoming uncomfortable with your son, and sometimes more so, daughters befriending them too closely. Or sometimes it is not knowing how to handle this now, grown or young man.
3. Jealousy. Not knowing how to handle the gravitational pull between other minorities.
It is sort of like the school cafeteria. No one is given assigned seats. But if you take a bird’s eye view, you will undoubtedly notice that there people tend to gravitate to those who are a part of their ethnicity or culture. In most cases, this is NOT a harmful thing. It is not the individuals being racist. Often times, you can see this socioeconomic status…those who are in the same socioeconomic class tend to gravitate to one another, regardless of their ethnicity. In the church, especially, if there are few African Americans, they will gravitate towards one another. And this gravitational pull does not diminish the love for you, my white brother and sister. It’s not ‘race thing’ in the context of ‘us’ and ‘them’.
4. We are loud. Just because we are loud doesn’t mean we are angry and about to fight, or steal or cause a scene. Most of the time, we don’t know that we are loud, until an introverted family or friend, tells us to quiet down.
Now these have been my husband’s and my REAL struggles. Please allow grace.
5. I am NOT the angry black woman, who is not submissive to her husband and cannot be tamed.
No, I am not! God told Eve in Genesis 3, that her and every other woman who came from her would try to rule their husband. So in that area, I am no different from any other married woman. Second, I am not angry! I am expressive. I may be trying to keep my cool so that you don’t think I am ‘the angry black woman’.
When I was in college, I can remember so vividly, the manager of the cafeteria, telling me how I responded and handled a situation, with so much force in his voice. He was very upset with me. I remember wondering what he was talking about, because I had done nor said no such things. But, it was how he had perceived me, not my actual words or actions. Often times, because we are black, we are easily considered or assumed to be unapproachable.
6. Black male leaders are not subservient to white male leaders.
My husband was told, as pastor of a predominantly white church, “We don’t want you as our lead pastor, we want you to preach.” Sometimes, it is hard for our white christian brothers and sisters to admit, that they may be having a hard time following the lead of a black man (or woman, for that manner).
My husband and I have served the body of Christ across several states in the U.S., where we were very few, or the only black (or African- American) family. We have come to believe and love that our Lord has chosen to send us into places that are far, far different from where we are from and from were we who most likely choose to go. We consider ourselves called to answer and correct statements or attitudes like those listed above, love and gentleness. We often say to one another, with a chuckle, “I am so glad they said that to us and not our mother, cousin or brother, because it wouldn’t have otherwise went well for them.” We have heard things and seen things from one extreme to the next. For example, a couple of years ago, we were camp counselors a Christian camp. Our children were with us. This camp is located in the middle of nowhere (to us) and lead by wonderful Jesus loving people and in no way would I consider them to be racist. Anyway, it was nearing the end of the camp week and the seasoned campers wanted to play a game called, “Find the counselor” (I could have the name wrong). This game was only played at night. So, all of the counselors, who were 99% white, dressed in dark colors and some even–brace yourselves– put on brown or dark makeup on their faces as camouflage. Hey I get it. But, we were stunned but, just chalked it up to “them” not knowing any better. Much grace. But then, a few started to say, “You guys to don’t have to worry about getting found. You’re already dark. This is why we put this makeup on.” ————-WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT—————————–
Again, much MORE grace.
I mean don’t they know history…
Ahhh, but there was one. There was a college intern, who was white, who had been traveling across the U.S., from D.C. to California, to study christian churches and camps, to observe how they deal with diversity, among others things that had to do with worship. I sat down as we were all waiting for this game to start, she brought her chair over to mine, and asked if I was okay? If my husband and kids were okay? She said she was mortified when she saw the counselors come in with their faces painted, and immediately began to cry and called her mom to tell her of the situation and how she felt bad for us. I thought that was sweet. I told her that the Holy Spirit has given us discernment and we know that it was truly ignorance on their part. They were thinking of the game and not of offending us. I told her how we choose to allow the Lord to use us in circumstances like these and glad it is us. With that said. Of course, it is still NOT okay.
Our hope is that by sharing these concerns and experiences, that we the Church can love one another better in our differences, no matter how uncomfortable, well. Our hope is that we would learn from one another and teach others and not be okay with being ignorant. This is important especially if we are living the Gospel and wanting to take it to the nations. Well sometimes, taking it to nations begins with your black or Mexican or Asian brother or sister on the pew next to you.
Also, we share the hope that this will encourage us all to be more aware of our own personal biases or stereotypes that we bring into the Christian living. We have so many awesome brothers and sisters that we are able to be honest with and who are not afraid to ask hard questions, aiming to understand the differences in cultural thoughts and ways.
If you are in a church that is diverse, praise our Lord for a glimpse of heaven. Have you be-sistered or be-brothered (I know, I made those words up) a brother and sister in Christ is maybe ethnically different from you?
Disclaimer: There are a thousand disclaimers that I am not disclaiming…love you.
I waited patiently for the LORD;
He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
(Praise You God!)
Many will see ad fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.
Blessed is the man who makes
the LORD his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
Your wondrous deeds and Your thoughts toward
none can compare to You!
I will proclaim and tell of the them,
yet they are more than can be told.
In sacrifice and offering You have not delighted,
but You have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
You have not required.
Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your law is within my heart.
I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as You know, O LORD.
I have not hidden Your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your steadfast love and Your
from the great congregation.
As for You, O LORD, You will not restrain
Your mercy from me; (praise You LORD!)
Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness will
ever preserve me!
For evils have encompassed me
my iniquities have overtake me;
and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs on my head;
my heart fails me.
Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me!
O LORD, make haste to help me!
Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, “Aha, aha!”
But may all who seek You
rejoice and be glad in You;
may those who love Your salvation
say continually, “Great is the LORD!”
As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the LORD takes thought for me,
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!
To the Choirmaster, A Psalm of David Typography and parenthetical praises added
There is a word that intimidates me like no other! It is a four letter word. No, it is not an obscene word, nor is it a bad word. It is a simple four letter word, that I would say most appreciate or desire. But, not me! Someone mentions the word and my name or a pronoun pertaining to me, in the same sentence. And I get all kinds of anxious. I get a little bit upset about it, too! “How dare you suggest that I need this or that I must take this!”
But you know what! It all comes down to one thing really; and that is trust! My reaction and resistance to this word and it’s implications tells me, via the Holy Spirit, that I don’t trust my Lord as I should. Even in the mundane. Ahhhhhh!!!!
I think sometimes we doers truly believe that our faith and trust is wrapped up in all that we DO. We believe that all that we DO in our non-stop doing is most pleasing. But our Lord has required that we show just how unwavering our faith is, in our NON-doing! – I know right, what-the-what!? But!
After the Lord God delivered the children of Israel up out of the land of Egypt, He brought them to place called the wilderness of Sin. Sin was located between Mount Elim and Mount Sinai. The Israelites had been traveling for fifteen days and began to voice their complaints to Moses and Aaron. They where blamed the two brothers for saying, “If we were going to die, I would rather have died sitting by the meat pots, eating bread. At least our bellies would have been full. But nooooo, you two bring us out here to the wilderness to die of starvation!” Of course, that is highly paraphrased, but you can check it out for yourself in Exodus 16. But what a CHARGE to bring against Moses and Aaron. They were just being obedient to the Lord! So Moses and Aaron reminds them that is was the LORD who brought them up out of Egypt and that they would see His glory because He has heard their grumbling (Ex. 16:6; but what a merciful God that He hears our grumbling and still loves us). Moses and Aaron cautions them in their grumbling against their leaders, by reason that they were ultimately grumbling against God.
The Lord had brought the Israelites to this place in the wilderness of Sin and it was here, He began to set His expectations of worshipful living unto Him, for them. And these expectations began with the Lord providing food, or bread for His people. This bread was to be their daily bread that they trusted the Lord to provide for them. They could only collect enough bread for each day. If they collected more than they were suppose to, the next day that bread would be rotted and full of worms. (Ex. 16:19-20)
Within the instructions of gathering their daily bread from heaven, the Israelites were given one exception. They were not to gather on the seventh day, therefore, God allowed them to gather enough bread on the sixth day, for the seventh. As we know, God said that the seventh day was blessed and holy unto Him, and God rested from His work. (Genesis 2:1-3) Not only did God our Creator rest on the seventh day, and not only was man to rest from gathering, but the whole earth and sea, rested on the seventh day. This is so foreign to some of us, this rest, because we live in such a GO-GO-GO world. But, I am old enough to remember when very few businesses remained opened on Sundays. Some gas stations that were open, didn’t sell alcohol or tobacco on Sundays. But, now many object to those ways and it isn’t profitable for the businesses Now, there is hardly ever a time when anything is closed during seven day week. And we wonder why people are tired.
This Sabbath rest the Lord required of His children was a gift to them, not a forbidden pleasure. The Lord was giving to them, not taking away from them. He was giving them the gift of- ok–that scray word. Have you figured it out already? It’s been mentioned a few times already! You know the word: REST! AHHHHHH!
REST! It’s scary isn’t it!
I am currently Day 10 post-OP! At discharge my Dr. advised REST! SIX WHOLE WEEKS of REST! What the what! Close friends and family, who have had similar surgeries or the same, I had strongly encouraged me to REST! Saying things like, “Tamika, take the time they give you to rest!” or “Make sure you are resting!” and “Remember you are healing from the inside out, so rest!”
Frankly, I was tired of hearing the word ‘rest’ the second it was mentioned. I thought to myself (with the nudging of our Helper), “Tamika, are you so afraid of rest?” and I answered, “I don’t know and leave me alone because I am mad that I have to rest.”
Could I be grumbling and complaining just as the Israelites were? To whom am complaining about, the doctors or the One who I asked to give them wisdom concerning my care, God?”
I should really be careful, here. I mean, my body does need to heal, and perhaps there is something the Lord wants to awake in me or teach me.
When I hear the word ‘rest’, I am instantly annoyed and perplexed. Mainly because it means “I CAN’T DO” and secondly, I have not the faintest idea of how to rest. It is almost on a daily basis, that I say, “Okay kids, Mama is going to go lay down for an hour and rest.” But what do I do? I grab my phone or either my laptop, or both and I go lay down on my bed and commence scrolling. Resting(sarcasm implied).
This brings me to another question. I am truly afraid of the word ‘rest‘ or am I truly afraid to trust the Lord to take the rest that I need? I think the latter. You see, the Lord was showing them how He was a different Lord. He is one full of love and compassion. Their previous ‘lord’ never gave them rest. Pharaoh worked them to the the ground. But the Lord He is different. He demonstrated how much He cared for His children that He brought up out of Egypt by providing food(and water) for them, even in their grumbling AND by giving them rest. This rest the Lord was giving them was not just for their time in the wilderness of Sin, but it was to be kept when they entered the Promised land and on from there.
We are so like Israel! We make our own rules and DO-DO-DO and GO-GO-GO and wear ourselves out to the point of misery and heartache. We rob ourselves of true and satisfying joy and rest.
So, instead of lamenting my six week rest assignment, I will trust the LORD and watch Him DO! He will DO through my family and community of believers and friends. He will DO in the quiet moments of prayer and time in His Word, and as I am massaging my incisions with sweet almond oil. And I will trust. I will trust the Lord that I will get all that I need in a given day. There will be no left overs. I will trust because I know that all of my needs are in Christ. My rest is in Christ.
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the eath gives
though the mountains be moved into the heart of
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
COME, behold the works of the LORD,
how he was brought desolations on the earth,
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
To the Choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah.
According to Alamoth. A Song.
But You have rejected us and disgraced us
and have not gone out with our armies.
You have made us like sheep for slaughter
and have scattered us among the nations.
You have sold Your people for a trifle,
demanding no high price for them.
You have made us the taunt of our neighbors,
the derision and scorn of those around us.
You have made us a byword among the nations,
a laughingstock among the peoples.
All-day-long my disgrace is before me,
and shame has covered my face
at the sound of the taunter and reviler,
at the sight of the enemy and the avenger.
It certainly can feel as though the LORD has forgotten about us in our distress and pain. Oh but trust Him, lean in to Him by meditating on His Word. You will be reminded that He is/was there all along.
All this has come upon us,
though we have not forgotten You,
and we have not been false to Your covenant.
Our heart has not turned back,
nor have our steps departed from Your way;
yet You have broken us in the place of jackals
and covered us with the shadow of death.
If we had forgotten the Name of our God
or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
would not God discover this?
For He knows the secrets of the heart.
Yet for Your sake we are killed all-day-long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.
Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord?
Rouse Yourself! Do not reject us forever!
Why do You hide Your face?
Why do You forget our affliction and oppression?
For our soul is bowed down to the dust;
our belly clings to the ground.
Rise up; come to our help!
Redeem us for the sake of Your steadfast love!
Psalm 44:9-26 Typography added A Maskil of the Sons of Korah.