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Walking Forward in God’s Image

As stated last week, I was at a place of faith when I decided to step away from everything I knew. I had been in a Christian community of faith, but it blew my mind that as people of faith, we still continue to look down on black people and culture, in subtle and not so subtle ways, while looking up to other races and their cultures. Time and time again i’m thinking, “what can we do as a community to take down institutional injustice towards our people?” But the running narrative was “forget race, love all”. I couldn’t separate the fact that the closer I got to God, the more I wanted to achieve justice for Black people in this land according to faith. I had never seen so many people of faith still believe in the standards of the world as opposed to really looking at ourselves from an image of God. Globally as a church, people are trying to move away from worship that’s seen as “too black”, calling the worship style outdated. Well EXCUSE ME but our ancestors here on the American side had something to praise about, being brought out of SLAVERY! On other sides, being brought out of OPPRESSIVE COLONIALISM! Also, if we serve a God who tells us to worship with a joyful noise, why should it sound so dry? I just remember being on the worship team and actually having people from the congregation who understand who I am, asking, “Does (this church) like Black people?” I will leave the name, nameless, this is not about talking negative about a congregation, it’s about telling what I have seen globally, using my experience as a frame of reference. Oh by the way, the congregation was 99% Black, and I specifically felt that worship comes in more forms than just Hillsong (majority white worship group), although Hillsong is awesome, but why when we practiced Hezekiah Walker, did we suddenly change the morning of service to sing Hillsong?

*I would like for people to know that the majority of people who purchase Black music are white people, it means nothing to the validity of our talents, but we never have to change who we are to make people feel welcome, if people like it they stay, if they don’t, they leave. If the people of the congregation are feeling shunned because the style does not fit them or is being demoted, that’s also making people not feel welcome. We praise God how we want to, God is not judging us because we worship too loud, it’s humans who are. Culturally, people are different, and God gave us different cultures to praise in our unique ways. We don’t have to try to be like anyone else to get to God, God meets us where we are which is how we were created! Culturally and all. We share our cultures with one another, we don’t conform our cultures to one another’s.*

Even when I was doing outreach on the street, I was told to focus more on reaching out to white people, and stop focusing so much on Black people; although, because of the spirit I carry with me, it was Black people who were drawn to me. & my lane is focused on Black people. If an Asian has a passion to help redeem the Asian community, would we shun them? No. But we as black people have so deeply internalized our self hate so much, we don’t want to seem like we’re “favoring” black people in anything that we do, in an effort to seem diverse, but the truth is, there is nothing wrong with wanting to help our community heal; we can’t jump to suddenly loving others when we haven’t even fully learned to love ourselves, still looking for white approval. I just believe that globally, congregations are trying to ignore race in the name of unity, but when will we realize that Black people need to heal?! My forever president Obama was here for some time, but he did not erase any injustice in America, I didn’t expect him to, but we still have work to do. We as people of faith are commissioned to be the ones, but when I interact with people of faith who would prefer to ignore the prevalent issues in society, I cannot be hand in hand with that. I notice that we are all in our professional millennial bubble while people our age on the other side of town had a completely different experience. Most of us went to college and had professional jobs, but I was going to work everyday as a Case Manager serving people who looked like me with no education and no family to uplift them. It’s easy for us to look at them and say “they’re lazy, they don’t have God” but the fact is, we are outward expressions of God for those exact people. But as Black Millennial Christian worshippers, we choose to just look down on the very people who look like us, shunning them, but quick to say we must “love our neighbor” when it comes to white people. How will they know God unless we show them, I had come to realize that we limit our gift giving to christmas and thanksgiving, when people need love all year round. We can say that people need to accept God to feel love, but if we look closely, God created humans to be outward expressions of love that we can feel and touch. We can help people accept God by showing them love. We can pray for a homeless man to get food, or we can buy them food. We can pray for a person to feel God’s love and stop the hate, or we can be that love for them. That is why as I mentioned in this weeks video, I asked God to introduce me to people who wouldn’t normally think like me, I was meeting atheists, Buddhists, and everything in between. I learned so much from them, and they learned so much from me, and they were all Black people. We grew up categorizing ourselves so much as black people and separating ourselves from one another, that I intentionally asked God to show me how to love black people. I can love everyone else in the world but it means nothing to me if I can’t look my own reflection in the eye. Yes, black people are my reflection, if I love me, I have no choice but to love us. I don’t like comparing races, because I believe we all have our own gifts to give, but, one thing other races have is unity; we’re busy fighting one another over the division caused by someone else. I understand many are not aware of what they’re doing, but especially those of us who have faith in God, should not be divisive amongst our own.

That is all.

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