EDIT: I wrote and posted this yesterday in a bit of a rush of anger and immediacy. In a cooler head, it's clear I'm addressing white people, and the language is definitely about black people, which can become objectifying. Still, I'll let it stand as another piece of me struggling with racism and my own assumptions and privilege. -neo
Again I saw all the oppressions that are practiced under the sun. Look, the tears of the oppressed—with no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power—with no one to comfort them. [Ecclesiastes 4:1]
As a boy, I was taught to be afraid of the black boys at school. Not relentlessly, not in even particularly forcefully or in relentlessly fear-inducing ways. But the lesson was there.
I know I'm not alone.
I know this lesson is costing the lives of black boys and men and the news is full of it lately, and the lives are lost without consequence to the takers.
Today, it was decided that there was no need to prosecute a a NY police officer for using lethal force against an asthmatic who couldn't breath.
I've written before: stop being afraid of each other.
If you've read many of these posts at all, you know how central the Imago Dei---the Image of God in which we all are made---is to my theology.
I know this little blog just isn't going to change the world and I know that anything more that I have to say on it is not going help.
Still . . . it's what I have in this minute. Stop being afraid of one another. Search each other for the Image of God.
Here, I did a Google image search on "groups of black men." Here's a screen shot to help you. Look at these men (and some boys) and pray over each face, each body: Here is the Image of God, here is God's own child and worthy of respect and honor. I will no longer default to fear when I meet the Image of God.
It feels so weak to the the enormity of the problem. But do it.
(I do not know any of the men in this picture or even the source of any of the pictures. If the owner of any of these pictures would like this removed, please let me know at neilellisorts at yahoo dot com and I will comply immediately. I simply did not want to speak in the abstract this time. Also, to see a larger version of the image, you can click it and it will expand.)