… I don’t think the fact that we were not on the Zimmerman jury or that we are not members of the NC Legislature completely exonerates us from culpability in their atrocious actions…
Like most people I know, I was stunned by the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. Stunned, but not completely surprised. After all, the Rodney King beating was caught on videotape, and that didn’t prevent a not guilty verdict in that case.
There is a part of me that is reluctant to take this subject on as my blog for this week. That is partly because the subject is depressing, and so much has already been said about it, and the racism “mountain” apparently wasn’t notified that when we Christians speak, mountains are meant to move. It’s here. It has always been here. And it seems like it will always be here. It’s discouraging; and I am discouraged, in this moment, about the whole Trayvon ordeal and about what the NC Legislature is doing to this state and about how long it is taking for marriage equality to be the law of the land and for people to accept that it is right and move on.
At a recent Bible study, here at Imani, the subject of worthiness came up. I was reminded that there are some truths that must penetrate multiple layers of misinformation, judgments and criticisms, bad theology, unenlightened scripture interpretation, and internalized phobias and self-doubt before those truths can connect and resonate with us at our core. The most effective tool that I know of to overcome our resistance to the truth that sets us free is repetition: sometimes we simply need to hear things over and over again until we are able to take them in.
It makes sense, if you think about it. Our most deeply-held doubts and fears about our worthiness to enjoy peaceful relationship with God are the result of countless exposures to messages that tell us that we are not worthy of that. If we were not raised hearing those messages in our churches, some of us heard them from our families. If we didn’t hear them from our churches or families, some of us heard them from our peers - personal and professional - in the form of demeaning jokes or bullying. If we, somehow, managed to escape all of those, we hear the negative messages almost every time we turn on the news and hear about the backlash against progress that has been made toward a more just society. Every affirming forward step is swiftly followed by ridiculously hostile denunciation by the radical right and renewed efforts to stem the movement of the political tide toward equality and justice. Every time a new election results in the passage of an anti-equality measure, the message is that we are surrounded by people who see us as unworthy of the fulfillment of basic human needs and the enjoyment of basic civil rights which they take for granted as their due.