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Aug 31, 2018 14 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I've seen a lot of progressive white pastors commenting on #ArethaHomegoing as a "master class in liturgy" and with hopes that this expression can find its way into their churches.

Let me tell you why that is problematic.
One of the fears of black folks rests in the reality that what is "ours" is only "ours" until white people want it. The history of American music is literally the story of white people appropriating what black people created.
What was on full, almost extreme, display at #ArethaHomegoing (the good, the bad, and the ugly) was a product of the Black Church™️. It is inextricably linked to the experience of black people in the United States.
By Black Church™️ I do not mean that all black Christians are a homogenous group. I mean that the expression of black Christianity in the United States traces its roots back to the hush arbors and clandestine worship services of the Invisible Institution.
In the Invisible Institution, away from the prying eyes of the white power structure, slaves were able to blend their African faith with Christianity (the latter often became the common language that unified their disparate experiences).
The result was an expression of Christianity that, in the words of Howard Thurman, "redeemed a religion the slave master had profaned in [their] midst."
The Black Church™️ continued to be informed by the experience of black people through Emancipation, Reconstruction (and it's failure), Jim Crow and the Nadir Period, the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power Movement, and beyond.
At each stage of the way, the Black Church™️ provided pastoral care, community, advocacy, and meaning for black people enduring the abuse of white supremacy.
What you saw today CANNOT be understood outside of a context of slavery, lynchings, segregation, mass incarceration, the crack cocaine epidemic and the God who proved faithful and who brought us "save thus far" and whose "grace will lead us home."
So many well-meaning white progressives want the expression of Black Church™️ without enduring the brutal history. It doesn't work like that.
Sometimes it's okay to look at something and appreciate, even enjoy it, without seeking to possess it and participate in it. To assume that whiteness would benefit from a selective infusion of blackness is white privilege.
To assume that black institutions can, in addition to providing meaning, pastoral care, community, and advocacy for black folks also provide some energy and entertainment for white institutions is white supremacy. We aren't the help and our church is not your maid.
Just watch the funeral, appreciate the pageantry, be moved by the hymns, and then walk away. Everything is not for you to take.
In the words of Solange:

🎵 "Don't feel bad if you can't sing along
Just be glad you got the whole wide world
This us
This shit is from us
Some shit you can't touch"

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Aug 28, 2018
There are times I want to start an #ITooAmProblematic hashtag so that we can honestly name how we fail to measure up to the standards of ideological purity we project on others. Maybe then we can cut ourselves and everyone else some slack.
Example: I tend to believe *most people do the best they can given what they have, know, believe, and have experienced. Yes, this includes those we'd label as racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. This certainly doesn't excuse bad behavior or mitigate harm caused.
And the very FIRST priority when engaging in a situation where harm has been caused is to ensure the safety and well-being of the victim. People who harm must be told they cannot harm anymore. People who have been harmed must be believed & supported.
Read 8 tweets
Apr 27, 2018
.@SpeakerRyan forcing the Chaplain of the House of Representatives, the Rev. Patrick Conroy, to resign shows how many like their religion: unchallenging, uncritical, and unChristian.
They are neither interested in the words of Jesus, nor the Prophets, nor the Apostles all of whom agree that one of the fruits of right religion is the construction and maintenance of just societies. To disregard the poor is to disregard Christ himself.
These are the same folks who claim "Judeo-Christian values" (which don't exist). This is done particularly when sex or things sex-related are on the docket. But how can you have a "Christian" society with drastic social inequality? Spoiler alert: you can't.
Read 10 tweets

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