White Ain’t God

nick petersonAs RadicalDiscipleship.net approaches Her 5-year birthday this month, we will start posting more frequently from the archives. This classic is from the prophetic imagination of Nick Peterson, currently pursuing his PhD in Liturgics and Ethics at Emory University. 

*Originally re-posted from social media in April 2016.

As a powerful but vain imagination, white supremacy attempts to imprison God to whiteness. In a white supremacist framework – God has a white sentence without parole. While confined, God must look white, talk white, think white, affirm white, bless white, and value, above all things, “his” own image made in whiteness. White supremacy attempts to hold the very God of the universe in chains – theological, liturgical, spiritual, creedal, geographical, social, emotional, and political.  Continue reading

Blackness In and Of Itself Became Criminalized

DominiqueAn excerpt from Duke Divinity School’s interview with Dominique Gillard, the author of Rethinking Incarceration. This is his response to the question, “How did we get here? How did we get in this situation?”

I quote a criminologist in the book, Elliott Currie. She says, “Short of major wars, mass incarceration has been the most thoroughly implemented government social program of our time.”

That’s a powerful statement. But I think we got here a couple of ways.

Theologically, we’ve misunderstood God’s justice as just about divine wrath. And because God is holy, we think God cannot be connected in any way to unrighteousness. Continue reading

Conjoined Twins

ibram-kendi--credit-jeff-watts-american-universityFrom author and professor Ibram X. Kendi’s recent interview on DemocracyNow (August 13, 2019). Kendi’s new book is called How To Be An Antiracist.

I classify racism and capitalism as these conjoined twins — right? — from the same body but different personalities, different faces. And the reason why I do that is because I’m an historian. And so I track, particularly in my last book — the origins of racism cannot be separated from the origins of capitalism. The origins of capitalism cannot be separated from the origins of racism. The life of racism cannot be separated from the life of capitalism, and vice versa. Continue reading

An Exquisite Lesson in Creating Ideology

TaylorAn excerpt from KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR’s review of Becoming by Michelle Obama (re-posted from Boston Review, March 2019).  

In Becoming, Obama describes the value of telling one’s story this way: “Even when it’s not pretty or perfect. Even when it’s more real than you want it to be. Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.” For Obama, a person’s story is an affirmation of their space in the world, the right to be and belong. “In sharing my story,” she says, “I hope to help create space for other stories and other voices, to widen the pathway for who belongs and why. . . . Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us.” The root of discrimination, Obama implies, including the ugly discrimination she faced as first lady, is misunderstanding. Sharing personal narratives, then, offers a way for people to fully see each other and to overcome our differences. Continue reading

Unbroken Connection

DinaAn excerpt from Dina Gilio-Whitaker’s brilliant new release As Long As Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock (2019).

The very thing that distinguishes Indigenous peoples from settler societies is their unbroken connection to ancestral homelands. Their cultures and identities are linked to their original places in ways that define them: they  are reflected in language, place names and cosmology (origin stories). In Indigenous worldviews, there is no separation between people and land, between people and other life forms, or between people and their ancient ancestors whose bones are infused in the land they inhabit and whose spirits permeate place.

Our Most Sacred Relative

Jim BearAn excerpt from Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs’ powerful Thursday morning sermon at the February 2019 Bartimaeus Kinsler Institute on Chumash land (“Oak View, CA”). Listen to all 40 minutes of challenge and inspiration here.

The principle of non-Indigenous environmental justice work could be summarized like this:

The earth is our greatest natural resource and it is incumbent upon us to protect it.

Sounds good, but it is wrong. Because when viewed from an Indigenous perspective, we would state it like this:

The earth is our most sacred relative and it is incumbent upon us to protect her.

The Earth has an identity. The Earth lives. She breathes. She moves. She thunders. She nourishes.

Liberating Evangelicalism

HarperFrom the Twitter account of Lisa Sharon Harper, Founder and President of Freedom Road and Senior Fellow at Auburn Seminary. It was posted on March 18, 2019.

To all the people, designated White by colonizing nations, who are becoming disillusion by your evangelical or Christian faith: When you walk away from Jesus you are not #woke. You are operating out of the white supremacy you say you abhor. #LiberatingEvangelicalism

When you walk away from Jesus and Christian faith to be “woke” you are walking away from a faith that sprang from brown, indigenous, colonized people. You’re walking away from faith born on the underside of empire in the context of oppressed peoples. #LiberatingEvangelicalism Continue reading