One morning last week, I received a text with an article link. I read the URL for the WashPo opinion piece, “www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-black-activism-lost-its-religion/….” Two immediate thoughts came to mind. One, it’s too early for this (8am). And two, I wonder where the author is going to take this.
The author is Rahiel Tesfamariam. Do your googles! She’s more than qualified to cover blackness, activism, and religion. Regarding the topics covered in this article was one of the most comprehensive posts I have read in a while including: the 1 yr anniversary of Mike Brown’s death, being arrested while protesting in Ferguson, paraphranelia accompanying the movement, LGBTQ community, the involvement of the LGBTQ community in black activism, history of the civil rights movement, the black church and her involvement with historical and present day movements, acceptance of marginalized persons, #BlackLivesMatter, #SayHerName, and so much more.
While reading this article, I experienced so many emotions. Just to be honest, sadness led the way. Overwhelming sadness that returned from seeing Mike Brown’s body laying in the middle of the street in August 2014. Sadness regarding the conversations, or lack thereof, that followed on police brutality. Sadness from knowing about the lives of countless black men and women were mercilessly taken. Knowing Sandra Bland was not the first and won’t be the last black woman to die in police custody with so many questions that no one is willing to answer. Sadness knowing the LGBTQ community is not being loved on by the church. Sadness from seeing the church hold religiosity and tradition above Jesus and the gospel.
That was a lot of sadness for a Monday morning!
However, more than sadness, anger, rage, confusion, etc because of these topics that hit my heart hard a sense of being underwhelmed. Almost a sense of disappointment. Not because I felt as though there was an elephant in the room being ignored. Personally, I thought the article was written exceptionally well. Each subject is complex. Every line resonated with me. She tackled what most people would never attempt to utter. In no way am I saying the article and those like it are bad, unnecessary, or incomplete
I’m struggling with WHY do #BlackLivesMatter?
#AllLivesMatter, #BlueLivesMatter, and any other #____Lives Matter. Why does anyone’s life matter?
Do #BlackLivesMatter? Yes. That’s an irrevocable, undeniable, visceral, emotional, researched “affirmative” from me. (We will talk about that in a later post along with why I won’t ever subscribe to #AllLivesMatter.)
Everyone’s life matters equally.
And for 1 very important reason.
What I have found missing from countless think pieces, OpEds, podcasts, round table discussions, and everything of the sort is that every life matters because we are all image bearers of God. We were created in God’s image.
We all have the same dignity, value, and worth. We are all desperately and equally in need of the grace of God. Around the cross, there is a very level playing field; everyone is a sinner. There is only one Savior.
Missing more than unity, more than love, more than conversations, is an across the board acknowledgement, especially from believers, that each and every life matters because WE bear the image of God. You can be outraged when anyone is being mistreated, unjustly persecuted and oppressed when you conclude that regardless of race, status, class, and clout, that person is an image bearer of God.
Whatever way you choose to view turmoil in our country, your foundation can’t be, “because I said so.” It’s easy to disrespect, hate, oppress, discriminate and extinguish lives when they have no value to you. But every life has value to God. Whether you “approve” of their skin color, political affiliation, religion, sexual orientation, economic status, gender, child-rearing decisions, the way they wash their cars or cook dinner, etc-every person is still an image bearer.
When another image bearer requests to be treated with respect and dignity, it wouldn’t warrant for silence or social media arguments. Listening to other image bearers share their concern would be of utmost importance. Notice, not only other Christians or other believers was an image bearer.
Every person bears the image of God.
Another question that now arises is, how do we say all lives have value, worth, meaning, an image… when we don’t acknowledge God? We don’t have enough space here for that conversation, but it will soon come.
I know this post is different than previous posts I have shared, but I hope you continue subscribe to WadeORadio.com. To keep it a thousand, I am struggling through unpacking various topics and ideas at the intersection of faith, race, and gender/sex. I don’t have all of the answers. My adjectives are:
American, black, female, etc. My noun is Christian. Ultimately, I want to point to Jesus. I hope to never blur those lines for those reading. But I will present topics from that complex, confusing, exciting, creative, odd but amazing intersection I am living in. Now is #ATimeToSpeak. I encourage you to challenge my thought process as I hope to challenge yours.
-An Image Bearer