We celebrate the 11th-hour decision by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to stay the execution of Rodney Reed. At the same time, Reed’s case highlights the need to abolish capital punishment.
I felt anger rise in me as I watched “Harriet,” the new film about the famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman. The anger came from an awareness that the distorted use of victimization by the oppressors and the enslavers is still prevalent 100 years after Tubman’s death.
The nature of lament is profoundly spiritual and political. Lament ensures that questions of justice are asked and makes clear that things are not OK. But it doesn’t stop there. Lament suggests that what is wrong can be changed.
During the Civil Rights Movement being not-racist in the midst of murder, lynching, theft and almost every other degradation known to humanity, wasn’t enough. It still isn’t.
A genuine reparations process must focus fundamentally on achieving justice and equity for those who have been harmed, not on expiating the guilt of those who have benefitted, directly or indirectly, from the infliction of harm.
The experience of James Bradley as one of America’s first black seminarians can show us how far we have come. But, even as theology schools consider ways to address their culture of whiteness, it also shows us how far we have yet to travel.
The urban neighborhood where we have chosen to live is not always joyful. My heart has been broken more than a few times. But this place and its people have been my salvation.
The deep and abiding anger that we harbor at the world as it is today will kill us in greater numbers than the actions of crooked cops, Trump-loving white nationalists or mass shooters. As elusive as it may seem, seeking the peace that surpasses all understanding must be our daily work.
Brandt Jean’s embrace of his brother’s killer triggered a national conversation about forgiveness. But another conversation needs to be had in America and its churches.