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I Cry in Every Chapter I’ve Read so Far

Reflections on Dear White Peacemakers: Dismantling Racism with Grit and Grace by Osheta Moore

Like many of you, I’ve begun the work to become increasingly anti-racist.  I’d love to believe I can become fully so, but the more I learn, the more I’ve come to believe this will be a lot like my journey to be thinner and therefore healthier…ongoing, until I die.  One of my great hopes about “heaven” is that these ongoing journeys are either completed or no longer necessary, but until then…I work at it.  I believe the Lord directed me to this lovely pastor, preacher, sister in Christ and this book…I mean I never really pay attention to recommendations at the bottom of articles.  But for some reason, I saw this book…its title reached out and grabbed me.  

I ordered it, downloaded it and began to read.  I’m a voracious reader who devours books.  But not this one.  This one is like salt water taffy for me.  I can’t read it quickly.  It requires that I savor it, allow it to stick to my soul like taffy sticks to my teeth, and that I taste all the flavor profiles.  It’s like food for my starving soul and a kick in the butt for my lazy…  well, you know.

I cry at some point in every chapter.  Somewhere Ms. Moore will turn a phrase, recall a Jesus teaching, paint a vision, and/or lay down a challenge and I find myself crying.  Last week Dana shared with you one of my abiding tear-jerking ideas:  the Beloved Community.  Oh to find this community, to belong to it, in the flesh and blood, here and now!  I weep for that kind of home, challenge and companions with whom I’d rise to the challenges.

Blessed are the peacemakers…Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount.  Most of us know this phrase, but Ms. Moore makes it clear that Jesus means us, all of us baptized into His Body, are to enter into this work.  And it’s work.  She makes me cry as she shares her struggle to live out peacemaking.  Last night I was reading her raw, honest struggle after Ahmaud Arbery was murdered in cold blood by a father-son pair: a struggle to resist the kind of anger that allows us to dehumanize others…her risk to decry what happened to her black beloved brother and at the same time to remember that God loves the father-son duo also.  I wept…I have tears in my eyes now as I consider the kind of hard, hard soul work this takes.  God loves those two white men who murdered Ahmaud while he was jogging just as much as he loves Ahmaud and all those who grieve him.  And that means we peacemakers, black and white, have to learn how to hold that truth right up against our desire for vengeance, retribution, pain and suffering or our sense that Ahmaud deserved what he got…and to choose peacemaking.  We choose it first in our own hearts, and then we stand for it despite what others will say about us…and it will be ugly, no matter our skin color. 

She makes me cry, almost every time.  I cry tears of remorse, tears of shame, tears of sorrow and tears of hope.  Jesus does offer us a Way, a Truth, a Life.  It’s no walk in the park.  But it is the way God’s kingdom comes on earth, as it is in heaven.  I want that.  I weep for it.  I am learning how to live it.  Sure hope some of you will meet Osheta through her book and take up peacemaking with me!  We can cry together, and then work together against all the awful effects of racism.

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