Explorations in Theology

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Destroying or making history?

The seven last words of the Unarmed

If you don’t get time to watch it right through try 16:00 to the end.

A statue that honoured a slave trader being pulled down in Bristol was commented on very astutely in the Guardian that this was not an act of destroying history but of making history. I note that tonight there is a possibility of action targeted on the statue of Cecil Rhodes – an interesting one as Gayle was born in Zimbabwe and we have inevitably focused prayer into the effects of his life into the ‘soul’ of Africa.

Some days I pinch myself. What era are we living through? Is this simply a pause and all goes back to where it was? Or are we really living in one of the of the greatest resets in all of history? There are some incredible momentous epochs, and for believers in the resurrection of Jesus, we should anticipate that. Time moves forward a day at a time, a tick of the clock, and when that happens little seems to change, but the resurrection distorted the time line (Matt. 27: 51-54).

‘All lives matter’ is a retort at this time. Yes but only once ‘black lives matter’.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…’

(I quote from the USA declaration for two reasons, it is easier to find a good quote there and the USA is the child of Europe, if any schisms become visible there be assured they are present in our soil. I am not quoting it as a criticism of ‘there’. My critiques are of here and of ‘me’.) In the era when that was written ‘all men’ were all ‘men’ of the male variety, and of the white European descent. We can look back to criticise, but the gift of looking back is to slowly help give us present (time and place) sight. There are truths that are so self-evident, but are totally obscured to our sight because of where we stand. The gift of the moment is not simply that voices are being heard that have been silenced but we could possibly have our ears unblocked and our sight unveiled.

I have written that many might never come closer to seeing God than to see someone… really see them. To see humanity. That for me primarily is why this could be one of the greatest moments in history. To see Jesus was (is) to see the Father. To ‘see’ and really see humanity… that is the path for many to see Jesus.

6 thoughts on “Destroying or making history?

  1. I’m for “living in one of the of the greatest resets in all of history? ” as I believe in a God who answers prayer.

  2. Thank you for what you have offered as a reflection and for such a time as this.
    I think in the breaking is the making, in the making is the breaking. I’m don’t consider myself an intellect so I hope what I offer in my reflection will be ok.

    Born and in the UK and both parents being from the Far East , I can relate to being judged for the colour of my skin, my ethnicity..
    I have needed to learn my truest identity Is not defined by the colour of my skin, my ethnicity, but how I am seen through the lens of my creator. I am a Rhea I have a name and I am a unique human being..

    My hope my heart is in the making, in the breaking for such a time as this.. we will not even settle for the subtle forms of segregation and where the colour of skin, the marital status, the gender issue, the age gap etc can still separate people and labels prevent us from addressing each person by name as we see through the eyes of Jesus and so to the father of all created beings.

    I think the challenge for us as true believers and imitators of Christ is- in the shaking for our times… what is the part we have, to see the current climate of culture being changed by Kingdom justice… Psalm 37:6 where ultimately value is placed not in a system or in a structure or in a belief but in how we practice being loved and valued as the unique human being we each are and how we seek to love and value another. I call you by name….
    I would like to think when each of us were knitted inside the womb,
    the creator did not look at me and say this is a yellow baby- but he looked at me and said ‘My Rhea’ and what the trinity saw was indeed so very good….

    This might be a very naive simplistic view I have offered yet I smile because it’s in all my authentically and the heart to return to grass roots to embrace humanity, this does not mean to white wash or invalidate the unspeakable of the crimes that have caused race segregation between black and white. We can not erase erase events as like in the story of Christ, there is the good bad and the ugly, all three of a spaghetti western – life is a mess… excuse the well known of in the mess is his message yet I think there is much truth in this.
    What if for such a time a this, as the light is bringing to light injustices to the surface it is an opportunity to call for change to leaving a legacy behind as a new way is forged not of the former history repeating itself but the breaking of cycles for the true sense of justice flowing from truest identity..
    I think we are facing a cross road and in this is the heart of the message, love for God so loved this world that whoever…
    It’s how we communicate and demonstrate this no longer how it was where the irony is it has been some form of yoke to enslave people in bondages + bandages… where intended to set people free… if colour, creed, gender, age still remain, is this not of the law and what of Paul (Galatians 3:28)?

    Thanks for letting me offer what I have…
    Love and Smiles

    1. Great to read, from your insights and how they are sharpened by your own story. Always a challenge (for me) to write when living on the victor’s side of history (skin colour). Somehow I think we need voices from both sides? But we need ears on the side of the whites (shorthand term). You mention intellect. Wisdom I think might be mainly shaped by humble responses to the observations of life? Knowledge and intellect maybe trained in the formal places of learning and proven with pieces of paper. Seems you have wonderful gifts of wisdom and insight.

    2. Thank you…
      both sides needed as part of what makes the whole and to restore balance.
      I think we are in the making and breaking of His story for our times. It may depend on which side one stands to perceive this.
      And as I reflected, this song came to mind.. thanks for letting me offer… though more shaking it is re shaping, though we are being refined, it is re defining us and the beauty is from the ashes we get to co create for those to come we all are very important parts in the bigger, broader, bolder…of this wonderful world.


  3. It is surprising what emotions the pulling down of that statue caused. As a white person extremely concerned with the rise of white supremacy there is an elation and a feeling that the reckoning and justice has come at last. What shocks me though in myself is the way in which it also makes me also feel slightly rudderless to have historical figures and our past dismantled. It is unsettling and makes me realise just how intrinsically my identity is tied up still to our oppressive/exploitative/criminal past. It makes me feel exposed somehow and complicit too because of the uncomfortable emotions such an act dredges up all mixed up with being moved. How complex we are and how much the sum of so many parts of our upbringing and where we are placed in history. The sins of the fathers coming down on our shoulders too. I am confused as to how to respond properly. Change and upheaval are here to stay. What I find depressing though is how intransigent and unable to communicate are the opposing sides of the arguments on anything these days. I want the Black Lives Matter voices to be heard but not just by the typical supporters but on a more widespread level so to actualise real change. Dehumanisation is endemic in both left and right perspectives. The key is to find the way forward in that quagmire and I’m not sure how that will look.

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