I'm still sitting in the feast that Patricia served us up last Friday. It was so rich and beautiful and it would be a disservice to either move quickly past it or type up notes to it. So please understand this is only a fraction of the holy rage and love that was brought to us last Friday.
For instance, she said the cross has seven purposes, and I only remember the last three.
The three she said just cannot happen one to one or individually. It takes collective action to achieve the last three:
And we cannot get to the last one without the others.
In America, and specifically white Christianity, but more broadly, too, individualism and individual actions are elevated, often at the expense of true community.
And there are no easy ways to become the a collective. It takes time, intentionality, forgiveness, grace, and love. Just saying it isn't enough.
And sometimes it is hard to believe it is possible. How do we move towards justice and reparations together when, as Pat asked, "one Christian sees themselves with Jesus while another puts Jesus on the cross to be crucified?"
But here's the nice thing about collective community...no one person can provide the whole answer. It may always feel like there are more questions than solutions. But solutions are not the point.
If no one is free until all of us are free...let me move my boot off your neck. Oh, whose's Nike is on my toe? We are in this together.
And each one of us brings something unique and sacred and necessary.
Even if I'm still figuring out too many things and sitting around a table listening to Pat ask questions sounds a bit like heaven is already here to me.
James Cone: The Cross and the Lynching Tree: "Unfortunately, during the course of 2,000 years of Christian history, this symbol of salvation has been detached from any reference to the ongoing suffering and oppression of human beings—those whom Ignacio Ellacuría, the Salvadoran martyr, called 'the crucified peoples of history.' The cross has been transformed into a harmless, non-offensive ornament that Christians wear around their necks. Rather than reminding us of the 'cost of discipleship,' it has become a form of 'cheap grace,' an easy way to salvation that doesn’t force us to confront the power of Christ’s message and mission. Until we can see the cross and the lynching tree together, until we can identify Christ with a 'recrucified' black body hanging from a lynching tree, there can be no genuine understanding of Christian identity in America, and no deliverance from the brutal legacy of slavery and white supremacy."