Dear White Jesus…

Last night, we watched President Barack Obama give his heart-wrenching farewell address in Chicago. Along with many of my Facebook friends, I found myself reminiscing on my college days. The first time I voted for president, I voted for a Black man. Even then I was aware of how big of a deal that was. But coupled with those feelings of nostalgia was the ever present nagging of the knowledge that I know a lot of people who are planning a party for his last day in office. They’re  planning a parade for Trump’s election because they are actually excited for these next four years.

You see, as a pro-Black devout Christian I navigate a complicated existence. I live by Proverbs 31. Not the part we quote about what a woman should be and do, but the part that talks about how it’s our responsibility to defend the defenseless. (Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Proverbs 31:8) My life’s work is to serve children who live in urban areas, as well as their families. I am a Black person who’s aware of what it means to be Black in America. I work daily to awaken other people to those implications. As a Christian, it is important to me that people understand truth. I understand how oppression is lifted by accepting truth.

I’m an advocate by nature, trade and calling. So it’s a struggle for me to align myself with a brand of politics that makes its name based on oppressing others who don’t believe what Christians believe.

A few nights ago, I watched Meryl Streep’s viral speech where she expresses something that reminded me of sentiment I heard from a conservative Christian figure.

They both expressed that when the leader of the country does something it permits citizens to do the same. The concept is that when a leader does something it conveys the message that the behavior and/or belief is a new societal norm. Meryl Streep was referring to Trump’s overall childishness and his mocking of people with differing abilities. The religious person referred to President Obama’s allegiance to LGBTQ people.

So… what does this have to do with the title of this post?

White Jesus is the guy  in the pictures we grew up believing was Jesus. Only perceived white supremacy could make it okay to depict a god with skin that light to represent someone born in Bethlehem.

White Jesus is the one who has pushed many Black people away from Jesus and church because his followers beat White Jesus into some Africans and their descendants through slavery. Then those White Jesus followers used the bible to explain why slavery was just. The bible has stories of enslaved people. It doesn’t condone it. The scriptures that speak about slaves obeying their masters are instructions to help people live in the society that existed. They don’t say the society was right.

White Jesus is the ultra privileged guy who validates conservatives’ beliefs that they are justified in their practices of blocking and hating legislation that benefits LGBTQ people and that supports people’s ability to choose what happens in and to their bodies. They do this while simultaneously hating refugees, poor people, people of color AND Muslims (and any other religious group). All of their anger about policies and support of policies that ostracize people groups are all in the name of Jesus.

In the name of Jesus… Jesus, the man born in a place that wasn’t his home. Jesus, the Middle Eastern man who hung out with sinners. Jesus, the man who crossed the ethnic and societal lines and offered living water to a woman at a well. Jesus, the God who came so that EVERYONE could have access to life and that more abundantly.

I don’t have a problem with him, per se, but White Jesus has a whole lot of followers though and they make it really hard to go to church or want to get to know the real Jesus.

White Jesus makes me aware of the social privilege I have because I’m a Christian living in Western society. Having privilege is almost uncomfortable for me as a Black woman. However, living with identity markers that are historically oppressed makes it impossible for me to not use my agency to speak out against wrong doings by others in my group.

4 thoughts on “Dear White Jesus…

  1. I was with you up until, you like a lot of uninformed Black people who claim they know and love Jesus stated Jesus was a middle eastern man. Before the Suez Canal there was no “middle east”. Jerusalem was on the African continent and as the Bible states Jesus had feet the color of brunt brass and wooly hair. Find me a “middle eastern” person fitting that description today or in his time. Brunt brass is not an olive complexion that you people keep trying to portray Jesus as. Brunt brass is pretty dark and wooly hair is what is found on your head. Read the Word and edify yourself instead of repeating what you think is right. You are hopefully unintentionally perpetuating the biggest lie ever told. As a Christian these are facts that you should know and know well.

    1. That’s real. I know that. I just didn’t want to go down that route in this particular blog.
      Thank you for calling me on that. I will go the distance from now on. Thank you for reading and critiquing. I truly appreciate the feedback!

    2. First of all, you are rude and your tone is not appreciated! This is not the time or space for you to give a historical and geographical lesson about something that is understood among those that love Jesus and history. There is a way to add that point without being a jerk and insulting the intelligence of the author and millions of other “black people who claim they know and love Jesus”. Have you even professed Him as Lord and Savior or are you simply looking for a place to sound superior?

      You missed the entire point. Identifying Christ as a middle eastern man according to today’s geographical markers does not negate the validity of any of her point. As a matter of fact, you are a shining example of people who look for affirmation of supremacy simply because Jesus looks like them.

      She reads the word and so do I. It seems like the only one that needs to “read the word and edify” themselves is you. I say all this in love, but since you decided to provide critic I thought I’d let you know that your slip is showing.

      “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6

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