"privileged" by Garry Somers
Our congregation is doing a book study on Dr. James Cone's book "The Cross and the Lynching Tree". This is one of the most powerful books I have ever read.
It is a powerful book that explores the intimate connection of the crucifixion of Jesus to the modern day cross bearers in American, people of color. Dr. Cone explores a deep "theology of the cross" while asking why white Christians and theologians have failed to see the connection of the cross and the lynching tree.
In chapter 4, "The Recrucified Christ in Black Literary Imagination", Dr. Cone reflects on black poets and writers who were not necessarily church-goers and how they often captured the connection of Jesus' cross and the lynching tree where "church-goers" missed the mark. After discussing this chapter I challenged our group to write a poem if they felt inspired. Garry wrote this and said it was ok to share.
"I’m a reliable disciple, from a family of good church-goers. I usher, bring my pot-roast to lunches, pay for altar flowers. During service I might check my phone when I get bored, to find they lynched a black man on the cross of the Lord. That’s awful, I’ll think, where’d it happen? Not here! This place has been good to us, people living without fear. Of course, it’s expensive, everyone here is like us, But no one I know would nail a black man to a cross. Do something? What would you have me do? What good could come from more trouble, would you want our house…burned, me in dutch with my boss? because some black man is hanging alone on a cross?
And it’s raining outside, I don’t want my shoes wet. I won’t stick out my neck for someone I ain't met. He was where he shouldn’t have been, to his loss. So they’re hanging a black man on the old rugged cross.
Oh, the pastor will preach about it all Sunday long. I’ll sit in the back for that one, ‘though I don’t think he’s wrong', and he’ll talk about Christ and we’ll pass the peace and he’ll get me my forgiveness with a wave of his hand.
So you worry about yours and I’ll take care of mine, and we’ll go in the name of the Lord and be fine. Except one little detail, just one and that’s on me: forgetting that Jesus was a black man they hanged from a tree."
May we as a community of faith continue to reflect, listen, confess, pray, work and strive for the dignity of all of God's children, especially those who bear the cross of Jesus in our midst. I encourage our community of faith to read this book. And I would love to discuss it with you.