I’m a christian and it’s scary when I hear people say that they are God’s servants. I don’t know what they mean when they say that. I do know what thousands of others before them have meant when they said it. I know it meant violence and destruction and oppression and suffering. I scared myself the other day because I thought the same thing. I thought, “ through God, I will serve people; I will be salt and light of this world”. I thought about it and I scared myself. I wonder if I will ever mean it in the way they have because I know what Christians have done in the name of "God." I wonder if I my view is tainted and if it will lead to more pain in the world.
I can’t help feel that I am different; that my God is different than theirs. I know they probably felt the same way. I know that they probably felt that they were following God. But the more that I develop my relationship with Christ, the more I practice loving myself and being compassionate to other people. My God is an awesome God. My God is love. When I am quick to anger, I remember that my anger and resentment is directed at a child of God. I remember God's love and grace for me and I cannot help but feel compelled to share that with other people. I feel compelled because God compels me to forgive and to love. All of this makes me think that I am on a closer to getting it right than most people do.
Anyone can care for people. Caring for other human beings is a human thing. It isn’t exclusive to Christians. Many people feel hurt and outrage when they see the plight of those going things like anxiety, depression, lack of resources, low-self esteem. The difference is that I am also confounded that God's children endure such pain. I know God doesn't want to see his children hurt so for me to see that makes me feel like the earth is tilted off its axis. I feel like I have an obligation to help right it. To be clear, I don’t want to help because they are God’s children. I don’t want to help because I want to make it into heaven. I feel called to serve the vulnerable because God taught me to love. His unconditional, personal, and transcendent grace for me made me see life different. It has made me see me different. It made me see people different. I see marginalized classes. I see what they endure and I want it all back! I want everything that was taken from them! I want all them to be given their due! God’s children have been called to overflow in blessings but people’s greed has starved them of it.
My heart aches when I see homeless people. I am filled with outrage because I don’t just see a homeless person. I see God’s child lying on the floor, without shelter, cold, and hungry. When I see hateful rhetoric spun against members in the trans community, I am at a loss because I know that the rhetoric fuels hate crimes. And I am at a loss because I know that NONE of God’s children deserve to feel like they are hated, like they are an abomination, like they are unlovable. When I see poor people across the world being exploited I feel hopeless. I feel like the system is bigger than us. But I know that my God is a transcendent God. I know that he works through people so I pray that he works through people so that other people may relieve them of their suffering. As a POC, it hurts. I am filled with a pain I can’t describe when I reflect on how we are taught to believe that we are less than. I think on how we are deterred from access, from attaining autonomy, from happiness, from love. Rage threatens to overtake me but it doesn’t. Eventually, I am always filled with hope or awe. On of the two, because as Crystal Valentine said, Don't you know us black folk make a habit out of resurrection? Don't you know that we have a habit of coming back and collecting what is ours? Some people call it magic. I call it God.
I think of Waran Shire’s noteworthy poem, in it she says, “I held an atlas in my lap ran my fingers across the whole world and whispered where does it hurt? It answered everywhere, everywhere, everywhere. I know that Christians have been some of the main benefactor of that pain that so many people drown in over and over until they die. That is why Kierkegaard said, “God is dead and we killed him”. By this, he means that we killed the idea of God. He believed in this so much that he stopped calling himself a christian. For him, the God Christians serve is not the God Almighty. But people reclaim words all the time. Can we reclaim the word to have it’s rightful meaning? I know it’s not a simple feat but as a christian, I believe that the task may work to alleviate oppression, it could help revolutionize oppressive systems. Imagine if we let God to manhandle us as Hafiz says. Imagine if God were to drag his people around the room, by their hair, ripping their grip all those toys in the world, that bring them no joy. Imagine what that would do. As a christian, I believe it could be the foundation for all human rights. But here I go. Like other people before me I want to spread my ideals because I believe I know what’s right for them. I want to change them. I want to make them better. I can’t help but wonder though, is it possible for us to do it in a loving way? In a way that respects people's freedom and right to choose? In a Godly way?