Letter to Pastor Pfleger: While Others Sell You Out

Brother pastor, I wanted to take a moment to write in support of your courage in challenging white supremacy ideology, in reaching out in brotherhood and true Christian to love to many whom the world has rejected, in doing the work you do in His name and above all, in being willing to remove the spiritually destructive visage of whiteness from theology. I know you have suffered much personally, professionally, and probably spiritually from this ordeal. I know you have heard much that is negative. God chose to incarnate himself as a man “of color” and as working class when He could have appeared in any form He chose. He intentionally chose a form that the Bible says was “unremarkable” suggesting that there was nothing which would give Him social status and appeal. His was a form that was likely to be stigmatized and so he begins his life homeless, marked for death, arrested falsely, born to a mother who in human eyes was a wayward woman with an “illegitimate” son, with no money, from a neighborhood and town despised. He came and then compounded his suffering by further associating Himself with the plight of those who, like Him, were socially marginalized and “unremarkable.” And He spoke saying that it would be these, the meek who would inherit the Kingdom. I have told you nothing that you know not. Yet, let me restate, in reinforcement of your great faith that your words, no matter how deaf the wickedness of the world, will resound. The day will come when even the rocks shall speak the truth. And we who have been the beneficiaries of courage such as yours can not claim in that fateful day not to have heard. I have spent my life fighting white supremacy ideology in the name of my Lord. Bound up in that struggle is all the others. Struggles against the denigration of women, for white supremacy was constructed via the patriarchical control of the most sacred of gifts, that of the power of bringing forth life. It is the struggle against economic deprivation, for the status of slave was the veritable definition of inferior social caste and class. It is the struggle against homelessness, for it began with the forced migration of millions and the death of hundreds of millions more in the attempt. Yet US theology on this central question remains trapped between the outright promotion of white supremacist imagery and biblical history on the “right” and the “colorblindness” that ensnares you and Rev. Wright on the left. Take heart though, for God will be heard in this matter and sooner in the U.S. than people think. When the dreadlocked, barefoot "black" carpenter of peace returns, all of these gesticulations will fall and I suspect that the holier than thou, which was so quick to condemn your straight-talk as racist or hatred will have a new theology. The new theology of Gomer Pyle with its usual complements of “Surprise, surprise, surprise” and “Gollyeeee.” God bless you and if I can do anything for you or your parish or its great work in the Lord’s service and the continuing struggle against white supremacy and the way in which it prevents us from attaining God’s will for our lives, please do not hesitate to ask.

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