The Worst Type of Dream….Recognizing an Act of Spiritual Lynching

LynchingNormally, I would get up in the morning and begin to ruminate over a million thoughts that were produced on the previous day. By my very nature, I am a thinker. I think about everything. Yet, I woke up from a dream that was just ridiculous, scary, and unreal. What could possibly have me so messed up that I thought it was real?

So, the dream had me in a pretty prominent church with a pretty prominent pastor. It must have been some type of special worship service or something else going on. Well apparently one the ministers on staff or something else was asked to pray for the service. Rather than begin the pray over the service, this minister decided to air grievances about my past. Mind you it was nothing salacious. The person had beef with my existence. The service began getting out of control.

I leaned over to the pastor and said, I rather be effective for the Kingdom than a distraction to the people. I got up and left. While being berated about what I used to be as a person, I walked out and left it all behind. Before I walked out the door, the pastor tapped my shoulder and said, Where are you going? Don’t leave. I said to him, You don’t need me here. Then a solution came from his mouth. You are going to fulfill your purpose. Go to the studio. It is still going down. You are necessary for this season. Flaws and all. 

After that dream, I would normally have satisfaction about the outcome. However, I woke with my heart racing. The outcome didn’t strike fear. The issues did not cause me distress. I was unsettled because I know people are living in fear of fulfilling their purpose. That fear is fueled by shame and guilt from the public record of their past.

What is more accurate is that a season existed where people would take you to task in public settings like the worship service. Women were disgraced for pregnancies out of wedlock while men got away with no condemnation. People were constantly beaten down for mistakes and trials without any level of grace for their journey. Individuals thought correction through fear would adjust the mentality.

Truthfully, those techniques of fearmongering have never worked truly. People have never learned to grow through guilt and shame. Most people have only become more damaged by the lack of grace and mercy. People have not learn how to process their past to become effective agents of a prosperous future. Therefore, we see more people seeking redemption with no place to go.

During a call this week my doctoral mentor, Dr. Keith Lawrence, made an interesting observation about the handling of the Gospel. He referenced that the Gospel is meant to aid in the liberation of people. Any use of the Gospel for any other reason represents one’s ability to commit an act of spiritual lynching. That concept has been on my mind since Thursday. Maybe that is why the dream was so tragic.

How many lynching have believers been party to witnessing over the years? How many times have we included our ideas and personal views to create people in our image and likeness? How many times did we think about the Lord when we were commitment our own version of witchcraft on the lives of others?

I am convinced that most people who have been in bondage do not know how to lynch and harm others unless one of a few things occur. One, that person learn the methods of lynching from an oppressor. Two, a person learn the methods with the hope of gaining freedom and using them as a defense mechanism. It doesn’t make sense to perpetuate pain if one has truly become free in Christ.

Christ never authorized any acts to be used continue to perpetuate the concept of oppression. Yet, our culture has made it palatable for people of all places and spaces to interpret the sacrifice of Christ as a tool of control. The godfather of Black Liberation Theology, James H. Cone provides great insight into our current condition spiritually and practically.

The cross can heal and hurt; it can be empowering and liberating but also enslaving and oppressive. There is no one way in which the cross can be interpreted. I offer my reflections because I believe that the cross placed alongside the lynching tree can help us to see Jesus in America in a new light, and thereby empower people who claim to take a stand against white supremacy and every kind of injustice. –James H. Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree

Though Dr. Cone’s insight directly addressed the struggle between a white supremacist view of the Gospel and the liberation the Jesus provides to the oppressed, we can extract the reality that many people still use elements of supremacy as a weapon and tool in detouring people from an experience of real freedom in God.

We can no longer place ourselves as instruments of continuing the cycle of oppression of the maligned, hurting, and wounded. I cannot live with the idea of people being shamed and discounted without the opportunity to find new ways of growth and freedom. I will not be a party to the constant lynching of people. I am not going to be involved in locking people out from access to the transformative power of God. My purpose is to lead people to Christ and “make disciples”. Nobody wants a carbon copy of me. The world definitely doesn’t need a bastardized copy of inauthentic believer.

I can’t live that dream ever again….