I bring you greetings in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ of the region of Nazareth. My purpose in penning this missive is to articulate my place as a pastor, (reluctant) community leader, husband, father, son, grandson, and (prayerfully) dream realized of my ancestors.
I realize that we are living in a current society full of angst, division, and uncertainty. Many people at this moment of my writing are celebrating the election of Joseph R. Biden as the 46th President-Elect and Kamala D. Harris as the 49th Vice President-Elect of the United States. Conversely, many individuals are demonstrating anger and disdain for the outcome of this 2020 election. Let it be known that this election has gone a significant distance in uncovering the deep seeded issues that fester in this nation.
We are currently wrestling with the physical, mental, and emotional toll that Covid-19 has taken on the nation and the world. We are mourning the deaths of over 200,000 people from this most recent pandemic unleashed in the country. We are still witnessing the causalities of the original plague that has loomed over the United States for 224 years–racism. We have watched the virus of racism mutate as a part other virus strands known as sexism, xenophobia, patriarchy, and classism just to name a few.
The past 8 months have caused us to witness up close the depth of sickness within the body politic. Honestly, I am no longer surprised by the reactions of people with our country. I am not surprised by people who have set aside their basic humanity to embrace ideologies that are fundamentally against their character. I am not surprised by the fear and vitriol demonstrated by people who wanted to maintain the foundation of white supremacy and privilege. I am not surprised by individuals who desired to graft a militant Christ into the fabric of a empire mentality. Today is the day that we must begin to sincerely assess our place in the advancement of humanity.
How do we begin this process? We must acknowledge and engage our total reality.
- People do not get a pass for glossing over evil. One of the phrases I carry in my personal lexicon is the following. The conquerors get to frame the stories of history. This idea has been true in this nation for 224 years. People continue to frame the reality in order to place certain ideologies in the best light possible. History books have not placed slavery in its proper context. It has been treated as a economic advancement. Most slaves were treated well. NO! It was the worst form of human trafficking. It was social hub of promoting rape of beautiful African women, emasculation of strong African men, and separation of beautiful African babies. Sound familiar? The most recent presidential administration can be credited with decision that were reminiscent of a dismissed history. The anger felt by many was not restricted to policies and rhetoric. It has been the constant force feeding of trauma upon a people that have too many wounds. Going forward, no one will get a pass when dealing with the harsh, infected wounds of the past. Healing has not yet been realized. Just as I said to my friends in 2008 during the election of the 44th President of the republic, Barack H. Obama, we have not reached the Promised Land yet. The sentiment yet remains.
- Do not miss the lesson of this past four years. The one thing that have not seen from many people who supported the current occupant of the White House is the stance of holding him or anyone espousing his rhetoric accountable for those sentiments. Rather, I have watched people attempt to move along the lack of empathy, decency, and humanity to the side as a sentiment of being a straight shooter. No! When you say that a person comes from a shithole country, it is indecent. When you insult a person with disabilities, disrespect women for looks or intelligence, or treat Black people has a group that must be beholding to his whims, it is deplorable. The reason why I do not take supporters of this thinking seriously is because it makes me believe that you are incapable of seeing me as an equal. It demonstrates that bringing differing opinions scares you to death. It speaks to my existence as being a threat to the life you want to maintain. It tells me that you really don’t want me to be present in your world. Your lack of accountability for this vibe has produced an environment that I wish to be (figuratively) burned down. This season is about paying with interest the full value of this promise of this nation, We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. Otherwise, we will continue on the current cycle regardless of leadership.
- Don’t hide behind your affiliations. The difficulty that people will have is actually admitting certain aspects of their lives have been wrong for years. In my heart, I realize that many people are wrestling with high school insecurity. What do I mean? Everyone at their core is trying to find a place to fit in. Popular people want to be around other popular people. Insecure people try to find an angle to be a part of something that speaks to them. Renegades feel at home with other outcasts. Everyone has their place. The nation has become a huge high school before reaching their awakening on their first day of college. It is time to grow up. Don’t talk about voting for the lesser of two evils when you have not discovered a way to engage all people in a philosophy that includes all people and not just your clique. By the very nature of your moaning and groaning, you are still pining away for maintaining your comfort while keeping people out. People who say they follow Jesus, listen closely. It is ok to say that the evangelical slant of the faith that continues to get attention is wrong. Heck, its downright witchcraft. It is ok for you to follow a melaninized Jesus. You do not have to whitewash him for your ease. It is ok to follow the thoughts of a God-man who happens to have color. Social activism is not against Biblical principles. Matter of fact, you ought to turn over the tables when true injustices is taking place. Understand, your loyalty to your affiliation may get you to hell quicker than anything. Doing what is right is still the best move. If you lose friends, they were not your friends. If you lose connections, they were just leaves. Focus on doing justice, loving kindness, and truly walking humbly with God.
Anyone that reads this letter today, I want you to know that I am in love with true freedom. I am in love with equity, equality, and true justice. I do not apologize for want to see the decedents of African tribal leaders, kings, queens, ruler, mystics, and professors who were sold out to become slaves in this country experience what is overdue. I do not apologize for believing that this nation will not be the land of the free until it finally abolishes the active remnants of colonialism. I do not apologize for speaking truth to power from the pulpit or any other platform. I will not apologize for being Black. I will not apologize for pursing the greater good for all.
My prayer is that this season will finally produce the opportunity to think through meaningful change. My prayer is that people will not use the outcome of one election as a statement of deliverance or hopelessness. I pray that people will protest evil, demand change, gain equity and equality, and experience justice for all. It is time to work. It is time to lay down the ignorance and pick up the pace for the sake of our future.
God bless you. May Heaven give you clarity. May the Creator give you power.
God’s Servant in the Struggle,
Dr. Charles W. Ferguson