Sometimes I switch it up a bit. Take the wrong way to the right place, the long way round to a close one. And sometimes, sometimes I'm just lost and have to find my way back. Saw this church sign the other day on one such very long way wrong way round.
Geez. Of all the obnoxious, smarmy, stupid and banal ways to paint the need for Christ in our life to obtain wholeness of mind. Sometimes when I read these I want to go inside and scream why the particular message is catastrophically misrepresenting the Gospel and God's tenderness that draws the lost to His heart. But alas, business hours were 9-5 daily. I sat there, numb and dumb and full of a greater sense that we are failing in our dialogue with the world.
My thoughts were all one way or the other after that. You know how you get, the pendulum of emotion. Your heart and will rally behind a noble thought, some great cause, and the next minute your mind waves the white flag of cynicism and surrender.
Cotton clouds over cotton fields distracted me for a moment.
As far as I could see in every direction, cotton, fields white and ready for harvest. I pulled over to take this picture then closed my eyes, other pictures, creased and faded and colorless, workers harvesting the cash crop 150 years ago. Slaves, fingers raw from the prickly plant, picking next to their precious children. Lives stolen for what? Greed, ease of life for those that won a light skin lottery?
I am reading Avengers Of The New World. It is the story of the Haitian Revolution, but the author Laurent Dubois does so much more than recount the details of the first successful slave revolt, he chronicles all the historical nuance, all of the minutia of the moment, the pulse of the people who were the prime movers in the French provincial slave trade. He recounts how laws were passed to keep anyone with so much a percentage of African blood from holding office or having other full citizen rights. He details how many of the descendants of Africa were much lighter skinned than some persons of European descent. And that the whole process was as convoluted and circumspect as one can infer by its idiocy. Businessmen and women, professors, even politicians having to prove their pedigree to the ridiculous godless blood-hounds bent on finding out light skinned impostors. Peoples of African descent whose dark poisonous blood would apparently be societies death, an acid bath of blood that would somehow corrode away and crumble the very foundations of white entitlement.
So much of history is mired in the subjective. The viewpoint of one country or culture vs. another. So that the truth is hard to really know. But not this, never this. Slavery is evil, will always be evil. And anyone who didn't, doesn't fight against it, they are and always will be complicit. The garment industry has more slavery than any other industry. From forced labor in cotton fields to forced labor in factories. There are millions of children enslaved for the making of the garments that we all wear. Please buy fair trade, direct trade, slave free certified clothing (you can see which companies are doing there part here). And please read this book, it is so very very important as a historical narrative and more, a commentary on the perpetual state of fallen mankind.
I drove away thinking of the church sign, the cotton fields, the guilt of so many so called Christians in the enslavement and abuse, the murder and rape, of countless Africans. I thought, if someone can look at a darker skinned person and not see the image of God, well then they have never seen God. If someone can be so full of hate, well scripture is clear isn't it? They do not know God, who is love.
I drove and drove and then a grey rain came and stayed for hours but also a rainbow...
My thoughts are grey again today, grasping at God in the aftermath of the typhoon in the Philippines. There are 10 thousand feared dead. 10 million displaced, 4 million of them children now greatly susceptible to kidnapping and exploitation. The needs are so great as those island communities search frantic for water and food. Please if you can, donate to our friends My Refuge House in Cebu, Philippines. They will use the money in country to buy food and supplies and get it to families much quicker that way.
I leave for Haiti Monday. Soon I will be near again her sea. I will be back close to the country I love dearly, one that has suffered so long, so needlessly, that others might profit. It is a country still repressed by the lasting affects of political embargoes and aid policies that deconstructed a resilient indigenous Haitian economy while simultaneously creating dependence. It is heartbreaking and was to my way of thinking completely avoidable. I pray the next decade will be one of renewal for the indefatigable people of Haiti and for her unfathomably wonderful children. I'd like you to meet a few...
And meet my godson, Marc Finley!! Who shares my name and has stolen my heart. Oh and the loving lovely Madame Emmanuel, who spoils me so, with home cooked meals and warmth of home and heart.
And the proudest dad you've ever met! Fedeme, my dear friend who works harder everyday with such decency and determination. Can't wait to see him and his beautiful family.