Misinformation. A headline caught my eye this week – “Woke church won’t use hymns written by White people.” The headline was misleading. The church was not going to stop singing hymns written by white people. It was going to fast from hymns written by White people during Lent. The authors of the article showed no understanding of fasting and interpreted the decision as hatred for Whiteness.
I went on to read many articles on the topic. Most mocked and condemned the decision. Charges in addition to claims of racial hatred of Whites, claims the action was anti-Christian and claims the church was supporting Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Communist philosophy.
In the specific situation, the pastor may hate White people, but that is doubtful since he is a White male. If the church accepts every detail of CRT and a Communist philosophy, then I certainly disagree with them. If the Chicago church thinks Whiteness is the problem I would obviously disagree. As I have made clear, I believe aspects of the human condition, not skin color, are responsible for the injustices we see in all cultures.
I do not know the specific reason the church chose to fast from hymns written by White people. I do not want to write about the specific situation, but I do want to address the general situation.
Fasting. I have spent time this Lenten season reading and thinking about fasting. My favorite author on the topic is Richard Foster. He wrote Celebration of Disciplines. He also has a book of readings, Devotional Classics, he edited in conjunction with James Bryan Smith. Both books give good insights into fasting as well as other meditative and spiritual disciplines. I recommend both books.
After rereading and then thinking about fasting, I considered the decision to fast from hymns written by White people. I believe one of the conclusions drawn by many in the public is simply wrong. To conclude that fasting implies hatred of white people and is racist does not hold up to close examination.
Think about it — do people fast from meat because they hate meat?
Did I fast from Sudoku and Spider Solitaire because I hate them?
My church fasts from communion until Maundy Thursday. Are we doing that because we hate communion?
The answer in all three situations is a resounding no!! We fast from things we love to try to make us more aware of our spiritual relationships.
My point is that hatred of the object of a fast is not usually the case. The opposite is more likely. We fast from things we like, not things we hate.
If fasting from hymns written by Whites makes me more aware and sensitive to what minorities face in many situations, then fasting serves a useful purpose. I see nothing wrong with increasing my sensitivity to other cultures. I want to understand others. I do not see that as anti-Christian. I believe sensitivity to others is an important ability people of faith should cultivate.
Years ago, I learned an important lesson about understanding others. One of the most influential books I have read in my almost 80 years, is Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin. It was published in 1961. He was a White man. In the late 1950’s he used chemicals to change the color of his skin. He then traveled through the deep South and saw how he was treated as a minority. He wrote of those travels and how it greatly increased his sensitivity to others. I recommend that book. I recommend increased sensitivity to other cultures.
Women’s Sports Responses. I got several responses from my discussion of women’s sports. Interestingly, the most frequent response was “What do you think about transgenders in sport?” I will put some thought into that question and address it in the near future. In the meantime, if you would like to let me know your thoughts on the topic, I welcome hearing from you.
The Masters. Scotty Scheffler turned in an amazing performance winning the Masters. Rory McElroy’s final round was also great fun.
I did not know Bubba Watson’s former caddy, Ted Scott, was on Scheffler’s bag. All three of them, Scotty Ted and Bubba gave a great witness after the big win.
March Madness Follow-up. A reader sent me a link to an awesome documentary.
If you are not a fan of pro basketball and the end of the NCAA tournament is causing basketball withdrawal, you may want to take the time to watch the documentary. It is long — one and a half hours – but it is a great, in-depth look at the relationship of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
The story has many facets including the role of “race” in basketball. For example, one interesting observation by Cedric Maxwell is that Black basketball players were probably “racist” when Larry showed up at the Celtics. He said he and the other Black players did not believe a White guy could be that good. There is a lot more to the documentary.
Not life threatening but still valiant action.
Correction. Thanks to friends with good English backgrounds and good editorial eyes, I continue to learn. Earlier I shared learning about prejudice and prejudiced. Last week, I misused bias and biased. My thanks, to the person who noted the problem. I want to learn. I will try to be correct in the future.
Again, I wish everyone a Happy Passover and Happy Easter