Skip to main content

I am resisting the call to "Unity."

In articles and Facebook posts, I have read a plea for "unity." They reference the Black Lives Matter movement and recent shootings of police officers and say, "Enough is enough. We are one country. All lives matter. We need unity."

I am not wholly cynical. I believe that in amongst the crass political attempts to spin the narrative, there are individuals who seek a vision of peace in which all people get along in tranquility.

But as I have read before, many people will sacrifice integrity for tranquility.

This call to "Unity" seems to me to be a siren call to abandon the difficult work that must be done, to stop exposing the truth, so that the privileged may sleep better at night, and so that the monster that is white supremacy can reign unfettered, fat with destroyed lives and broken dreams, happy with keeping things the way they have always been.

As a mentor reminded me recently, we hate discomfort. We will do almost anything to avoid it.

Because of the internet, smartphones, and people being woke, the wallpaper of the American Dream is being stripped away, long curling piece by piece.

The call to "Unity" is seductive and pernicious. Fake correlations are put up: If you support "Black Lives Matter," then you do not support police officers. Of course this is ridiculous, but this is what we do as a culture. They said that if you were against the Vietnam war, you were against soldiers; if you were for equal rights for women, you hated men. This pattern keeps repeating for the simple reason of: IT WORKS. Who among us right now doesn't feel the need to say "I Support Black Lives Matter, But I Also Love Honorable Police Officers!"

I do love honorable police officers, some personally. I'm a minister, and so I feel a kinship with anyone who is called to live a life of service for others. I do not hold them to perfection - I am deeply aware of my own faults, and know that all of us are fallible humans, destined to make mistakes, and hopefully be held accountable, and try again, older and wiser from the last bump.

Because I love police officers, I want systemic change that will strengthen accountability, will get them the best training, the best mental-health resources, will remove those who do not uphold the honor of the office, and will support those noble whistle-blowers who work to make their profession better.

Law enforcement is just one part of the work to be done. As we strip away the wallpaper, we discover more and more the effects of white supremacy on the lives of black people and the rot in all of our souls. It is painful, and the more we learn, the more painful it may get. It's not about feeling guilt, it's about acknowledging reality. And being courageous enough to go further in, to sit with discomfort without "solving" it, without some deep catharsis, without absolution, without the hollywood ending. And yes, without "Unity."

When people call for "Unity," what they really mean is, "Behave. Be like us." It has made my skin crawl and my heart crack to see the calls for "Unity" right now, because what they're really saying is "Stop posting those links to stories about racism. Stop posting videos of police officers killing unarmed citizens." Some of these calls for "Unity" have even referenced love, that we all just need to love one another.

I know of no better way to love than to acknowledge reality and accept that I am a part of it. By my silence, by my inaction, I have agreed and accepted the reality of white supremacy. I am waking. But that is merely a beginning. It is my job to listen, to follow. To resist calls back to the pleasant dream.

From the Abrahamic religions to modern day sci-fi, there are stories about a charming, seductive, individual who will bring promises of paradise, but is instead serving evil.

This current call to "Unity"? It is a false messiah.


Ezekiel 13:10-12 Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, “Where is the whitewash you covered it with?”


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Whole Church Worship

TL;dr -- Our church does "Whole Church Worship," or "All Ages Are Together for the Whole Service, Every Service, Every Week." I've been getting a lot of questions about this. Here are some answers. Preface: For some reason, I occasionally run into people from other churches who want to explain to me all the reasons this won't work at their church. Sure. I'm not trying to talk you into this. You do you, Bub. Whole Church Worship is working at our church, at this time. Live Oak is pretty special, and I don't know that there are many things we do that would work any other place, including our Chili, Chocolate, and Karaoke Party. But that's a post for another day.  Okay, then. So, I first got involved in Whole Church Worship as a result of a fit of pique - my own. This was before I was a minister. At my home congregation, we had "Children's Chapel," and we had reached the point where we couldn't get anyone signed up to coordin

Post-Pandemic and the Expectations of Others

  We have the hope that the covid-19 pandemic's end is in sight ... and it's bringing up a lot of feelings. Not all of them happy .  Many of us are feeling some level of anticipatory anxiety.  The anxiety is rooted in a fear that almost all of us have, in some form or another. The fear that others will make us do something we don't want to do. Whether it is through what can feel like the aggression of "your job depends on this," or the polite friendliness of social obligations, we pre-emptively worry about being dominated.  Look, the pandemic made saying "No" to in-person events super easy. So easy, in fact, that we didn't even have to say no, because no invitations were forthcoming. We didn't have to send regrets, we were all living in a world where responsible people didn't get together. Heck, those of us who before might feel we were being antisocial could now feel self-righteous! A win/win!  I kid, but only a little.  We anticipate that p

"I Don't Know Who I Am Now" or The Importance of Not Assuming for a While

The next 5 months are probably going to be kinda weird. Uncertainty and anxiety flying all over the place. Duck! And then after that ... it's also going to be kinda weird, but a different kind of weird, as we move into the After Times, and figure out what exactly they're going to be like, and what exactly WE are going to be like.  It is in times like these, that I like to turn to art to help make sense of it all.  I refer, of course, to the art known as the television series Doctor Who. I mean, if we know things are going to be weird, we probably should look at some art that deals with the weird, right? Now's the time to examine Hieronymous Bosch and Marc Chagall. And Doctor Who, that time-traveling, face-shifting hero.  Part of the Doctor Who story (and why it's been able to keep going so long) is that rather than die, the Doctor regenerates, retaining who they are, but with a different face, body, and to a certain extent, a different personality.  Immediately after t