I didn’t know that you were white, or Southern. Based on your surname, I imagined that you were ethnically Asian.
I think our only direct interaction to-date was a little over a year ago, when you kindly complimented me, after I was interviewed on hip-hop and peacemaking. (Through your bio, I see you appear to possess an interest in systematic reconciliation.)
As well, I’ve seen some of your comments on this site; e.g., ones that moved me to recently deem you “a thoughtful and intuitive thinker and writer.”
That opinion is reinforced by this Q&A.
I was especially taken by this statement: “God is teaching me through Black people; me, as a Southern girl. … I think they’re telling us what we need to hear as white people.”
It’s fascinating, to me, how many white people do not, seemingly, share this opinion; i.e., that they have anything to learn from Black people, especially, ironically, about racism.
Indeed, some of the greatest outrage accorded many of the current racial conciliation models go to the parts that say white people should listen to Black people, and do so past their comfort levels.
I’m always energized, both as a Black person, and as one who has thought a lot about white supremacy, when I encounter white people with genuine questions; ones who want to listen. I’ve encountered a few, here, on Spectrum’s message boards. It’s always incredibly refreshing to see people act outside of, what you refer to as, a “Southern, ‘fear-based narrative,’” regardless of from where they actually come.
That said, I also wanted to say that I enjoyed the comments you and @TheAdventistPodcast shared on, what he calls, the “weirdness of washing feet.”
In the era when our Lord originated this rite, foot-washing was work performed by servants. By washing His disciples’ feet—few of us, even if we have “doubled up” for communion, have ever had to wash 12 pairs of feet!—Christ, their Master, in this act of inversion, demonstrated that, “If I can reach down from Divinity and serve you in humility, you can certainly serve those I made just like you, in humility.”
I strongly disagree with your colleagues who wonder if foot-washing is still relevant, or if we should wash each others’ cell phones. I think foot-washing, because of the changes in social mores over time, is far more compelling now than it even was then.
That is, it is even more an act of humility, because, in our modern era, we do not touch each other’s feet; not even the ones of those we are welcoming into our homes.
As anyone whose heard the opening dialogue of Pulp Fiction will recall, feet are off-limit, except for reasons of erotic intimacy or professional care. Because, in the foot-washing act, I give neither of these to a brother, I am breaking through far more barriers to touch his feet than even a 1st century disciple would have done.
I think that this is the genius of God’s concept: That it has become more powerful through the centuries, not less.
I believe this statement—“I think noticing racism and structural injustice would also be a part of that service of discipleship, that we can think about when we do the ordinance of humility”—possesses its own brilliance, also.
And, of course, not merely “noticing” these blights, but eliminating them, and replacing them with Justice.