Five Minute Friday: Dream

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com (1)

Gentle Reader,

This was an “I hate everything and pants” sort of week, so I’m glad I got the chance to chat with my online blogging buddies. There is something to be said for a group of diverse people who can come together once a week and lay aside a myriad of differences to encourage each other. We join figurative hands, knowing that we are drawn together by the blood and the love of Christ.

Kate.

The buddies.

We: dream.

Go.

I dream of the day when all of God’s people come together. I dream of that time when issues no longer divide us. I dream of the brightness of eternity, when we finally realize that so much of what we fought over was petty and pointless. I dream of the day when all of our voices are raised as one in praise to the King of Kings. I dream of the day when we reach across the aisles and seek to hear each other’s stories, knowing that each one matters.

I’m thinking about this especially in light of the Charleston shootings and the subsequent calls across the nation for the removal of the Southern Cross flag from all public displays. My view is that all symbols of the Confederacy should have been outlawed during Reconstruction. They represent a dark time in our national history. A time that should be regarded with soberness and reflection.

No, not every person who likes the Southern Cross or the Stars & Bars is racist. That’s too broad a stroke to make. But we need to understand the things we embrace, celebrate or enjoy. We need to understand that these symbols arose out of very real racial oppression. Out of slavery.

This weighs on me a great deal, for the controversy does not divide the nation, but rather exposes the divide already there. The divide that has existed since the first Dutch ship brought the first Africans to this continent. This isn’t about the flags or the statues of Confederate leaders. The flags and the statues aren’t the problem, but the symptom of deeply-held, sinful beliefs and attitudes.

Beliefs and attitudes we may not even know we have.

If Germany can ban the public display of Nazi symbols, surely we can finally do what’s right and ban the public display of Confederate symbols. I cannot help but think that supporting such a band would be a meaningful gesture upon the part of white Christians to our black brothers and sisters. No, it won’t solve the problem. But it would show that we fully and completely understand and acknowledge history. It would communicate that we grasp the power of symbol.

I also think of this in light of my passion to do whatever I can to stand against modern-day slavery. If there were some banner that traffickers rallied to, I would want it shoved in a deep, dark hole and set on fire. Even if it was an innocent piece of cloth to others.

No, nobody alive today experienced or participated in the horrors of Southern slavery, but we are impacted by it every day. Mistrust, suspicion and prejudice run deep on all sides, underneath all skin colors. The Church – made up of people of every shade and hue – must do what we can to show our love for each other. To show that we are eager to remove stumbling blocks out of each other’s way.

Removing Confederate symbols won’t stop racism, but it is one simple, practical and long-overdue step that we can take together.

A step we can take toward the dream of unity.

Stop.

My journey to faith. (15)

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28 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: Dream

  1. I think you’ve got a point, but equating the symbols of the Confederacy with those of Nazism isn’t a good argument; it either distorts the actions of the CSA, or cheapens the actions of the Nazis.

    I loathe slavery, and have scant sympathy for those who would idolize the Confederacy. But I’ve seen mass graves – I have stood in them, graves filled with things that were once lovely by ethnic cleansing. It’s simply not the same thing.

    The other issue is that of the First Amendment. Free speech can be incredibly frustrating, and irritating, but once we make an exception in the political/social realm, we can find ourselves further down a road we’d rather not travel than we thought.

    These things are important, because these guarantees codified in the Bill of Rights are the only things that protect us from abuse by those in power. Where would the exceptions stop? We’re already seeing attempts to limit the free exercise of religion (I used to be an academic, and the only safe thing to be was an atheist. I didn’t kowtow to that, and I am no longer an academic.)

    The best scenario would be that people would turn away, on their own, as individuals, from the symbols of oppression. But until that happens, we are honor-bound to protect their right to say things we hate.

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    1. Andrew, ethnic cleansing and slavery are on par with each other to my mind. One involves immediate extinction while the other is a slow, living death.

      I do agree with you about the First Amendment; it is something to consider here. That’s why I said “public display.” I should clarify and say that I mean “public display on government grounds.” A private citizen may have what he wants on his own property.

      I’m actually not a fan of censorship at all, but I think that there are times when the nation must consider whether or not something is appropriate.

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  2. Marie, please pardon the second comment…I was very unwell today, and totally focused on the blog and totally and unforgivably forgot to ask…

    HOW ARE YOU????????

    You have been in my thoughts and prayers.

    Also, please excuse the awkward wording of my first comment. Came a bit closer to shaking hands with Jesus today than I have for a bit – bleeding that wouldn’t stop for several hours. Lost a bunch of the red stuff, and I’m pretty shaky.

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    1. Oh, my friend. I’m not offended or upset or anything at all by your first comment. 🙂

      I am okay. Hanging in there. The CT scan I had last week shows nothing new going on with my liver (praise God!) but something is definitely not right. I see my GP tomorrow.

      I’m so sorry that you had an awful day. I will continue to pray that our Lord pours out buckets of comfort upon you. I thin you’ve got every right to feel shaky and miserable. Rest.

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  3. Marie, you have a beautiful heart. Even though we can’t change the past, we can take steps to change the present. We can show support to others through our actions. Thank you for the exhortation to stand alongside others, especially those who have been/are oppressed. I appreciate you.

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  4. Marie, I appreciated this. I live in Boston (as you know) and am part of a very multi-ethnic church. We’re all struggling man. I have a friend who witnessed lynching as a child. Another who’s father was a black panther and murdered when she was an infant by police. All sorts of tragic entities that make this not just a “battle of rights” but of bridging a divide to hear one another, to really hear and peer into the whites of one another’s eyes in grief.

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    1. “All sorts of tragic entities that make this not just a ‘battle of rights’ but of bridging a divide to hear one another, to really hear and peer into the whites of one another’s eyes in grief.”

      Exactly this.

      May God bless you and your church family as you walk together though this. I can’t even imagine the confusion and pain. It’s admirable that you are all doing the work of love in worshiping together despite the differences.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Marie, thank you so much for your thoughts today. I love your heart and well thought words today. Being raised in the South leads me to a mixed feelings and emotions on the flag issue. For the last few days I have spent a lot of time in prayer to clarify my heart and thoughts. I continue to return to the thought that all of this on either side of the debate is really a heart issue. I also dream of the time that we all can join together in harmony to point others to the one that changes hearts.

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    1. It is indeed a heart issue. While I support taking the flag down (and I come from a Southern family on my mom’s side), I do know that it won’t stop racism. Only God can do that through the power of the Gospel That’s a are to share.

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  6. Your dream will become a reality when Messiah returns. Until then, we must do all we can to contribute to that dream becoming real by doing good in the world and becoming increasingly closer to God.

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  7. Beautiful, Marie!
    There is so much in your post, I cannot even comment on all of it. 🙂 There has been a divide since the first rise of pride in the beautiful angels.
    “The flags and the statues aren’t the problem, but the symptom of deeply-held, sinful beliefs and attitudes.”
    The belief that somebody is better than another. This goes even deeper than racism. It is a plague especially in our churches. We judge on appearances. An unkempt person with piercings and tattoos will often receive a less hearty welcome than a well-dressed “All-American” girl next door or boy next door.
    We are not willing to ask people their story-to find the hurt behind the hate and lashing out.
    Love love love, is the answer!
    Your post is wonderful.
    Love,
    Tammy (tammysincerity) #54 this week

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  8. So thoughtful, Marie, and well-written. Thank you for sharing your heart on this matter and the dream so many have about putting all that divides us behind and striving toward unity and love in all places for all people. Visiting from FMF.

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  9. So – you had me at I hate pants… just so you know! I hate pants, and Doubt, and racism, too! We should be friends! (Oh wait – we are!) Praying for you today, friend! Vox me when you can! Love you!

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  10. “I do know that it won’t stop racism. Only God can do that through the power of the Gospel.” IT is the only power that can change anything and anyone. IF that flag hinders the gospel of Jesus Christ, then take it down – it has to be about HIM. Glad I visited – you got the number one slot, I’m way down at 57!

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