November 21, 2016
Something as important as Hamilton has been a long time coming. And it feels a bit like Kingdom come.
I am saddened that the stage was used to cause division and draw negative attention to themselves. To show dishonor and disrespect to the Vice-President elect was unprofessional and disrespectful to him, his position and to those of us who voted him into office. The only people I see having such hatred and disdain for the new administration are those that listened to media outlets that spewed lies to them. The Trump-Pence administration will work hard to create a better place for all of us. I was born in Puerto Rico and am a very proud American. The administration that caused this divide is the administration that is now taking leave. I now believe that our Veterans and those people in rural communities and even those in our inner cities will experience prosperity in the form of jobs and security. Fear mongering should not be tolerated at all. And we, as Christ followers should be teaching and demonstrating love. Diversity isn't just black and Hispanic and people of color it includes white too. Diversity is also having a different opinion or having different values and morals even. Racism and prejudice has been around for centuries...even in Puerto Rico, Africa, Brazil and unfortunately it will always be. A world void of Jesus and His love will always demonstrate hate and prejudice. But those of us who share our faith in Jesus should not be pointing out color and hate and spewing venom and fueling fires. Love people. The world will know us by our love. What happened at Hamilton was a disgrace and an embarrassment. The theater should be a fun and safe place where we are ALL welcomed. It should not be a place where if I don't think or believe like you maybe I shouldn't attend. And sadly even us as Christians have paved the way for that.
I don't keep a notebook, but it seems to me that black authority figures feature prominently in American television. (I'm Canadian). In the "24" TV series was there not a black U.S. President? Morgan Freeman has played everything from a Janitor to God Almighty. I've lost count of the number of programs that feature black men and women as fire chiefs, police chiefs, accomplished medical personnel, lawyers etc. What about generals and other high ranking military personnel?
One of the great Movies of all time is still, 'In the Heat of the Night". A movie which was "ahead of it's time".
Frankly, I don't see how a black man portraying a white person in a historical drama is an advance on any of the above.
"For the non-minority church and all those who stand on platforms of privilege, inclusion will need to be a strategic goal if we are going to achieve reconciliation—with each other and with God."
Inclusion as a strategic goal, what precisely does this mean? Also, it sounds like you might perceive the non-minority church as a monolithic entity that holds special privilege above minorities.
Why does race need to a factor at all for the church? You talk about how Paul was all things to all people in your article. Yes, he always did whatever he could in order to rmove any barriers to the propagation of the gospel. Racial considerations of inclusion wete never a consideration for him, however. He wrote, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28)
The dividing wall of hostility, not only between Jew and Gentile, but between all Gentile peoples as well, has been torn down in Christ. That means reconciliation has already been achieved, Xavier.
If we fail to abide in this love of God, we sin and do not know God.
As a Christian I understand our position and place on this earth to represent out Heavenly Father. While I understand your point I think many of us are getting more in tune with ourselves and less in tune with our purpose. I believe those in the cast have read to much mainstream news and did not listen to President Elects plans and agenda to build up inner cities provide jobs for everyone, boost our economy so everyone has a level playing field. The last 8 years have seriously not been good for the ones who are complaining now and yet they would continue to crawl rather then walk. As Pence said to his children "This is free speech".
Excellent and accurate article. As a Latina and an artist, I understand what you are expressing because I have experienced my life as the "other" most of my life, except when I lived in Miami. I have lived throughout the country, and what has marked the most loving of churches wasn't necessarily those that looked like me and thought like me, but those that accepted me for who I was in Christ's love. And despite how the South has been maligned in the media, the churches that I attended in America's heartland were infinitely more loving than the one I was attending here in the northeast, where the pastoral staff purposely targeted only well-to-do what they called "Anglo" members. It is disheartening to see the same prejudices and sometimes hatred expressed in church as the secular community. At this stage in my life I have accepted that in the arts, I will only get so far in a financial sense, because I will never "look" like an older white male (who dominate my field and control the jobs). Dealing with prejudice and oppression because of my gender, much more than my ethnicity, has become a part of my life. Yet, to hear the same sentiments on Sunday when the global church is so much more than this tiny North American hyper-political microcosm is an absolute travesty. After two years of hearing hatred towards immigrants, Latinos, women, Muslims, veterans, the disabled, etc. etc. etc. I am saddened that this past election has emboldened a very small segment of our society that are enraged about their economic situation but choose to scapegoat the vast majority of American citizens because it is easy. This election has shown that the church's choice to put faith in government instead of Christ is grossly misaligned. Yet, it takes a secular cast of actors to say what should be shouted from the pulpits. "9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands." Rev. 7:9 That is the beauty of Christ's love and redemption.
Xavier, I would like to say I do appreciate your article, but I am somewhat confused. As Brad explained in his comment God sent his son Jesus so that God and man could reconcile. Please read 2 Corinthians 5:18-20. I honestly don't understand what you are talking about here with "inclusion will need to be a strategic goal if we are going to achieve reconciliation—with each other and with God"? Can you explain this further?
In Reply to Ruth (comment #29559)
THank you for commenting, Ruth. I would invite you to consider the premise of the article more than the question of the "disrespect" of a power figure in the American polity. The article was not about the VP-elect, but about the place for diversity in the Kingdom, and how that diversity can be brought forth in a nation roiling from racism and generational divestment and destruction of black and brown communities. Christ spoke very clearly about his thoughts on who was the greatest--and it was not Ceasar. He spoke of the widow who gave her mite, the person who visited the prisons--full of political prisoners like John the Baptist (or Dr. King, in our day)--who spoke up against the State in solidarity with the poor and the institutionally disregarded. What are your thoughts on a nation that PRIORITIZES the "least of these," rather than concerns itself with whether a leader who has already attempted to legislate away the rights of LGBTW persons, and who sits with a man who has already noted that "rapists, murderers, an criminals" are coming into our country, from a country we spent a generation destroying through economic warfare...after a century of murdering them and renaming their land "Texas," "New Mexico," and more? What right do these persons have to justice, and how would the table set for our political leadership look if they were invited first?
I fully agree, fear mongering should not be tolerated. I would ask that you look to the words even from the campaign launch event of our now President-elect to see why the incredibly diverse (race, gender, sexuality, and more) cast of Hamilton would feel it necessary to speak their truth to a power they have heard say from his own mouth that their rights, personhood, and opportunities would be taken away?
In Reply to Charles (comment #29560)
Thank you for commenting, Charles. I can understand your confusion. I, too, do not see presence as indicative of inclusion. Having a black man represent a white man is not an example of change...however, for that act to be publicly supported (though ticket sales, cache, and positive media mentions) does say something about how acceptable it has become. My point was moreso that Hamilton is an example of inclusion--people of color are not only onstage, but they are profiting from the production financially and through celebrity. They have ownership over the production, and that truly matters. The artistic world is tied, hand in hand, with the economic world. Wealthy theater patrons tend to be white...as this race of people have had hundreds of years to grow wealth, even at the expense of those who they blocked opportunities from. To have the ability to bring thousands of persons capable of paying approximately $500-700 per seat (the going price for a Hamilton ticket in Chicago or NYC) requires a level of wealth that most Americans cannot dream of. This is why many philanthropists and high-end art patrons tend to be white. The generational economic head-start pays dividends even in the world of recreation. This money is going to people of color. That is a rarity.
However, this does not get to the point of my article: that diversity is a strategic priority of the Kingdom. St. Paul spoke about this in Corinthians. What are your thoughts about that? Also, how would you consider this premise: that we need more diversity in those who reap the benefits of the production in order to bring the poor up, but that would require those who are currently in power and privilege to step aside, or redistribute their power?
In Reply to Brad Tucker (comment #29564)
Brad, I understand what you mean here, and how you may have been confused. Thank you for providing your thoughts, so that I can clarify. Reconciliation has not happened. God, through Christ, offered us the opportunity to reconcile (through Christ). However, that is a choice that is up to each person in the here and now. Sin permeates the Earth. Can GOd exist with it--side by side? Not at all. Only through our acceptance of Christ, and obedience to God, can we truly reconcile. Now, how can we reconcile to God through Christ, if we reject His people--including and most importantly, those whom we have caused to suffer in exclusion, slavery, ghettos, and land that was previously their own that they now fight simply for water? Christ said that "what you have done to the least of these, you have done unto me." What do you think the Beatitudes have to do with diversity, inclusion, and reparations? Nothing? I would say, everything. You ask "Why does race have to factor into church?" I would say because we have divided the Church with Race. Was Malcolm X wrong when he said (as a Muslim, indicting the white Christian church at the height of the Civil Rights movement), "High noon on Sunday is the most segregated hour in America." What responsibility does the white church have to reconcile the fact that this is not due to the machinations of the poor, black or brown, person...but the racism and pluralism inherent in the interpretation of CHurch and State, Gospel and ghetto, and a warped understanding of the immediate hypocrisy of having segregation within communion? Is the chuch now all of a sudden diverse? What would happen if it was? I would say the same thing that happens when our schools, workplaces, and social spaces are: conversation, communion, understanding, and more. Race is a matter of the church becauae America was built by church goers who demanded a separation of the races, and then offered no true process for reconcilitation and reparation.
In Reply to Brad Tucker (comment #29564)
Brad, I would add that to your first question about what I meant by diversity being a strategic priority of the Kingdom, but also a process for reconciliation: our country does not get to harmony outside of strategy. When Paul, in Corinthians, noted that he sought to not only understand (listen) to the people who were different, but also to appreciate their customs and identity through modeling (action), he was showing how when one bends (submits) to those they wish to entreat they actually provide the very pathway to success that they seek. It is hard to convince a person that you care for them when you mock them. It is hard to get a hungry child to do fractions when you disregard their hunger in favor of their education. It is difficult to say you respect a people, when you insist they dress like you just to come into your house or place of business. It is nearly impossible to form a relationship when you speak of appreciating the production of a person or culture, but not the producers (this is the basis of gentrification, or, modern colonialism). So you see what I mean? Paul took it upon himself to know that the strategy for gaining hearts for Christ involved him bending to his own (perhaps) pride and identity--seeing himself as a global citizen, not just from his own country, when he traveled. I tend to remember the words of my mentor, with whom I worked at a ministry for several years in Chicago "It takes nothing of one candle to light another, simply to bend to do so."
In Reply to Cathe (comment #29567)
Thank you, Cathe, for replying. I would encourage you to practice a sociological principle: centering the narrative. The cast represents several groups of marginalized, hunted, and disinvested populations here in America. I would caution you to assume that the President Elect--who is from none of those groups--would understand why this ensemble would risk their careers, livelihoods, and craft to confront our next ruler. I am sure he would understand if he listened, but the people on that stage--and MANY minorities across our country--have emphatically spoken out that he is NOT understanding. The "Great America" he seeks is noot one where they have ever known peace or prosperity. The urban plan that he boasted spoke only of increasing "law and order" through policing--the very thorn that has incarcerated nearly 3 million people already. Consider listening to the marginalized, the poor. Rather than the man who said he knows exactly what they needed, without listening to them. Giving the slave the right to speak under the constitution does not free them from slavery--it only serves to scoff at their position with a symbol for justice, while they must still drink the bitter cup of injustice. When a stage full of marginalized people says "Help" will you listen to them first, or say they just dont understand how good it will get undert the man THEY have said has put them in this position of fear for their very lives?
That said, what did you think of the premise of the article?
In Reply to Sab Y (comment #29573)
Thank you Sab! I am glad you enjoyed the article, and feel free to read my other ones on Think Christian. I would love your thoughts to my own writing, as well as to those who comment.
In Reply to The Elk (comment #29590)
Thanks for commenting on this article, I appreciated your comments on my previous article as well! I can understand the confusion. What I am saying is that things dont "just happen." Scripturally, the Bible is full of information about the PROCESS to do things. They dont just happen. Some of these processes are actually tools to create, sustain, and promote relationships. Where they are broken, God often provides a process for reconciliation. Christ on the cross was not a holy mechanism for absolution. There is still the need to be obedient, to pray, to work, to love, etc. The relationships are not healed, and we continue to break them. Our connection to God was remade through the cruxifiction and ascension, however, that does not mean that we are always acting in that connection--or that we are connected to each other.
Racism has destroyed relationships in America. The three largest races in our country: black, white, and Latino are frayed and thwarted by institutional racism (see: segregation in the labor markets, even in the creative fields like art) all the way to implicit bias (see: researchers have estimated that the average cop in AMerica sees a black man as roughly 7 years older than they actually are, thus Tamir Rice, an 11 year old who was shot to death while playing in a park by a cop) was said to be a "huge monster" by the cop. Mike Brown in Ferguson was reported by the officer to be like "a big demon."). These things dont just fix themselves. God has given us cripture to note HOW to remake the bonds. We say to pray, but prayer is conversations. God provides answers, not things to think more about. Prayer should lead to action at times (when God calls you to act), but for many, they use it as a tool of self-righteous delegation. The process Paul spoke of in Corinthians lays out a scripturally backed process that aligns with the design God made us in: people you are trying to convince or help usually respond better when you are dont walk in and disrespect their customs, language, clothing, etc. To be even more effective, LEARNING their language, eating the food they eat, etc. is a tool for reconciliation. This is not meant to be controversial. Most people who have ever traveled anywhere outside their culture can tell you this human design element, noted in Corinthians, is a sound piece of advice.
Ruth: "I now believe that our Veterans and those people in rural communities and even those in our inner cities will experience prosperity in the form of jobs and security."
I do hope this is the case, but I'm curious - what did Trump say to make you think it was worth voting for him? I admit I get the majority of my news from left-wing sources so I'm a bit confused here and want to learn.
As for the speech at Mike Pence, I didn't think it was that insulting. They just said what people are thinking. I don't echo those worries though. We have a far worse political party gaining popularity over here. I have to see evidence of the Trump administration doing what the liberal media is saying in order to want to fight against it.
For the record I am glad Hilary Clinton didn't win, because the far left would be complacent under her government like they were Obama.
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