White privilege: An insidious virus that’s eating America from within – Salon.com

“But the most insidious power of white privilege, the albatross effect that makes it so oppressive to white people themselves, is the way it renders itself invisible and clouds the collective mind. It’s like a virus that adapts in order to ensure its own survival and perpetuation, in this case by convincing its host it isn’t there.”

via White privilege: An insidious virus that’s eating America from within – Salon.com.

Constance…go.  Read.

But before you do, allow me to comment that there is a direct analogy to cis-gender privilege.

I am in a pretty unique position to make this statement.  Here is why:

Up until last March, when the scales fell from my eyes about my own true nature and the disintegrated state of my being, on a slow boat to death and no better prospect, I was completely blind to all forms of privilege I was granted due to the circumstances of my biological body, my skin color, and my socio-economic strata.

I would have sworn on a stack of bibles that I had no privilege.  Being “male”?  A huge burden! (in my case, this was sublimation, lol, but the point still holds).  Being white?  Big deal, I get no affirmative action…etc. etc. etc.!!

I was totally and completely wrong…cuz I was totally and completely blind to these things.  The oppressive effect of privilege which conceals itself from its host is such a powerful concept.

It wasn’t until my eyes were opened that I had any awareness, let alone interest in affecting lasting change.  But now?  This cannot stand.  I cannot call myself one who seeks justice and loves mercy and walks humbly if I do not eschew privilege and seek to liberate my neighbor as a profound act of love.

This is why I am always exhorting you, Constance, if you are cis, to be continually educating yourself, asking for eyes to see, and then taking the courage of your convictions and putting them into action.

Shine on, eyes steady and heart even steadier!

Charissa Grace

This says it better than I just tried…

Constance, I just read my online newsletter devotional that I get each morning called “A Slice of Infinity”…and this morning’s was an excellent thrust towards the very same ideas I was attempting to convey in my earlier post about foundations and effects.

I hope you enjoy it…and I hope you don’t!

Maybe that good poke that we all need and doesn’t feel that great would be appropriate?

I do believe that our current cultural paradigm, our presupposition of “the way it ought to be” is so easily summed up by the phrase “at ease in Zion”, which means having all things, all advantages, and yet just sitting back and wallowing in self-preoccupation and self-service.

All around us, right here in this very nation, in your state, nay, in your town are humans oppressed and burdened as bad as anyone anywhere.

Are your eyes open?  Is your heart?  Will you step out and share your ease, your station, and make a way for even the least?

From a transgender woman, who is swimming away from privilege and power as fast as she can shinny thru the waters,

Charissa

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Sledgehammers and Other Good News

I found myself sighing with something like relief one day after reading a comment made by C.S. Lewis. He was responding to a statement made by a scholar who noted that he didn’t “care for” the Sermon on the Mount but “preferred” the Pauline ethics.

Lewis was of course bothered at the suggestion of Scripture alternatives between which we may freely pick and choose, and it was this that he addressed first. But his response also included a striking remark about the Sermon on the Mount itself, and this is what caught my attention. Said Lewis, “As to ‘caring for’ the Sermon on the Mount, if ‘caring for’ here means liking or enjoying, I suppose no one cares for it. Who can like being knocked flat on his face by a sledgehammer? I can hardly imagine a more deadly spiritual condition than that of the man who can read that passage with tranquil pleasure. This is indeed to be ‘at ease in Zion.’”(1)

To be “at ease in Zion” was the deplorable state of existence the prophet Amos spoke of in his harsh words to the Israelites.(2) Reeling in false security and erroneous confidence from their economic affluence and self-indulgent lifestyles, the Israelites, Amos warned, would be the first God would send into exile if they failed to heed his words.

The Sermon on the Mount was likely as alarming to those who first heard it as the thought of exile for those whose homeland is far more than an identity. Lewis’s comparison of Christ’s words to a sledgehammer is not far off. Those potent chapters are not unlike the electric paddles used to shock the heart back to life, back to the rhythm it was intended to have all along.

The Sermon on the Mount is like the keynote address for the kingdom Christ came to introduce and to gather us together like a hen gathers her chicks. On that mountainside, Jesus points out many of the mountains that blur vision of this kingdom. He repeatedly notes that we are not quite seeing as he sees, not grasping reality as it really is. “You have heard that it was so…” he says again and again, “but I tell you…”

His words are hard and thorough, and even the simplest of phrases is permeated with the profound glory of a kingdom we far too easily settle for only seeing in part:

Blessed are the poor in spirit…
Blessed are those who mourn…
Blessed are the meek…
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…
Blessed are the merciful…
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.(3)

Perhaps I have become at ease in Zion if I can read these words without wondering if I am among the blessed, if I am one seeing God or missing it.

When I lose sight of the kingdom behind the haze of selfish ambition, guilt, or fear, Christ’s words become like a foghorn calling me to set my eyes on the one I follow and live up to the hope I embody: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?”

When I find myself making demands of God, I am shown again just how much God demands of me. “You’ve heard it said, ‘You shall not murder. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister’ is guilty of the same.

For the crowds that gathered that day on the hillside, Jesus’s words were likely quite troubling. If God’s commandments were difficult to follow before this sermon, they were now entirely terrifying. Who can stand in this kingdom Jesus describes? And how is this good news? How could we ever be gathered into this communion?

And yet, in all of his wisdom, in his unfathomable love, in the middle of his sermon Jesus proclaims gently but confidently: Do not worry. It is as if he says to those rightly awake and trembling with the fear of certain failure, “I am not only the fulfillment of all the law and the prophets, but the embodiment of these good things and the one who makes all things possible for you.” This, he also says repeatedly. In his humanity, Jesus vicariously approaches our own, lifting us to possibilities we can only imagine.

The Sermon on the Mount is a concentrated example of how Jesus came to fulfill in us dynamically everything the law meant to show us. Like a sledgehammer to a frozen heart, his life cries out to all who are at ease in Zion, whether cold from self-indulgence or unaware of God’s life-giving pursuit of our affection. In this, Christ’s role is uncompromisable.

He is both the human Son of God who is embodiment of all we are meant to be in the fellowship of the Father and our mediator who bestows us the very possibility.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), 181.
(2) Amos 6:1.
(3) Matthew 5:3-9.

“…having eyes, but not seeing…”

Hey!  Yeah, you.
Gotta question for ya:
what do you see?

Seriously,
I wonder what you see,
when I look at the way
you walk with blind eyes
to trembling and quivering souls
who just want a crust of bread…

Seriously,
I wonder what you see
when you speak right into someone’s face
with fistwords and hammer sounds
and their face pulps up,
mashes and folds in on itself
as blood rushes into their rendered heart
from pale cheeks to heal
the tears of horror and assumption…

Seriously,
I wonder what you see…
oh no I am not rhetorical,
in my question and intimating blindness.
I am watching you gaze,
dripping poisonous benevolence and
wallowing in privilege and whining
like a jet setter’s steed
whining from party to party,
and I literally wonder what you see…

Seriously,
I wonder what you see…
is it puppets without strings
that look like real people?
Is it the recited line,
rehearsed by the social director and
expected by you because you
have said your line and given your cue?
Is it happy field hands
singing in the blazing sun
and glistening with (you see it as)
joy-juice-just-jivingly-jumping-jack rabbits-of-meet-your-every-need-and-love-it-pleasure?

I cannot even find
an image to post,
because
Seriously,
I wonder what you see?