Lent: Denial or Discipleship?

Three years ago today, Trayvon Martin was killed 30 min from my parents house in Sanford, FL. George Zimmerman used the “stand your ground” defense and went on to commit more violent crimes.

Later that year another 17 year old black boy named Jordan Davis was killed. His white killer shot several rounds into a SUV because “the music was too loud.” He was also “standing his ground.”

However, in between these two incidents, Marissa Alexander, a black woman fired a warning shot while “standing her ground” against her abusive partner. In this case, SHE was arrested and prosecuted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and received a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison.

Although she has since been released (thank god) it just goes to show how racism and white supremacy is alive and well in this country, especially in my home state. ‪#‎blackhistorymonth‬ ‪#‎blacklivesmatter‬ ‪#‎restinpower‬

For Lent this year, the faith community I’m apart of in Chicago is wrestling with denial and discipleship, particularly as it pertains to climate change. To do this, we are reading Naomi Klein‘s most recent book, “This Changes Everything.”

However personally I find myself applying this same question to the false idols of racism and white supremacy. As white people of faith, will we continue to deny that racism is real and instead, claim that we live in a post racial society?

What would happen if we gave up denial for Lent? And if we give up denial, then what does discipleship look like?

Creative Commons Copyright by Flickr User Ted Eytan
Creative Commons Copyright by Flickr User Ted Eytan

Here are some resources you might consider for your journey through Lent:

1. A Lent Where #BlackLivesMatter: 10 Ideas for Black History Month and the White Church

Because the history we’ve learned and absorbed as white people in this country is in reality only a partial history and is frequently a racist history.

So perhaps more than yet another 40 days of giving up soda and sweets, white Christians might need to give up their white, Anglo-centric version of history.

Imagine what would happen if white Christians around the country decided to observe Black History month with the same seriousness as we do Lent.

If giving something up for Lent has been a helpful practice for you, consider giving up these 6 distractions…

2. Things to Stop Being Distracted By When A Black Person Gets Murdered By Police

Talking to people on Twitter about Mike Brown and what’s happening in Ferguson right now, I’ve noticed (again) how easily folks get distracted when Black people are murdered by the police.

It seems as though every detail is more interesting, more important, more significant—including looting of a Walmart in Ferguson, which a local Fox news station focused its entire coverage on—than the actual life that was taken by police.

So, to get folks back on track to focus on what matters most here—the killing of yet another unarmed Black teenager—I’ve compiled this list of 6 Things To Stop Being Distracted By When A Black Person Gets Murdered By the Police.

Planning on spending lots of time studying Jesus’ life? This was recently recommended to me by a trusted theologian:

3. Christology and Whiteness: What Would Jesus Do?

This book explores Christology through the lens of whiteness, addressing whiteness as a site of privilege and power within the specific context of Christology. It asks whether or not Jesus’ life and work offers theological, religious and ethical resources that can address the question of contemporary forms of white privilege.

The text seeks to encourage ways of thinking about whiteness theologically through the mission of Jesus. In this sense, white Christians are encouraged to reflect on how their whiteness is a site of tension in relation to their theological and religious framework.

A distinguished team of contributors explore key topics including the Christology of domination, different images of Jesus and the question of identification with Jesus, and the Black Jesus in the inner city.

4. Finally, as we do both our individual and collective work, consider these words: I Am Not Your Teachable Moment.

I pray that this Lent we make a conscious decision to give up denial and give in to discipleship. Together, #wegetfree.

real t,



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