If we are honest, many of us lack the capacity to "give up" anything during this season but we will still want to be reverent and honor this holy time. At the end of the day, we’re churched and it’s difficult to completely walk away from what we have been taught for any period of time. Perhaps this Lenten season will not be about fasting but giving ourselves permission to be refueled in the pursuit of joy. Could it be possible that, instead of “dying to ourselves”, we find ways to live into the abundant life Jesus came to give?
I intentionally write about singleness and the longing many of us feel because it’s real. Too often, we’re dismissed or told to be quiet. But we deserve to be seen and heard with all of our complexities. And, at the same time, our histories are not the fullness of our narratives. We are so much more than what has happened to us. We are more than bearers of painful legacies. We are more than rejected concubines and consolation handmaidens. We are much, much more.
For whatever reason, many Black Christian/Black Church celebrities are pushing to normalize this presidency and negating the tradition of resistance upon which Christianity stands. Maybe they don’t know it. Maybe they don’t know that early Christians chose certain death at the king’s hand over possible access to him. Maybe they don’t understand that this is the same kind of tyrannical leadership that forced Mary and Joseph to have a baby in the same place animals eat and poop. Maybe they don’t realize that this is the same kind of religious leadership that sentenced Jesus to death. But even If they didn’t know that, they know us. And we deserve better.
I don’t know what the way forward is from this moment. All I know is I’m tired. I’m tired of my loved ones being treated inhumanely because we refuse to reconcile what we’ve been taught with the heart of God. And I’m tired of feeling like if I say the wrong thing, I will be characterized as homophobic or unloving. There has got to be a better way.
Female sexuality gets so routinely exploited in church that the objectification of Black women in the preaching moment has become normalized. Much of Black preaching happens on the backs and in between the legs of Black women and we really should be ashamed. But we are not because that would require we care about how our preaching impacts our largest and most dedicated constituency. And we don’t. We don't care at all.
I want to be clear: I do not think it's impossible for Black women to be friends and support each other without shade or malice. It happens every single day. Black women are each other's best friends. My girls hold me down- and I, them- and I know I'm not the only one who feels this way about her squad. So I'm not talking about those relationships. Still, I think there’s something, both, sad and disappointing about all this back and forth between these two that speaks to tensions that many Black women have with each other that never get named. We want so much to show that Black women support each other and are friends (this is necessary, believe me!) that we never provide space to deal with the fact that sometimes “I just don’t like that heffa” and my reasons for not liking her may be completely ridiculous.
Companionship and intimacy matter for the fullness of life. And Jesus was clear that he came so that we all would be able to experience life in abundance. What if we saw Black women's singleness as an affront to the Cross? How might our ethical approach to this dilemma change then? What would happen if we saw taking seriously Black women's singleness as a form of worship- our reasonable service?
You cannot know what people need if you are not around them or trying to place yourself in the space to care. We come with our already set plans of what we will do and who we will be for folks but grief doesn’t work like that. And we can’t be committed to scripts when the narrative constantly changes.
We often don’t think through the implications of what it means to say the wrong things to people who are already hurting. We assume that, because we mean well, what we say will be accepted in that spirit. But, just because we mean well doesn’t mean that we are giving people what they need in that moment.
The church has been and is wrong for how we have treated same gender loving and queer people because the church has been consistently wrong in its discussion of the relationship between God and sexuality.