LU#2 "Wrong Lever"
Vol. XV no. 320
January 18, 2017
The first full issue of the Underground has arrived! Hopefully you didn't forget about us! Or maybe you just aren't used to receiving these on a Wednesday. This issue is kinda short and I won't inflate it by rambling, so for your leisurely toilet/chapel/class distraction reading, I humbly present,
Where the weather is consistent
In this issue
We tackle racism
We tackle the chapel office, with a brief shoutout to racism
An exciting and unofficial announcement
We play another drinking game
The Struggle to Untangle the Effects of White Supremacy on Christianity.
We have seen in places like South Africa what the horrendous affects of apartheid can have on a country. This was a nation made up of an overwhelming majority of African people while simultaneously being dictated by non-African people. By white people. What we learned from the horrible times of apartheid was that 1) Racism is real and that 2) Race matters and is still an inextricable factor from practically any institution in the world. Specifically, for those of African descent, race will never be a forgotten factor.
In our own country, race has been an issue since the first person was stolen from the shores of Africa to the most recent unarmed black man being murdered by the state.
But we're a Christian nation right?
The issue I take with this sentiment is that modern Christianity is a stolen and white-washed version of the original. We like to make jokes as white Christians about how silly it is that many people depicted Jesus as white for so long. That nativity scenes are full of pasty white people. That God is a big white bearded man in the sky. We joke, but it isn't a joking matter. The writers of scripture and the figures in scripture were brown and black men and women. They were not white. This may seem extraneous, but race has always and will always affect our societies. It did in scripture and it does now. White people didn't start Christianity but with the majority of our prominent figures being white (Martin Luther, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, AW Tozer, CS Lewis, Max Lucado, Rob Bell, Beth Moore, Karen Kingsbury, Louis Giglio) it would seem as though we've taken ownership of something that we didn't even start which we do. A lot.
Remember slavery? Remember when white men and women justified slavery with scripture? This is why race matters. Because Jesus very likely could have been enslaved. The man who inspired scripture could very well have been enslaved by it. As we all know, "the truth shall set us free." But "truth" can be dangerous when so much of our foundational theology and doctrinal teachings were determined in times when it was still legal and financially advantageous to own other people. We forget that we not only enslaved Africans, but we forced them to practice Christianity and now we're still absurdly segregated on Sunday mornings because "they don't worship like us, and we're worshipping the right way." In a world festering with Islamaphobia, we forget that Christianity has been used to justify more hate than any other institution in world history. Specifically racism
My solution would be twofold. 1) I think white Christians specifically need to do better at diversifying our theological influences. There are so many good and profound writers, theologians, and ministers that are not white. We need to look through different lenses. Constantly. Emphatically. Actively. 2) We need to seek justice for those we have previously wronged. Sorry guys, slavery isn't over. Its effects are long-lasting and will never be removed from the fabric of this country. Slavery built the fabric of this country, both literally and metaphorically. The damaging effect that Christianity had on slavery in this country is something we are all culpable for and benefit from daily. If you have slave owners in your family history, you are a benefactor of the poverty of your black neighbor who has slaves in his family history. Their family's misfortune created and sustained your family's wealth. Let me be straightforward: Racism created and sustained your family's wealth, and your family likely used Jesus, a dark-skinned man, to justify this. *This is white Christian supremacy. So in today's climate, to look at the television screen and call the BLM movement a terrorist group would be protecting your privilege. Saying that black people just need to "work harder" would also be protecting your privilege, not to mention the least Christ-like response I can think of.
White supremacy is pervasive in every corner of this world. This includes Christianity. We need to make sure that the way we are worshipping and the theology we are teaching actively fights white supremacy. I highly doubt Christians will be the front-runners in expelling white supremacy in this world, but I'd like to see it happen. So would black Jesus. Let's be on the right side of history as Christians for once. Usually though, according to history, the right side is hardly ever the white side.
(I guess the Clone troopers were the good guys in the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy and they were white. But people like to forget about those movies - ws)
I don't plan on making this poetic or deep or trying to say absurd things that catch your attention like a bit of click-bait. I am just going to tell you what happened to me on this campus last week that epitomizes the way I believe most students are treated on this campus...
Last week we had just come out of the new year, when a story broke about four individuals kidnapping and abusing/torturing a young, mentally handicapped individual. That alone should have been enough for Lipscomb to step up and say a prayer for the kid or for the family who are undoubtedly scarred for life by this incident. I say this for two reasons: Firstly, because we have such a big initiative right now that claims "respect leads". Apparently respect only leads if you can capitalize on the headline to make your school look more socially awake or open minded. This headline wouldn't do that, so we'd have to offer up a genuine prayer out of genuine love... scary I know. Secondly, one of the most respectable programs (in my view) that we have on campus is the Ideal program. I absolutely love that we've made it a point to love on these people and to show them that they matter just as much as any one of us. Unfortunately, those reasons not appear to cross anyone in the chapel office or administration's mind, and so I made it a personal point to go down to the office and make it extremely clear what I thought the right move would be, and simply asked for a prayer or a moment of recognition. I would have rather been told no flat out, than have the office (I am choosing to exclude names out of respect) essentially tell me that they would try to bring it up, and seemingly make no such attempt. I feel disappointed as a student, but I feel disgusted as a person. I understand that we can't take a moment for every single headline that breaks, because chapel isn't a news session, but when a student comes to you and requests essentially nothing more than a prayer in a chapel service and you don't give it to them, it makes you wonder whether or not you are really attending a Christian university anymore.
To add one more note, the four individuals were African American, the special needs individual was white. I am not at ALL saying that they committed the crime because they were black. Please do not think that is what I am mentioning that for. I am simply wondering whether or not this would have been a bigger story that would have garnered more attention (specifically Lipscomb's) if the rolls had been reversed.
Until next time,
The Almost Graduate
(OHHH it's Respect Leads! I kept thinking it was Respect Leads! You know, like the 82nd element on the Periodic Table. I thought it was some lead poisoning initiative. Homonyms will get you every time - ws)
AN UNDERGROUND PSA
NEW PARKING BY ENGINEERING BUILDING
That's right! Even though no one has said anything officially, it looks like we can park in the lot behind the new engineering building. There's like a hundred spaces back there! Just turn into the Fanning lot from Belmont and keep driving past the nursing building and around the engineering building and park at your leisure. (until it's taken away again)
The Official Lipscomb Underground Drinking Game for Donald Trump's Inauguration
With a new president rolling in, it's time to stock up on Coke products and play another drinking game! Donald Trump is sworn in at high noon Eastern time on Friday. You could even play during class.
Start by checking to see if you attended the inauguration. If you did not skip school and drive to D.C., take a shot of Mello Yello™.
Pour out a can of delightful Coca-Cola™
1. For Bernie Sanders.
2. For every grammatical error a speaker makes
3. For Obamacare
4. If a protester is a party foul
Take a sip of savory Minute Maid™ lemonade
1. Every time someone says "Make America Great Again"
2. For every Rockette that refuses to perform
3. For every $1 million spent on the Inauguration
4. For every empty seat on Capitol Hill
Take two sips of a refreshing Coca-Cola Life™
1. Every time Mr. Trump says the news is biased
2. Every time Mr. Trump says we are losing to China
3. If Trump seems to be off script
4. For every American flag you see
Take a shot of crisp Dasani™ water
1. If Kanye West shows up
2. If Mr. Trump is sworn in on a Trump steak instead of a Bible
3. If the turnout seems to be unpresidented
4. If Trump live tweets his own inauguration
Shotgun a delicious Diet Coke™
1. If Kanye West gives a speech
2. If Ivanka advertises her jewelry during the Inauguration
3. If Vladimir Putin is in attendance
4. If Trump doubles down on his wall plan during his speech
Chug an electrolyte-restoring Powerade™
1. During the entire presidential parade
2. If a group of protesters get a shout out from Mr. Trump
3. If nothing interesting happens and its just another Friday afternoon
That's all this week! Feel free to reply to this email with responses! Tell your friends! Have a good week!
Until our next snow day
I am your host,
(Squeaker squeak squeaker squeakin')
To reply or subscribe, email the host at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://www.lipscombunderground.com/
Follow us on Twitter @LU_Underground
The opinions of the contributors in the Underground do not reflect the thoughts, feelings, or opinions of the host
LU#2 "Wrong Lever"
Vol. XV no. 320
January 18, 2017