African, Educated, and Petty AF

In this morning’s sermon,

the preacher spoke to the inequity of the American dream. It reminded me of my Daddy, the Rev. Dr., who ordered the steps of my life and my faith. Dad was a fire-filled, afro-adorned Baptist preacher, a member of the Black Panther Party, and Princeton-educated theologian, fully aligned, without contradiction.

He recounted the experience of questioning the US pledge of allegiance as a child. He chose and was supported by his parents in saying,

“justice for some,”

rather than all.  Feeling the same way a generation later, I never take the pledge, as it was never meant for me. Since 3rd grade, I stand quiet, respectfully, anytime the pledge is announced. I do not participate. The American Constitution protects my right.  

As I listened to the sermon, I was ill at ease, thinking, 

I may take next February off from corporate worship.

It was a good sermon, but this current version of America is so FUBAR, so far off the rails as it relates to equity and equality that 4 Sundays and 28 days is nowhere near enough time to reposition the American church to rightly reflect the Gospel for all God’s people. 

I love my church.

We live out the Gospel and believe social justice is a mandate. I just don’t know if I’m feeling Carter G. Woodson’s dream anymore. And, having evolved in my half-century on the planet and in my skin, I no longer celebrate Black History Month. We are bigger and badder than 28 days, aren’t we, America? Remember,

I too sing America. (I might sing it better than you).

I am #365Black. I am a student of American history. All of it. 

Next t-shirt I’m eyeing reads “Black, Educated, and Petty.” You’ve been warned. 

There is a t-shirt currently among my collection, the one pictured above.

Yes, I mean it. Yes, I’m serious (fight me). Yes, I wear it.

It is, figuratively, the pillow upon which I kneel to offer my daily prayers. At least for the next 4 weeks, God is an African Woman, embodied by the icon before which I lay my petitions and my praises this month. It might outlast February. 

I found something I saved years ago, that still resonates to who I am, and who I am becoming.  

“I live at the intersection of Pan-African womanism, black nationalism, and liberation theology. My identity is so complex, you can’t box me.” RahielT 

(if you didn’t know, now you know.) 

If you’re wondering about my personal mantra, lately, it is this:

“I am my ancestor’s WILDEST DREAMS.” 

Granny,  as we honor the 100th anniversary of your birth, know that everything you poured into me and over me, every prayer, every hope, every will to thrive, I’m on it. And your beloved only child, my perfectly wonderful mommy, is here to witness every step. 

I have decided that racial reconciliation is not my calling.

That is not to say that I don’t believe in its value, but rather, it’s not my lane. I am abundantly blessed to have numerous friends committed to that work. I am grateful for them, freeing me to do the things to which I am called, to which I am better suited. I am not, by nature, a peacemaker. I can make peace. I can also make war. You’ve been warned. 

Finally, as I close my rant, I affirm that I am Imago Dei, and that you are too. My daddy taught me to challenge people, saying, if your God is not big enough to look like me AND like you too, well, that might be a problem.

If my God looks like me, you don’t like it, and I’m right, well, you might have a problem. 

Good night. Sweet dreams.  

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