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Last night I was upstairs in my house, doing some cleaning. I sat down in the big, squashy, rocking armchair in my room to take a break, and I picked up my phone and opened Facebook to scroll for a few minutes. And immediately I saw a post from a theologian I follow who posted something I didn’t want to believe. I googled like I do with everything to verify, and then I started sobbing. Despite the television on downstairs where the kids were watching a show, my oldest son, nine-years-old, heard me crying and came to find out why.

“What’s wrong?” …


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I want to again examine the intersection of these predominantly white folks condemning the protests with the church. Many of these people would identify at least somewhat with the label Christian. Many I suspect identify strongly. I keep coming back to the thoughts that part of what is wrong with the American Church today is that they don’t really want to be Christ-followers.

American Christianity in too many places has become nationalism with the trappings of the church which is a gross perversion. If the church sat with the generational hatred of the Jewish people towards the Samaritans and vice versa, and if the church sat with the knowledge that a good Jewish man of that day — much less a rabbi — wouldn’t been seen in public talking to a woman that he wasn’t related to, and if the church understood the idea of an honor contest and how Jesus publicly lost one to a woman of an ethnic background that was also despised, then they couldn’t sit in church today and loot scripture for ideas about our present moment that are completely antithetical to who Jesus was. …


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“I wasn’t there, but I’m guessing Jesus caused property damage when he cleared out the corruption atthe temple.” I posted this yesterday almost as soon as the thought gripped me. And as a couple people shared it, I happened to catch some negative feedback from some folks of the white, female, Christian persuasion. I was struck by two in particular. …


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In 2012 when Trayvon Martin was killed, I was sure Zimmerman would be convicted. I realize now how naive that was. His murder was a catalyst for my anti-racist journey, and if you, white friend, are reading this, then you’ve likely experienced a catalyst too. In 2012, my oldest child was only one, and I had no clue what we would eventually discover when he started school.

We’re a white family living in the suburbs with a lot of other white families. When we moved here because of a job, I didn’t know why that was the case. I taught karate at after school middle school programs for a while until I was too pregnant to teach, and didn’t understand why I’d been warned off one school as containing the children who were “difficult.” That school had a much higher percentage of black students for our county than the other two I worked with. I still needed to learn that “good schools” was code for “white schools” and that discrimination in the system becomes clear even amongst the peers of my son as he started kindergarten at the local elementary school. By then I’d learned to see many of the little and not so little things in the system that weight society against a black child from the moment they make their debut in the world. …

Anna Elisabeth Howard

Anna Elisabeth Howard writes highly caffeinated takes on shalom as a lens for everything from her front porch in Hendersonville, TN.

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