While the merry-go-round at the county fair might be enjoyable and fun, it is no fun to go around in circles, and not getting anywhere. When it feels like life is filled with movement without progress, it’s not enjoyable.
Such an experience brings about a double debilitating punch of feeling stuck and exhausted, frustrated and agitated, disempowered and demoralized. This can result from personal and relational issues, familial and communal dilemmas, and societal and political challenges.
One, a few or all of these can bring about a repeat or remake of the same movie with different actors portraying the same characters, a new director, but the same plot! Whether upgraded in HD, 3D or XD format, the impact and consequences remain the same.
Finding ourselves in these consequential times of uncertainty and vulnerability, I take comfort and courage in the words, “You have been around this mountain long enough; now turn north.” (Deuteronomy 2:3).
Like the Hebrew people, we sometimes find ourselves stuck in the barren dessert of hopelessness and brokenness, confusion and delusion. Caught-up in the dizziness of repeat and cyclical experiences, we find ourselves feasting on the carcasses of traditions that lack purpose, potency and relevancy.
We are engaged in a lot of movement around the mountains of racism and sexism, pedophilia and homophobia, White supremacy and economic inequity, with not that much progress of overcoming these irreverent, yet influential, glaciers.
Our excuses have exposed our indifference. Our complaints have revealed our complacency. Our indifference has resulted in too many of us making a choice to pledge acquiescence when encountering tips of these icebergs. Been around these mountains long enough!
Trumpocracy has invited us all into a reality show alongside a mountain with faces representing deception and discrimination, dehumanization and division. Enveloped by White nationalism, systems have been activated by the power of flashbacks. Clothed in bigotry, schemes have been accelerated, informed by narratives constructed with half truths, genocide and grand theft.
So, from the separation First Nation families along the “trail of tears,” to African families at the “door of no return,” we know about these maintains. From camps to cages, mass incarceration to mass detention, we’ve seen these mountains.
Heresy and blasphemy has connected the church located in the middle of Gore Island, Senegal, to the church that was in Jamestown, Virginia, to every church in America that has pledged allegiance to predatory patriotism. Your silence is deafening and your acquiescence deadly! Been around this mountain long enough!!
It’s time to turn north and transcend internalized racism. It’s time to turn north and overcome paralyzing trauma. It’s time to turn north and turn pain into a path towards new possibilities. It’s time to turn north and replace stigmatization with compassion. When you turn north, resurrection can replace depression – personally, communally and societally. It’s time to turn north and possess a more just and fair society.
When we have the courage to internalize and embody the words spoken to the Hebrew people – caught between subjugation and liberation – then this tragic setback is a strategic set-up for a triumphant comeback.
Movement can result into progress, as every round goes higher and higher. Forward ever! Backward never!
Pastor Kelvin Sauls is a Fellow with the Atlantic Fellowship for Racial Equity. Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, he is a progressive and prophetic, courageous and catalytic faith-based community organizer and leader serving with Community Coalition and Community Health Councils in Los Angeles.
Join Pastor Saul’s for his bi-weekly podcast, “Faith Without Borders” on Sundays at 3 p. m., eminating live from Morris Media Studios in Leimert Park and streaming at www.morirismedialive.com.
Next Topic on Sept 8: “Suicide Prevention and Intervention Strategies in the Black Community.”