February 24, 2006

pasadena, snatch and power...

I'm staying Rudy's place tonight (pictured here with Andrew Jones and myself from back in April at Fuller). He has graciously allowed me to stay the night here. I have a class here in Pasadena tomorrow morning.

In between watching/reading the subtitles/commenting on Snatch we talked about where we come from on issues of race, power and privilege (I swear, Rudy brought it up, not me). Rudy shared some powerful stories from when he was working with John Perkins here at Harambee. Incredible stuff.

The greatest lessons I've been learning in the last two years after moving into the city have primarily been around issues of power, and who has it. Racism is a component to this conversation more often than not. That word throws up an aweful lot of defenses and the end result, often times, is that we don't hear each other due to our preconceived notions of what the other is thinking when that word arises.

I can't emphasize enough how important the art of listening and struggling to understand has become to me on this issue. Our refusal (and I am speaking mostly to those most like me right now: white men) to listen intently is a huge problem. This blog post only confirms an assumption I was hoping I would be wrong about. It seems us younger, dominant Christian voices are not much different than those before us. This is a shame. Our world does not look like those "in charge"... if we are to continue discovering a theology that we can practice, a people's theology than we've got to let others play and on their terms, not ours. It's like when Red Hot Chili Peppers covered Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" (although, Mother's Milk probably was RHCP's best album). You didn't understand Stevie's take by listening to the Pepper's cover it. You have to listen to Stevie's version to get it... am I making sense? It's late. Too much coffee. I've got to get up early... I'll leave you with a lyric ringing in my head right now:

"C'mon stand up!/This system of power and privilege is about to come to an end/Here come the clouds/The first drop is falling down... We've had enough/Is there even anything left to explain?/Am I really someone you need to restrain?/Can't you listen to what we have to say?/We've had enough"

(Taken from "The First Drop" by Rise Against off of their album, The Siren Song of The Counter Culture)

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