Happy New Year, 2017!!! On Christian Future Hope

Happy New Year, 2017!!!

On Christian Future Hope

The alternative to another and better world is not in this present world. It is in the promising world to come…in which God in Christ and in the transformative power of the Holy Spirit will inaugurate a new creation and new humanism.

However, we must strive urgently and collaboratively to create the “already-not yet world,” rooted in the implementation and practice of love, peace, justice, righteous living, egalitarianism, communitarianism, reciprocity, mutuality, sacrifice, selflessness, human dignity, in this present world.

Happy and Blessed New Year, 2017!

​The God Who is always Here and There

​The God Who is always Here and There

“Have you not known?

Have you not heard?

The everlasting God, the Lord,

The Creator of the ends of the earth,

Neither faints nor is weary.

God’s understanding is unsearchable.
God gives power to the weak,

And to those who have no might, God increases strength.

Even the youths shall faint and be weary,

And the young men shall utterly fall…
But they that wait upon the Lord

Shall renew their strength…

They shall mount up with wings like eagles,

They shall run and not be weary…

They shall walk and not faint.” –Isaiah 40:28-31

When Race does not Matter: We Are all English!

When Race does not Matter: We are all English!

Here’s what happened to me at the College (Indian River State College) today (December 5, 2016). As I was making copies in the Copy Center, a white lady approached me and asked:

White lady: What do you teach at the College?

Me: I’m a Professor of English. I teach English Composition and
Literature.

White Lady: Where are you from?

Me: Haiti

White Lady: I thought you were a teacher of a foreign language.

It is interesting how some people easily equate the English language with whiteness, and the fluency in the English language with intelligence.

* Almost every semester, unfortunately, I have to remind some of my white students that I’m a real English Professor, and in fact, accentuate that my PhD is in English Literary Studies.

#Imoverwhelmedbyrace #racismisdepressing #theendofrace

A Sad and Racist incident at Southern Seminary (2002)

A Sad and Racist Experience at Southern Seminary (Year: 2002)

My wife and I got married in August 2002. A week after our honeymoon, we left Florida for Louisville, KY to study at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) and to be trained for the Christian ministry. I was working towards my Masters of Divinity with an emphasis in Biblical and Theological Studies, and Biblical languages (Hebrew and Greek). I loved Greek, and still do:-)

Life was very difficult for us in Louisville; we applied for several positions in the city. No one has given us a call. We were at the point of desperation. We had bills to pay and were living on the campus housing of the Seminary. Rent was due. Bills were overdue. Our fridge was empty. All our savings were gone. Katia, my wife, was actually pregnant with our first child: Terrence.

A good friend of mine, who is African American and a retired army veteran, was also studying at Southern. He knew about our hard life, rather our circumstances. We would often meet together to pray, fellowship, eat, and talk about life and theology. This same friend has informed me about a job position at the Campus bookstore. He said ” Lou, I saw a hiring sign posted on the front door of the Seminary Campus bookstore. I was excited and convinced that I was going to get this job. I would not be denied, and that our circumstances would be improved if I get this position.

With a positive attitude and faith or belief in Christian stewardship, compassion, and empathy, as we were trained to express these virtues toward one another as a community of faith. What else should I expect in a milieu where our seminary professors and Christian theologians taught us to love and care for one another, as well as to support one another in times of need? To my great disappointment, classroom teaching is not the same as real life experiences, and that the great theological formation I was receiving in the classroom was absent in the lives of many of my classmates and even seminary professors.

On the same day my friend informed me about the position, I went to the book store manager to apply for the position. The manager, who was working on a PhD in Christian Theology, refused me the application and said that he was not hiring. I insisted that there’s a hiring sign posted on the front door. He repeated that he was not hiring. About one or two weeks later, he hired a seminary student, about my age, to fill up the position. The only difference between this young man and I was that he was white and I was black. However, both of us were Christians, but our skin color made a difference. He was the privileged one; I was not.

When I told my friend that the bookstore manager has denied me the job application, he advised me to take the matter to Dr. Daniel Akin, who was then the Dean of the School of Theology. Interestingly, a lot of us minority and black students at Southern Seminary were comfortable to talk to Dr. Akin because he was a relational and compassionate human being. He cared about students and loved them. We black students at the Seminary truly believed that Dr. Daniel Akin would listen to our complaints and act justly and christianly. He was a genuine person.
Dr. Akin acted immediately and swiftly called the manager into a meeting. While I did not know the precise nature of the meeting, Dr. Akin admonished him to apologize to me. In the following day, the store manager called my number and apologized for his racial prejudice towards me.

There were few administrators and professors at Southern who were like Dr. Akin and cared about minority and black students. Some of them did not want us to be in their classroom and treated us unfairly—very badly. They did not believe in our potential to become good pastors, good academics or theologians. Some of these professors at Southern Seminary graded us harshly and would not even provide feedback on our essays. There was a particular professor at Southern, whose name I would not mention here, who never gave a grade higher than a C to black students. We black students knew each other’s burden and often talked to each other about the common mistreatment and racism we were subjected to because our black skin—from those who were teaching us the Word of God and how to be good Christians. We as black students never felt that we were treated equally as human beings, students, and Christians.

I wanted to stay at Southern to pursue a PhD in New Testament. (In fact, I went to Southern Seminary to study with Dr. Robert H. Stein, a world-renowned New Testament Scholar and specialist on the Gospels and Biblical Hermeneutics). However, because of various incidents of mistreatment and racism I and other black students encountered or received from the faculty members and the campus community as a whole, I decided that it would be best for me to pursue the PhD elsewhere, at a different school. While I loved the good education I received from Southern, I “hated” the seminary environment because of its failure to practice racial justice, treat students of color equally and with dignity, and extend Christian love and empathy to those of us who were the least privileged.

After I was through with a second Master’s degree I was working on at the University of Louisville, I left Southern seminary and Louisville with great joy and sense of relief.

*This is the first time I recount this story in public, after 14 years of its occurrence. There were other racially-motivated incidents that happened to me and other black students on the campus of Southern Seminary.

My Brief Thought on Richard B. Spencer and The Threat of White Supremacist Groups in America’s Higher Education

Below, I express my brief thought about the case of Richard B. Spencer and the threat of White Supremacist Groups in America’s Higher Education.

First of all, we MUST stand against  any manifestation of hate  or any form of White Supremacy and White Supremacist Groups if we want to build an egalitarian society and more-promising democratic life in this country.

What transpired recently at Texas A & M, in which a white nationalist and racist by the name of Richard B. Spencer was given the “administrative” pass, is a threat to human life, American democracy, and cosmopolitanism. If the administration of Texas A & M could tolerate Mr. Spencer and allow him to deliver his racist message to the students, it is evident that America’s higher learning system is bankrupt and does not promote a safe environment for faculty, staff, and students of color.

Those of us who care about public safety and the triumph of democracy and love in our society should be puzzled and asked concurrently this challenging question: Is this really an act or example of freedom of speech?

Unashamedly, Richard B. Spencer used the platform and public sphere of a “public university” to spread the message of hate, national division, the doctrine of white supremacy, the superiority of the white race, and that the white race is the apex of human history. Spencer’s radical white supremacist discourse engenders collective fear and isolation, and stimulates collective anger and more animosity between the races.

This American freedom of speech or self-expression is detrimental to human life itself and arguably a threat to those of us who are black and brown people in this country and the world.

This needs to be stopped! If not, it will spread across our university campuses in this nation.

Finally, if the people in power and those with tremendous cultural, economic, and political influence in this country shall rise and find any merit in the project of racial justice and racial reconciliation, democratic life and egalitarianism, it is imperative that they MUST use their means and resources to stop this non-sense and white supremacy disease from spreading across this country and our university campuses that are supposed to be “sanctuary places.”

In the same line of thought, we as the people Must stand together against white supremacist groups and white supremacist rhetoric. White supremacy or any expression of hate toward any group or race is a threat to human life, cross-racial friendhisp, peace, human flourishing, and human dignity. Let’s kill the power of hate and race with the strength of radical love and inclusion.

For more information on this incident, see “A White Supremacist Incites a Crowd at Texas A&M

A Prayer to the God of Justice!

A Prayer to the God of Justice

​Oh mighty God: you are just, holy, and judge righteously and impartially. We pray that Walter Scott’s family will find justice. We also pray that you will give them courage, strength, and determination to not to give up but to strive until you grant them justice. We also pray for all individuals who are victims of social and legal injustice, as well as human oppression and violence.

Oh God of justice:how many times,  the American justice system has failed the poor, marginalized minority and groups, and Blacks in this country!

Oh rigtheous God: we long and cry for justice and equality in this country! We pray for the triumph of racial justice and the celebration of racial unity and harmony in our society.

Oh holy God: Oh how much, we can’t wait any longer for justice and righteousness to reign supreme in this land! We pray to Thee,  O sovereign God of the universe to mend our racial wound and heal our land. 

Oh Justice, dear Justice, sweet Justice: why are you hiding your face from us who are poor and marginalized? We pray to Thee, O Lord God almighty to orient our hearts toward forgiveness; to guide our thought toward righteousness; to direct our path toward holiness; and to turn our hearts and minds toward repentance and reconciliation.

Oh God our Refuge: We pray for strength, courage, and boldness. Oh mighty God, we shall not fear!

“Once they tell us, Jehovah, that in the great shadows of the past Thou hast whispered to a quicvering people, saying, “Be not afraid.” He watching over Israel slumbers not nor sleeps. Grant us today, O God, that fearlessness that rests on confidence in the ultimate rightness of things. Let us be afraid neither of mere physical hurt, nor of the unfashionableness of our color, nor of the unpopularity of our cause; let us turn toward the battle of life undismayed and above all when we have fought the good fight grant us to face the shadow of death with the same courage that has let us live.Amen.”– W.E. B. Du Bois, “Prayers for Dark People”

Everything “White” is Awesome including the Minnesota “Black” Santa Claus!

Everything “White” is Awesome including the Minnesota “Black” Santa Claus!

It has been reported in the Star Tribune (see “Racists Freak Out Over Black Santa At Mall Of America” ) that a lot of white Minnesotans are not pleased to welcome the non-traditional “2016 Black Santa” in their homes and to the Mall of America; this Black Santa has interrupted the monolithic narrative of Santa Claus as a white figure in Western history. Some Minnesotans have reasoned that the former (“the Black Santa”) is unable to bring Christmas joys and cheers to the children of Minnesota because he has an unfamiliar face, and his smile is black.

Okay, Minnesota People: Here’s the verdict:
Santa is white.
(The) Unicorn is white.
God is white.
Angels are white.
Jesus is white.
Mary is white.
Joseph is white.
Satan is white.
Heaven is white.
Hell is white.
The world is white.
White reason is white.
…and you are white!

Does that make you happy?

 

This incident at the Mall of America is a clear example of the tragedy of Whiteness. Even though Santa is not real, (some) white people want an unreal Santa to be a “white figure.” Hence, whiteness is both visible and invisible, transcendence and immanence, real and unreal. Whiteness is that which cuts through the world of the imaginary and non-imaginary. It is both fiction and non-fiction. It is the song that could be sung and (un-) sung…a melody without rhythm.

The question that must now be asked: Where is Santa Claus’ birth certificate?

 Let’s kill the power of hate and race with the strength of radical love and inclusion.