Loving Muslim Womxn in Public
Today I walked into church and there were two ponies outside, and a line of interested riders.
Pony rides signal Palm Sunday, and the beginning of Holy Week.
I’m drawing a labyrinth out of chalk, preparing to move with children from a posture of jubilee, to one of public execution.
This morning as I sat in the sanctuary, I thought about each image where Jesus is illustrated as white.
I thought about our love of whiteness, how we inappropriately color texts where we can’t see ourselves, or where seeing ourselves isn’t something we like.
Stories like where mobs of religious folk stage a public execution, where followers move from falling asleep to being scolded by their teacher, unable to sense or engage with the urgency.
The name that has been on my lips all week is Ilhan Omar.
I’ve been reminded frequently that we don’t know how to love Womxn of color well, least of all publicly, least of all Black Muslim Womxn.
I thought about what the image of a white Jesus means for how we love Muslim Womxn.
I thought about how downplaying human agency hurts our faith formation, particularly in a story where there is delight in an orchestrated murder, much like there is voyeurism in the rise of White Nationalism, little to no urgency from us, little to no shame or repentance.
A whole lot of jubilant Easter egg hunts.
A whole lot of Christian privilege.
A whole lot of White Christian supremacy.
You hear in the Gospel of Luke Jesus warn, “I tell you, if you were silent, the stones would shout out.”
I hear us missing the violence of silencing Black Womxn and Muslim Womxn, disconnected from what it is that motivates our participation in said violence, obscuring the willfulness on our parts, and it’s surrounding, explicit ideology.
Lost on us is sovereignty within nationalism, violence within whiteness, militarism within borders, seizure within “American pride”.
We’re calling for mutuality, while fostering war. We’re asking for tact, while performing tastelessly. We’re spreading propaganda that feels removable from what happens next. We’re convinced that it’s the moment to fight with niceties, as we send our kids to hunt candy.
There’s a truthfulness being surrendered, and it grows every time we love whiteness more than we hate anything else. If we met ourselves in prayer we would be confronted by our love for our white image, which we leave to reconcile on yet another future set day.
We would feel the sinister energy, telling us what we’re capable of excusing.
We would fear the jubilant procession, want for another version of transformation to spring out of this moment for justice.
We would speak against our legacies, and the mantras we haven’t given up or reflected upon.
We wouldn’t wait for it to get worse.
We wouldn’t wonder how quickly worse can arrive.
We wouldn’t save our love for smaller or quieter scales, we would bring it into our public life.
We would let ourselves be witnessed. We wouldn’t hide behind a bombastic crowd. We wouldn’t imagine that we are not accountable.
2019 bears the uptick of our self delusion, and touts a fuller record of our hypocrisy. The one where our embrace of honesty is shrinking daily as we resist reckoning with the story we’re a part of. A story we have agency in, shown again today in how and where we see ourselves.
How is your faith community blind to white supremacy?
How is your community witness bearing witness to its own violence, and violent legacies?
How is your community calling out Islamaphobia?
Whose safety are you putting resources towards?
What relationships will be revealed as too thin, and too secretive, to be considered mutual?
Where can relationships persist without a pathway towards mutual accountability?
Where in the world in 2019 can we still afford to worship a white Jesus?
As you move towards a tone of contemplation, may your faith till in your heart less tenuously, and allow for specific, explicit confessions.