The Psalms and 'White Fragility'
Reading the Psalms usually does nothing for me. It almost always seems to be about the Psalmist asking for help to overcome his enemies.
May all who want to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;.
I read these and just think, "I have no enemies pursuing me. I just can't relate." I shake my head and complain that I'm doing my part, but God isn't really doing much to meet me where I'm at.
But this morning it dawned on me. Maybe I'm missing something. The fact that the majority of the psalms are about something I have very little experience with, makes me think I have an uninformed experience. Maybe I have the wool pulled over my eyes. What if my comforts make me oblivious to the enemies out there and the battles being played out.
I think this realization corresponds with me just having read "White Fragility" and hearing my Black friends speak about their pain in the Black Lives Matter movement. The book helped me realize that because the white experience is assumed to be the default (through media and cultural messages disseminated across the world) we have made ourselves unaware of other races' experience. Of course the white experience is important just like experiences of other races are, but I have been oblivious to how their experience is different than mine. Because the white experience is assumed as the normal, others have been pushed to the wayside as this assumption stormed through our world.
And maybe the fact that most of the Psalms talk about having to fight against forces coming against us, and that the Psalms are supposed to be like the prayer and song book for God's people, maybe I need to start considering that my experience is the naive one. My experience is the sheltered and isolated one.
I'm sure you've heard how us upper-middle class Americans are the top 1% richest in all of world history, or whatever. Maybe I should not be proud of that, but instead I should let it inform me that my perspective needs to change. Maybe I need to get down from my tower, put aside my blinding comforts, and participate in the struggle experienced by the majority of the world.
A few of us are perhaps in tall towers looking out over the pretty mountain tops of time, waving kindly at the other towers, and we don't look down to see the relentless striving and maneuvering power struggle filling the valleys, whether it be racial struggles, poverty struggles, mental or physical health struggles. There are plenty of other struggles.
God, help me step down from this happy tower. Help me to hurt with those who hurt and mourn with those who mourn, whatever the form. Help me to fight for justice and help the hurting even when it takes me away from my comforts. If I'm not ready to do that fully, at least help me do it a little more than I do right now and move towards doing it more.
Raw Spoon, 6-5-20