Dedication of our New Education Building
June 6th, 2015
New Classes begin immediately
We Look Forward to your Visit
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.
Take a walk next visit
We Worship a Risen Savior
Come As You Are
We have no expectations of you when you visit.
We are a family, and we enjoy each others company
We have designed programs for all Ages
Education and Fellowship. Our Care Groups and Outreach
Come This Sunday
We look forward to seeing you!
The introductory chapter of W. E. B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folks is about as perfect as prose composition gets. He begins by writing, “Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question…” That question, he says, is “How does it feel to be a problem?” With a Ph.D. in History from Harvard University as a calling card, Du Bois moved in circles from which most blacks were excluded at the turn of the Twentieth Century. Those he met socially, as sympathetic as they were, could only be awkward around him. They were part of the “other world.” He describes the two worlds as separated by a “veil” - and remembers the exact moment when he became aware of it. In elementary school the children decided to exchange calling cards, and one little girl, recently arrived from the south, summarily refused to accept his. The moment of awareness is a reoccurring theme in classic American literature on race. Dr. King writes about explaining to his children why they couldn’t go to a white’s only amusement park in Why We Can’t Wait, and Malcom X writes in his Autobiography about a life changing conversation he had with a High School guidance counsellor who told him not to aspire to law school.
Most recently, Ta-Nahesi Coates has addressed this veil in his “Essay to My Son” in The Atlantic (September 2015). Coates was raised in the poorest, toughest neighborhoods of Baltimore. Violence and children carrying handguns were as common to him as back yard football and church skating parties were to me. For him, the tough part about being on his side of the veil was the knowledge that on my side, children did not threaten each other with pistols. “Somewhere out beyond the firmament, past the asteroid belt, there were other worlds where children did not regularly fear for their bodies….there were little white boys with complete collections of football cards, their only want a popular girlfriend, and their only worry poison oak…..I felt, but did not yet understand the relation between that other world and me. And I felt in this cosmic injustice a profound cruelty which infused an abiding, irrepressible desire to unshackle my body and achieve the velocity of escape,” (pp.85-86). I am not allergic to poison oak.
Coates is a generation younger than I am. The streets of Baltimore have only gotten worse. The veil Dubois described as separating two worlds persists - although the demographics are no longer so easily defined in terms of black and white. It is true that some children will be loved, and doted on in comparably safe neighborhoods, while some other children will grow up dodging gunfire and losing one or both parents to drugs, jail, or violence. Poor nutrition, poor schools, poor parenting, and a paucity of opportunities will keep most of these kids poor. Some do achieve “the velocity of escape” – but we all know those few who do are as lucky as they are determined and disciplined.
I have no answers. I know virtually nothing of the other world. I know that serving the weak and powerless is the definition of “pure and undefiled religion” (James 1.27). I also know that I am blessed to be on my side of the veil. I should be profoundly thankful. The odds of being born to loving, Christian parents who have the resources to keep you safe and fed are smaller than the odds of winning the power-ball lottery.
I should also feel responsible. A few weeks ago Joe Dunlap said before the offering was taken that godly giving was not so much about how much we give but how much we keep for ourselves. This is a Biblical principle (Mark 12.41-44, Luke 12.13-21). If I ask myself how many of the blessings I enjoy on my side of the veil have I shared with those on the other side I must answer: very few. That, of course, is the wrong answer. Indeed it is a sinful answer.