All posts tagged: Black Lives Matter

Black Bodies, Kneeling, and the Liturgy

This essay should be understood as a preliminary[1] exegesis, reading the recent events surrounding the phenomenon of “taking a knee” at football games as texts, mining them for meaning. Why has the response of many Americans been so negative? And how might we, as liturgically formed Christians, apply a kind of hospitable imagination to our reading as we seek to live out a consistent and holistic ethic of life? They’re not only free to earn millions of dollars every year, but they’re also free from the worry of being shot in the head for taking the knee like they would be if they were in North Korea. —Commentator on Fox Cable News You think black Americans are free from the worry of being shot by agents of the state? That’s the whole thing that they’re protesting in the first place. —Trevor Noah, from the Daily Show Scapegoat Theory The renowned theorist René Girard posits an overarching theory of human culture that begins with what he calls mimetic desire. Human desires “are not innate or autonomous,” …

A drawing of Christ crucified upon a wall of a Protestant Church in France

A Man Died Here, and He Is My Brother

In 1937, Abel Meeropol, a teacher in New York City, wrote a poem and a song that echoed through the country: Southern trees bear a strange fruit: Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black bodies swingin’ in the Southern breeze, Strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar trees.   Pastoral scene of the gallant South: The bulgin’ eyes and the twisted mouth, Scent of magnolias sweet and fresh, Then the sudden smell of burnin’ flesh,   Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck, For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, For the sun to rot, for the tree to drop: Here is a strange and bitter crop. When I first heard this song a few years ago, my body could barely handle it. I shook; I was angry; I was profoundly sad. Made famous by Billie Holiday, the first version I heard was by Nina Simone. Her voice like a knife, sharp, unpleasant, cutting through my heart. It unleashed something within me, a primal need to do something. …