“To repeat, if God operates as me, God operates as thee too, and the playing field is utterly leveled forever. Like Jesus, Francis, Clare, and many other humble mystics, we then rush down instead of up. In the act of letting go and choosing to become servants, community can at last be possible. The illusory state of privilege just gets in the way of neighboring and basic human friendship.” CAC.ORG
Father Richard, in this daily meditation, begins by discussing his upbringing within the community of white privilege, the favoritism shown to whites, the status of higher education, numerous challenges which whites do not endure and which non-whites face on a daily basis. It is truly a different world for those of us who walk the earth in this life as Caucasian.
When I realized and accepted within my heart the truth of “Namaste, I bow to the divine in you,” the Spirit within would no longer cover my inbred white privilege. It refused to entertain all the excuses I held for my bias and prejudices. It forced me to look upon my brothers and sisters whom God created in various shades and hues as beings loved just as much by the Creator as me. I no longer had an excuse to trivialize the plight of people of color. Our “white” world via politics and extremist religions has demeaned, ostracized, brutalized, and oppressed those children of God and it is my challenge as a white man to make restitution.
In order to do so, Father Richard exhorts me to take the route of ancient mystics who, rather than aspiring to rise toward a perceived heavenly God, focused downward and joined the suffering and oppressed masses living on the edge of survival in an ungodly world. That is where true obedience will be found, where salvation shall be experienced, and ultimately where the living Jesus dwells.
Most of my life has been spent anticipating the great white mansions in the far reaches of the Universe where God and Jesus sit side by side on their thrones waiting for me to arrive for my final judgement. (Incidentally, both of them in my past have been “white boys”.) I no longer wait for that occurrence because the truth as revealed to me, the GOD OF MY UNDERSTANDING, is right here, right now living in the hearts of all humanity regardless of race, religion, nationality or creed. I must now choose on a daily basis whether to commune with God and his indwelling truth or return to a denial of that truth. It’s very simple theology; it is awe-inspiring and breath-taking.
The path which I walk has been tortuous and twisted. I have endured the full spectrum of faith experiences from belief in a God who was vindictive and vengeful, to a God who was aloof and unapproachable, to an errant acceptance of atheism, to the revealing grace experienced in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. Even during my period of strident atheism, I came to realize that my denial of God’s existence only fortified that his existence was real; otherwise, why would I expend so much energy denying him. If God is dead, then I should probably take up knitting or crocheting doilies instead of rallying with the oppressed masses or with a suffering alcoholic in forging a better world. If God is dead, then I would need to depend on the “goodness” of mankind to save us from physical and spiritual destruction. I can’t do that because goodness is not inherent, it is derived from a Source.
Matthew West in a very powerful song questioned a God who would allow all the suffering endured by mankind, “God, why don’t you do something?” The reply from his Lord was, “I did, I created you.” I was created to do something, but it all happens through and by the grace and direction of a Higher Power.