False, Anti-, and True Heroes from John’s Gospel to Metropolis

Here’s a trio of videos you need to see approximately now.

First up is this chapel message from Dr. Willie Jennings addressing the storytellers of the world we must resist, the storytellers who despise the Christ because he resisted the pull and sway of every alternative, weaponized story on offer. Christ is the liberating Storyteller who weaves us into the true story of the world and in so doing plugs us into a brand new family and race, eliminating the givens we so take for granted we no longer even recognize their power to shape our loves and hates and needs. I love the anecdote he shares about a friend who releases his baptized son from sonship and welcomes him as a brother:

Jennings wrote this back in December in response not only to Ferguson but the entire phenomenon we are always and ever enmeshed within:

From its Christian and colonial beginnings, America has always trafficked in the fear of black people, its political and social potency too tempting a resource to leave untapped. The continuous use of racialized fear has damaged our collective psyche by entangling in us violence, danger, and fear, woven so tightly together now that to think the one conjures the others. This is why the idea of placing cameras on the bodies of the police to record their actions will never be enough [editor’s note: Walter Scott, anyone?]. It takes vision to see, and until the prevailing vision of black bodies is altered from dangerous to fully human, what will be seen with almost every violent incident will be a police officer in danger protecting themselves and us. A camera on a police officer is always poised to become a reality television video game, complete with weapon and target.

There is danger in this world, and police officers live near harm and death. Such proximity demands not only our concern for officers but more helpfully our efforts to draw policing away from the entanglement of race, fear, violence, and the control of space for the sake of property values. Too often, Christians in America have given sanctuary to the spirit of fear, commending a form of policing that makes violence a surgeon’s scalpel, imagining our safety in the illusion of its measured use. Violence knows no measure.

We Christians should remember this, because violence was turned against the body of our God in the crucifixion of Jesus. We need, at this mournful moment, a Christianity that rejects its colonial legacy of binding danger to nonwhite bodies, and refuses to blindly defend the ideas of law and order, and finally, fully renounces violence aimed at black folks. Most importantly, we need Christians willing to live out such Christianity.

Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy. Grant us eyes to see our inheritance for what it truly is, and release us from the narcolepsy of the controlling white narrative so omnipresent we can forget it’s there.

Along lighter lines (though epic in its own right) is this little masterpiece:

If you haven’t blubbered yet, you just haven’t witnessed its grandeur. You aren’t ready!

This one reduced me to tears as well (just as righteously) and eradicated all the anti-Affleck skepticism I’ve been nurturing for the last year:

Wow. I already love the anti-Superman sentiment welling up, the irony that Superman is in point of fact not a Savior and yet truly is the hero the world needs; the true kernel within the lying shell which will push Superman further along the martyr path he began in Man of Steel. Batman’s rage against Supes is already astounding. “Do you bleed? You will.”

And that is what being taught to care and not to care looks like, ladies and gentlemen. Commend the good wherever it is whenever you find it and rejoice in its fantasticity!

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