Far too often and for too long in human history, part of the culture of the kingdoms and kings of this world has been a quest for free or cheap labor. In man’s rabid quest to amass wealth and power, he will go so far as to create or twist religious dogmas in order to subjugate other men including slavery. These men in power create unsubstantiated scientific theories and say that by virtue of his skin color, he is “less than,” “proven by science.” They will use pseudo-logic and reasoning, saying they are doing that “lower” man a favor by “caring” for him by letting him work for them.
In the Apocalypse of Saint John, Chapter 11 verse 15, it reads “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”
As a leader in a Christian community, that word “kingdoms” stands out to me because it foretells the defeat of Satan at the hands of Christ. But it also marks the end of the kingdoms of the world.
I find it interesting because a kingdom is a king’s domain or dominion, the place wherein a monarch or a sovereign traditionally sets the laws. It is often overlooked that they also set the culture of their kingdom. Even nation-states who boast that they have no king have a culture with roots in kingdoms. Therefore if Christ has taken over these kingdoms, then He has also taken over its laws, and its culture.
Earthly kings can be treacherous. God warns the children of Israel what earthly kings tend to do in 1 Samuel 8:7-18. He says to them that an earthly king will take that which you have, even your own children, and use it at his own pleasure.
Although The United States has no king, our culture was built on free and cheap labor; in the past, it was slavery and segregation, today outsourcing. We have a black people that got out of legal subjugation only 40-50 years ago. A black people that began, not too long ago, to become “Nathans” (prophets who speak truth to kings and power), and prophecy to this culture, this “kingdom”, that we were equal and made in the image of God as all others.
So we have only about 40-50 years of “legal” freedom and equality although we are still not free or equal, systemically. Many of those who fought oppression and marched for equality and freedom are still alive. The same ones who were barred from equal access to jobs education and homes, redlined, COINTELPROed, aborted (many believe Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood was a racist. 1, 2, 3), segregated, lynched, experimented on, and abused by law enforcement, are still alive.
That whole generation has not even passed away yet, and many wonder such questions as: Why are black people poor? Why do they live in the ghetto? Why are they angry? Why are they still marching? Why do they kill each other? Why are their schools failing? As though state control of Detroit Public Schools hasn’t been going on for over a decade. As though all these things happened in a vacuum. As though all these things are inherent in the black DNA. As though all these things aren’t products of systemic racism and bias, compounded. “Pick yourself up by your own bootstraps”, they say, as if the fact that the most common source of startup capital is family and friends, is untrue. Even physics tells us that it is impossible for a human on earth to pick himself up by himself, without support or help. They speak as though these same problems of rampant crime aren’t found in poor areas all over the world, regardless of race. Apparently, to them, it’s a “black thing.”
The scriptures say “a man that does not leave an inheritance for his children is worse than an infidel [an unbeliever].” In other words, its better to be an unbeliever, than to be a person who doesn’t take care of his own. Children who grow up poor, who don’t get a decent start, face a far greater chance of falling into vices, crime, and other self abusive behaviors, than those who don’t. The statistics bear this out. In Proverbs 30:9, the writer says “don’t let me be too rich, that I forget God, but don’t let me be too poor, that I become a thief.” Poverty, created and compounded by the corrupt systems in this world are dangerous to the soul and psyche of those it abuses. Therefore, far too many in our black community suffer from undiagnosed mental health, physical health, criminal justice, and other issues, because of systemic poverty.
If wealth and privilege—including access to education, networks, and capital—can be attained and compounded generation after generation, poverty and lack of access can be compounded generation after generation. These are the things that we continue to march and fight against. We are fighting systems and remnants of systems, inherently designed to lift up some, while oppressing and keeping down others, perhaps not legally, but systemically. America had systematic way of operating, getting free and cheap labor for 200 years, and 40-50 years cannot possibly undo this.
Even in the system of the “Liberal Media.” the bias is apparent. I grew up in Detroit knowing about Rodney King, Malice Green, and police brutality from rap songs in the early 90’s, yet the media continues to say that these police killings are a “recent rash of police shootings.” This is not recent; its just now being filmed on cell phones.
Black Lives Matter is a movement that continues the mantra of the marchers in Memphis who said “I Am A Man.” The inherent adverb at the end of those phrases is “too”. We don’t march and protest, to be better than, but equal to. We march as a prophetic voice that cries out in the face of a kingdom, culture, and system that has committed injustice!
It is true that more whites are killed by police than black. It is also true that blacks have a higher rate (relative to their population) of being killed than whites. Why? Because there are more encounters of black people with police, because police tend to be where crime is. Where does crime tend to be? Where poverty is. Outside of some mostly white rural areas, why does poverty in America tend to be concentrated in black neighborhoods? Well, because of biased systems, compounded over generations.
The officers in each of these incidents may not all themselves be avowed racists, they may not all even be white (some have been black and Hispanic), but the key issue is this: Why is force used against blacks so much more than anyone else?
I suggest that it is because so many (even some minorities) are sub-consciously participating in the unequal and biased racial system of this country, and many don’t even know it.
I often wonder, at what age, will my 9 and 10-year-old boys no longer be “cute” but viewed as a threat to be monitored, watched, and followed? Will they be allowed to make boyish mistakes in high school and college like their white counterparts, or will they pay for it dearly with their lives?
Time will tell…
Until the end of the age, when Christ conquers the kingdoms of this world, as His ambassador, I must continue to strive to bring His culture and systems into this world, by following His law in Matthew 25. Where there is poverty, I am obligated to help. I must clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, create entrepreneurial incubators, teach children how to raise capital, create networks for disadvantaged children to be able to learn how to start their own businesses. Teach this generation to stop selling their most precious asset (time) for something less valuable (money) and instead, find ways to have both time and money by leveraging people, skills, systems, and networks and doing so in a sustainable and economically beneficial way to the community that they live in and serve.
Photo credit: Flickr/Denisbin