Are you a Slave?
By: Rev. W. Jeffrey Campbell, Houston, TX
Over the past two weeks I have been discussing Nehemiah chapter 3. In this chapter we are given information regarding who took on the task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. As you read this chapter you will find that some workers took on the task of rebuilding public areas while others were charged with rebuilding the areas around their own homes.
As we move forward with this study, I want to be clear that there is no area of our African American same-gender loving community that does not need some construction and reconstruction. I believe that the best way to build or rebuild a community of people is to start with working on the people. We can have politicians in office who are pro-GLBT, but if I am not able to embrace who I am in totality, that politician’s work will never benefit me. We can have an abundance of churches that are open and affirming to our community, but if we are afraid to live our lives out of the closet, will that really help us? If the federal government puts a law into place that gives same-gender partners the same rights and protections as our heterosexual counterparts, that’s an awesome move. However, if I have not done the work of accepting myself and understanding that I can have a same-gender life partner, then that law will never be for me.
Harriett Tubman was once asked about her work to free thousands of slaves from the bondage and brutality of the South. She said in part, “Yes, I led thousands of slaves to freedom. I could have freed more if only they had known they were slaves.”
Many members of our African American same-gender loving (AASGL) community cannot embrace or appreciate the work that is being done on the wall because they are not aware that they are slaves. They seem to just believe that this is the way that life is supposed to be. If you want to identify them here are some of their key statements….
Ø If you ask someone who is gay and Christian about their relationship with God and they respond, “God knows my heart.” That person is a slave and doesn’t know it!
Ø Ask another person who is gay and Christian about their relationship with God and if they say, “We all sin and come short of the glory of God.” That person is a slave and doesn’t know it!
Ø If a person who is same-gender loving responds to a conversation about marriage equality by saying, “It don’t take all of that!” That person is a slave and doesn’t know it!
Ø If you have a SGL friend who gets upset with you because you are able to live your life as a same-gender loving person without regret and remorse...I don’t care how much you love him/her, that person is a slave and doesn’t know it!
Ø If you have friends who make every gay event in the city and will be offended if they are not invited to an event, but they run and hide at the click of a camera or flash of a flash bulb…Yep, you got it! That person is a slave and doesn’t know it!
Many people in our community, both male and female are enslaved not because they cannot be free but, because they are not willing to do the hard work of creating their own freedom.
The work that we do on ourselves is sometimes the most difficult work to do because it is our STUFF. Have you ever helped a friend move? You get to their house and find that they have done very little packing. In your frustration you start the packing process which includes throwing away many of your friend’s personal items without any thought of whether they may be important. You just want to get the job done. However, when it is your turn to move, you realize what a difficult task packing can be because you encounter so many items that have both happy and painful memories attached to them. You are not willing to discard these items. You find yourself stopping to read every card from every ex and every “you wanted him to be yours” that ever existed. While reading you morph into Whitney Houston and begin to sing, “Didn’t We Almost Have it All!” No, you didn’t almost have it all! You were a mess and it took you two years to recover from that madness. Throw the letters away! You flip through old photo albums filled with shots of you when you were 25 pounds lighter. You begin to plan the next diet with great intention of regaining your old physique. Boxes of dried flowers, empty wine bottles, engraved napkins and match packets from events that you don’t even remember attending…AND you stand there struggling with whether you should throw those things away or take them with you to the new house. (SMH) Morph into Betty Wright’s “Clean up Woman”, trash that crap and start fresh!
As a part of the reconstruction of our community I challenge you to start with yourself. As you begin to consult with God, start making a list today of what you need to do in your own life that will benefit you, your family, your relationships (present and future) and the community. Don’t put the list away! Keep it out and start working on achieving the goal of completing the work. You will be better for it! Your family will be better for it! Your relationships will be better for it! Our community will be better for it!
The work of personal reconstruction is quite a task. However, if we do not give up on the work the job will be completed and freedom will come. Slavery is not an option!
Until next week…ROTFL with WJC!
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for further discussion.