Having grown up in a staunchly Calvinist church tradition, I am deeply familiar with worship that assumes my sinfulness. It was a relief as a young adult to find faith traditions that assume my goodness because this better matched my self-understanding. Today, however, after watching a short video, I am wondering what gift in Calvinism I might want to reclaim.

In her TedX Talk about how we can stop violence against young black men, Verna Myers says

I want to know what we’re going to do about the Ferguson that’s in us. That part of us that still crosses the street, locks the doors, clutches the purses when we see young black men…those prejudices, those stereotypes, we’ve been schooled in…


Her statements reminded me of Grace Lee Boggs’s message to Occupy Wall Street a few years ago in which Grace cautioned the occupiers:

You’re going to have to look at how you yourselves have become part of this culture. You’re going to have to look at how many of you would be happy if you could become part of Wall Street and part of the corporation if they would give you jobs…You’re going to have to think about values and not just about abuses.

I find it so easy to sit in worship or march in a Black Lives Matter rally and see myself as a good person who lives my values. But truth be told, I need a theology that helps me reconcile this self-perception with reality.

Mic check. Mic check.
I want. I want.
To be my best self. To be my best self.
And I know.  I know.
That most days. That most days.
I listen to. I listen to.
Wall Street.
The Corporation.
The Sweet Talking Ego Stroking Comfort Loving part of me that does not choose Beloved Community first.

Mic check. Mic check.
I want. I want.
Peace with Justice. Peace with Justice.
The end of militarism, racism and poverty.
Militarism. Racism. Poverty.
And yet I know. I know.
Choices I make. Choices I make.
Every day. Every. Day.
Support violence, superiority and greed.

Mic check. Mic check.
I want theology and spiritual community.
Theology and spiritual community.
That can hold ALL. ALL.
OF.
THAT.
In the same basket. In the same basket.
As my.
And your.
Essential goodness.