Besides writing and thinking on the plane, I was “THAT PERSON.” More than a mother with a newborn, more than the large, large person who you wish got upgraded to first class, I was that dreaded person you hoped and prayed you weren’t seated next to, or in rows nearby. I was that person who spawned markets of products like Airborne and Emergen-C. The latter I had with me and drank, but it didn’t help me.
I’ve been bed bound since, and grateful for some rest when I have been able to sleep.
My mind has more pre-occupied with my insistent cough, my mild headache, and my unusal cravings for 7up and saltines. My white spouse giggles as I speak with what is left of my voice and more than once, it’s inspired spontaneous song: “Am I man? Or am I a muppet? I’m a man of a muppet, I’m a muppet of a man…”
It’s the weekend now and my emails have died down, and Mosaix seems far behind me.
I have to confess, I’ve been avoiding Twitter. I’ve been avoiding my blog reader feed. I don’t want to know. I don’t want to hear. I had a browser tab open still to a google search on Lifeway—and I peaked to see many more blogs, and at quick glance white names and institutions weighing in, commending Thom Ranier. I forgave Lifeway, but I am still skeptical of white Evangelicals. I’m tired of “good intentions.” I’m tired of the conversation. I know I need to go back to this, I know I need to check my initial reactions, by actually looking and reading these pieces, looking at their context—and try to be fair. But for now, I just want to be sick and recover.
There is something nice about not knowing, something blissful about ignorance, but there is no return to it. There is only denial, denial that allows us to live a shell of a life. Denial well, denies. It rationalizes, dismisses reality and truth. It offers no place of Jesus to come and enter in and save. It offers little room to see how Jesus is already working in our midst. Denial is a human solution, a human band-aid to put off, to pretend all is well. It does not allow for transformation or redemption. Denial makes God small, human-shaped. Denial denies God. It says: all things messy are beyond God. all things are not possible in God.
Not that there is not a place for rest, for letting God lead us to the green pastures and streams of Psalm 23, for letting Jesus carry our heavy burdens in exchange for his light and easy yoke… I suppose, right now, I’m physically in that place where I need to rest.
And yet—I’m fearful, I won’t go back to “it.” I know that denial or forgetting is the default. I hear too and feel too the fear of others that I won’t go back to it, that I won’t sort through the things that need to be sorted through and say the things that need to be said.
Life goes on, and I get emails and texts. I’m warmly welcomed home by one Indian American. The guy from Burma is organizing a card and care package for another member, whose father just died in Nigeria. My Korean American small group leader offers to bring me some homemade Chinese jook (porridge). I’m hearing an earful about how one African American in our group is trying to convince the other African American to go off her necessary medication, and is convinced that everyone else in the group is bullying her. I promise prayers. I know I will hear a lot more about this later. I have a feeling I will need to mediate. I will pray.
My church is what folks at Mosaix would definitely term “monocultural”—which seemed almost to be their f-word equivalent, or it seemed that someone very much wanted it to become such. My church at first glance is a church of mostly Asian Americans, and yet, my small group far more diverse in age, geography, social class and ethnicity than any multi-ethnic church small group I’ve ever been in.
Whatever. Regardless of understandings, of perceptions—engaging with the complexity of cultures is my daily reality. I won’t forget about addressing Mosaix—it’s too much where I’m at.
But for now, I will rest and get physically better.