Dear Beloved, I write you a day late and a dollar short turning in this blog post for this community, my community, on a day where white supremacy has been allowed to once again feed black bodies to the machine that is the so-called American Dream. I write this to you in deep and sincere love, but I have to beg the question, where are you? As I am losing my breath. As the corners from my eyes start to fill with darkness. As I take my last gasping breath of life and the imago dei fades out of my eyes over and over again on social media your silence is perhaps the loudest.
I’m supposed to be writing about where I see queer leadership rising up in this time of crisis. But other than queer boots on the ground who are now forced to mop up the blood of my people, leaders who are now chaplains to the revolution whether they wanted it or not, what are we doing? Where is our organizing? Why aren’t we raising funds for bail money? Why aren’t we supplying leaders we know on the ground, right now, with everything organizers say they need? How many times have you called Minneapolis mayor or the chief of police and demand murder charges for all four officers? And if you are doing all this and more and find yourself indignant ask yourself as a white person why me asking you this upsets you? What have you done historically or literally to earn my trust?
What is this community willing to sacrifice to end white supremacy? Our calls? Our livelihoods? Our reputations?
Queer theology, frameworks of mutual trust, love, boundaries, joy, compersion, and accountability, waging peace in the face of war and death. These are the things that we can bring to this important struggle.
I’m telling you as a queer black man in America that I don’t think this community is committed to dismantling white supremacy within it or in the world. You don’t believe me? Ask other black queer members of this community if they feel you got their back when the tear gas starts flying. So, where do I see queer leadership rising up in this time where a global pandemic has laid bare what some of us have lived with since day one?
Where am I to find hope?
In you. Still in you beloved. Because I also know this community. This community is full of hope and proof the Kin-dom of God has come near. Because I see some of you also trying. We have a Bishop who responded to a lynching on his territory. He doesn’t know that I was almost killed in that same area at 14 years old by men who dragged me in a car and took me to the woods. He doesn’t know I barely escaped with my young life.
I have seen members of this community from the Twin Cities push through eight weeks of decision fatigue, and the malaise of existential loneliness, and jump right into action. Some of them have been doing this work since the Ferguson uprising and some are taking their first halting steps into direct action work. I see hope because I love your queer bodies so much even on a day where all I can do is look at the news and weep deep and mournful sobs and swallow trauma the way most of you gulp air after a good cry. Yet I still wrote you this evening. Because it is in this love and the frameworks of relationship and community that only queer souls can create, can we find a way to awaken this church and maybe even this country to the great task ahead of us. I love you even though you keep killing me and I’m a fool for that. I hope to see you on the front lines in the weeks and days ahead. A lot of folks are always asking me after I say something like this, what can I do? Start in your own backyard. Do the research to discover the history and current manifestation of systemic racism and white supremacy in your context. A great curriculum to start with is called White Homework. Click the link, do the work, and support the author!
Also, support our siblings on the ground in the Twin Cities who are providing Lutheran witness. Don’t second guess them, you aren’t there. Send them money and supplies for folks on the ground. Pray for them.
In the Name of the Parent, the Rebel, and the Spirit
The Rev. Lenny Duncan
Rev. Lenny Duncan (he/him) is a mission Developer in the #PNW and likes to think he is a writer.