As a way to bring in extra income, I work from home on the computer, teaching English to kids in China. It’s an interesting gig, one that I have enjoyed doing for multiple reasons, not the least of which because it gives me a glimpse into another people and culture. I don’t wish ill on other groups, and I deeply enjoy seeing a family who clearly keeps its tradition and practices that special type of Chinese decorum which is both polite and snooty at the same time. But perhaps I enjoy seeing the tradition all the more because, for the most part, my view from the computer is into a Western world full of tchotchkes and plastic, Disney-inspired toys.
Like I said, I don’t get a kick out of this. I wish what I saw for each student were rooms with delicate flower paintings on the walls, cabinets showcasing family China dishes, and a spare chopstick left over from dinner. But the corruption that has so taken the European man has also begun its work in the hearts of others. Materialism fights a vicious battle.
The European man, so settled on his individualism, purposefully separated from a collective identity, can do little but back further into the corner as millions of Africans and Middle Easterners rush in to be a part of the grabbing frenzy. Those who have a further reach, i.e. the men and women who are profiting from this madness, simply strive to grab more rather than back away. Our people have fallen into the trap of vainglory and pride, staring with empty eyes at the next Nike advertisement and waiting in cold lines for a new cell phone.
And yet we as Europeans have this terrible combination set in play where our vain selves, always desiring to have more and acquire as much as possible, have met with a not-yet bred out strain of Christian morality that tells us to be generous. So we have on one shoulder a devil driving us to think only of comfort on Earth, and on the other his brother, who tells us that the comfort we seek is not just for ourselves.
You could of course take from this lesson that we should give what we are able to the Church, to our neighbor, to those in need. You could correctly state that we are too focused on our possessions and appearance. But, what I think is more applicable for us particularly is a deeper understanding that requires more self-reflection.
It is, of course, the pursuit of Justice and Righteousness that drives us to want what is best for our people. We look about us and see hypocrisy after hypocrisy against not only the European man, but the White man in general. Without these hypocrisies, the many hours of meme-reading I have enjoyed would not be possible. We, as white people, are both oppressor and ignorant follower. We have both instituted terrible doctrines (white privilege), and been victim of institutions. Those who hate us call us murderers, but laugh as we are murdered. They attack us with words and weapons, but call out when they receive a strike back. Our groups are antagonized, and our enemies funded. It is evil, pure and simple.
But there is a problem in ourselves – we do not know how to suffer.
Which one of us can solve our dilemma? Which one of us can even point to the beginning of the problem? If we were to amass all of us together, would this problem go away? Do any of us, of ourselves, seek to take on more accusation and condemnation so that others might actually succeed? Who is the leader among us that would, for the sake of his people, go to a type of battle and perhaps “die”?
And here perhaps is a glimpse at part of the issue – we do not accept humility.
We want both a land for our people, and no pain in the getting. We want a united Church, and no ideas that seem contrary to how we feel or think. I am sure that all of us could, when pressed, point a reluctant finger at who we think could be a good leader, spiritual or otherwise. But who of us knows best that we could then rely on his opinion? It’s maddening, honestly. And perhaps as a woman it is an easier thing for me to criticize – this complete lack of leadership. I mean, we can’t even agree on a denomination. As soon as we feel settled, some asinine thing is said by the church’s leadership and off we go, seeking the New Jerusalem.
No. We do not know how to suffer. We are all shouting mouths. We want a home for our people, not so that their souls might better be tuned toward Christ, but so we don’t have to watch commercials of biracial kids or news clips about racism. We would sooner abandon the pews full of Christian men and women with “wrong think” than suffer for them that they may seek and find Christ. And Christ, as much as we may argue, is not Nationalism or Kinism. While these things may be good, and could help our society and our people heal, they have been mistaken for The Good, and are at this point more a cause for division between ourselves than unity in fighting an enemy.
There is the same root to the possessive materialism I see through the computer in my student’s bedrooms, and the frantic, angry spasms we have in demanding our fair share. Like Lucy Van Pelt in Peanuts, we cry out, “All I want is what I have coming to me! All I want is my fair share! I want restitution!”
I’ll be clear a second time, in case I was not earlier. What we desire and work towards – a homogenous, Christian society that is safe and spiritually sound for our children and posterity – is a good thing. We should be working towards it. But compare the “my fair share” mentality with Christ’s servitude and I think you’ll see better my point.
We should not be abandoning our Churches. Nor should our desire to see a homogenous culture and people keep us from friendships with those in our Church community. How can we suffer as Christ suffered if we cannot even handle shaking hands each Sunday? Who are we then showing our children is to be worshiped if we do not enter Christ’s sanctuary on account of disagreements between laymen? It is one thing to criticize the church and all her people and another to condemn it.
It is this mentality, this individualistic and vain comfort-seeking, that tells us to seek first the prosperity of our people and all things will then be added to us. And whether or not you believe we should be suffering, the fact is that we are. To which, I will conclude, do we know how to suffer well?