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"Not My Problem, Part 3" - Monday Moment - May 29, 2023

Happy Monday, my friends! For the last two weeks we’ve been discussing how we declare that something is “not my problem.” In one sense it is healthy to remove ourselves and our energy from the drama of people around us; to say “that’s your shit” and move on. In another sense, though, we can see how saying something isn’t our problem is an excuse; an attempted moral exemption from acting in the best interests of our neighbors and working for our collective liberation. Taken yet another step further, dominant groups and privileged classes decide that because it’s not their problem and it doesn’t affect them that they can take away the rights of whole groups of people because why would anyone need to do something different than how the dominant group does something?


When privileged groups decide that something is not their problem, it becomes exceptionally easy to marginalize and dehumanize other people. Dominant groups say, I’m not a woman, we don’t need to protect bodily autonomy. I’m not BIPOC and I’ve never experienced racism, so we don’t need to address racism. I’m not Queer, so why should we recognize same-gender marriage or teach about LGBTQIA+ identities in schools? Of course, dominant groups are rarely that blunt so what they say is more like: Well, if you don’t want to get pregnant then don’t have sex. If you haven’t broken the law, then you don’t need to fear police officers. Well, you can choose to be straight, and God can help.


Compounded over centuries and millennia, these general observations—if it doesn’t apply to me, why does anyone need it—have created institutional structures which are not only built to exclude marginalized people, but are built so that marginalized people fail. Racist policies continue to funnel BIPOC children, particularly Black children, into schools designed by other racist policies to underperform and then into a pipeline through a racist criminal “justice” system to prisons and finally to cycles of poverty and further incarceration. And while Christianity aligning itself with conservative politics may be an innovation of the 20th and 21st centuries, Christianity dominated—read, was one in the same—European politics and government for the better part of the fall of the Roman empire to the French Revolution. During that period of European colonialism, European-conveyed homophobia and heteronormativity gained strong footholds in law around the world.


Where do see the attitude of “not my problem” still showing up in your life and community? How does this legacy impact or not impact you.


Let us pray: God, give us the strength and the resolve to challenge and tear down the systems of oppression which have been built into our systems. Empower us to act. Keep us speaking, acting up, and making good trouble. Don’t give us patience, convict us to action. And, yes, God, if needed help find money for bail. We ask this through your son, our model of a righteous troublemaker. Amen.


Blessings on your week, my friends! Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.


Faithfully,


Ben

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