More often than not, folks who say they want unity don’t want the hard work that comes with making it a reality. We’ve seen, for example, political leaders and private citizens alike from across the country respond to the phrase “Black Lives Matter!” with “All Lives Matter! Why are you dividing people by race? We need to come together! All lives are important!” Yet we know that historically, Black lives have not mattered, so responding with “all lives matter” seeks to simply erase the trauma and historical experiences of Black people.
This kind of unity – the kind that asks marginalized voices to stop making people uncomfortable – is not unity.
This morning, I went to a tax preparer to amend my tax return, a routine task for this company, but all did not go as expected. My preparer, James, was late. We met at an office branch he seldom uses, which we discovered has malfunctioning heat, and systems which had not been updated to the new software. So while we waited for technical assistance, we talked.
I told him I’m a youth pastor and a barista at a local coffee shop. James was raised Southern Baptist, went to Christian private schools, and graduated from a bible college. After graduating...
“I came near a very great hill, called Pendle Hill, and I was moved of the Lord to go up to the top of it; which I did with difficulty, it was so very steep and high. When I was come to the top, I saw the sea bordering upon Lancashire. From the top of this hill the Lord let me see in what places he had a great people to be gathered.”
I wonder what Fox might have seen. How vast was this group of people? What kinds of people were there? And if today, the Quaker diaspora were to gather with George Fox there as witness, would we confirm his vision?