We commend everyone that’s been dedicated over the past month to observing Lent, a historic practice of self-refrain that many Christians participate in to honor the story of Jesus fasting in the Judaean Desert for 40 days and nights while refusing multiple temptations from Satan himself.
The actual item that is retired for 40 days varies depending on the person, but members at First United Church of Oak Park in suburban Chicago decided on “fasting from whiteness” by refusing to perform hymns composed and/or written by white musicians.
A statement posted on the church’s website says the intent to shelve whiteness for a month was done as an effort to “lay aside our usual frames of reference and open ourselves to hearing the Gospel message through the voices of Black People, Indigenous People, and People of Color.” The original note clearly spelled out their plan of action, reading, “In our worship services throughout Lent, we will not be using any music or liturgy written or composed by white people. Our music will be drawn from the African American spirituals tradition, from South African freedom songs, from Native American traditions, and many, many more.” The initiative came complete with a “Fasting from Whiteness” sign on its front lawn according to an image retrieved by Turning Point USA.
First United has even encouraged its congregation and those simply interested to watch their “whiteness-free” digitial services on YouTube.
The church itself has a multiracial makeup, with associate pastor of education Rev. Lydia Mulkey boldly stating, “In this fast from whiteness, of course, I cannot change the color of my skin or the way that allows me to move through the world but I can change what I listen to, whose voice I prioritize.”
Do you think the church is making a valid choice in using Lent as a way to uplift Black voices or does it read more like reverse racism? Sound off!
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