I was going to post this yesterday but was too upset.
This is death… True death
After reading this NY Times’ article–which describes the ongoing desecration of the site in Mississippi where Emmitt Till’s broken and brutalized body was removed from the Tallahatchie River–I was left lamenting the absurdity and logic of gunning down spirits. What an unveiling! Folks want to kill the dead again and again with bullets that can pierce the alloyed metal, history, and soul. This is death. True death. Physical, symbolic, social, and spiritual death. This is the legacy of the spirit, lie, and social construction that contributed to Till’s murder. The spirit of white supremacy and the modern/colonial (ill-)logic of race that produced it… is a death-dealing spirit/logic.
In this spiritual logic, Till’s death must continue to die. Indeed the past needs not be buried, but annihilated. Physical defilement is not enough… the soul must be massacred until the non-person ethers into nothingness. Such is the logic of this spirit and the persons it possesses.
And this is indeed the bondage of death. This is a land that knows that guns and gold talk louder than screams of the oppressed. If you listen to the Delta, she will tell you the truth… she would moan in blue notes and her lamentation would stir the soulless out of their spiritual tombs. But they domestically abused and ignored her a long time ago. She was only good for the produce of her soil and clay.
Like Abel, Delta and Till’s blood cry out from the ground; this blood vibrates in the rivers and aquifers. That’s why the bullets must keep ringing. They are white noise to drown out the wail of the land and waters.
I could say this in social, political, and economic terms… but I believe it’s necessary to highlight something.
The spiritual (and moral) rot of this place continues to be unveiled.
Folks are possessed, breathing in domination and separation. And religious leaders need to be clear on this. We must look and work for political, economic, and social alternatives. These alternatives are certainly important and spirituality alone cannot create a land of equity and love. But whoever shoots up a sign that memorializes a 14 year old who was tortured, defiled, killed, and discarded in the Tallahatchie River because of a lie and white supremacy—and whoever ignores or tacitly supports such ongoing desecration—is possessed by a spirit of domination and hate. It don’t matter what god they confess.
Metanoia and Teshuvah… Folks need a change of heart, mind and spirit and folk need to turn back to love, mercy, justice, and goodness. Their hearts are set on domination, their minds upon hate, and their spirits upon violence… and because of this, they are far from you, Lord. They speak peace, love, and prosperity but their deeds testify: separation, lies, and malice.
Vote, vote, vote!
Find and create equitable and sustainable economic relationships!
Work for a social space that treats people the way you want to be treated!
But never forget that the things we worship have social, economic, and political consequences. Our spirits influence our interactions with the cosmos.
You may not belong to a church and you may not have a spiritual practice, but my brother and sister, I implore you to heed the oracle of Bob Dylan:
You’re gonna have to serve somebody.
Yes indeed, you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
It may be the devil, or it may be the Lord…
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody!
Faith, hope, and love…
©️ M. J. Sales