The contributors to a progressive prayer devotional have come out in full-throated defense to one one of their authors after it was revealed on social media that her chapter included a prayer for God to help her hate white people.
Chanequa Walker-Barnes is a professor of practical theology at Mercer University who describes herself in her online biography as a “clinical psychologist, public theologian, and ecumenical minister whose work focuses upon healing the legacies of racial and gender oppression.” She is pro-choice, pro-LGBTQ, and revealed a few years ago that she gave up on church altogether.
She contributed “Prayer of a Weary Black Woman” to A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal by Sarah Bessy. This book is currently Amazon’s #1 Bestseller is #1 in Spiritual Meditations and other contributors include “Arch-Lesbianheretic” Rev. Nadia Bolz Webber, a host of other progressives, and Sharon Lisa Harper, who travels in Jemar Tisby’s circles and is the founder and president of FreedomRoad.us.
Her prayer includes some of these wonderful words:
Dear God, Please help me to hate White people. Or at least to want to hate them. At least, I want to stop caring about them, individually and collectively. I want to stop caring about their misguided, racist souls, to stop believing that they can be better, that they can stop being racist…
My prayer is that you would help me hate the other White people – you know, the nice ones. The Fox News-loving, Trump-supporting voters who ‘don’t see color’ but who make thinly-veiled racist comments about ‘those people.’ The people who are happy to have me over for dinner but alert the neighborhood watch anytime an unrecognized person of color passes their house. The people who welcome Black people in their churches and small groups but brand us heretics if we suggest that Christianity is concerned with the poor and the oppressed. The people who politely tell us that we can leave when we call out the racial microaggressions we experience in their ministries.
Lord, if it be your will, harden my heart. Stop me from striving to see the best in people. Stop me from being hopeful that White people can do and be better, Let me imagine them instead as white-hooded robes standing in front of burning crosses. Let me see them as hopelessly unrepentant, reprobate bigots who have blasphemed the Holy Spirit and who need to be handed over to the evil one. Let me be like Jonah, unwilling for my enemies to change, or like Lot, able to walk away from them and their sinfulness without trying to call them to repentance. Let me stop seeing them as members of the same body.
In a follow-up post, she revealed that she prayed this prayer after having a white friend casually drop the n-bomb in her presence, explaining that she has a million justified reasons to hate white people, with there even being a biblical precedent for it.
In response to this outcry, the contributors all banded together and released a statement in support of her, writing:
We are publicly stating our support for our sister, friend, and colleague, Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes…
We are given a vulnerable glimpse of her lament, her suffering, her weariness at the call to love her neighbors even when they oppress and marginalize her as a Black woman. Yet even in the very midst of this, we witness her prayer turn towards what she knows to be true about God’s call to justice and love…
Dr. Walker-Barnes is demonstrating the Biblically-based call towards loving our neighbors as Jesus said, in real-time. This beautiful, powerful prayer is modeled on the Psalms of lament and anger, often called imprecatory Psalms, found in the Bible. The Bible is often more honest about these complicated emotions than a lot of religious people.
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