A MONOLITH is a large single upright block of stone, especially one shaped into or serving as a monument or pillar. Figuratively, it is a large and impersonal political, corporate or social structure regarded as intractably indivisible and uniform. Webster defines MONOLITHIC as: constituting a massive undifferentiated and often rigid whole <a monolithic society;exhibiting or characterized by often rigidly fixed uniformity<monolithic party unity. In holding racial reconciliation conversations, I have made it a point to state that:
The African-American community is NOT a monolith. I nor anyone can speak on behalf of ALL Black people. No one
asks a Caucasian person, "What do all white people think about..." There are too many individuals, unique feelings, experiences and thoughts. This freedom of personal expression is one of the things we've fought for. It has taken many voices to get there: Dubois AND Washington; MLK AND Malcolm X; Carson AND Sharpton; Condoleeza AND Oprah, etc. Jackie Robinson, Angela Davis, the Black Panthers, Ali, Beyonce and Spike Lee have all moved the needle. Racism as an issue is so dire that leaders on platforms, legal officers, freedom riders, boycotters, analysts, artists, martyrs and quiet dissenters are all needed to expel its injustice.
Walter Lippman, an American writer, reporter and political commentator, coined the word 'stereotype' -a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person.
Sweeping generalizations of people often disagree with God's truth. In Acts 10, the Apostle Peter had been indoctrinated that certain foods and all Gentile people were unclean and to be avoided. He felt justified in his stance until it was challenged by the Lord,
"Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." (vs. 15) Peter had to be told 3 times that his conditioning was not God's truth. He then had to come into community with the very people he was devoted to shunning, "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean." (vs. 28) It wasn't just Peter, all the Jews believed this. Christ's cause to make One New Humanity, (Eph. 2) was higher than Peter's ideologies and self-interest. Peter had to accept and unify with Cornelius and the other Gentiles who were vastly different in background and upbringing than he. UNITY is not the same as UNIFORMITY. If I have to lose the core of who I am to join with you, to be relevant and heard, that's not unity or harmony.
This monolithic concept is also an issue with class, gender and even Christianity. All poor, middle class or wealthy people don't think the same, nor do all women or all Christian leaders. In fact, we address issues of injustice and disenfranchisement very differently, and often do not agree on methods or statements. However, Christ followers have the opportunity/responsibility to agree on Jesus Christ as the Answer to all the 'ism's' root cause - SIN and evil. He is the Way to reconcile with God and heal divisions. (2 Cor. 5)
According to Wikipedia, a monolithic church or a rock -hewn church is a church made from a single block of stone. Because freestanding rocks of sufficient size are rare, such churches are usually hewn or cut into the ground or into the side of a mountain. Reminds me of Isaiah's admonition, "Listen to me, all who hope for deliverance--all who seek the LORD! Consider the rock from which you were cut, the quarry from which you were mined." (Isa. 51:1) The uniform New Testament revelation we all DO have is... that ROCK is JESUS!
CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES do not diminish in the face of ATROCITIES - extremely cruel acts, typically involving physical violence or injury- in fact, they intensify. The injustices and reprehensible behavior we have seen in the senseless executions of unarmed African-American men, AND in retaliation against innocent police have us all in shock, anger, disbelief and grief. However, holding the truths we believe, even at potential loss of life is what Christ followers around the world have exemplified for centuries. They believe steadfastly that Jesus is enough, and are armed with these truths:
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matt. 5:43-45) Jesus gives us a counter-cultural, no vengeance, yet winning strategy.
"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:32-36) I can hear the push back on this as I'm writing...but I didn't say it...
I am an African-American woman with a husband, a son and two grandsons whose lives DEFINITELY matter to me! I also have friends whom I love in law enforcement, government and the military. I pray for their protection, and my emotions have swung the pendulum. Historically, I've marched and protested injustice more than the average person. I've also had more racial reconciliation discussions than most. When I devoted my life to Christ and was baptized, I began a NEW LIFE and immersed myself in Kingdom Culture. My first allegiance and priority (even over ethnicity, class or gender) is following Christ. (Gal. 3:28) In pressure-filled times like these, I might not like what the LORD directs me to do in His Word. Sometimes I rebel, or I'm hesitant to obey, but God's ways are ALWAYS right. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:18)