By Sadell Bradley, Co-Pastor
New Life Covenant Cincinnati
Fatigue is extreme tiredness, typically resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness; it is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity or stress. Racial means on the grounds of or connected with difference in race - each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics; a group of people sharing the same culture, history, language, etc.
The movie "Dear White People" (above) recently opened, decrying the racial injustices that are unfortunately still experienced in college campuses. Watching it, I was faced with some eery flashbacks of college days! Though my identity as a Christ-follower is now primary, I believe God also uses the uniqueness of culture, gender and experiences to His glory to help sharpen His Body toward love.
I was at a Mosaix Cincy meeting of Tri-State pastors who have a heart for planting and populating churches that look like Heaven: with people of every tribe, language, people and nation. (Rev. 5:9) Our children and grandchildren have grown accustomed to diversity. If the Church continues to be segregated, it will be irrelevant and left behind. So we address the racial, class and gender divisions in the US Church.
"There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28) We seek to embody this statement of truth from Paul, and to help lead the charge toward the unity that Jesus prayed for in John 17:20-23 (below), which is a redemptive revelation of the Sonship of Jesus Christ and the love of the Father for this world. Dwelling together in unity is where God commands His blessing and life forevermore. (Psalm 133:3)
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one-I in them and you in me-so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:20-23)
The term Racial Fatigue or Racial Battle Fatigue (RBF) was coined by William Smith in the Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Society (2008) It is a theory attributed to the psychological attrition that People of Color experience from the daily battle of deflecting racialized insults, stereotypes, and discrimination. RBF is the cumulative effect of being "on guard" and having to finesse responses to insults, both subtle and covert. Contrary to popular opinion, this is NOT a post-racial society.
Caucasians experience a different type of Racial Fatigue. They get tired of hearing of and talking about race. Minorities tire of talking about it too, but we are more tired of living with racism -as the ad above from Ferguson, MO suggests.The same holds true for poverty, and the gender inequality revealed in issues like domestic violence and human trafficking. I am an African-American female, who is an orphan, from an urban setting, in the male-dominated field of ministry. At times the Call to be the 'only one' in settings, or to insert the cause of the disenfranchised into discussions is overwhelming. The deep fractures that exist in this City, the US, and the Church are historical, complicated and necessitate deep, loving and honest discussion toward reconciliation.
If you are fatigued or weary in doing any of the Lord's work, be encouraged by these Scriptures: "Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap of we do not grow weary (if we do not give up)" (Galatians 6:9) "I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint." (Jeremiah 31:25)