Introduction by Deborah Rose Milavec:

The Fr. Louis Trivison award is given to a Roman Catholic who exhibits outstanding leadership in advancing FutureChurch’s Vatican II mission or vision in one or more areas of teaching, administration,  esearch, publication, advocacy, and  pastoral  care. This year, we present the Fr. Louis Trivison Award to Fr. Bryan N. Massingale.

Fr. Bryan Massingale is one of the world’s leading Catholic social ethicists and scholars of African-American theological ethics, racial justice, and liberation theology. He joined the Fordham theology faculty in the fall of 2016. Previously, Fr. Massingale was on the faculty at Marquette University, where in 2009 he received that institution’s highest award for excellence in teaching.

He has served as president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and convener of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium, and holds two honorary doctorates.

He has written over 80 articles, book chapters, and book reviews for publications, including Theological Studies, New Theology Review, Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, Philosophy and Theology, Journal of Religion and Society, America Magazine, The National Catholic Reporter, and Catholic Peace Voice.  His articles are primers in teaching White Catholics how to recognize our culpability for the ongoing scourges of racism, white supremacy, and white privilege  and what we can do to change things. Articles such as The assumptions of white privilege and what we can do about it; Amy Cooper knew exactly what she was doing. We all do. And that's the problem. National Catholic Reporter (6.1.20); White Catholics need to sit with the discomfort of systemic racism (America Magazine (6.8.20);  How the Church Can Combat Racism and White Privilege America Magazine (2.20.20),  The Church’s Appalling Silence on Racism
U.S. Catholic (1.23.17), Let’s Be a Church Where Black Lives Matter U.S. Catholic (12.2.16), African American Catholics and the Quest for Racial Justice U.S. Catholic (2.1.15) are the stuff of classics, drilling down into the heart of our collective complicity and prophetically calling us to live the Gospel.

His book, Racial Justice and the Catholic Church (Orbis Books, 2010), a first place book award winner with the Catholic Press Association, should be required reading for every Catholic in the United States and part of every parishes regular preaching.

I first heard Fr. Massingale at the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests assembly in 2017 when he said:

“Something catastrophic is happening in our country.  And I don’t mean only the morbid wrenching almost incessant killings of Black young men and boys.   For these deaths reveal a deep malady at the core of America.  A coldness.  A callousness.  A soul warping disease.  Racism is a soul sickness. It is a profound warping of the human spirit, one that enables human beings to create communities of cold callous indifference to their darker brothers and sisters.”    

I will never forget Fr. Massingale’s prophetic words -- his stirring manner – the way the truth of his message struck deep into our hearts.  And, as if on que to be Exhibit A in a course on “how white privilege works”, during the Q & A, one person asked a particularly honest question – sadly representative of the ultimate concerns of most white people.  He asked,

 “What should we do?  If I preach about what you have spoken about at my all white parish, it will not go well.  They will be incensed and angry.  They may withhold money.”

I tell this story, not to embarrass, but to recognize -- the priest’s words indict us all…expose us all…for the many ways our words and actions -- large and small, explicit and implicit, coded and uncoded… enforce and reinforce white privilege and white supremacy.  

That is why we are here tonight.  That is why we sit, like students of the Torah, to learn at the feet of those who have a Gospel truth to teach us.  And that is why we are grateful that Fr. Massingale has joined us, and accepted our Fr. Louis Trivison Award.  Louie would be proud.

Transcript: Fr. Bryan Massingale’s Remarks, October 27, 2020

Recipient of FutureChurch’s Fr. Louis Trivison Award


Thank you so much. It's an honor to be recognized. I thank FutureChurch for this award. It's an honor to be recognized, to be seen and to be affirmed. Especially in a church and by a faith community that regards people like me, and by that, I mean, black gay, relatively intelligent and passionate about justice -- regards people like me as a danger, as a threat, as a contagion to be contained. As someone to be ignored when possible or attacked when not. So, I thank you FutureChurch, because as you may suspect those who hold a different opinion of my ministry than you do are not shy while making themselves known. One day we can share, we can trade emails and horror stories about people who have a different opinion of life than we do, how they make themselves known.


So I'm indeed very, very grateful for this honor and for this recognition they've asked me to not just accept the award, but to say something about racial justice in the Catholic Church. And of course, I think I know a little bit about that, but let me do that by sharing with you a PowerPoint for my presentation.

What I've decided to do is to focus my remarks about racial justice in the Catholic church, by focusing on the struggle against white nationalism. Because I think as we're looking at our current situation inAmerica today, the challenge of white nationalism is a major threat to the integrity of the United States and indeed to the very existence of our democracy.


And so let me approach the question by talking first about signs of hope.

We gather at a time of duality. It's a strange time in which the times are very terrible and yet there are also signs of hope.

For example, we're still trying to absorb Pope Francis, this affirmation of the humanity of sexual minorities by declaring that we have a right to a family. Now note, I didn't say we have a right to civil unions. I mean, so many people are getting caught up in that term and whether this is a marriage and whether this is changing church teaching and sexual morality.  I think that's an interesting debate, but overlooks the fact that Francis grounds his support for civil unions, for sexual minorities, in the right to a family. And this is huge, because inCatholic thought the right to a family is a fundamental human right. It's one of those basic guarantees that flows from our humanity, from our sacred human dignity as created in the image of God.  As such, governments have a duty and obligation to secure and protect that right, precisely because sexual minorities are human being.


I know it sounds obvious, but all too often in church and society, there's a tendency to look at people like me as simply walking sex acts. And as I tell people, whether or not one agrees with sexual behaviors or expressions, we still have a fundamental humanity that needs to be affirmed. This is what I take away from the Pope's remarks that have been so celebrated and debated in the last few days.  It shows that the church can change incrementally slowly, tentatively, overly cautiously, but it can change. That's a sign of hope, another sign of hope as we gather.

And we're still trying to absorb the impact of this news is that of the first African-American Cardinal in the history of the U.S. Church, Cardinal designate Wilton Gregory of Washington, DC. This is a long overdue recognition, not only of black presence and contribution in the church, but of black leadership and excellence.


And let me underscore excellence. Cardinal designateGregory has had a long history of leadership on many of the pressing issues facing the church, including racial justice, the scourge of sexual abuse and the treatment of LGBTQ persons. Let's not forget that since newly coming toWashington DC, he told a trans Catholic that “you belong in the church.”


And let us also not forget that he exercised prophetic leadership this summer in  denouncing the ideological manipulation of our faith to serve partisan purposes and to enhance the president's image. This is a moment of hope, not only for African AmericanCatholics, it is a moment of hope for the whole church. But it is particularly joyous to us.  I say “us” as a blackCatholic.  For the first time, [we have] someone who not only looks like us, but also knows the pain of loving and serving achurch, which often does not love you back. His voice and perspective will be in the room when the next Pope is chosen.

That's something to rejoice. Then that's a sign of hope.


Hope is a very difficult word because we also have to admit that when we look around, we are living in very trying terrible, even, terrifying circumstances.

To say a few words about racial justice in the Catholic Church, I have to speak forthrightly about the challenge to America of this hour and of our failure to address our deepest and longest social injustice that now imperils our very survival as a nation. I'm not using hyperbole when I say that, but insight about racial injustice endangering the survival of the nation was a prophetic intuition that was voiced in 1967 by Martin Luther King, Jr. in a seldom studied address called, “The Three Evils of Society” that he gave in August of 1967. And, in that, he was discussing the rise and fall of past civilizations. And he notes that the rise and fall of the civilizations was not caused by external invasion, but by internal decay.  They failed to respond creatively to the challenges impinging upon them.  Then he concludes, “if America does not respond creatively to the challenge to banish racism, some future historian will have to say that a great civilization died because it lacked the soul and commitment to make justice a reality for all.”


As many of us are approaching this election with trepidation and even wondering about the survival of democracy, we need to hearMartin Luther King's words for all of their prophetic depth.  Trumpism, white nationalism, is a force that is imperiling the future of this nation. And Trumpism and white nationalism is driven by the lack of resolve, the lack of the soul and commitment to make justice a reality for all.


This is the fundamental question I think that's facing our country this election season. Will we be a country that strives for liberty and justice for all?  Or will we codify what we have been, all too often, in our history,  a country where we grant liberty and justice for some. That's the fundamental question that faces us. To understand what King is talking about, I want to talk now about white nationalism as one of the principal signs that the times that marks our American experience.

In order to understand the rise of white nationalism, we have to understand it as a response to our reaction to the seismic shift in the country, social demographics -- that we are becoming more racially and ethnically diverse than ever before reported.

The 2010 national census, our most recent one already showed that over a third of the U.S. population was, and those Census Bureau’s words, Latino or non-white -- that's their designation, not mine. And given how the groups of color are historically under counted and why they admit that they're under counted, it was more likely that 40% of the country in 2010 was non-white. Moreover,  the majority of children under the age of 12, belong to racial and ethnic minority groups.   Moreover, in 2014, the Census Bureau reported that for the first time in American history, there were more white American deaths than births in the United States.

The estimate that by 2043, very soon, we will no longer have a majority race in the United States. In short, America is a browning.  But, not only is America browning, the church is browning.

The Catholic church is also going through its own seismic demographic shift.  In 2010, at a conference at Notre Dame University on cultural diversity in a church, the then ApostolicNuncio stated that white Anglos are a minority of U.S. Catholics. And then he declared, “we don't have diversity in the church, we are a diverse church.”Further evidence of this demographic shift comes when we look at the composition of newly ordained diocesan priests. They every year from 1999 to the present between 20 to 30% of newly ordained diocesan priests are foreign born. And as this chart from CARA points out, as the church gets younger, the church gets browner.  Contrast the pre-Vatican I generation where76% of  that generation cohort is white or Caucasian to those who are millennials born in 1982 or later, where only 39% are white.


As a church gets younger, the church gets browner. So the landscapes of both the nation and the church are being and already have been decisively altered.  The future of both the country and the church is brown, not white.


And there lies the problem.


One of the signal events of our time is a deep anxiety over and discomfort with and even opposition to this change in our population and our membership.  Changing demography signals a changing national and ecclesial identity to put it bluntly. We are no longer a white Christian nation and many white Christian Americans are nervous, anxious, and angry.


We to see an expression of this sentiment in the reaction of Bill O’Reilly, an influential political commentator.  

 After president Obama was reelected in 2012 and the election was called, I switched over to Fox News to see how they were reading this joyous news. And as you may expect, they had a different reaction than I did. I tuned in just in time to hear Bill O'Reilly lament, “The demographics are changing. It's not a traditional America anymore. The white establishment is now a minority. “  


This lament is important to understand and appreciate because white unease and resentment over the nation’s changing demography and identity is the decisive reason for the rise of white nationalism. His views are perfect illustration of what I call a sense of culture shock that has gripped many in our nation. As they respond with confusion and anger over the changingAmerican identity that is now occurring in their homeland.


The demography of the country is changing and endangered white status is leading more and more and more explicit calls to defend white supremacy -- to fight against white extinction or white privilege. And I apologize for some of the language on this slide here, but this was the way in which you see many of these people talking, where one man says, ”If I see one more Aryan man, with a biracial child and his non Aryan wife or girlfriend, I will physically throw their child over an effing bridge.”

These calls to defend white supremacy or white normative privilege, were evidenced throughout the presidential campaign of 2016. ThenRepublican nominee held campaign rallies that were punctuated with racial insults and nativist demagoguery.  At one point, racist attacks on people of color occurred at them, where people color were forcibly a rejected from his campaign rallies.  Or people who belong to minority religious groups, such as the Sikhs  were targeted with stigmas.  As Trump said, “ He wasn't wearing one of those hats, was he? He wasn't wearing one of those."

Even the speaker of the house, Paul Ryan, a fellow Republican who is, by no means, a social liberal accused Mr. Trump of engaging in what he called “textbook racism."

What we are seeing and the reaction of many Americans is a sense of culture shock.  A sense of anxiety that one experiences when in an unfamiliar foreign or strange environment where the social rules, customs and expectations are different than what one expects or experiences as normal. When culture shock occurs in one's homeland, particularly for white Americans in view of the major demographic shifts that are occurring, it is experienced as an existential threat. It undermines their self-identity and the foundations. They believe that the country was built upon-- that is as a white Christian nation, a nation for white Christians.

This is the context for understanding the horrific violence that happened to Charlottesville when white nationalists marched carrying lit torches and shouting, “You will not replace us.”  

Indeed, we now have a president who proudly and explicitly declares, “I'm a nationalist.”   And by this, he doesn’t mean that he pursues policies that he judges to advance the nation's interests. Rather he intends to advance the interests of those he considers real American -- namely aggrieved whites, especially white men.

White nationalism can be understood as a longing for a white utopia for a place where white identity and comfort can be pursued independently of the desires and demands for non-white recognition. In short, it's a longing for a place where one can feel at home as a white person.

Elizabeth Vasko is a colleague of mine, a white Catholic theologian. And in her book, Beyond Apathy she talks about her experiences of being a missionary in Kenya. And she reflects upon a surprising feeling of homesickness, a homesickness that she described as “wanting to return to the familiarity of a world defined by whiteness.” Looking back on this experience from the, from the vantage point of her further experience and study, she says she now realizes that her experience revealed something fundamental.  Implicated in whiteness in America is a false sense of certainty or confidence about the way the world works and how it should look.


We can see that more graphically by looking at t-shirts that are at the president's rallies. Look at the matching t-shirts here where they say, “I would rather be Russian than Democrat.”

Think about that.


What we see here is that many white Americans would rather live in a white authoritarian country than in a multi-racial multi-ethnic democracy.  Or to put it even more sharply, if democracy means sharing political power with people of color and especially the black Americans, then it's simply not worth it.


I put all this before you, because I think we need to put the kind of conversations and debates that we're having in this country in the context of white nationalism. Why is it that democracy is imperiled? Why is it that we're engaging in efforts of voter suppression? Why is it that these are things that can happen in plain daylight? Because all too often in all too many people, they made the conclusion that democracy means sharing political power with people of color, and it's not worth it. A white authoritarian country is more preferable than a multi-racial democracy.

There are many ways to define white nationalism. My definition is here. White nationalism is the visceral, non-rational, instinctual conviction that this country, its public spaces, its institutions, its cultural heritage -- belongs to white people in a way that it does not and should not belong to others. It's the conviction that America is fundamentally a whiteChristian nation.  Note that white nationalism isn't always, or even principally about hate.  Acts of hatred come as a consequence of a threat to white identity that can't be resolved in other ways.  But at its core, white nationalism is more about belonging. Whose country is this? Who belongs here?  Who's really American?


These are the key nationalist concerns and questions. This is the reason, also parenthetically, why many Americans aren't upset about the fact that we have 545 children who cannot be reunited with their parents because, in the white nationalist’ mind, they don't belong here anyway.  They are beyond or outside of our moral concern.

As a consequence, in a society plagued by rising white nationalism, people of color and especially black people are present in public spaces only because of either, white permission or toleration that is in limited numbers to meet the requirements of decency or affirmative action. Or they're present by non-white fraud or deceit -- by illegal immigrants who “infest our country.”  Or are the undeserving beneficiaries of affirmative action. Or they somehow faked a birth certificate so that they function as an illegitimate president.


The presence people of color are present in white spaces and public spaces only by permission or toleration note that that permission or toleration can be revoked when white discomfort is triggered.  And then people of color can be removed from public spaces by any means necessary; family separation and deportation policies; calling the police on black people; when they're sleeping in college dorms; picnicking in public parks; waiting for friends at Starbucks; or even sleeping at home after saving lives as an EMT in Louisville, Kentucky.  All of this is to say that underneath all the headlines, I think there's a tendency in this country to see these headlines as isolated incidents. What I'm trying to do is show the thread that unites all of them.  There's an underlying movement that unites all of them and it poisons and threatens the very nature and survival of our democracy.


I also want to point out White nationalism is not just out there in our country. White nationalism also affects our Church.  


There is a deep Catholic ambivalence when we raise the question , “Whose church is this?  Whose community is this?”


And we see this evidenced by comments such as ones I  heard after a diocesan ordination where the majority of ordinands were men of color. One of the priests was lamenting, “When are we going to get some of our candidates?” And I'm like, well, “What, aren’t they ours?  I mean, they are named for service for this diocese.”   Or at a workshop I was giving when a white male provincial made the observation that in his community, “We have too many Juan’s and Jose's and not enough Jim’s and John’s. Or from another white provincial during the same workshop who said, “You know, we're a German province. We love being a German province. We're proud to be a German province. So how can we attract black men to our order?”  To which I said, “Well, I guess you got to find some black, German speaking guys. I don't know.” Another question that I'm asked at workshops and presentations that Deborah alluded to earlier, “How can we talk about race in my community or in my church without making white people uncomfortable?”


Note that behind all of these questions is the deeper unstated question, “Whose community is this? Who really belongs? Who counts as one of us?  


Before we move on, let's think about this question of comfort.  About making sure we talk about race in a way that doesn't make white people uncomfortable. Why is it that the only group that's never supposed to be uncomfortable in racial discussions are white people?  Why is the comfort of whites the controlling factor in racial conversations?   Not only does this discount or ignore the discomfort and threat that people of color experience in white spaces, but it also means that we can only discuss our experiences in ways that are tailored and edited for white people’s comfort.

It also means that the church and society never get to face the very difficult truths that need to be faced if we're ever to move beyond the racial quagmire that we find ourselves in.

The plain yet, terrible truth is that the Catholic church is constituted by a normative whiteness. It can be illustrated by the events that surrounded the papal mass presided over by Pope Benedict during his visit to the United States and Washington DC in 2008. The readings for that mass were celebrating the rich cultural diversity of the church in the United States, including the reading from the classic account of the Acts of the Apostles, where the Holy spirit descended upon the gathered community, representing the world's peoples; how, everyone heard the Gospel proclaimed in their own language. The offertory gifts were brought forward accompanied by the Spanish Gospel and Spanish singing. At the end of the offertory procession the commentator on EWTN said, “We have just been subjected to an overpreening display of multicultural chatter. And now the Holy Father will begin the sacred part of the mass.”


Note, the disjunction, the opposition between sacred and multicultural. God can only speak or be revealed in European idiom.

All of this reflects and strengthens the conclusion I reached in my earlier work, probably the most quoted sentence from my book, RacialJustice in the Catholic Church. “What makes the church white and racist is the pervasive belief that European aesthetics, music, theology, and persons  -- and only these -- are standard, normative, universal, and truly Catholic.”


This is what I mean by saying there's a normative whiteness that constitutes American Catholicism.

The challenge facing American Catholicism in this time of rising white nationalism was prophetically described by the noted blackCatholic historian Benedictine priest, Cyprian Davis.  In a 2004 lecture, he stated, “In another decade or so, U.S.  Catholics will learn that our church has more black, brown, and in between people than caucasian, and more Catholic with a small “c” than they dreamed.  Will we be prepared for what that will mean?”


The answer simply is no.


And don't take my word for it. Hear the responses of a racially mixed group of Catholics that they gave at a parish workshop when I asked them to describe in one word how the church engaged with issues of race.  “Irrelevant…tribalism… indifferent…complicit…lost…blind…dying…archaic….cemetery.”  


The hat you see there was a PR campaign that the Archdiocese of New York was considering. They were considering a slogan for our parish renewal campaign. And, one of their consultants came up with the idea that since most Catholics are familiar with the red cap, “Why don't we have the parish renewal campaign being ‘Make Arch New York great again?’”    And he came to the priest's meeting with these hats all made up as demonstrations that could be given out to Catholics throughout the archdiocese.  There was one Latino priest and one black priest on the priests’ council at that point and they tried to say, “Don’t you see, there's a problem here?”  Reportedly, the response was, “What's the problem? People understand what that means.”


We can also put “tone deaf” as well.


Nationalism, whether in church or society is not always principally about hate. It's about a longing for a white utopia by aggressively asserting belonging and dominance out of a sense of anxiety over rapid social change. It can be carried by white supremacists carrying torches, or it can be carried by people simply avoiding the issue out of silence, or presenting it in ways that only cater to the comfort of whites.


But this longing for utopia -- is a delusion.  In the words of the African American novelist intellectual James Baldwin. He said that “This world is white no longer, and will never be white again.”


I often say that in the United States, sometimes I wonder if we're not suffering from a collective delusion, a collective sense of delusion.


All this sounds very grim.


So I'm going to return to where I began.  To hope. To love.


But I wanted to ground these understandings of hope and love -- those that are informed by the black experience.  In black experience, hope is not a rosy sense of optimism. Rather, hope is found in the midst of conflict and struggle.

In fact, conflict and struggle are the signs of hope.They're the means by which change and transformation happen. We see this inMartin Luther King's observation that privileged groups seldom surrender their privileges voluntarily.   If privileged groups don't surrender their privileges voluntarily, then social conflict and struggle is indeed a sign of hope. It means that privilege, unjust privilege, is being challenged.


King is simply voicing an insight that Frederick Douglas, the Northern abolitionist said over a century before he did.   


He wrote in classic words, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom yet deprecate agitation are men and women who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening.   Now this struggle may be physical. It may be moral. It may be both moral and physical, but there must be struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

Conflict and struggle then are not surprising, unusual, or unexpected.  Rather the fact of conflict and struggle, both in the church and in the country-- these are signs of hope!  Because whenever we see conflict and struggle within the church, it means that the status quo is being challenged and is endangered.  Conflict and struggle herald the possibility of something new, something more just, something more Christ-like…our church more universal, more welcoming and inclusive.  In a strange way, the more conflict there is, the more hope there actually may be.


The other thing I want to point out is that in any African-American experience, hope is also transgenerational. Hope is not about what's in it for me, it's about what will happen someday because of me.  I often say hope is like a relay race.  And when we run a relay race, it's not up tome to be the one that breaks the tape or crosses the finish line. When I'm running a relay race, I run the best race I can for the sake of those who come after me and to honor my teammates who ran before me. It is not up to me to see the end goal, it  is up to me to run the race that has been given to me.  Hope is transgenerational. We are part of a justice relay team.


Let me make this more personal. My ancestors did not know that one day I would be. And my ancestors, certainly didn't know that tonight you'd be giving me an award for my ministry. But here I am doing what I'm able to do now because of who they were and what they dared to do.  

 In the black Catholic experience, there are pioneers such as Sister Antona Ebo, who was one of the nuns who marched with Martin LutherKing in Selma, Alabama.  Sister Thea Bowman, the noted orator who taught bishops and led another liturgical renewal of black thought and black Catholic worship in the church.  Fr. Al McKnight, who was a prophetic figure who died in the last few years and Dr. Wyatt Turner that headed The Federation of Colored Catholics, one of the first lay led groups in the Catholic church, even before Vatican II in the 1920s advocating for an independent lay voice.  None of these figures knew that WiltonGregory, Cardinal Wilton Gregory would one day be.  But he is, because of who they were and what they did.  


Hope then is not a matter of “What’s for me?” or, “Will I see it?” Hope is about what will be because of who we are now and what we dare to do. Now, the best way to predict the future is by working now to create it .  “Now” contains the hope of the future. It won't just come, it arrives now because of who we are now and what we dare to do now.

And that hope for a future is based in love. For all revolutions are rooted in love.  A love of self as a beloved creation of God, a love that fights for a world where all our loved, loved in spirit and in truth, and not just in rhetoric.  This summer in the midst of the Black Lives Matter protest, someone turned to me and asked me to write something for a blog of theirs. And this was after writing so many of the essays that Deb pointed out earlier. And I was just exhausted and I don't even know what to say, but then I took a moment of quiet and something came to me and it was surprising. And I submitted this to the authors of the political theology blog, not knowing if they would publish it, but it was what I really wanted. What I really believed.

I wrote, “In the midst of crushing grief and numbing pain; of outrage, curses, and existential fatigue; in the midst of it all, in moments of stillness, I find my thoughts turning to love. Black love, black radical love.  Love of, for, and by black people.  Because eliminating the scourge of anti-blackness; creating that freedom dream where black lives matter, will not come about because of police body cameras, blacked out Instagram squares, marches and chants,  tweeting and mobilizing, or even defunding the police. We need all that and more.  Far more. Anti-blackness is a spiritual malady, a soul sickness, an interior malformation of a magnitude for which we lack words.  An affliction that can only be healed when we learn how to love blackness, black bodies, black people.  Not in a sentimental sense, not in a corporate neo-liberal, benetton hallmark, “There's only one race. I don't seecolor.  Deep down, we're all the same superficial reality”.  But rather with the profundity of Toni Morrison's exhortation and her novel Beloved, where she says, “Love your flesh yonder out there. They don't love your flesh. So you must love your flesh.”  With the courage of James Baldwin’s injunction in his novel, Above My Head, where he tells us to “accept your nakedness as sacred and hold sacred the nakedness of another.”  For it is only when we learn how to love blackness, that we can heal this terrible soul sickness at the heart of this country, at the heart of this church.  And only then can we make of this old world, anew world -- a world where black lives matter -- a world where black lives are sacred -- where black lives can breathe free.


I thank you again for your award and for your recognition.   Let the church say, Amen.