Faith of a mustard seed

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

“This ‘peculiar sensation’, this double consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity” that W. E. B. DuBois speaks on in his “Souls of Black Folks” requires a deeper more poignant look— as though at first glance, “I see men who look like trees”. There is, in fact, the need to be ‘touched again’. “Two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings, two warring ideas in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”

The New Testament writer James, weighs in on the very critical nature of this when he pens in the very First Chapter of his Epistle: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord.” DOUBLE souls; DOUBLE thoughts; DOUBLE unreconciled strivings; DOUBLE warring ideas in one dark body. DOUBLE MIND… UNSTABLE… in all that we think; all that we say; all that we do; yea — ALL THAT WE ARE.

In a very thoughtful, yet highly charged FaceBook Group to which I subscribe, some very intellectual, concerned and committed Americans held a discussion on Racism; which took a very sharp turn as they spoke in terms of ‘racism being a DISEASE’. I entered this discussion with this statement: “I have come to understand that RACISM is just that… an ‘ISM’ and should be seen among the most popular of the World’s Religions. By definition ‘ism’ is ‘a belief system’. To treat racism as a disease suggests there is a ‘cure’. If there were a cure, for all the generations that Black Americans have given all, including life, to remove the ‘3/5th’ less that human treatment based upon the color of skin, there should be some indication of healing… somewhere in this nation, but it only gets worse. To treat Racism as a religion, I think, gives me to know that until ‘conversion’ takes place, the believer continues in cultic practice.”

This ‘peculiar sensation’, so poignant by definition: evoking a keen sense of sadness or regret; a poignant reminder of the passing of time; with all of the given synonyms: touching; moving; sad; affecting; pitiful; sharp or pungent in taste or smell.

James then, is far reaching in his reminder that “the double-minded (hu)man is unstable in ALL THINGS. Analogous to a drunken man unable to walk a straight line, swaying one way, then another. Oblivious to environment; TRUTH and what is REAL. No defined direction and as a result doesn’t get anywhere. Unsteady, wavering, in both his character and feelings. Vacillating; marked by hypocrisy— this ‘peculiar sensation’ of living life by “ANOTHER PEOPLE’S -ISM”. Insincere… ‘DEMAGOGIC! By the waters of Babylon, we wept. How can we sing The Lord’s Song in this strange land?

This ‘peculiar sensation’ for an entire Race of people to be SHACKLED to the “Double-consciousness”; always, always at war with this systemic and systematic “ism” that is the eyes, the taped— measure with which “WE SEE OURSELVES”… IS A STRIVING that… can never be reconciled! A SINGLE AFFIRMATION (amidst historical genocide and assassination) that “BLACK LIVES MATTER”— met with this systematic “ism” that ‘all lives matter’— A STRIVING that… can never be reconciled.

“This waste of double aims, this seeking to satisfy two unreconciled ideas, has wrought sad havoc with the courage and faith and deeds of ten thousand thousand people,– has sent them often wooing false gods and invoking false means of salvation, and at times has even seemed about to make them ashamed of themselves.”

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