Faith of A Mustard Seed

Barbara Woods Washington

Barbara Woods-Washington, M. Div.

Who could fathom the idea of the Thoughts and Words of a man taking on universal timelessness?  Who could begin to know that Words intended for analysis of, perhaps One Race and Space and Time could transport to completely other Life Crisis in Universal Disorder?

Such are the Words of W. E. B. Du Bois in concretizing his notion of “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”; immortality in his “Souls of Black Folks”.  Whereas, Now, in 2021 America, this ‘Peculiar Sensation’ requires a far more powerful Lense —a deeper more poignant look.  As though at first glance, “I see men who look like trees”.  “Do you want to be made whole?”  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.”; where ‘Dark Body’ is now applicable as ‘A Nation void of Light’.

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 in ALL —THAT WE ARE.

I have in most of the years of my life as a Master of Divinity taught Bible Study using the traditional learned approach of “Historical Criticism”.  Now for the first time I receive purpose in directing a new approach which has taken the platform of ‘Facebook Live’ Weekly Thursday evening: “Divided We Fall-Dialogue on The Great Divides”.  The Biblical foundation rests in a single passage that is a “Triple Tradition”: Matt 12:25 Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand;” Mark 3:25; Luke 11:17.

This ‘peculiar sensation’, so stirring by definition: evoking a keen sense of sadness or regret; a disturbing 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 (Nation) of people to be SHACKLED to the “Double-consciousness”; always, always at war with this systemic and systematic “ism” (“archy”) 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.

Again, Du Bois: “This waste of double aims, this seeking to satisfy two unreconciled ideas, has wrought sad havoc with the courage and faith and deeds of tens of thousands of 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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