Updated: Jul 3, 2020
By J. Hogan
-Gains & Gleanings-
Black lives matter. They certainly matter to me… my wife of nearly 30 years is black. Our four children, in the parlance of both 1800’s labeling and modern racial thought, count as “black” despite being biracial. Our extended family is black on one side, white on the other.
Faithbridge is a multiracial congregation, which pleases me beyond words. There’s a common saying that 11 a.m. on Sunday is the most segregated hour in America, because most folks only worship with those who look like themselves. Not at Faithbridge. We’re a community church, and our church looks like our community.
So, I’m a big believer that all lives matter, but we’re not supposed to say that these days… it’s seen as an insult to black folks who feel like a target is on their back in interactions with police, and although I could care less about political correctness, I don’t want to be seen as insulting anyone with my choice of words here.
I mention that all lives matter only as part of explaining why I support the notion that black lives matter, but not the primary BLM group.
On the website blacklivesmatter.com, the biggest, most notable group in the movement lists “What we believe.” Reading that, I can’t go there.
There are several things on there that give me pause, but “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement” is the one that breaks my heart.
We already have that. There are tons of young kids and generations of adults sired by males that didn’t stick around to raise them, and we’re reaping the cost of it. I don’t mean financially, I mean societally.
Mothers are overwhelmed. Children suffer from abandonment issues. Communities live in abject poverty, at least by American standards, because so many folks live on the crumbs of government support.
Some boys grow up angry at the man who didn’t stick around to invest in them and that anger gets redirected outward at life in general. Others accept the notion they weren’t worthy of that investment and end up with low expectations of their own capacity to chart a path forward.
Girls don’t expect a husband in life, just temporary situations that make life tenuous and unstable. They do, however, expect to have to raise their children without much help from the guys who gave them the babies.
Black lives matter a ton and deserve more, not less. Moving the goal line to make the exact situations that cause so many of the social ills of the community the norm doesn’t fix a thing… it just lowers the expectations and cements the problems in place.
We need all children to feel worthy, and that starts with both parents seeing babies as a gift to cherish and nurture, and the home as a place of security and partnership investing in those worthy lives.
I will always fight for the notion that black lives matter, and against anyone who disagrees. I won’t, however, give up the notion that we don’t have to accept today’s challenges as tomorrow’s norm just to appear like we’ve hit the mark.
We need to raise our own bar as adults and help our young folks set achievable goals that will improve their lives… and, one case at a time, that will improve our communities.
Rev. James Hogan is a native of Stowe Township and serves as pastor of Faithbridge Community Church in McKees Rocks.