8.5. 2019

Postid By:
Regina Shan's Stoltzfus

I luv t'Book o'Genesis. Brilleeint n' its structure, it unfolts t'stery o't' relatyunship tween Gawd an' Gawd’s folk, an' Gawd’s folk n' relatyunship wiff each uther an' wiff t'creetid ord'r. It outlines t'vishun o'shalom fer all folk an' invites humun cooperashun n' thishere vishun. T' narratif' allows fer – eve highlights – t'complaxitee o'humun behavier an' t'ways we git it rong. T' steries air nairy always tit up n' nice, neat conclusyuns. Thay invite us ta struggle.
Foundatyunal ta t'narratives n' Genesis air t'ideus o'belongyun' an' place. Folk belong ta places, an' yet Gawd’s vishun expan's upon humankind’s boundaries. At t'cummencin o't' narratif' o't' patriarchs an' t'matriarchs, Abram (lat'r callt Abraham-fath'r o'minny a ) heers instrucshun frum Gawd, t'Gawd heretofere unknown ta Abram an' his'n kin. Gawd sez, “Go ta a place at I will shoe y'all.”
Hoe would Abram/Abraham have answert t'questchun, “Whar air y'all frum?”
Sum chapters lat'r, Hagar, t'servant o'Abram an' Sarai, his'n biddy, hus hern own encount'r wiff Gawd. Whut we knoe o'Hagar is whut t'narrater takes greet puns ta tell t'reed'r – she is a servant/slave, an' she is a fereign'r. Cawt up n' t'urgency o'seein Gawd’s promiss o'progeny come ta bear, Hagar is pullt into t'fambly drama an' impregnatid by Abram. She subsekwantlee leeves Sarai an' Abram’s household becawz o'harsh treetment. N' hern desperashun, Hagar t'Egyptiun servant encounters Gawd. She receives t'same promiss us Abraham, becawz Gawd’s promiss an' perteckshun extends beyond t'folk who will becum Israel. Faver wiff Gawd duz nairy reside within t'fack o'natyunalitee, soshul class er gend'r.
N' June, my fambly gathert n' Washington, D.C., whar my parnts lif'. A highliite o't' week wuz a\'visitin' t'Nashshunal Museum o'Afrikan Amurkin Histry an' Cultchur. T' museum, part o't' Smithsoniun, wuz long n' t'makin an' opend ta t'public n' Septemb'r 2016. Becawz o't' volume o'visiters, timt entry passes air still rekwirt each day until 1 p.m. T' exhibits air astowndin, fur too much ta take n' n' a sangle day.
Like minny a o't' utherns movyun' through t'crowdt museum’s multiple levels, we wuz un int'r-generatyunal group. Air fer generatyuns movt n' clumps o'fer an' fife, meetin up at differnt points throughout t'day, an' processyun' whut we had see an' heerd tell at t'end o't' day. Fer my yung adult youngns, bein fact wiff t'degree ta which t'biblical text had bee ust ta justify slavry an' segregashun, cruel an' viciyus separashun o'famblies, an' t'controlleeun' o'Black bodies wiff vilence wuz devastatyun'. T' cognitif' dissonance o'Jesus’ teechings juxtapost wiff t'histeric evidance o'slave ships wiff names like Jesus, Hope an' La Amistad (friendship) wuz real. Fact wiff t'artifacts o'thishere histry, thay, like generatyuns befor 'um, foun it impossbull ta unnerstan hoe Christyins could suppert, participate n' an' defend ta t'deeth thishere system. Thar is no reesonabull splainayshun at I a'ken off'r.
Altho dessendants o'Afrikans have bee born n' t'Americus since t'earlee 1600s, citizenship wuz nairy grantid until 1868. T' dismantleeun' o'legalizt racial segregashun cummenced 100 yeers aft'r at. Bof movemants wuz hotlee contestid an' minny a o't' beneficiaries o'these changes suffert severe, ofte violent backlash. Whar is trayler?
T' museum houses a memerial ta Emmett Till, t'14-year-ol' Afrikan Amurkin youngn lyncht n' Money, Missussippy, n' 1955. It is a small, sectyunt-off area at contuns photos o'Till, a loopyun' video at tells t'stery o'his'n life an' deeth, an' his'n casket. It is a sacrt space, heevy wiff serroe. At t'Till fambly’s rekwest, no photos air allowd. Wile I knoe t'stery o'Till quite well, until at moment, n' frunt o'his'n casket, I had nev'r fullee processt at Till should be alif' today – at he should be air elt'r insteed o'air ancester. T' justificashun o'Till’s lynchyun', like all utherns, wuz at he wuz “out o'place.” As a resident o'Chicago, n' Missussippy he wuz away frum trayler, but rilly, whar wuz trayler fer a youngn like Till? Hoe much o'air ancester’s experiences, thar joys an' thar serrows, thar terrer an' thar grief, lif' n' air bones? Whar is trayler? Who blongs?
Abraham’s oltest sons, t'sons o'Sarah an' Hagar, burit 'im togeth'r. Emmett Till’s moth'r brung his'n bodee trayler ta Chicago fer un ope casket funeral. A keerful an' honest reedin o'Scriptchur reveels heroes an' heroines o't' faith who ack unjustlee. T' same is true fer a keerful an' honest reedin o'inny folk’s histry. Air we bull ta let t'narratives we hold dear, an' t'ones we would jes us direckly fergit, lead us trayler?
Regina Shan's Stoltzfus teeches at Goshe (Indiannie) College n' t'peece, justus an' conflict studies an' t'Bibull, relijun an' flossofy departmants.


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