On why my boys make me cry


My daughter does not, but my sons make me cry. With her everything is new. I have never been a young girl wanting time with her father. I never asked my dad to sing me a song, dance with me, or come to a ballet performance. My boys disorient me. Every request is tinged with memory. Today my son stood in front in his school for a Christmas play. He scanned the audience as youth are wont to do. He was looking for his dad. In the days and weeks leading up to his performance, he had reminded me time and again. Friday 10 am. I was there, but I was also in Huntsville, Alabama scanning the crowd for my father. I could not find him. So there are tears, but they are gospel tears. Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! Sometimes it feels like all the prophecies of restoration are happening in my home in a moment. I can’t speak on how you obtained your family, but Jesus gave me mine.

There is a third time and I feel it too. It presses on me. I consider those who scan the crowds and find no one. Worse yet, after their plays they walk themselves home down streets that are a danger to them.

This is why I feel such profound sadness when other Christians tell me that African Americans need to worry about fixing fatherlessness or whatever concern they feel needs to be addressed. I want to speak to them about the times we inhabit. Many of us went to college, got graduate decrees, and pursued doctorates expressly for that purpose. To bring about change in the lives of those society finds it easy to forget. Some mourn for the best of us. Tamir Rice, 12 years old and innocent. I also weep for the guilty. I mourn for those with criminal records and all the wrong pictures on the Facebook profiles. To say that there was no hope for them is to say that there was no hope for me. Previous sins do not make one a candidate for present injustice. It makes you a candidate for a great testimony. I know because I have one.

Published by Dr. Esau McCaulley

Esau McCaulley is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. His research and writing focuses on Pauline theology and the intersection of race, Christian identity, and the pursuit of social justice. He is also a priest in the Anglican Church in North America where he serves as Provincial Director for Leadership Development, which involves oversight of the recruitment and formation of clergy and lay leaders. He is one of the creators of Call and Response ministries, an organization committed to hosting conferences and creating resources for Black and Multi-Ethnic churches.

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