Today’s Inauguration represents much more than a president-elect taking vows to become the next president. Today marks the Inauguration of a new America. For many people of color, America first shined with greatness the day a man of color took the same oath 8 years ago. That moment, for many, represented a decisive change in the conscience of America concerning its race relations. For many, the Inauguration of Obama was about more than simply a man becoming president. For liberal and conservative people of color alike, Obama’s Inauguration stood as a symbol for a grander Inauguration; an Inauguration of a new post-racialized America where people of color would be seen and received as equals. Then, the birther controversy began. White Republicans began to tear down Obama, his wife, and even belittle his children. Memes showed up comparing Obama to Hitler and the Joker. Other comments and photos showed up on the internet comparing him to a monkey and other racialized stereotypes. People of color quickly began to see that the inauguration of Obama did not represent a grander Inauguration of a post-racialized America, but rather simply a huge step in that direction, with still a very long way to go. The progression could not be denied. There is a huge difference between seeing a man of color getting bitten by dogs or hosed by officers and as the president of the United States. Obama was a symbol that America was no longer what it once was but was not yet what it could become.
This Inauguration is similar in scope, but radically different in principle. In many ways, people of color find themselves facing an Inauguration that has ramifications that transcend the man who is being placed in the office of Commander and Chief. As Obama ran on a promise that we would inaugurate change in America, Trump has run on the promise that he will bring back the Greatness of America, something that is defined as a reality before Obama’s message of change. Consequently, the America Trump desires to inaugurate is one where Mexicans are kept out, and blacks are placed back under the yoke of “Law & Order.” Trump appealed to white supremacy/nationalism and he promised to reinstitute its “glory days.” History shows us that the majority culture pursues power with the same tenacity that minorities pursue equality. Ultimately, there was no greater vision Trump could have given the white majority than a vision of Power and Supremacy. Trump won the masses. In an hour, we will all witness not only the Inauguration of a man into an office but the re-Inauguration of a worldview that has been the bedfellow of this country for centuries.
White supremacy has been the mistress of the of the majority culture church for centuries. It has been the bride of the culture since Native Americans were raped, pillaged, and killed. It has been Justice’s lover since black bodies were sold as property to whites and the often perverse yoke of bondage was placed around their necks. This Inauguration represents the re-embracing of the harlot of white supremacy that we as a country thought we had laid to rest. No, like the witch in the film Tangled she had beautified herself to hide her haggardness, but she has always been alive and active. She continues to dress herself in the garments of justice and woo souls away from love with songs of ideology. She has won herself a nation.
As we witness the Inauguration that is going to take place in 50 minutes; we, as Christians, have another Inauguration that we must focus on. Jesus Christ lived the life we could not live and died the death we could not bare. He was raised from the dead and with that inaugurated his own Kingdom which is actively pressing against the kingdoms of this world. Christ’s Kingdom is on the hunt to search out and eliminate the harlot of white supremacy and racism wherever she lurks. The gates she raises up to keep Christ’s Kingdom away will not prevail. They will be torn down by the power of the Gospel, the power of love. The true church of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom he has inaugurated through his life, death, and resurrection is the Kingdom that all his people belong to. The saint is a citizen of heaven. Their passport was stamped in the throne room of God and written in the blood of Christ who purchased them. We, as Christians can look at worldly inaugurations and ultimately not find our hope in them. We grieve the lostness of the world, but we know that ultimately, we have not lost but are on the winning side. We recognize that on this earth, kingdoms inaugurate men with titles such as president. We do so, however, recognizing that in our Kingdom, our leader was inaugurated as Lord. In 40 min. Some of us will watch Trump’s Inauguration. We will see cheering and applause as he is raised to a terrifying status of power. Social media will be flooded with comments concerning the hope and change they are looking forward to seeing in the coming years. I look forward to seeing change as well. 2017 will be a year of great things and massive growth and maturity as a nation. The difference for me is that I am not thinking of America but of the Kingdom/nation of God. I have no idea where this country will go and what it will mean for people that look like me. What I do know is that the Kingdom of God will advance. Souls will be added to it and saints will be growing in godliness. America has never risen to its potential and been a great nation and so there is nothing to go back to. My prayer is not that America will seek to be “Great Again”, but rather that it will look forward and seek to inaugurate greatness. The Kingdom of God, however, has never been anything less than great. I will give my life to her and let thoughts of her encourage me on this day.
You can follow me on Twitter @KyleJamesHoward. Also, check out my podcast “Coram Deo Podcast” which focuses on issues concerning Biblical Counseling and Practical Theology. You can search for podcast on any major podcast catcher, listen on the web here, follow updates @CoramDeoPodcast, or just click the artwork below.
Kyle J. Howard Kyle J. Howard currently serves the church as a biblical counselor. He is a student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he received his associate degree in biblical/theological studies and a bachelor’s degree in biblical counseling. He is finishing a graduate degree in Historical Theology and is preparing to plant and pastor a transcultural church.