Black Girl Magic: Need, Truth, & Temptation
Excerpt from my workshop, "Black Girl Magic and the Temptation of Identity Idolatry" July 20, 2017
I chose the topic “Black Girl Magic” for two reasons: The first, because I was hearing so many differing thoughts and opinions about what this coined phrase stood for. There were also many people who had questions not only surrounding the meaning of the phrase, but with what our relationship with it as believers should be. Similar to sentiments around the declaration, Black Lives Matter, (and I’ll talk briefly about that relationship later), I found many in the church unsure of what even they thought BGM means.
The other reason, is because in engaging in these discussions, I realized I had a lifelong vault of my own unique experiences as one who is black, female, and elected by grace. Since childhood, my growing faith has interacted with my God-given racial and gender identities with a keen awareness, deliberateness, and if I’m honest, much tension at times. Many people who know of me now, know of me as a Christian writer, or worship leader, or someone involved in local ministry. However, before those things and alongside those things, my call, is advocacy. I spent high school, college, and post college years deeply engaged in the organizing and mobilizing of oppressed communities in the fight against systemic injustice. The conviction of my heart is for freedom. Freedom from sin, in ALL it’s forms and devices. I’ll call it out and fight it until my savior who has triumphed over sin and defeated death returns..
Before we go any further, I think it’s important to acknowledge the kingdom of God. The intention of God for us, as the people He created. We are His creation. He is our Origin. Let’s take a look at our beginning.
Genesis Chapter 1, we’ll start at verse 26.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
We can see that we were all made in the image of God for the glory of God. We know this because God said to man that He created to fill the earth. Today we find the earth filled with people of many nations. That means all people, in all countries, of all cultures, and all tribes, are made as they are by God– and in the image of God. That’s profound to me. We did not create our differences. God created our differences and calls us all His image – I’ll come back to that.
I mention in the workshop description that I believe the enemy, satan, the father of lies, is leading a distortion that is dangerous. However, before we get to that, we have to acknowledge the first assault was on this very truth – black women are made in the image of God. I'll say it again. Black women are made in the image of God. As all people are. Not in the inferior image that we have historical found ourselves labeled.
If you came here with an expectation for me to denounce the affirming phrase “Black Girl Magic” you may be disappointed with the content of this workshop. Cause that’s not what I came to do. My hope is that you would stay and consider the present and potential impact of this modern mantra within the historical context of the black woman’s experience, globally, and specifically in the United States of America. Whether or not you are a black woman so that you can understand and love your sisters well.
What This Is NOT:
This is not: an attempt to silence or stifle the celebration of black womanhood.
This is not: an attempt to discourage the affirmation of each other coming from within each other
This is not: To police the public display of affection for or appreciation of black women.
What This Is:
This Is: A decisive, confident stance to perceive both my blackness and my femininity as important and intended threads of identity that exist in submitted partnership with and reflective of my chief identity as disciple of Christ.
This is: A call to recognize the threat of nationalism present for every people group and the negative effects of tribalism on the building up of Christ church and His designed will for her.
This Is: A call to self-examination of your private beliefs and feelings about black womanhood in relationship to others and the word of God.
Let’s look at the origin of the phrase we are discussing:
Black Girl Magic is described as a social movement formed to uplift black women. The credited founder is Cashawn Thompson.
Thompson explains that black women around the world persevering despite the adversity inspired her to spread the concept of Black Girl Magic. With these women in mind, Thompson created the social media hashtag, clothing campaign, and rallying cry "Black Girl Magic", in the hopes of counteracting negativity society places on black women.
Word of God: Ephesians 2:
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
How do we fight the temptation to exalt our beauty and character above others? How do we affirm our identity unapologetically, holistically and righteously?
We do it by believing.
Believing - only God has given us a home full, and free of the burdens the world ascribes to these visibly distinguishable identities.
It is only God that knows and accepts and wants us completely and without waver.
It is only in God, not even in myself, where I find my created design’s purpose. And find it without a desire to be approved because of it or defined solely by my own or anyone else's interpretation of my design.
God, despite our natural inclination towards idolatry of ourselves, repeatedly rescues us from the sure, slow death of self-worship. God alone gives us the power to love by The Holy Spirit, and the Spirit, will continue to show us the way,