In honor of the release of my new book project, Voices of Lament: Reflections on Brokenness and Hope in a World Longing for Justice, featuring 29 Women of Color writing on Psalm 37, I entered into a conversation with one of the book’s contributors and my friend, Lisa Rodriguez-Watson about the power of truth-telling and lament.
Why did you write Voices of Lament now? How can this book be a needed balm in our land?
Lisa: Lament is so critical in the process of healing. As we live in a quasi-postpandemic moment, we need to grapple with the essential nature of lament in healing. There is no shortcut to healing when living through injustice, harm, and ongoing grief. Certainly, there are ways to suppress or deny our pain, but that doesn’t bring about our healing. Failure to lament only leads to apathy and the perpetuation of injustice. The gift of lament is that it allows us to name the truth, to grieve, to hope, and then to heal.
Why are women of color uniquely gifted/burdened with the ability to lament? What can people of privilege and power—in particular, white Christian men—learn from women of color?
Natasha: What I have found amongst women of color—and I am a Black woman, specifically an African-American woman who is a descendant of the trans-Atlantic slave trade—is that faith has been an anchor for us. The lived theology of Black women in our country is one that leans toward: “Trust the Lord in spite of our suffering. God is the anchor for our soul, a very present help in time of trouble.” The church misses out when our theology is centered on how well we can debate. Women of color remind us of the reality that our theology ultimately includes what we do—how well we love and treat our neighbors.
The church misses out when our theology is centered on how well we can debate. Women of color remind us of the reality that our theology ultimately includes what we do—how well we love and treat our neighbors. CLICK TO TWEET
Women of color have shown that we have a deep and rich faith that has been refined because of our perseverance, our suffering, and our character, which has grown in light of those things. We are able to lead particularly when times are hard because it is not foreign to us. We don’t overlook suffering or run from it. We know we can’t escape it—we are vulnerable simply because of our gender and, of course, due to our ethnic identity. Thus, there are ways we can uniquely lead people who are experiencing darkness, vulnerability, or death for the first time. This is just a part of our existence.
Continue reading at Missio Alliance.