Monday, March 1, 2010


5128 N Kimball:

The Sankofa Experiment

Well, here we are. Five girls embarking on, well, God-only-knows-what (literally). We all have at least two things in common: we love Jesus and believe in our bones that the manifested Kingdom of God can somehow better be illustrated through reconciled communal living. This is the foundation that is providing a launching pad for the rest of the year.

It’s our sankofa.

Sankofa is an African term that means “to move forward while looking back” or “to go back and take”. The five of us have all, at different times or instances in our individual journeys, recognized that we (again, as an individual and as a society or community) should move forward. Scratch that; the more appropriate term would be need. It is a dire necessity that we move forward toward living reconciled lives and being reconciled people. Individually, we have seen the necessity to walk and work out our faith in Christ “in fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12-13), learning what it means to live as fully reconciled women to God through the cross of Jesus. Communally, we have seen the ache of society for Jesus-followers to live full into the call of being reconciled to each other as children of God. The existence of insane, irrational and volatile racial tension that exists between people is one of the most apparent places where reconciliation is needed.

And I’m talking about within the Church.

Moving forward is one thing, but the term sankofa means to look back simultaneously. The two terms are inextricably wound together; one cannot exist without the other. There is no moving forward without looking back. In order to grasp or even have an idea of where one needs to move forward, a person or a community need to come to terms with where they have been. One does not exist in an isolated moment in time, and our culture does not wake up and start itself over again each day. We are a product of our past and a product of our culture. In order to move forward, we need to take a sober look at where we have been. We need to know what we are coming out of in order to clearly picture what we are walking toward.

To understand why an entire culture and community ache for liberation, those of us who are free must grasp the experience of oppression and bondage to identify fully.

To know what it feels like to yearn for equality, those of us who have never been overlooked because of our skin tone must begin to comprehend a consistent feeling of inferiority.

To know where to go, we must look back.

We must begin to understand what has been done so that we, as a community, can make changes to the assumed standards and traditions which have been laid in place.

This year, the ladies of 5128 N Kimball desire to exactly this. Through daily devotional time together, sharing resources and meals and committing to being honest and vulnerable with each other, we are seeking to live into the term sankofa more fully.

We want to know what it would look like to take loving our neighbor as a serious, non-optional commandment. We want to know what creating a new culture, a third culture, of love and acceptance that transcends all but soul, would look like.

We want to try.

We are going to experiment.

When God brought His people out of captivity and back into Zion, the Psalms say that the people were “like those who dreamed (Psalm 126 TNIV)”.

We are seeking freedom from our captivity and, much like the Israelites who found themselves held captive, we are aware that many of the chains that hold us down are a direct result of our choices.


We Want To Dream.

With that, we are entering this year with fear and trembling, anticipation and hope, and a whole lot of prayer.

This is our sankofa.

No comments: