Take a trip with us across the pond to the Swinging City, the Old Smoke, London Town.
In a bonus summer series, Roxy goes on a journey to see what’s what for seekers in other great cities, exploring the spiritual side of four favorite metropolises. First up is London, hosted by our top-notch tour guide, Chine McDonald.
Chine takes us through some of the twists and turns (and down a few of the dark alleys) of Christianity — and evangelicalism — in England. She gives us a glimpse into navigating race and racism in London as a Black woman and Nigerian immigrant. And we get a front row seat at a poetry reading.
Oh, yeah, and naturally we spill some tea on Harry and Meghan.
- Chine McDonald is the author of the new book “God Is Not a White Man” and is the head of community fundraising and public engagement at Christian Aid.
- Azariah France-Williams is a priest in the Church of England and is the author of “Ghost Ship: Institutional Racism and the Church of England.” He is also a co-host of the podcast “(G)race.”
The poem below is featured on the show and is written by Azariah France-Williams, who performs and writes under the name BraveSlave.
There is an old Jewish tale,
Which enriches my own of
Honi the circle maker, who sees,
A man who planting the seed of a carob tree.
Honi the circle maker
asks why, why plant something
which will benefit those who live
after you have expired?
The man replied,
I received the fruit
for which my ancestors fought,
so for my descendants
this seed, this thought will
feed them when I am its soil,
Hence I plant, I labour, I toil …
The government’s racial disparity report,
Arrived on April first, but I am not a fool,
The African child is divided from the Caribbean, in their school,
Just another example, of divide and rule.
An separation of an undivided identity …
leads to split personalities …
Altered destinies … broken harmonies …
Racial crimes of the past are said only to haunt black people,
So we should stop reciting,
stop inviting ….
the ghouls of yesteryear!
The problems of racism are still evidently here.
The authors argue against terms like white privilege,
And white fragility, instead it is simply, a bias of
The power imbalance, is hidden from the light,
As white dominance and prominence are hidden out of sight
If whiteness becomes an airborne pathogen,
black and brown folx gonna need some anti-racist Sanatogen,
The report indicates we can see the upside of slavery,
Because look at the product, it produced me.
The new narrative of how we came over
to make Britain Great, the empire!
It is that which should inspire, so
Let’s air brush, the gold rush,
for the sugar rush,
Black gold, were the authors of the report
Stone cold sober?
This was no mere foreign exchange,
Transatlantic slavery only one side gained.
The report says institutional racism is not a big factor,
In the heart of the matter,
Geography, religion, socio-economics
is the cause, job done, racism gone, cue the applause,
My mother could not freely choose the place where she could reside,
Her qualifications nullified, so diminished what she could provide,
As for the church this is where it hurts, religion simply lied,
It said she was welcome, but left her outside,
This report leaves black and brown people’s deeper needs unattended,
The state shield is removed, and we are all left undefended,
But my faith is in the ones whose pursuit of justice
may led to their execution, martyrs for the cause,
Of a cosmic solution, a pride of lions prepared to roar,
exit every tomb, walk through walls and locked doors.
The universal energy, love defeats all enemies.
Even if they kill you, and you never get to see
How the seed of your courage became
a Carob tree.
—Azariah France-Williams, 2021