Date: July 5, 2018

To: Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America

“Decentering Power & Privilege: Becoming a Peculiar People”

Day’s Theme: I’m Coming Out

Title: (I am Coming Out) Shoot your Shot, Basic

Have you ever woken up as if out of a fog wondering who or what you are? I have had that experience. A conversation from the night before lingered in my mind and through my dreams, the gist of which was, how do I self-identify? Because as we all know others see what they see, but it is important that we be grounded in the knowledge of who we really are.

As I awoke, I thought of that poem by Aurora Levins Morales, “Child of the Americas.”

I am a child of the Americas… a child of many diaspora, born into this continent at a crossroads… I am Caribeña, island grown. Spanish is in my flesh, the singing in my poetry, the flying gestures of my hands. I am of Latinoamerica, rooted in the history of my continent: I speak from that body. I am not African. Africa is in me, but I cannot return. I am not Taína. Taíno is in me, but there is no way back. I am not European. Europe lives in me, but I have no home there. I am new. History made me. My first language was Spanglish. I was born at the crossroads and I am whole.

I remember reading this and thinking that’s me, but only parts of me.

There is more to me than my ethnic makeup. “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of God’s household.” I am no longer on the outskirts looking in. I am a member of GOD’s household.

The stone that the builders (or is it the settlers) rejected…  WE HAVE BECOME THE CORNERSTONE… you need us. We add depth and beauty to your ministry.  We add value and worth to your work.

They stumble, because they disobey the word.

My people, my black African my African diaspora people,

my native indigenous tribal people, my Latino Latina Latinx Hispanic and Spanish people,

my Asian people, yes you in the margins as well, we know that you know.

my often dismissed people, my people whose bodies and minds are often left in the margins unallowed and uninvited…

Once you were not a people (1Peter says), but now you are the people of God not because the oppressive system the establishment the conquerors the winners of wars and the loosers of battles have decreed it… but rather because God.  born man from woman born on the road between the comming and the going… a transitional baby a 1.5 generation baby who asked too many questions turned water into wine that was more better (and yeah i said it wrong i know) and it was more better than than anything our friends tasted today.  

The work of descentering power and privilege starts with being prepared with doing the work

with reading between the lines…

the inside cover of our program speaks to the themes that we have been covering

we are not all called to be the same.

we are not all called to the same work


or passion….

But we are called.

I am Rev Elly I am a child of the diaspora, born into this religiosity at a crossroads… I am Pentecostal and Roman Catholic by inheritance and tradition; I am Lutheran by baptism. And by my hearts choice and God’s leading, I am UCC. I fit. I am only me and I know that I am Taina and African and European they are not mutually exclusive they are intertwined and merged and united. I am only me and I know that (for me) my being means I am Christian, love GOD, and walk towards God’s purpose.

Who I am is not not mutually exclusive

or inclusive

they are intertwined and merged

some would say united in and by Christ’s love.

Sometimes to grow we must acknowledge the change,

the merging

The difference

and realize that there is so much more to who we are than just race or creed or color.

We are loved by an all- powerful GOD who knows who we really are.

And as members of GOD’s household, we are GOD’s children.

“Who are you,” you ask.

And, I loudly respond: “I am a child of God!”  

“Who are you,” you ask. And, I loudly respond: “I am a child of God!

“Who are you,” I ask. And, you loudly respond:

“I am a child of God!  

Then, that means WE ARE A PECULIAR PEOPLE.  

Because following a man who was hung for treason against an imperial leader who was unjust

that makes no sense

the narrative is told by the survivors after all…

Today I am coming out

as being tired

tired of the systemic injustice that affords us the privilege to invite others into our space

and find ways to  attempt to marginalize them still.  


I am coming out

as knowing my worth and knowing deeper still that there are insufficient funds for you to purchase me.  

My body is worth so much more than you can imagine.

My body was worth the death of God made man incarnate

blood dripping from him he died

The scripture says

a public sacrifice for me.  

I am worth that much.

They stumble,

the scripture says…

because they disobey the word which is Gods.  

And I today,

cast you out.  

Call you out,

inorder that we can enter in…


With deeper levels of authenticity

and trust.  

Because if you deny parts of me access into this space you would be incomplete.  A finger and an ear do not serve the same function.

One points the other listens.

I call you out.  That others may call you in.  

We are one community.

Let us pray: