A Wall for Jesus

I ask that you show my daughter whiteness is not a prerequisite for salvation.

A Wall for Jesus
courtesy of Jason West

Jason West is a husband and proud father of two girls. He currently lives in Las Vegas and is a medical student at UNLV School of Medicine. Find him on instagram at @jasonwest3

By Jason West

For the past three years we have tried to find a wall for Jesus in our home. What greater aspiration for our collective, embryonic minds than an image of the man who personified humanity’s capacity for good. The common portrayal of Christ as a Caucasian man with blue eyes reminds me of home. That same warm pool of blue I fell into while first looking into the eyes of my love and have never tried to swim out of. The same blue that made me cry on the morning of January 25th as my heart spilt over with love for a soul that had just made its entrance into the world.

The blue in His image doesn’t bother me, and I find the white provides it an excellent portrait. But what does it symbolize to a person of color when Jesus was a Middle Eastern Jewish man? Would we be incapable of appreciating His life if He had black eyes and His skin was a magnificent shade of brown?

Daily, my soul communes with a higher power. I plead to it. I demand of it. I beg to it. I sing to it. Jesus, my Savior, the walls of my home are yours. Find yourself a place to rest if you are weary. Make yourself comfortable. I only ask, if it isn’t too much, that you show my daughter whiteness is not a prerequisite for salvation. I demand that the strenuous yoke of racist holy men’s decisions isn’t laid solely on her shoulders. I beg that you teach her to wear her colored skin like the glorious gift it is. I sing to you the deafening song of millions who were made to feel less by the invocation of your image and name. Hear us, I beg.

The powerful words of Ileoma Oluo run through my mind, “Whiteness is a ledge you can only fall from.” Being mixed, I wasn’t surprised to discover my genetic makeup consisted of 57% European descent and 43% African descent. Our knowledge of everyone’s African descent, and my revealing genetic makeup, is nothing but the tinkling of cymbals against the arbitrary, monstrous ledge of whiteness we have construed as a society. A ledge in my youth, I tried to scale countless times and was mercilessly thrown from in my Christian community.

As an adult, I will continue to strive to find a wall for Jesus within my home. But unlike my youth, it will not be accompanied by the weary desperation and tears I experienced as I tried to claw up to that ledge. Instead, I have built a home at the base of that ledge. A home that is welcome to all that have fallen from that unobtainable projection. A home for all who have rejected that ledge and embraced humanity. My walls are ready for Jesus. He is ready. Is Christianity ready? I am standing at the base of that ledge, open-armed, ready to catch them.