Foolish/Here We Are Again 

By Rev. TauVaughn Toney, Protestant Christian Chaplain. Sermon delivered Sunday, January 29, 2023

1 Corinthians 1:25-28 

1:25 For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. 

1:26 Consider your own call, siblings: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 

1:27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 

1:28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are… 

There is a saying that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over again and expecting a new result. 

Maybe I’m insane. Maybe I’m foolish… 

Because the last time I wore this sweatshirt was in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. 

I was expecting and hoping that the world would somehow be different. 

That the world would change for the better. 

Maybe I was naïve 

To believe that the statement and prayer of this hoodie would be answered. 

Maybe I am foolish because here we are again… 

Another Black person has been killed by the police. 

Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee, 

29 years old. 

He loved skateboarding and photography and loved ones say he marched to the beat of his own drum. 

Tyre was beaten to death by a gang of police after a traffic stop for what they said was reckless driving. 

Here we are again… 

With more video footage of the final violent moments of a Black man’s life 

A new age virtual postcard of a lynching packaged, promoted, and presented for the masses to see 

Tyre crying for his mother 

Begging them to stop 

Apologizing and trying to deescalate the situation in between each blow from an officer’s foot or fist 

He was just trying to get home 

Here we are again… 

Academics and Intellectuals have begun tweeting their favorite James Baldwin quotes 

Aspirational thought leaders have begun writing their think pieces on white supremacy, anti-racism, and anti-blackness 

Attorney Benjamin Crump has been called again to represent yet another grieving family 

People have taken to the streets for marches, demonstrations…parades and charades 

And those with any semblance of political power have issued their statements of sympathy in attempts to secure their political positions come election day… 

Institutions have sent out the same emails promising that they are here for us naming services and departments they entrust to support us 

Non-Black colleagues and classmates, those who are aware of the situation, are preparing their “how are you doing” and “I’m so sorry”s 

All while preachers and chaplains with pulpits mull over what and how to preach to their congregations, trying to find the words to inspire hope and engender faith for those of us who are losing it. 

Here we are again. 

The cycle feels a bit insane. 

The merry-go-round is starting to feel foolish. 

Those of us riding it are starting to look and feel foolish 

And some of us are ready to get off. 

Looking for God to stop the ride. 

Crying for God to put an end to the madness. 

So, we can be finished with this foolishness. 

Here we are again… 

Waiting for justice to flow like rivers and righteousness like ever-flowing streams. 

Where is the God of justice? Where is the God of Love and Mercy? 

Has God not heard our cries? Doesn’t that God know we are tired of the foolishness? 

Here we are again… 

Returning to that age-old question of theodicy that has yet to be answered: 

Where is God? 

Where was God? 

God, what are you doing? 

Where is your foolishness that the scripture says is greater than our human wisdom. 

Our silly human wisdom that believes that all police departments need is more Black cops 

Our foolish wisdom that believes that all we need is to “reform” troubled departments 

Our inane wisdom that may believe that since the officers were Black that this act of violence had nothing to do with race at all… 

Let us not be fooled by our own wisdom. 

God, where is your wisdom in the midst of our foolishness? 

Where is the divine weakness that this scripture says is greater than human strength? 

Where was it when Tyre was being beaten and killed? 

Where is it now when we feel so low and helpless? 

According to the scripture, 

God’s strength and wisdom chooses those who are low, 

Those who are despised. 

Those who are oppressed. 

Those who are untouchable. 

Those who are “the least of these.” 

Those who have reached rock bottom. 

Those who were not born with silver spoons or generational wealth. 

Those who the world regards as foolish. 

Those who the world does not listen to or even hear. 

God chooses us. 

God has chosen us. 

God meets us 

In our lowness 

Empowers us 

In our lowness 

As the scripture says, God has chosen what is low and despised in the world, the things that are not, to reduce to nothing the things that are. 

God chooses us and uses us 

To reduce to nothing the things that have pushed us down and kept us low. 

God chooses us and uses us 

To reduce to nothing the tools that have oppressed and brutalized so many. 

God chooses us and uses us 

To put an end to the policies and practices that have brought so many people harm. 

God chooses us and uses us 

To abolish the systems that have killed and continue to kill those who are thought to be low or less than, those who are despised and acquainted with grief, those who are just trying to make it home. 

Here we are again…will we do anything different this time around? 

A Litany of Atlanta W.E.B DuBois 

O SILENT GOD, Thou whose voice afar in mist and mystery hath left our ears an-hungered in these fearful days— 

Hear us, good Lord! 

Listen to us, Thy children: our faces dark with doubt are made a mockery in Thy sanctuary. With uplifted hands we front Thy heaven, O God, crying: 

We beseech Thee to hear us, good Lord! 

Thou art not dead, but flown afar, up hills of endless light, thru blazing corridors of suns, where worlds do swing of good and gentle men, of women strong and free… 

Bewildered we are, and passion-tost, mad with the madness of a mobbed and mocked and murdered people; straining at the armposts of Thy Throne, we raise our shackled hands and charge Thee, God, by the bones of our stolen fathers, by the tears of our dead mothers, by the very blood of Thy crucified Christ: What meaneth this? Tell us the Plan; give us the Sign! 

Keep not thou silence, O God! 

Sit no longer blind, Lord God, deaf to our prayer and dumb to our dumb suffering. 

But whisper—speak—call, great God, for Thy silence is white terror to our hearts! The way, O God, show us the way and point us the path.