Lection Connection - Spirit Sightings

September 30, 2018: Getting Out of the Way

From Ray McGinnis


Spike Lee’s new film, BlacKkKlansman, is a suspenseful true story about an undercover investigation into the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado Springs in the 1970s. Ron Stallworth (David Washington) became the Colorado Springs first African-American police officer in 1972. Stallworth’s first assignments were to infiltrate the Black student movement at a local university campus and record the speech of Stokely Carmichael, a civil rights activist who had participated in the Freedom Rides into the Deep South in 1961. In 1967, Carmichael and Charles Hamilton co-authored Black Power: The Politics of Liberation. By the early ’70s, Carmichael had taken the African name of Kwame Ture, in honour of two of his political mentors in Africa. Stallworth gets romantically involved with Patrice, an idealistic leader of the local Black Power student movement.

One day in 1979, Stallworth sees a want ad in the local paper inviting people to join the newly formed local chapter of the KKK. Stallworth poses on the phone as a white racist and is invited to meet some of the local members. Realizing he can’t appear in person since he is black, he convinces his colleague Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), who happens to be Jewish, to pose as Ron Stallworth for in-person meetings with the Klan. 

The impersonation works to a point, though one of the KKK members, the sociopathic Felix Kendrickson, is suspicious something is fishy about the white Ron Stallworth the Klan members are getting to know. The “white” Ron Stallworth attends shooting practice and a cross-burning ceremony. The KKK develop a growing animosity toward blacks in the Colorado Springs area, including Patrice. Stallworth – the black officer – and Stallworth the white officer Zimmerman, work together to abort a terrorist plot, in which Connie Kendrickson initially plans to plant a bomb at a civil rights rally.

The film disturbingly shows how hatred of people based on the shade of their skin can be fused with selective reading of the scriptures to create a toxic spiritual brew. The protagonists who seek to harm African-Americans in the film believe in their cause and the righteousness of their convictions.

Though the film highlights a successful investigation of the KKK in the late ’70s, it ends with footage of the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, West Virginia, on the weekend of August 11–12, 2017, which resulted in the death of Heather Hayer, a white student protesting the KKK and white supremacy. Spike Lee wants his film-goers to keep alert to the signs of the times.


Type: Comedy-Drama
Director: Spike Lee
Film company: Focus Features
Release date­­: August 10, 2018
Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace, Jasper Pääkkönen

Ron Stallworth (aka Flip Zimmerman) shows up at a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado Springs so he can officially become a member. The Grand Imperial Wizard, David Duke, has flown in from Louisiana, to perform the ceremony to welcome the new recruits. After the ceremony is finished, the real Ron Stallworth (black cop), who is assigned to David Duke by the local Colorado Springs police department, is concerned when a number of the more radical KKK members, including Felix Kendrickson, leave the building.


Explore…Mark 9:38–50 
What is Jesus trying to teach the disciples? What does Jesus mean when he says “whoever is not against us is for us?” Why does Jesus instruct “be at peace with each other?” Does Jesus teaching apply to all people, regardless of their color of skin?

 What is happening in Colorado Springs in 1979 in the film BlacKkKlansman? Which groups of people in the community are against each other and why?

What does your faith teach you about how to get along with people who are different than you? 


Prayer… O God, you have made each person to be a part of your worldwide community. No matter where we may find ourselves, you call us to be at peace with each other and to look for the best in others. Help us to set aside surface prejudices and know the heart of each person we meet, seeking to see the face of Christ in our neighbour. In Christ we pray. Amen. 


Read more… 

BlacKkKlansman is a savage satire of Trump’s America 

BlacKkKlansman, Reviewed: Spike Llee’s Vision of Resistance to White Supremacy

Send a question or note
[email protected]

Contact the Publisher