• Dr. Leah Fortson


Several weeks ago, while attending a #BlackLivesMatter protest in Downtown Los Angeles, I heard a statement that I haven't been able to shake.

A young person, 17 years old, took hold of the megaphone, and with a loud voice, proclaimed: “This is not the generation of violence, this is the generation of breakthrough.” Powerful words, right? Yeah, I thought so too. So much so, that I’ve been pondering that statement for the past several weeks. Captivated by a familiar word - a word I have heard time and time again. Breakthrough.

What is breakthrough? How does one experience breakthrough? And although this statement had sociopolitical implications, what might this mean for us individually, personally, subjectively?

Maybe you’re like me and have heard this word many times in religious spaces - “this is the season of breakthrough!” Perhaps you’re like me and immediately roll your eyes in response, because we’ve heard that before. Breakthrough has been co-opted, often by irresponsible faith leaders who have promised new homes, fancy cars, relationships and more generally a change in peoples’ circumstances. Maybe you're like me and that word has lost its substance. But in my recent reflections I’ve realized breakthrough isn’t just this overstated claim that has been hijacked by religious communities. No, in fact breakthrough literally means “a sudden, dramatic, and important discovery.” It is that ah-ha moment when we realize something so profound about ourselves, our society, our relationships, our circumstances, that changes everything. Breakthrough isn’t the change itself, it is the discovery that precedes the change.

Life is so unpredictable right now. Some days are beyond overwhelming while other days feel eerily uneventful. Regardless of what this season may hold for you, claim each day as an opportunity for breakthrough; an opportunity to consider the conditions of your life with an openness to a sudden, dramatic, and important discovery that might just be enough to inspire you to grow, to change, to evolve. I agree with that young person – this is the generation (the era, the time) in which breakthrough is possible for any and every one willing to be radically confronted concerning the status of their life.