|Dear People of Trinity,
We have seen an enormous international response to the sin of systemic racism. Like many of you, I have wondered what my personal response should be. Where am I being called by God to confront sin and evil in the world? (A sin and evil that perhaps I have even benefitted from?) Here’s what I do know: Sin and evil in our lives doesn’t just melt away. It requires the power of repentance, reconciliation and God’s forgiveness to be made clean. The first part of that always requires us to confront the sin. Even when it is uncomfortable. Especially when it is uncomfortable.
I began by having a conversation, along with other community clergy, with our city mayor and chief of police about just policing practices in our community. My work continues by listening to the ocean of voices that have made passionate and clear requests. Part of that listening includes educating myself about the framework of systemic racism that is interwoven in our politics, our schools, and even our churches.
This summer, I will be reading and learning as a spiritual practice. I would love some conversation partners if anyone else would like to explore these books. I am beginning with Ijeoma Oluo’s “So You Want to Talk about Race.” After that, I will be tackling Jennifer Harvey’s “Raising White Kids: Bringing up Children in a Racially Unjust America” and Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to Be Antiracist.” Please email me if you’re interested in reading and discussing one or more of these books. You don’t even have to be willing to discuss with other people. If you only want to talk to me – that can be arranged.
There are other church resources available in our area as well (see below). Space for prayer, space for training, space for processing. I continue to encourage you to be good citizens and safeguard the baptismal vows we made: “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? I will, with God’s help.”