What to do?
Many of you have asked me in the last several weeks, “So what are we going to do?” What I hear in your question is that you feel moved by God to create a different kind of world, where all people, regardless of skin color, experience dignity, justice, freedom and the opportunity to thrive. I wish I had all the answers and I don’t. But just knowing that we are asking the question together, gives me hope. This is where I pledge to begin and I invite you to join me in these three actions:
- Learn to See. In dozens of stories throughout the gospels, Jesus challenges us to see what we do not yet see. He heals the blind. He realizes that his followers, even his closest Disciples, do not “get” what he is saying to them. Faith is a way of seeing. And it is a life-long journey. We never arrive at the destination in this life. Some options the church is making available for us to learn to see better: We have published a reading list. We offered a class and we have book groups. You can view the class and learn about the groups at this link. Almost a year ago we began talking about sponsoring a workshop “The Open Table’s Anti-Racism Training” for our church board, staff and other lay leaders. It had been planned for this summer but we had to postpone due to COVID. Now we are rescheduling and because of the expressed interest, it will be open to all members and friends.
- Honest Conversation – Last summer I formed a dialogue group with four white women and four black women. Our dinner conversations have stretched my mind and heart. On July 26, I will offer a dialogue sermon with the co-founder of that group, Mary Lou Kegler, who is a black pastor from our sister congregation, Swope Parkway United Christian Church. In addition, the two of us have committed to leading a Human Rights Pilgrimage to Alabama as soon as travel is advisable and members of both churches will be invited to participate. But prior to that, we can begin to be intentionally in dialogue with our friends and family members about issues of race and justice that we each hold dear. We grow by honestly listening to each other.
- Prayerful Reflection – As I have suggested in sermons, we will not do this alone. This is a God-sized project. And it will take a God-sized dream. So it is time for us to pray and listen for the Spirit’s powerful voice. In partnership with a friend who has been Chaplain at both Yale and Harvard, I am assembling a list of films on matters of race that we can watch individually and together. And then we can reflect on the emotions, thoughts, feelings and ask what God would have us do. And as soon as it is safe for us to resume in person worship, I plan to worship one Sunday with our fellow Disciples at Swope Parkway and I invite you to join me. Prayer is the action that can lead us all to do what God would have us do.
Grateful to share the journey with you,
- Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America. Click here to submit interest.
- How to be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi, facilitated by Catherine Stark-Corn and Teresa Williams. Email Catherine if interested.