The soul work of examining racial justice aligns uniquely with MSUMC's mission and our statement of inclusion.
As your pastoral elder, I believe racial inequality to be a theological issue as well as a moral and biblical issue–it's not part of any liberal agenda and we're not trying to be "politically correct." Understanding the unconscious bias that shapes the way I live is a spiritual issue. And for me, it has been a powerfully freeing experience to examine how systems of bias not only work to the detriment of people of color, but also how they infect my soul.
In this work, we're all in it together. There will be no finger-wagging and judgement, we must all own the racial bias of our institutions and our hearts and seek to do better. I often feel inadequate to the task of understanding racial inequality and facilitating conflict but in my third year of ministry here, I hope you can give me the benefit of the doubt and trust my intentions.
I have been inspired to this work by Jesus, by the liberation theologians who have unpacked his message of liberating love, by wise teachers, civil rights leaders and colleagues who have proclaimed the dream and insisted that is our work as people of faith to build a world where justice rolls down like water, and righteousness, like an ever-flowing stream.
Audre Lorde wrote "to acknowledge privilege is the first step in making it available for wider use." So I'm excited we're engaging in this important work because being conscious of the role privilege has in our life allows us to leverage it for building beloved community; it promotes compassion for how others are impacted who don't fit into the norm that exists, or who are barred from the current systems. And unless we can see the ways walking around in white skin benefits those of us who do, we won't be able to understand the sometimes invisible and insidious legacy of racial difference. And unless we're able to see the systemic injustices based on racial categories and how we unwittingly participate in them (even if we don't want to), we'll never be able to dismantle the racism that hurts all of us.
Let us be blessed in this work, and let the work be a blessing to all.