Beloved St. John’s community,
We are continuing our six week introduction to a lifelong journey: Dismantling Racism through Jesus’ Way of Love. Our focus this week is “learn”: which means, to discover and share stories that uncover how we formed assumptions about race; and to connect those assumptions with sin, brokenness, and sickness. “Learn” also means to educate ourselves about what we don’t know about how systemic racism has continued to operate in our nation, even after slavery, segregation, and many kinds of discrimination are no longer legal.
“Learn,” of course, is also one of the seven practices of Jesus’ Way of Love. It means to connect our own stories with the Great Story of Judeo-Christian tradition: how God continually reaches out to us with love, and invites us to participate in God’s work to create the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.
For this week, here is what I invite you to do. I know it’s a significant investment of time—and I thank you in advance for your commitment to engage this learning, for the sake of beginning to repair the breach in our country resulting from 400 years of racism. This is a way to practice Jesus’ Way of Love for transforming our lives and the life of our country.
(1) spend daily time praying and reflecting over the following scripture, Micah 4:1-5, as a way to access the kind of learning God invites from us to create the kingdom of God on earth.
(2) As you keep in mind God’s invitation to learn God’s ways, do either or both of the following:
- watch the following 22 minute video by Robin DiAngelo, “Deconstructing White Privilege”
- Read from Robin DiAngelo’s book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism: Introduction; Chapter 2, Racism and White Supremacy (explaining the definitions and differences between racism, prejudice, discrimination, and white supremacy); chapters 4, 8 and 12 (explaining how whiteness operates in our lives and how those of us who are white can begin to address it).
- Optional: read the whole book if you can!
(3) Watch the following video by the producer of Veggie Tales, an 18 minute description of the national policies that have allowed systemic racism to continue to the present day, even though slavery, segregation and many kinds of discrimination are now illegal.
(4) Reflect deeply on 1-2 stories from your own life in which you unwittingly learned assumptions about race, even if the story is that you had no story—you never had deep relationships with people with a different skin color, for example. Ask God to help you walk through your week seeing how these assumptions and this experience continues to impact how you think, perceive, make choices, and live. Journal about this. If you’re willing, send snippets / quotes from your journal to me or to Rex McKee.
Thank you for your committed and caring practice of Jesus’ Way of Love in this way.