A Necessary Journey

August 18, 2017

I’m at a time of transition. In preparation for the next page in my vocational journal, between packing boxes, and embarking on an interstate move, I carved out time to steal away, up a mountain, to pray. A cabin amid the treetops of north Georgia, near water, and mid-week calm. A Quiet Retreat for restoration and renewal.

Yet, in light of the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, the intention of this time shifted in me. It became, instead, a “DisQuieting Retreat. A time to discern my response to the reality of escalating racial unrest in our time.

It can’t be denied – the demonstrations and violence by white supremacists carrying torches, shouting slurs, and inciting fear, even bodily harm and death, make denial impossible and reprehensible.

So what am I, a person of privilege, to do?

What am I, a follower of Jesus, to do?

What I am, a teacher, preacher, and pastor, to do?

First, I have to embrace the truth that I have my own work to do, to better understand the reality at hand, and what has caused it. So, I took a few books with me for this time of learning. Books I’ve been accumulating, but not reading. Books written by folks who look different than me; who’ve lived a different experience than I have; who reveal more clearly the impact of privilege and White American’s obliviousness to it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Who are we?

June 18, 2015

As I awoke this morning I learned about the shooting that killed 9 people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC last night. Although there are many other things on my to-do list for the day, I couldn’t get my mind off this tragic event. As I sat with Facebook in front of me, I posted these words:

Surreace Cox, of North Charleston, S.C., holds a sign during a prayer vigil down the street from the Emanuel AME Church early Thursday, June 18, 2015, following a shooting Wednesday night in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

AP Photo/David Goldman

There are so many things about the shootings in Charleston last night that are troubling, infuriating, heartbreaking…demoralizing. This kind of hate is learned behavior, which means someone, many I’m afraid, are still teaching it. It’s a perpetuation of learned ignorance that is reprehensible! There are many who don’t want to talk about these types of issues.

AP_CHARLESTONSHOOTING_150618_DG_4x3_992

AP Photo/David Goldman

There are many who don’t want to talk about these types of issues. They see these acts of violence as isolated incidents that don’t reflect the broader reality. They want to hold onto the belief that “we have come so far.” But, to look at this incident and not see how far yet we still have to go, is to walk around in denial. Hate breeds hate; fear breeds fear… and it’s not what we are called to as having been made in God’s image.

Today we pray and mourn, but, if tomorrow we do not act, then who are we?

 

Shortly after posting this, I turned on the news and learned that they had caught the suspect: Dylann Storm Roof, a 21 year old white man. Dylann-Roof-351x254Twenty-one – a time in life when one’s convictions are untouchable and impulse control is weak. Yet, it seems there may have been points along the way when these convictions could have been assuaged. Read the rest of this entry »

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