I have been considering what it might mean for me to follow Jesus in 2021, in the United States of America. How do we heal our hearts, our families, our communities, and our nation from racism and division? I wanted to share with you some of the commitments I am making in my life, perhaps some might be relevant to you. Numbers 4 -8 were originally developed by Bishop Rick Jaech of the ELCA.
- I will educate myself. I will read at least five more anti-racism books. Here are some that are on my reading list.
* Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race, by Debby Irving
* Me and White Supremacy, by Layla F. Saad
* Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation As An Exercise in Hope, by Esau McCaulley.
- I will build relationships with people of color. I have two Black friends. That’s not enough. I am now a member of the Snohomish County Chapter of the NAACP and am hopeful about building some new relationships.
- I will continue to meet with our Difficult Discussions group on Racism here at Pointe of Grace Lutheran Church. It is an excellent group and our discussions are challenging and good.
- I will strive to see and treat each person I meet as one of God’s beloved, even those whose words and actions are unfamiliar or even abhorrent to me.
- When my own fears lead me to mistreat or demean others, I expect those around me to confront me, and help me return to God’s way of compassion and justice. When I see another person mistreating or demeaning others, I will confront them lovingly and respectfully, and help them return to God’s way.
- I will oppose violence and will work to transform our conflict into honest, healing dialogue. I accept and support political advocacy, marches, and non-violent civil disobedience as legitimate means towards seeking justice within our democracy. However, violence such as we saw in the last year in some protests and responses to protests and the armed assault on the Capitol and our congressional leaders is never to be tolerated.
- In cases of violence, abuse, and injustice, I will particularly stand with those who are the most vulnerable and routinely mistreated. At the same time that I, as a white man of privilege, confess and work to change my own habitual racism, I must confront all forms of white supremacy and racial injustice.
- I commit myself to working as a responsible citizen, which as Martin Luther taught, is part of our Christian calling. This includes being involved in local city, county, and state projects, and also respecting and working with our elected national government.
I pray I can make a beginning in following Jesus.