Pastor’s eNote: Racism in America

There’s a low boil in our nation and the heat is rising. The heat comes from many things; anxiety, fear, hate, fury, and more. We’re at a turning point in America and which way we turn depends on how we choose to rise to this occasion.

I shared a documentary I watched. It was about the low boil in America, getting higher and hotter. A time when race, politics, war, poverty, and religion were all people talked about. They were “mad as hell” and were not going to take it any more. The documentary was about the year I was born. [Read A Very Tense Year in America.]

A cycle occurs, it seems, every so many generations; a major event, enlightenment, action, support, salad days, complacency. Complacency is when we get a little too comfortable and fail to notice or fail to admit noticing the backslide going on all around us. Three steps forward retreats one, then two, steps back.

WE are responsible for the next three steps forward. And preventing, wherever possible, steps back.

What can I do?

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There you have it. Jesus gave us the mission statement for living in this world as God’s Planned community. Not a goal, not a guideline, but requirements for bringing about the peace and justice we sorely wish to make happen for our children’s children.

Certainly we are not where we were with matters of race, justice, fairness and equality in America at its founding. And I hear a lot of unrealistic judgements that somehow miraculously, those people in that day should have fixed everything that’s wrong in the world “for us”. Folks, we know that’s not how it works. Every generation is expected to do its part to bring us closer to the Garden, not further from it. I’m a student of history. I appreciate what those generations have endured and accomplished. It would be wonderful if we were further along. America had to start somewhere. I am forever grateful and humbled by the hard work and sacrifice of life, liberty, property and reputation that our forefathers and foremothers offered to ensure future generations would live better than they.

Are you so willing?

We must start somewhere. Let’s commit to begin by learning what racism looks and feels like from perspectives other than our own. We will have a summer reading book club, one book per month. And meet to discuss the book.

The first book is Holding Up Your Corner by Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson

Summer Book Club will meet Wednesday, June 17th at 7pm at Sprucetown UMC. The fellowship hall is air conditioned. Coffee, tea, and light refreshments will be available. Any and all CDC guidelines for a small group meeting will be followed.

July Book Club Read – The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict from the Arbinger Institute (2nd Edition) Date, location and time tba

August Book Club Read – Following Jesus: Finding Our Way Home in an Age of Anxiety by Henri J. M. Nouwen. Date, time and location tba

The July and August books and meeting locations/dates tba.