This week as I prepared the weekly prayer, I felt tired. We are tired. This has been an exhausting few month on some many levels for everyone. Sometimes it is hard to sort through all that is going one and how to process any of it.
I am not offering this week any solutions on how to make sense of the world. That will come with time. What I am offering is that we do not let go of those things that have emerged over the last couple of months. As we progress through this Liminal Season what the things we are going to carry with us.
I have a list.
You may have your list of those things that you want to hang onto or carry with you.
Here is my list of things I think we need to carry with us through these uncertain times.
Dismantling Racism – The Pandemic virus does not know the difference between rich and poor, color of skin or where you live. What we have learned is that because of our centuries of systemic racism that people of color have been affected in greater numbers by the virus. The deep pain of the centuries of racism has brought millions of people to the streets to protest, even at the risk of being infected, to say that we have to put an end to systemic racism that infects our communities. Let us continue to find ways we can learn and grow in our understanding of racism and depth of hurt and anger.
New Connections to people searching to be part of the faith community. As we have all gone online to for worship, Bible study and church life we have connected to new people, old friends, those who are seeking to be part of church and ministry. In our rush to get back into our building, let us not lose the opportunity to envision and do church in a new way. Going back into the way “things used to be” is not going to be easy or simple. In our rush to “get back to normal” let not lose or marginalize those whom we have new connections.
New Opportunities for being the church – The pandemic and stay at home orders has not cut us off from doing new things. Just the opposite it has opened new pathways for being the church in different ways or reaching out to people that we did not connect to before. Over the last months so many congregations have found new ways to serve, to do mission and ministry, to celebrate, to learn and to dive into those hard conversations. Our new normal is going to wild and crazy and wonderful. Let us not miss the opportunities to engage in the work of the Holy Spirit in new and wonderful ways.
Continuing the Opportunities to learn. There are so many opportunities to learn new things and engage in conversations. Last week I and the Presbytery staff announced that we would work through the 21 day Racial Justice Challenge. Some days that is the best I can do. I am making my list of books to read and online classes to take. My goal is not to let go of the new learning opportunities and at the same time not be overwhelmed.
What are is on your list of things to carry forward through this liminal season?
21 Day Racial Justice Challenge
Day 1. Read the PC(USA) churchwide anti-racism policy, “Facing Racism: A Vision of the Intercultural Community,” at facingracism.org.
Day 2. Study the Week One lesson from the Facing Racism Study Guide.
Day 3. Watch an updated version of the Clark doll experiment, which explores how early-in-life ideas of racial inferiority and superiority are internalized.
Day 4. Study the Week Two lesson from the Facing Racism Study Guide.
Day 5. Read the resolution of the 223rd General Assembly of the PC(USA) on environmental racism.
Day 6. Watch the Presbyterian Hunger Program’s webinar, “Impact of Environmental Injustice on Low Income and Communities of Color.”
Day 7. Read what youth at the 2016 Triennium learned about environmental racism.
Day 8. Study the Week Three lesson from the Facing Racism Study Guide.
Day 9. Choose a resource on the Doctrine of Discovery to read from facingracism.org.
Day 10. Watch the PBS documentary “Unspoken: America’s Native American Boarding Schools.”
Day 11. Take the awareness test. Go out and change what you notice.
Day 12. Study the Week Four lesson from the Facing Racism Study Guide.
Day 13. Read the Confession of Belhar. Reflect on how your church is using and living into it.
Day 14. Visit the Presbyterian Intercultural Network’s website. Connect with a chapter near you or inquire about creating one.
Day 15. Study the Week Five lesson from the Facing Racism Study Guide.
Day 16. Watch the TED Talk “How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them” by Verna Myers.
Day 17. Read “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh.
Day 18. Study the Week Six lesson from the Facing Racism Study Guide.
Day 19. Notice the structures and practices in your church. Raise questions about how they help or hinder racial equity.
Day 20. Engage: Suggest studying the Facing Racism Study Guide as a church or mid council to your leaders.
Day 21. Act: Commit to doing the challenge again. Invite someone to join you.