Sunday I am joining other community clergy and faith leaders in Burlington in a vigil to raise awareness, center ourselves, and hear the call to action that the recent shootings, largely motivated by racism and sometimes overt calls for white supremacy, give.
This morning, I read these words of Rev. Emily Heath of the United Church of Christ, in their work Courageous Faith, which speak to the heart of what I feel our still-speaking God is saying to me and, I think, members of my community who are white and can easily get by without engaging this issue:
“Tyrants succeed because of their ability to split people apart. By driving a wedge between two groups that could be allied for change, they reduce the obstacles to their own pursuit of power. To choose not to be divided, but to listen instead to one another’s stories, is an act of resistance. It’s a refusal to let oppressive voices shape the narrative, a commitment to finding the places where our interests intersect. The bonds of understanding we form with one another by hearing these stories allow us to remain united in the faces of disinformation and the distortion of truth. The better we know the stories of others, the more we can stand up and call a lie out as a lie when our friends and neighbors are being targeted. . .
” In the aftermath of Charlottesville [and other acts of racist violence], … the willingness of white people to stand up and reject the rhetoric of white supremacy has become even more important. Our testimonies must be offered in the public square, but must also be stated plainly in more private settings. We must speak the truth at our family gatherings when a relative makes a racist comment. When someone tells an anti-Semitic joke at school or work, we have to be willing to confront it. If a friend passes on misinformation as the truth, we have to be able to trust that a true friendship allows lies to be called out.”
Let’s all learn to speak and act our truth, especially when it points to our common humanity, and the worth of all people as God’s very own children, of boundless worth.
Your progressive redneck preacher,