It’s been hot here in Stanislaus County. It’s also been hot in Charleston, South Carolina. And it’s gonna keep on being hot. In fact, the weather between these two geographies looks very similar. Mid 90’s to 100 degrees during the hottest parts of the day. On Wednesday June 17th, the day Dylann Roof sat in a bible study with members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church before opening fire and killing nine people, it got up to 99 degrees.
Our country’s national temperature regarding race has always been high, at times it peaks over into boiling–at least, in terms of news coverage and how much white folks are actively thinking and engaging with topics of racism on a daily basis, like police brutality or church shootings. I think we can agree these past 8 months have been boiling.
It is easy in these days after something like the shooting at Emanuel AME Church for us to want to “do something.” We want to ‘do something’ so we can quell the intense discomfort we feel as we “peer into the abyss of the depraved violence that we do to each other and the nexus of a just gaping racial wound that will not heal, yet we pretend doesn’t exist.”
But I would like us to invite us to try to stay in the discomfort. The work of liberation–for black folks, brown folks, for white folks–is not a sprint–it’s a marathon. What are on-going, sustainable, long-term ways we can engage? What does racial justice have to do with your own spiritual growth and personal liberation? Some folks in the congregation have been participating in the small group ministry Beloved Conversations, which focuses on anti racism and spirituality. Another kick-off Beloved Conversations retreat will be offered in January 2016 at the UU Oakland Church, on one of the last two weekends in January–mark your calendars! More info to come!
Here are some things to do:
- Check out http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/ and consider joining their national call at 5pm PST on Friday 6/19. Sign up here: http://myaccount.maestroconference.com/conference/register/80Y9U3OJ1UN28CK
- Here is a one hour talk with Rev. Dr Jennifer Harvey, who wrote the book “Dear White Christians…What Now?” The book is geared towards our sister predominantly White, progressive protestant churches, so you will need to do a little ‘translating’ for our UU context. Culturally, we share much with these sister congregations and I find everything Harvey says applies very much to UU congregations.
I look forward to worshiping with you all this Sunday, with ONE service at 10am–being with you all fills my being with hope even in the face of overwhelming injustice and violence. We will be honoring All Kinds of Papas, exploring how we can support our fathers, brothers, and sons to live out liberating masculinities.
P.S. This is my last Sunday in the pulpit before I attend our General Assembly next week and take four weeks of vacation and study leave. I return on Tuesday July 28th and am back in the pulpit starting Sunday August 9th.