About two months before I was wrapping up my time at my last appointment, a church planting residency at Union Coffee in Dallas, I was given a unique opportunity. I was connected with two young people in the community that were concerned about the ethnic diversity of our church and wanted to do something about it.
My mission, which I chose to accept: get these two young people together, sit down, listen to what they had to say, and develop a diversity inititative for Union.
I was prepared for the conversation, but I also really wasn't. My time at Union forced me to confront my privilege on a daily basis ... White, middle-class, over-educated, male, clergy, privilege. I check ALL the privilege boxes, just about. And here I was, at the table with a Latino American and African American, in a seat of privilege and tasked with handing that privilege (including my mic, when possible) over to two these two articulate, passionate, and gentle-with-me People of Color.
I was sensitized to racial issues and desensitized to my own feelings of guilt - also known as white fragility. This was a term my friends introduced to me as they started educating me on their stories as People of Color and the stories they came to know as people of Dallas, a city with its issues, but a city that is working on them.
One of the things I asked these two young people for in our first gathering was a list of resources, which I'm really just beginning to dig through, and top of the list is a podcast episode from The Liturgists:
This episode was recorded in March of 2016, but rings REALLY true given recent events in America that have further put racial tensions and presuppositions on display. They also give a good reading list.
We all have an opportunity at this time in America to reeducate ourselves to the plight of groups that have been labeled as 'minority.' Give this podcast a listen on your commute, on a run, however you might do it.
Listen, but don't get fragile about it.