Sunday, August 11, 2013

(A striving to be) Anti-Racist Faith Community's Post Trayvon Response

Christ Congregational Church UCC on Colesville Road in Silver Spring, MD is a predominantly White, liberal/progressive Christian Congregation.  I have had a chance to visit with them on a few occasions-- including an opportunity to preach and to be a part of their anti-racism work.

Their Pastor, the Reverend, Dr. Matthew Braddock has the privilege of leading a congregation that is serious about their obligation to become and model an "anti-racist congregation."  They are as clear as any congregation that I have encountered about this issue.  In response I have two words:  Don't Stop!!!

Below is one of the most compelling, courageous, loving, and prophetic sermons that I have heard in the wake of the post Trayvon/Zimmerman events.  This is a message for all of us, but particularly for our white sisters and brothers who are also disturbed about race and other ism's that divide us and keep us from being the "beloved community."

Who wants to be a part of the miracle?  My hand is up.  Is yours?


Quotes from Pastor Braddock's Blog Below.

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"Trayvon Martin has become the face of all these feared and often-nameless young men. Whatever the circumstances of his death, I think Trayvon became a victim of fear, paranoia and the will to power. He became a casualty of our death-dealing love of guns and our inability to think of a different way to confront our differences. I think Trayvon became the latest in a long line of young African Americans to die as a scapegoat.  
Before we proclaim good news to anyone, we need to start paying attention to what kind of good news they need. I think our African American sisters and brothers need to hear some good news from Whites. As a faith community, we can start some difficult conversations about race in order to uncover truths that can lead to powerful change. I know we want to think racism is behind us. My listening over the past week indicates to me that it isn’t. So it’s time for us to listen deeply. To reach out sincerely. To think of creative, non-violent strategies for reconciliation. My favorite non-violent response to the death of Trayvon Martin comes from Tom Crabtree, a football player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He tweeted, “How cool would it be to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night.”

"When it comes to awareness of discrimination, as a White person of privilege, the problem is not whether I love people who are different than me. The problem is whether I unknowingly participate in and benefit from systems of racism. I need to admit that I have an inner, self-righteous George Zimmerman who has inherited a whole bunch of stereotypes and fears. When I allow myself to take part in an “us versus them” system, if I insist on justice for wrongdoers and forgiveness for myself, then I run the risk of denying my participation in brokenness. There can be no reconciliation within myself, forget about with other people. If I simply denounce violence instead of using it as a mirror to see inside of myself, I’m just externalizing the problem onto a societal scapegoat."

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