Last June at the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) our Co-Moderators, Rev. Denise Anderson and Rev. Jan Edmiston challenged each presbytery to address the sin of racism in a more intentional way than it has in the past. Toward that end, the Presbytery of Geneva, of which we are a member congregation, has formed the Anti-Racism Work Group. One of the Group's first efforts is to support the Co-Moderators' suggestion that we all read Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving.
I have read the book and highly recommend it to you. The author is someone who has dared to look at how she unknowingly contributes to perpetuating racism and gently yet firmly challenges others to do the same. Her chapters are short – four to five pages – and each contains a thought-provoking description of a step she has taken toward becoming more aware of the role racism has played in her white, middle-class, New England life.
In the introduction the author writes, "For years I struggled silently to understand race and racism…I didn't understand why, if laws supporting slavery, segregation, and discrimination had been abolished, lifestyles still looked so different across color lines. Most confusing were unwanted racist thoughts that made me feel like a jerk. I felt too embarrassed to admit any of this, which prevented me from going in search of answers."
If this statement feels familiar to you, I hope you will find the book a safe way to begin searching for answers. If you think this book does not apply to you, I hope you will give it a look so you might understand what others are struggling with.
We are all God's children. Let us work to destroy the barriers that keep us from loving our sisters and brothers.
May you know the joy of being God's child,
Temporary Part-time Supply