TweetBelow is an incredibly brief processing of the conference I went to a few weeks ago, “Amazing Grace,” the Cleveland Archdiocese’s Forum on Race and Faith….
I recently had the pleasure of attending a conference, “Amazing Grace: The Diocese of Cleveland Forum on Race” two weeks ago. There were provocative keynote addresses and rich breakout sessions to discuss the impact of race in our world and in our faith.
How race and ethnicity affect our world is a complex matter and there’s no way to address such complexity in a few hundred words. The most effective and powerful way to address the sin of racism in the church and in our world is to cultivate two paths of understanding: the path of self-awareness and basic functions of racism itself.
We all come from stories of belonging and exclusion. All of us. All of our stories can be told with moments of pain and forgiveness, just and unjust conditions, but our commonality ends there. We are incapable of knowing the details of how discrimination has impacted others through power and privilege. It is not our responsibility to know every single story, but it is our responsibility to understand and believe that the world runs on a system that normalizes, standardizes, and distributes resources based on a racialized lens. Poverty, violence, and injustices often come to the most vulnerable and least protected. These are often communities of color who are disenfranchised by society. To deny this fact in our faith is to deny the message of Christ.
Jesus’ order to “love one another” is a clear, holy, and discomforting commandment. It love, to truly love one another is not to pretend we are all the same, it is to regard one another with radical humanity, fully embracing the differences between us. We are called to love one another. We are not called to be a “post race” mentality or be color blind to the reality of the shades of our skin.
To live out this commandment, it is not enough to love others the way we want to love them. Racism pushes communities to look for sameness and present difference as frightening, wrong, and unlawful. Love defies all these tendencies. But it must begin with understanding that love in action, us humans trying to live out God’s love will make us uncomfortable. And that discomfort is a blessing.