How does race affect your daily experience?
Until recently, I would have said, it doesn’t. But as I learn more about perspectives and experiences that are different than mine, I would say, that being a white woman seems to lend me the benefit of the doubt in most of my daily interactions, and therefore I tend to be pretty free to move throughout my day with little concern or hinderance, and usually even help from those around me, if I ask for it. I don’t have to worry excessively about whether or not I will be without resources, support, or being misunderstood, mistrusted, or mistreated. Of course the there are normal agitations in a typical day as I interact with the world around me, but as I am learning my normal everyday common agitations are minimal, and that minimum, is privilege.
How should the gospel should impact our understanding of race?
I think it should remind us of God’s intentional, beautiful, grace displayed in how he has made all of us, in his image, infinitely valuable, yet weak, broken, poor, vulnerable, and equally in need of a savior. A Savior who left heaven’s perfection to meet us in our broken messy struggles to save us, to care for us, to restore us, and now by his power and love, alive in us, we are called to give our lives to do the same.
How can the church engage in racial reconciliation?
#1 Growing in knowing and loving Jesus, which will then teach, equip, and compel us to lay down all that we think we are entitled to, for the sake of God’s name being made great, and our joy being more full as we hold on to him alone for comfort, peace, joy, hope…
#2 Pursuing friends that are different from us. Taking an interest in others, not just wanting to be known by others but wanting to know them. Hearing about their experiences, taking ownership of our sin and ignorance, repenting to one another and to God, for how we have chosen and loved ourselves over others. Humbling ourselves, admitting our own weakness, not taking on some kind of a God complex because we want to be involved in racial reconciliation and caring for the poor. Talking, laughing, crying, supporting, praying, eating, playing, celebrating, TOGETHER!!
#3 Letting go of and using resources, that God has given us, to provide resources for those around us to be equipped to thrive. Such as tutoring academically and discipling young people in God’s word and love, encouraging and affirming who they are created to be. Volunteering in organizations that train people in gaining employment and life skills, Teaching someone skills on your own. Helping to support young parents to care for their families, by loving their children with them and encouraging those parents to press on (Titus 2, teaching those younger, to love their spouse and children), supporting local businesses that need more capital to maintain their businesses and personal income (even if those stores aren’t as shiny, and don’t have 50 of anything you could possibly want)… I am so aware that I have very few answers, and that so much more than this needs to happen, but these are just some of the convictions God has put on my heart. And in Jesus’ active love and care for all of us, through his church, we will all grow in loving, trusting, and following him all for His glory, and our good!