“Dear White Christians,”
The title of Dr. Jennifer Harvey’s book, begins like a letter to most of us in the Iowa Conference UCC. “Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation,” is the book that our Conference staff are reading and will be reflecting upon in our blogs here during the season of Lent. Dr. Harvey is a Professor of Religion and Ethics at Drake University in Des Moines, IA and is ordained in the American Baptist church. Her book title, and her thesis contained within it, are intentionally provocative and specifically directed at people like herself: white, Christian, Protestant, and justice minded. We will have the great joy of welcoming her to our clergy education event this Fall, PRO2717-A Day for Sharpening, and reading her book right now is a great warm-up for that event!
I thought I drew the easy card when I saw I was up first in this blog series among our staff! I’d only have the expectation of opening the front cover of the book and just beginning the read for my entry here today. And although I have only just begun to read this challenging volume, I am already hooked and my soul is stirring.
I’ve finished just the Introduction and the first half of the first chapter, and I am so very thankful to be reading this book during the season of Lent, because I am stirred to repent. Ii is good that Lent is not just one day on our calendar, but a season of several weeks, because I believe generic paxil no prescription this depth of stirring and repentance is going to require some sitting and some praying time.
Dr. Harvey reminds us in her book of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s proclamation that eleven o’clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of the week (as cited in Harvey, Dear White Christians, 2014, pg.15). Harvey speaks right to us, Christians, about the power of that statement and our ideas of what ought to be done about it. She challenges our understanding of the “problem” of this persistent segregation in our churches. She pushes us beyond the “issue” of hospitality, which addresses who feels welcomed in our churches and our hopes and plans for racial reconciliation within our pews.
She pushes deeper, and asks more of us. If the “problem” we are called to solve isn’t about how to make our churches more welcoming to persons of color, but is actually about how to repair broken relationships, then, she asserts, the work we are called to is reparation, not hospitality or reconciliation.
I am only a few dozen pages in to this remarkable thesis, and I can tell from the tune that my spirit sings as I read Dr. Harvey’s words, that I am reading Truth.
I commend this book to you.
I ask for your prayers during this season of Lent, and I offer you mine. May we be challenged to ever more fully hear and heed God’s call to deeper relationship and more profound love with our brothers and sisters and with Christ.
Blessings for the journey,