I am honored to serve as a member of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina’s Race and Reconciliation Committee. The initial planning and team-building retreat was held on Saturday-Sunday, August 27-28, at Camp Gravatt, Aiken, SC.
In the light and shadow of my immediate post-retreat reflections, I repost a meditation on race (here, revised more lyrically, for this is how the words willed themselves to be heard by my heart this day) that I wrote on my blog page on August 13, 2014. The sentiments herein continue to represent my sense of things.
What is race? A thing to run? If so, how?
A thing to run toward as a shelter of safety
in which one’s identity
A ground on which one’s integrity,
the maintenance of that identity,
Or is race a thing to run through to get to the other
side to stand with “the other”
so to see one another
through the lens of our common humanity,
as in that generation ago
of a color-blind society?
(A laudable ideal in theory;
one, however, beset by an insoluble reality:
Even when color-blind, we still see black and white. Thus, we can’t run through race
to some mythological place
of color unconsciousness.)
Or is race a thing from which to run, afraid of “the other”,
conscious of what we’ve been taught and learned,
and so consider,
believe about “them”, about “those people”?
Or is race a thing from which to run from ourselves, refusing to be identified,
by our race, in fear of rejection
by the prejudice that prejudges without benefit of information
Or is race
a thing from which to run from ourselves, fearing to face
our prejudgments of others based
on evidence other
than what we can garner
only through our encounters personal,
our engagements with individuals?
Race. A thing to run? No. Rather a thing to be
as an expression of diversity…
A diversity – seen from a theological perspective of divine intention
and from an anthropological point of view of the creation –
paradoxically, best shown
and seen as one.
For there is but one race, whose name is holy.
And that race is wholly
So Jesus told the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
An essential element of a life of justice and compassion
is our knowing
who is anyone
and our being a neighbor to everyone.
do we, in fear, still divide
ourselves one from another,
color by color?
Despite our ideals greatest
and intentions best,
our history and sociology
continually trump our theology and anthropology.
Let us pray
and struggle still that we may find a more excellent way.