a meditation on race, repost

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.

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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

dwells secure?

A ground on which one’s integrity,

the maintenance of that identity,

is assured?

 

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

liberal-minded goal

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,

or rather

believe about “them”, about “those people”?

 

Or is race a thing from which to run from ourselves, refusing to be identified,

vilified

by our race, in fear of rejection

and isolation

by the prejudice that prejudges without benefit of information

about us?

 

Or is race

a thing from which to run from ourselves, fearing to face

our prejudice

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

human…

 

So Jesus told the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

An essential element of a life of justice and compassion

is our knowing

our neighbor

and honoring

our neighbor,

who is anyone

and our being a neighbor to everyone.

 

Then why,

O why

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.

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2 thoughts on “a meditation on race, repost

  1. Paul,

    I love repostings because they always cause you to reflect in a different way. I remember the original and love this one too. So many questions about what RACE IS. So I’m curious, did you by any chance share this with the Race and Reconciliation committee? I ask because it’s certainly a piece that could stir an amazing discussion. Thanks as always for providing material for us to reflect on. Given what is going on in our country, this is an outstanding and timely post. The committee is most fortunate to have you as one of its members. Go forth and conquer!! Love you and your advocacy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Loretta. Your encouragement means more to me than I can say!

      No, I didn’t share this with the R&R Committee, for this past weekend’s retreat was focused on team-building and planning. (At some point, I will, I think.) I did share it, though in original prose form, with the Epiphany, Laurens, community today via our monthly e-newsletter.

      And, yes, given what’s happening in our country with heightened racial tension, the times are perilous. I pray, Lord knows I pray, that we, each and all, can and will find another, more excellent way (one rooted in and flowering with love)!

      Love always and in all ways

      Liked by 1 person

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