Shauna Pilgreen and her husband Ben Pilgreen, are good friends of my husband and I. They lead and Pastor Epic Church in San Fransisco, CA. Shauna shared a powerful post on her blog a few days ago about her journey in the conversation on race called, Can We Go Deeper and Wider? This, as a follow up and next step to that post. So if you can, go on over and read her original post here.
A Long & Slow Work
How can we begin to go deeper and wider when it comes to racism and racial injustice in our country? We must first understand that this is a long and slow work. Going deep and wide in this area will not be a 4-step process; it will not be a list of things to check off. Instead, this will be a beautiful and hard time of standing before the Lord as you are and allowing him to heal areas in your life you never knew you needed to give to him before. This is good work. This is holy work. This is a work that will transform us to be more like Jesus and see his kingdom come to earth, as it is in heaven.
Family Of Origin
Secondly, going deeper will mean we will have to slow down and take an honest look at how our individual family of origin stories have shaped how we relate to one another. Take the time to think, process and write down answers to the questions below. Doing so will help us to name, and then deconstruct untrue and unhelpful thought patterns. Answering these questions may lead to feeling a sense of embarrassment or shame. As hard as it may be, fight every urge to run away from that discomfort. Instead, allow the discomfort to turn you towards the Lord (and others) in confession and repentance. Repentance is turning away from that which is pulling you away from the things of God and turning towards the heart of God.
Questions for Reflection & Journaling
My husband and I use the following question when trying to help people understand racism in their context. Consider this as you do this slow and important work of going deeper:
Growing up, how did my family talk about these groups of people? What messages (spoken or unspoken) did I receive about these groups of people?
- Black people
- White people
- Asian people (East Asian, South Asian, Asian Americans)
- Latino/a/Hispanic people
- Native American people
- Middle Eastern people
Listen & Learn From People Who Have Been Doing the Work
Finally, while we continue to go deeper and learn more about ourselves in this area, it’s important to go wider to listen and learn from those we may not learn from often. While it is important to talk to our Black and Brown friends that go to our church or that go on the same jogging path as us, it is crucial to listen and learn from others as well.
Going wider means discovering the voices that have been wrestling with this issue for some time and learning from them first. There are voices that have been teaching and writing and podcasting about race issues for years. These voices are a wellspring of information, insight and wisdom. Be intentional to seek out these voices, listen & learn from them, subscribe to their emails, buy their books, listen to their talks and podcasts. In doing this you widen your own perspective as you seek the heart of God.Going deeper and wider is hard work; it’s uncomfortable; it’s holy work; it’s transformative work; it is the work of discipleship and it is good. Click To Tweet
Remember, you are made in the imago dei, the image of God, and so are others who look nothing like us and live different lives than we do. With our hearts turned towards the heart of God, God will turn our hearts towards each other. Let’s not be afraid of the discomfort and pain, instead let it be the beginning of healing us and our nation. Going deeper and wider is hard work; it’s uncomfortable; it’s holy work; it’s transformative work; it is the work of discipleship and it is good.