This summer a visiting pastor made a remark in his sermon that has stayed with me. He said it was easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than it was to think your way into a new way of acting. As part of a church that seeks to be missional and followers of Jesus, this hit me hard. Praying to be good servants, praying for compassion, praying for ministries t hat really serve is thinking your way into acting. And I’ve done it far too long.
Acting my way into a new way of thinking is going to be a greater challenge. If you act, you risk failure. Or perhaps even scarier, you risk success! Then what? I am a Licensed Professional Minister and the Adult Ed. liaison at an intentional home church in the DOC tradition. We are doing a study on racism, which has been interesting in a room full of white people. But at some point, study has to stop and we have to take on action. What are we going to do in response to what we have learned?
The most important thing, or one of them, I believe, is to be aware of our white privilege as we choose and carry out actions. What actions we take could have a million forms, but if we are not aware of our privilege and how that shapes what we are doing, our actions risk harming, not assisting in liberation.
I am the quotation queen and I have another one to go with this post and topic.
“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come here because your liberation is wrapped up in mine, let us work together.” (Lilla Watson)
As a traditionally white church (which is changing on a national level) we must be aware that our liberation IS wrapped up in the liberation of others. And we can study, be aware, and pray all we want, but until we begin to act our way into a new way of thinking, the old way will remain.
I can’t wait to see what actions come out of our study. This church has existed for more than fifteen years and has taken several prophetic stances and has always backed them up with direct action. This is an exciting time for me. This is an exciting time for the church, my little local one and the larger church…we get to act our way into a new way of thinking, aware that our liberation is tied up in that of others. Let’s go and do it!