by Andrew Draper, Taylor University, 8/8/17.
…Pursuing reconciliation … does not mean that having white skin is inherently sinful or that appreciating historically “white” cultural particularities is necessarily problematic. However, this is not the way white identity has functioned in modernity. Since at least the days of colonization, whiteness has been presented as the universal “good.” In this sense, “whiteness” names a way of being in the world, a sociopolitical order that is best understood as idolatry. Pursuing reconciliation demands that the altars of whiteness be cast down and its high places laid low.
Here are 5 practices in which white folks must engage if we are to seriously pursue reconciliation:
- We must repent for complicity in systemic sin.
White folks must repent for histories of slavery, subjugation, segregation, and a racialized criminal justice system…
- We must learn from cultural and theological resources, not our own.
Rather than gravitating toward books and sermons from “white” sources, white folks must listen to other interpretive trajectories on those tradition’s terms…
- We must locate our lives in places and structures in which we are necessarily guests.
Christian theology and ecclesial practice has often understood itself as being “host” to the world. White Christians often enter unfamiliar places not as guests, but as self-appointed arbiters of divine hospitality. How different it would be if white folks practiced withholding judgment about what is “needed” in specific places and structures…
- We must tangibly submit to non-white church leadership.
…White Christians desiring to practice reconciliation must not unilaterally start churches, plan worship services, design cultural events, and organize community activities and then invite “others” to them. Rather, white folks must join churches or ministry associations in which they are a minority and which are led by non-white folks.
- We must learn to hear and speak the glory of God in unfamiliar cadences.
If white folks practice being guests and submitting to non-white leadership, we will begin to hear God spoken about in ways with which we are not familiar. Rather than jumping to evaluation of previously unfamiliar modes of discourse, white folks must learn to “sit with it” for a while, to join in and experience the praises of Jesus in ways that may be initially uncomfortable…
#DMin LEAD 716