When FBC was in kindergarten, we got a note after school from his teacher that shared this information:
“___ might be especially hungry when he gets home because he refused to eat lunch. We had a pizza party and he said that he couldn’t eat that pizza “for political reasons.”
FBC lived by his convictions from an early age.
There are many things I do or don’t do for “political reasons” but mostly those choices have deeper roots. My hope is that my “political reasons” for doing or not doing something is more deeply based on “spiritual reasons.”
I just registered for the 2020 National White Privilege Conference in Mesa, Arizona and one of the preconference classes is Racial Justice as a Spiritual Imperative. One of the things I am trying to be is consistent in my life. I want to live according to the broader message of what Jesus teaches (love your neighbor, love your enemy, love Jesus more than other stuff) and part of Jesus’ message involves doing ministry on the edges.
Jesus created community with all kinds of people beyond his own cultural boundaries: foreign women, tax collectors, “unclean” folks. In the United States today, we white people have built a boundary around ourselves that we don’t even notice or acknowledge.
“White” is normative for us. We make sacred assumptions that white = better, smarter, more successful.
White supremacy is the foundation of our nation’s history from how Europeans treated the native population to slavery and Jim Crow and – today – how we see immigrants. But most of us do not realize much less accept this. We make sacred assumptions that things were better in the old days. We forget that this great nation was built by people of color.
My faith in Jesus teaches me that I need to understand these hard truths. My faith in Jesus teaches me that I need to learn from people of color. My faith in Jesus reminds me that we are all human beings created in God’s image. It is a spiritual imperative that I address racial injustice.
Some of us do not eat meat for spiritual reasons. Some of us tithe our earnings for spiritual reasons. Some of us do not drink or swear for spiritual reasons. Some of us volunteer at soup kitchens for spiritual reasons.
If we living out our faith, it shows up in what we do and what we don’t do in our everyday lives. And I want to be clear: this is not about check lists and using the Bible as a weapon to chastise each other. It’s about spiritual disciplines that help us grow as followers of Jesus.
What do you (try) to do or not do for spiritual reasons?
Image from the 21st National White Privilege Conference to be held this year April 1-4 in Mesa, AZ. It’s important work. I’ll be there for spiritual reasons.