It looks like the current divides in our world have something to do with history.
I once got into a conversation with a friend who was loudly complaining about people on welfare. As he ripped “Welfare Moms” I remembered that his own mother had been on welfare when he was a child after his father left.
Sometimes we attack others for doing what we ourselves have done or are guilty of still doing because amnesia is real. I’m seeing this in politics especially. Politicians accuse their rivals of illegal voting practices, pandering, and lying when they themselves – or their followers – have been caught committing such actions.
This is one of the reasons why it’s essential that we know our nation’s history and not for the sake of being smarter in general. It’s about our own spiritual and mental health. (Also our physical health. Read about ACEs here.) It’s not about being “woke.” It’s about being self-aware.
All this talk of “replacement theory” is ironic in that those who seem to fear being “replaced” in American culture have forgotten that once people who looked like Payton Gendron once displaced indigenous people. And some of the very people he targeted are descendants of those taken from their own lands during the first 200 + years of this nation’s history.
I wonder if people who identify as white are so afraid of being the minority because in our hearts, we know that minorities have not been treated well in our nation. Are we making a subtle confession here?
Acknowledgement and confession of sinful behavior is essential for spiritual growth. And what we are confessing here are both personal and corporate sins. (Maybe I’ve never enslaved anyone, but I’ve benefited from the system of white supremacy that led to enslaving non-white people.)
In my own theological tradition (Presbyterian/Reformed) we value confession as an essential part of the Christian life. Without confession, it’s hard to move forward and have a fresh start. Without confession, we are foolish and blind. Without confession we become what we criticize.
Personal examples: I really have a hard time with judge-y people and the truth is that I’m very judge-y. I am repelled by snobs and yet, I’m also a snob. I find people who don’t know how to read the room to be ridiculous and yet I’m often guilty of not reading the room.
Although I don’t always agree with posts I retweet, I agree with this one:
America was founded on Replacement Theory. Europeans literally “replaced” indigenous nations and took their land.
Are our attacks always confessions? Maybe not always, but more often than we think.