This past Sunday we concluded our series, Holy Listening. My hope was that we would practice listening—listening to the voices of people of color, listening to our own discomfort and narratives, and listening for God’s voice in the midst of it all. It was challenging. It raised many more questions than it answered. It was hope-filled. It was holy, as we invoked God’s presence every step of the way.
Moving forward, there are countless practical problems that deserve our immediate attention as we work towards building a more just society. Our purpose, as a Christian community, is to gain clarity about how our Christian identity shapes our engagement in these conversations. The following piece of research sheds light on one of the many reasons this matters. To be frank, it took my breath away.
Robert P. Jones, the head of the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonpartisan polling and research organization,wrote in his new book, “The more racist attitudes a person holds, the more likely he or she is to identify as a white Christian. The correlation is just as pronounced among white evangelical Protestants as it is among white mainline Protestants and white Catholics—and stands in stark contrast to the attitudes of religiously unaffiliated whites.”
The church, as an institution, has not always been on the right side of history. I know that more is possible both for our church and each of us as individuals. I share all of this knowing that our church is full of genuinely good people. Being good people is no longer sufficient. We have to actively wrestle with our Gospel values and the ways in which those values necessarily inform our actions.
At the end of this first round of discussions, I am left with a profound sense of gratitude that so many in the congregation were willing to tread into uncomfortable terrain. I will soon be sharing about the next steps of our multi-phased process that will guide us deeper into an awareness of our role as Christians in this national dialogue. We will continue to engage in this holy work together.
You are loved. You are missed. You are a blessing.