Pastor Barb looking out over an unknown body of water (Atlantic Ocean from Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk?) on an unknown date (last year, maybe?)
I confess that I am–I know this is surprising to you–still white. Okay, I confess that, having created me, you knew this long before I did.
I confess that I spent years emphasizing my experience as a woman, a recipient of discrimination and dismissal. I confess I was 40 before I got it that I am white. I confess most of my categories land me in the privileged category. Born in the US. White. CIS.* Home-owner. Car-owner. Native English speaker. Product of a two-parent family. Middle class. Educated. Healthy.
I confess these privileged characteristics maks me part of the system–and a recipient–of goodies and grace. I confess these privileged characteristics make me part of the system that dishes out discrimination and dismissal to people who are not these things. I confess that, more than 20 years later, I still don’t know how to divest myself from that system.
As we acknowledge Juneteenth in and outside the church, I confess that delayed declarations of freedom don’t make people free. As I read the work of my Korean-born post-colonial, post-feminist Bible scholar friend, I confess that declaring I/we are not racist doesn’t make us, much less our society, anti-racist. As I read the manifesto of the entirely BIPOC** committee constructing the worship for the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly, I confess that having representatives of diversity participate in white worship doesn’t mean we are really hearing from, much less listening to, them.
I confess my corner of the church tends to be made of people like me. I confess that I don’t have enough conversation partners who are different from me. I confess that expanding my Facebook friends list has not cured this issue. I confess that my energy and focus for this work is not consistent. I confess that I must better seek your guidance and direction.
I confess I need your mercy and grace. Help me–help us all–O God. Amen.