From the Pastor’s Pen
It is the best of times; it is the worst of times. Although paraphrased a bit, the idea put down on paper by Charles Dickens is as true within our country today as it was several centuries ago when he wrote them in England. On the positive side, we have wonderful access to information that is instantaneous. Our technology keeps us connected during times of separation and is useful in many fields. We have dedicated servants in the health care field, the military, our schools, and law enforcement. We can share our faith with others, and worship whatever religion we follow. But, it is also the worst of times in that we are living through a pandemic as a country racially divided and in turmoil. Fear and negativity are rampant. And onto this turbulent stage steps the church as a point of stability and a voice of calm. We are to be the peacemakers, the ones to reconcile our country’s differences and to demonstrate the love of Christ to all. It’s a tall order.
The United Methodist Church has denounced the sin of racism in all of its forms and the pain it has caused for centuries to many different nationalities and races. Several years ago, we embarked on the journey of “Imagine No Racism” through training and course work for all pastors within the Upper New York Conference. Pastors were then to begin the process of education and reflection with each individual church. Here at Christ First we are behind the curve on instituting INR for the church body. Our leadership began the initial discussion on how best to do this when Covid became a concern and stopped most things in their tracks. The need to explore this topic in detail is urgent when faced with the climate in which we now find ourselves. It is a topic that I feel strongly must be developed in person. In order to start preparation for these delicate discussions, we will have suggestions for readings in our newsletter that are helpful in understanding systemic racism, its effects on ourselves and those around us, and ways to recognize it and stop it’s spread in the future. We can be prepared for the time when we can meet face-to-face.
The 6 Step Process of Reconciliation
The first suggested reading is an article entitled Recognizing White Privilege by Rev. Brian A. Tillman in which he explains the six-step process of reconciliation found within a series of articles. These include :
The article ends with, “The truth ruins a lot of our plans. We often must choose between accepting the ugly truth or the gorgeous lie. The racial atmosphere in America is offering us two pills. One is white and filled with lies that want to convince us that we can be colorblind. The other is a pill that is multicolored and takes us down a journey towards truth and recognition that what we have been living is not reality. This pill leads to a life lived in truth. The journey is not carved out for us, but is our hope for racial reconciliation.”
It is up to us to educate ourselves and others. Let’s begin the process now and follow Romans 12:2 - “ Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” May we walk towards what will be the best of times for all of God’s people.
In Grace and Peace,