Difficult Conversations

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

When George Floyd uttered his last words, “I can’t breathe,” our nation took notice. While this issue has always been front and center for black lives, I am hoping that these last weeks have marked a watershed moment for those of us who have looked the other way and have been silent about the injustices.

This week has been full of difficult conversations for me – and I know I am not alone. I have spoken with black colleagues who have shared the pain that they have endured over their lifetimes. The stories they have shared have shaken me deeply. I was reminded that I need to pay attention to my complicity in ignoring the issues for so long. I have engaged in difficult conversations with friends and family members who do not understand the privilege we carry as white men and women.

For the most part, these conversations have offered opportunities for greater understanding, but I would be less than honest if I did not admit that it has been painful. These discussions have brought me to a place of anger at the injustices and deep sadness at what has been endured by people of color.

The recurring question I keep hearing from people around me is this: What can we do as white people in a predominantly white congregation? Tonight, we begin a series on Sacred Conversations about Race and Privilege. It is a starting place for us. I need to speak less and listen more. I need to let go of my opinions long enough to really hear what needs to be said. We need to start listening so that we can learn.

One of our church members sent me a video by Emmanuel Acho entitled “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.” He is a Nigerian-American former linebacker who played in the National Football League and is currently working as an analyst for ESPN. He also happens to be a man of deep faith. Click here to watch his video. He invites all of us to let our guard down and listen that we might learn.

Rev. Dr. Deb Kaiser-Cross
Minister for Congregational Care

Practice for This Week:
Be open to the opportunities that God may give you this week to learn about race and privilege, to engage in an honest conversation with someone who might challenge your assumptions.

For opened ears and willing hearts:
O Lord, we pray that amid our world’s chaos, we might find a way to justice and peace. When our minds are overwhelmed with what we see, we come to you to find hope for our future together. When our hearts are heavy with fear, with anger, with sorrow, we come to find your strength. As we long for the day when we will see healing in a world that is torn apart, help us to be part of the change we want to see in our world. Come, Holy Spirit, lead us this day.