Last week, I was moved by a powerful Global Leadership Summit. Bryan Stevenson was among the many gifted speakers at the 2017 Summit.
Stevenson spoke about ways we have to go about leading change in our communities and nation. He spoke about changing the narrative that fuels what we think. I wrote about this some in my last blog post.
Stevenson also talked about becoming proximate with people. Distance will never lead to healing and justice. In the same breath, being proximate without taking the journey into the race narrative that has fed our worldview has potential for further wounding. The superiority that lies below in me will manifest in unhealthy ways of thinking about or working with people if I am not aware of how I’ve been socialized to think about people. Paternalism, judgment, power, control all want to spring into action unless I am doing the work of being transformed by the renewing of my mind into a Kingdom of God worldview.
Stevenson talked about brokenness. The more I can recognize my brokenness, the more I can recognize my need for others different from me. The more I can receive grace and give grace. The more I can experience collective power in collective brokenness.
My greatest growth comes from being awakened to and broken by the realities of systemic racism and a new understanding of my own broken place in the system.
Earlier this month, my daughter returned from a high school trip called Caravan, and the theme this year had 4 R’s: Rethink, Receive, Remain, Respond. During the return celebration, I thought about a few more R’s that I need in this race recovery:
Rethink—I need the Spirit’s guidance to continue to challenge the narrative that has shaped my thoughts and beliefs.
Repent—I need to confess and repent of the evils of institutional racism that lives in our society and in me and has affected my thinking, beliefs, actions in my life.
Receive—I can receive the grace and forgiveness of Jesus who nailed racism to the cross and rose to make us new. I can receive a Kingdom worldview where Christ and His power are central, not the power of economics. I can receive the hard truth because there is grace and freedom and hope found in Christ.
Remain—I am given Christ’s Spirit and invited to remain in Him to find wholeness and life to the full.
Reorder—I can examine my life, listen for God’s calling for me, and reorder my life accordingly to pursue the whole of the Gospel which includes healing, reconciliation, loving my neighbor, justice for all.
Without brokenness, repentance, and grace my being proximate will not lead to a new way of seeing and being that leads to healing, reconciliation, or justice. But brokenness, repentance, and grace + proximity = mutual interdependence and power.