How can we speak about difficult things in a way that heals?

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    Worship Services

    June 7, 2020

    Worship Services–Join us every Sunday at 10 am on Facebook live until further notice

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  • Feb2019

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    February 25, 2019

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    February 5, 2019

    Faith and Science: Creation In our current worship series, Faith and Science, we have noted how many Christians treat the Bible as though it were a science textbook. This erroneous approach leads people to ask the Bible how creation came to be, instead of listening to what the Bible is…

I don’t post much on social media. When I do, I try to keep it very light: sharing the things I love about my family and friends, or trying to lighten someone’s day with my odd sense of humor. For me, social media was meant to be just that: social.

But I follow numerous people on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. A friend shared an article that I find is extremely helpful for me, and I think could be for many others, in this time of trying to find helpful dialogue about race. 

You’ll find the article here. It’s entitled “My White Friend Asked Me on Facebook to Explain White Privilege. I Decided to Be Honest” It’s about a ten minute read, and I lift it up for white people like me, who are trying to grow in our self-understanding and racial sensitivity. I also lift it up for people of color as an example of how you can talk about white privilege in particular, and racism in general, in a way that will most likely be heard. Slogans and platitudes may be absolutely true, yet they don’t speak to the heart, nor are they as convincing, as much as a person’s experience.

The author, Lori Lakin Hutcherson (whose writing style I envy), allows us to overhear her conversation with an old high school friend. I am grateful that she allows us to listen in, because I am better for having heard the conversation. But notice that it is in these trusted relationships that we have sacred space for difficult conversations. And as she recounts some of her experiences of prejudice, I can often almost hear her friend (and myself) say, “Wow, I’m so sorry that happened. I never realized…” Two things to note: 1. trusted relationships are especially fertile ground for difficult conversations and 2. no one can argue with your experience. Simply share this is what happened, and this is how it made me feel.

Racism finds its roots in ignorance. I don’t intend to offend, but sometimes I do out of my ignorance. “I never realized.” Yes, I’ve had rocks thrown at a car I was in (only once) because of race. Yes, I’ve had police point their guns at me (only once) because I “fit the description” (but I really did fit the description). So there may me a point of emotional contact here and there. But mostly, “I never realized.” And when I hear that my friend has been hurt by something I might have been guilty of myself, out of my own ignorance, I am more likely to change my behavior.

It helps when friends share experiences, be they joyful or painful. When we share our experiences, we grow in our relationships. So for people like me (white, male, privileged), let’s keep listening. And I would encourage people of color to share your experiences. Find that sacred space of trusted relationships to share those hurts rather than just “deal with it” as Lori Lakin Hutcherson said she felt she should. In our sharing, our relationships will grow as individuals, and as a society.