Throughout our liturgies in February, we interviewed four of our fellow ubcer's about their faith journeys and their experiences as people of color. At the beginning of the month, I stated that we were incorporating Black History Month into our liturgy in the hope that engaging issues of race, and asking the Spirit to shape our thinking in this realm, would extend beyond February, hence our revisiting these interviews now.
In listening to these interviews, it is my hope that we can get to know Kerri, Kareem, Leah, and Rennekia better, and gain further insight into who God is through their stories about who God has been to them in their own lives. If you are not a person of color, I would encourage you to do the following as you listen::
1) notice that there isn’t one “black experience.”
2) listen for the things that people (particularly church people) have done that invalidated or negatively framed this part of who they are, and ask the Spirit to help you seriously consider if you have been complicit, intentionally or not, in causing this sort of pain.
3) imagine how you can carry these sorts of difficult conversations into your own friendships, or how you might apply this curiosity in seeking out blogs, documentaries, etc. to learn from people you do not know personally (because, once again, this sort of vulnerable insight is not something that black people “owe” white people, so outside of the context of relationships, asking these sorts of questions can come across negatively).
4) notice that we live in a culture where no one really has to ask white people about their experiences; not that there is only one “white experience,” either, but our culture—even our American “evangelical” church culture—has been so saturated with white voices, a general idea of whiteness is not difficult to come by.
If you want to read more about the reason we did these interviews, check out the newsletter entry about it here. At any rate, here are the interviews:
Kerri Fisher is a social worker, writer, and professor at Baylor University.
Kareem Shane is a powerhouse of personality who cares deeply for people, holds an MDiv from Truett Seminary, and works for the VA.
Leah Reed is a junior at Baylor University, where she is a Religion major. She is also one of our student Leadership Team members.
Rennekia Goffney holds an MDiv from Truett Seminary, and is a gifted preacher and speaker.
As always, if you want to talk about any of this further, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.