A journey of discomfort
Diane Watts introduces the 2021 Racial Justice blogs
I am privileged to introduce the 2021 racial justice blogs and to invite us all to listen to the wisdom of others as we are led to reflect on anti-racism. I write this introduction from a place of deep discomfort. Discomfort because I am challenged to ask why is change so long in coming? No, more than that, discomfort because I must ask why I have taken so long and what I have done to change my thoughts and actions.
I feel discomfort as I wonder what difference all the conversations, the debates, the reading and the story sharing have had over the last year since the murder of George Floyd? I look back to the Baptist Union Council apology for slavery in November 2007, since then voices have cried out to tell us of discrimination and I am uncomfortable that things are taking so long to change.
I am challenged to ask if I am truly prepared to embrace new ways of ensuring that our sisters and brothers of colour are empowered to be at the centre of conversations, and not given a space on the periphery, because having one or two black and brown people in the room makes me feel better about myself.
The blogs that follow in this series will help to ask these questions more specifically and then guide us as we learn how to recognise what everyday racism might look like. They will help us to reflect on and learn what it means to be actively listening and be actively conscious about our motivations when we speak or act.
Are the blogs designed to make the reader uncomfortable? No, the aim is to ask who we are putting at the centre of preaching, teaching and life as church together. Nonetheless I have no doubt that the words of these blogs will be challenging and thought provoking. We might feel discomfort as we reflect individually and as institutions how we are helping all to meet with God who created a world of colour and rich diversity so that in the whole we see a reflection of God and learn more of the depth, height and breadth His love. The blogs will help us to look again at our institutions and ask whether these spaces allow us to be allies of the black community advocating for and working alongside others.
Will this make me feel uncomfortable? Probably! But isn’t that the story of the church – challenging each one to look beyond ourselves towards Christ; Christ on the cross and Christ in resurrection.
It is a privilege to introduce these blogs to you and I invite you to come with me on this journey of discomfort together. May our discomfort bring us all to the place where the peace of God which passes all our understanding fills us all, not just some of us, and perhaps then, in love, our discomfort will turn to joy and to peace for all.
Diane Watts is Faith and Society Team Leader
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