Postlogue to The Story of (an)Other: Urban Faith and An Education
The (White) Church, Systemic Racism (?) and Mission
As a brief shift of focus from this story, it became apparent to me that in some of our church conversations mission is a topic of dialogue is rooted very much in our own story. The white, evangelical (or formerly so, perhaps) conversations fueled by the emerging/emergent conversation push for “missional” foci for churches. However for a church like Valley View, the missional part of their participation in God’s work of reconciliation to creation, others, and self is always before them: they are in mission, or they do not survive. Literally, in this case. Could it be that the comfort of some of us in the missional conversation from an Anglo background are missing the places of work alongside YHWH? The search goes on, and yet for some the missio Dei carries a gun, taking lives of a group of people. Where are we looking for participation?
I don’t mean to make a poster child out of this church community we’ve become attached to, nor paint a picture for furthering our “white wo/man’s burden” phenomenon. I wish to offer, for dialogue, how the white church -those in systemic power- talk about mission, how we struggle at times with it, and how it seems we know little of the “other’s” story enough to see where God desires freedom from the oppression of Smith and Wesson, poverty and systemic racism. We discuss from/within a position of power. My friend, Drew, wrote eloquently of this. I don’t have it all figured out, for sure. My ignorance about life from my suburban upbringing and that of my urban peers, I hope, reveals this. I desire fodder for the conversation; hence, my thoughts found here.
What does it mean for the church to love the other? How does it shape mission? How do we live outside of ourselves, learn someone else’s story, if we continue to only talk amongst ourselves? How do we begin to give up power, especially if we continue living and pursuing YHWH in homogenous communities?