Listening for Questions We Never Thought to Ask
As you hopefully know by now, Cleveland Park Congregational UCC is in the beginning stages of piloting a racial justice audit created by the Central Atlantic Conference. This pilot was created by a team within the CAC to help predominantly white churches grapple with white supremacy and de-centering whiteness in a Christian context.
You should receive an e-mail with the individual racial justice audit tomorrow. We hope that as many members of our congregation as possible will take an hour of their time to complete the survey in the coming weeks. This Sunday, the racial justice audit team will host a post-church coffee hour to answer any questions you might have about the audit. We will use the same Zoom link we use to meet for church.
I sometimes say that I do not come to church for answers. I come for the questions I never thought to ask. This audit is full of those questions, and I look forward to processing them as a congregation.
I am grateful for our faith context to help guide us through this audit. We hope to dig into the root of audit – to listen – so that we may better listen to ourselves, to one another, and to the still speaking voice of God. See below for an excerpt from the CAC/s Anti-Racism Church Audit Foundational Document. This provides a solid introduction to the theological backing for racial justice work within our church. I hope you find it as useful and thought provoking as I did. Many thanks to the CAC Racial Justice Audit team for all of the work they put into creating this audit.
THEOLOGICAL BASIS FOR ANTI-RACISM WORK
- It should go without saying: Christian faith compels us to fully engage in the work of anti-racism.
- It compels us because every person – every person – is created in the very image of God, and each is a bearer of God’s divine spark.
- It compels us because, more than anything, we are commanded to love God and love our neighbor – every neighbor – as ourselves.
- It compels us because racism is oppression, and faithfully following Jesus requires releasing captives and letting oppressed people go free.
- It compels us because what we do for the people society casts out and marginalizes, we do also for Jesus.
- It compels us because Christianity’s highest calling is to live into heaven on earth, to create a world in which absolutely every person experiences God’s love as much as absolutely every other person.
- Somehow, the Church forgot all of that somewhere along the way.
- Instead of standing up to and pushing against power, the Church became the power.
- Instead of fighting for the rights of disenfranchised people, the Church institutionalized and perpetuated inequity and inequality based on politics driven by white supremacy.
- That fundamental injustice has been handed down from generation to generation so that, at this point, it is virtually imperceptible until we really look for it and discover that it indeed permeates every aspect of the world in which we live.
- Recognizing that critical imbalance, our Christian faith compels us now to repent, to own our trans-generational sins, and to confront institutional evil in ways that right ancient wrongs.
- What’s more, our Christian faith compels us to undo the effects of the Church’s long standing complicity in societal racism far and wide.
- Our Christian faith, thus, compels us to examine ourselves and our life together, and to find a way forward that is more just and more loving for everyone.
May your engagement in this process of self-assessment relative to race and racism provide meaningful insights and transformative experiences, even as it strengthens your faith and makes the world a better place for all of God’s people.
Questions to Ponder:
- What associations do you typically have with audits?
- How might we re-frame the word audit to remind us to listen to one another and to God?
- Is it easy for you to talk about race, or does it make you uncomfortable?
- How can we lean on God and support one another through the audit process?
In peace and community and Christ,