Remember, this blog is called Spirited Speakeasy. If you are the kind of person who feels offended by underground or hidden conversations that are not usually accepted in the light of day, what follows might be offensive to you. Jesus demands I say it, though. You can choose to listen and participate.
I'm learning to #decolonizeyourspirit through Safety Pin Box tasks this month. For an intro to SPB and this series I'm doing this month, check here.
Although I didn't think I needed to journal about how religion matters to my life, I did, just to see what happened.
Guess what I learned? That my faith life encouraged values and morality that meant I only hung out with upper middle class white people as a child.
Hard work, not being sexual, pulling myself up, trusting Jesus to care for me, sharing hard things, drinking, smoking, and sex were immoral, or at least frowned upon. We were not supposed to hang out with people like that.
My formation in my faith taught me that I was good and had to serve others who were at least less good, if not bad. It set up a hierarchy. All the talk about Christian charity and stuff. Nothing about justice, though.
Ouch. What a powerful lesson to learn how my faith limited my relationships and ability to learn about the lives of people very different from mine by defining them as "immoral". Can't find too much of that in the Bible. I hope someday church can get back to being about a beloved community where all are welcome and supported, without judgement. Where the lives of all are respected, and where church fights for the humanity of all in the broken systems of the world, and does its best to make up for the ways it has helped create those broken systems in the past, and often currently ignore them.
How did your church limit your relationships growing up? What did they teach? Can you be honest about looking at how you might have learned things about race in church, even it was not through intentional actions?
This month, our Safety Pin Box tasks are all about decolonizing. My goal is to put up a blog post each week about the #decolonizeyourspirit task, since that is near and dear to my heart. Below is my intro, why I love SPB, and how it changes me. It is incredible. For other things related, please see #deconolizelutheranism, and for more of my anti-racism journey, please see this article.
For starters, although people in Safety Pin Box come from all faith traditions, including atheism, is the most church like place I go. There is no judgement. We are a group of people working together for justice, and we assume we'll mess it up. We work through it together, get each other through our guilt and shame about issues around race and our actions, admit when we are wrong, and are accountable to Black women. Everyone is who willing to learn, to be open, and to be wrong frequently is welcome. We always end with actions that serve communities of Color.
Safety Pin Box is a subscription box for white people who want to learn to be good allies in the fight for truly intersectional oppressions. I can't recommend it enough. It has changed me to my very soul. I do it because it makes me a better human being, and a better follower of Jesus. I now have a much better clue about people's lives that are so different from mine. I was taught to be blind to these lives growing up. Both stories of pain the pain that is experienced because of anti-Blackness in the world, as well as all other discriminations, AND the amazing People of Color who are incredible and are changing the world. I didn't see. I only saw bad stories of about People of Color on the news, and good stories about white people. It got to me subconsciously. I have so much to both unlearn and to learn. They have a bunch of ways you can join, there's a one time Kid's Box that I love, a one-time Ally Backpack that is a basic intro to racism and organizing, and an E-ally subscription to get started, Pin Pals if you and friend want to do it together, and the Premium and soon to be coming Family boxes. It is nice because all the money goes to Black Women Being, as those who fight for justice often are not fairly compensated. Plus, the world owes Black women so much back from the days of slavery, and the current slavery of over incarceration. They even have a program that small groups can do together. Click below to learn more about all of it and join today! If you are not ready to join, but you are willing to do something to help those who work for liberation, you can donate to Black Women Being here, or Black women and femmes who need some extra cash right now, often due to racist systems and being activists.
Pastor Jess, Author
Loves Jesus, Loves and Hates the Church at the Same Time, Calling Us to Honestly, ELCA Pastor
This work is licensed by Rev. Jessica A. Harren under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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