Faith Story for ELCA’s Commitment to End Racism Sunday

Reflection shared in worship by Meredith Hurt

I wasn’t sure how to begin this faith talk today. I am not an expert on racism; my upbringing was one of privilege—growing up in an upper middle class Christian Judea community where just about everyone looked like me and believed as I did. I certainly had read about racism, our country’s history of racism, the individual historical acts of racism…but I was able to close those books and newspapers and continue to live my life without having to actively think about how racism impacted my daily life. Frankly, I didn’t like to think about it so I didn’t.

It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I started to have the glimmer of understanding that racism permeated throughout many different levels of society. It wasn’t just about confronting a co-worker about their inappropriate joke; it was the fact that my co-workers and I had benefited for years by the systematic implementation of racism in our society. But here again I had the benefit of calling that one person a jerk, and moving on with my daily life.

I’d like to say that when I became a mother I really started to turn the corner about my thoughts on the type of society I wanted my children to grow up into…but the fact is I was too sleep deprived to think much about changing anything other than my clothes every day. It really wasn’t until I consciously started listening to my co-workers’ thoughts and reactions over these past few years to the violence that seemed new to me, that I realized how protected, how lucky and how ignorant and selfish I had been when it came thinking about racism in today’s world.

I believe that God has been preparing me for years to truly look at the society I live in daily and accept that I need to stop being passive. I am not an expert on racism. I’m ignorant of many of the things that are a part of the systematic implementation of racism and frankly I’m not sure where to start. So I am grateful GSLC has opened a door to help us begin. To listen with an open heart; to go somewhere with others who struggle with the desire to understand; to know that we will fail at times along the way in trying to help change our church, our society, our lives. The resolution recently passed and the educational sessions being offered in September allow us to begin. It is a long road. But I look forward to the journey.

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