Many of you now realize how you’ve been brought up to think about race and how those ways have helped and hindered you along the way. Many of you have confronted prejudices you’ve picked up along the way, or biases you didn’t know you held, and you thought critically about how you might learn to let them go. Many of you have been unable to get this book out of your mind when you’re at your workplace, or the grocery store, or your school – thinking about how this space might feel to someone of a different race than your own. This is what it feels like to be changed by God through the gift of entering a neighbor’s story.
As we talk about race and racism, one of the hardest things is realizing that the sin of racism doesn’t just appear out there in the world among “capital-R Racists,” but that it might be something that has found a home, however small, in us, too.
“We can’t actually say that this one incident of unusually high temperatures at the North Pole is a direct result of climate change. But what we can say is that incidents like these are growing more frequent, and when you take them together, it is climate change. One fluctuation in temperature like this could be explained by other variables, but the overall pattern points to climate change as the culprit.”
I think Coleman is saying something similar about racism in Minnesota.
You’ve probably heard it, or maybe even said it: “I don’t see color.” JaeRan Kim gives another spin-off: “People can tell you they don’t see you as Korean as if that is a compliment” (126). I think that these thoughts come from beautiful places in white people’s hearts. Perhaps the intent was to say “I want to see you as more than the color of your skin. I want to view you as a unique person. I’m not judging you as less than me because of your skin color. I see that there is a similarity between us even though our race is different.” These are wonderful things to intend. What we need to learn is that there is a difference between intent and impact.
I think about that pastor at the Bible study. He didn’t throw out the entire Bible and despair of himself because he no longer felt like Samuel. He just changed the way he saw the story, and changed the way he saw himself as fitting into it. I wonder if we can do the same for Minnesota Nice as we learn to tell ourselves a new story about ourselves.
One integral belief that Mount Olivet Lutheran Church of Plymouth holds is that God is active not just in church, but in our world. We look and listen for what God is up to through the work of our community partners - organizations such as PRISM, Northport Elementary School, and the Home Free women's shelter. Through these partnerships, we have discerned that God is calling us to be a church that works toward feeding people, housing people, accompanying people in transition, and working with faith partners.
One of our housing partners, Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, has asked our congregation to support their work of developing new affordable housing right here in Plymouth through the Cranberry Ridge project