Into the Mystic is my weekly reflection on the spiritual journey we all find ourselves on. I am trying to find a way for us all to take journeys towards spiritual wholeness; and to examine along the way both the impediments and the enhancements to that wholeness.
Last week, I attended the National Council of Churches rally in DC that launched their campaign to Unite the End Racism. The 38 communions of the National Council are uniting with other faiths to call America to heal from its sin of racism.
What occurs to me once again is that as a white man, my spiritual health is compromised by my ongoing love affair with my whiteness. The longer I cling to a possessive investment in whiteness, the longer it will be that my soul and spirit will be free to fully embrace a God who loves all the same.
It is too easy for me to say I don’t want to be a racist anymore. Disowning, deconstructing, disabling, and dismantling my privilege isn’t something that happens just because I make a commitment to stop hating people who aren’t white.
Every day I make exchanges with my culture and community that affirm their investment in my white skin. I receive over and over again privileges that are mine simply because I am white.
My agreement with white establishment is that I won’t admit that I receive these things because I am white. I will instead insist that I earned everything I have. My hard work, my determination, my education, my concerted effort to better my life and the life of my children are what I will cite as the cause of my good fortune.
Every time I do that, with malice aforethought or not, I remain complicit with the evils of racism and white privilege. And whether I acknowledge it or not, I sacrifice a piece of my spiritual health and wholeness. I get something in exchange for that – acceptance in the white culture that benefits from my complicity and my silence.
White Americans, even those who long ago made a commitment to no longer be racist, participate every day in the perpetuation of a racist culture that is eating away at their soul health.
Unite to end racism now.
That is the invitation.
We do it for the people of color whose bodies as well as their souls and spirits are crushed by my oppressive collaboration with privilege. That is true. And that is enough.
But we do it also for the healing of our own souls and spirits.
God desires us all to be whole. Whites who have not confessed the sin of their ongoing complicity, and who continue to participate in the distribution of wealth and privilege based on the color of one’s skin, will never be whole. They may be rich or well positioned in their culture – but they are not free and they are not whole. They exchange their birthright as children of God for the baubles of empire.
If you are white, the spirit of the living God calls unto you: heal. No longer cry “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace. Discover the wholeness of spiritual health that comes in the full embrace of God’s rich array of human flesh. Cast off the burden of racism which fooled you into believing that what empire gave you in exchange for your collaboration was worth more than the wholeness and health of a spirit freed from the stain of white privilege.
Let there be peace on Earth.
Let there be race equity in America.
Let the call to heal white and black and brown bodies, souls, and spirits inspire us all to unite to end racism on this, our collective journey Into the Mystic.