This week I am ensconced in my annual winter week of study leave which I spend engaged in the community at Meadville-Lombard Theological School. As always, I am inspired by the passion and dedication of the students and by the other colleagues who engage in this life-changing work of teaching. This is a time when I am reminded of the larger frame. I left for this trip buoyed by the worship service we shared as the last Sunday in 2017. And part of that frame this first week of 2018 is appreciation for the big questions we are considering as a congregation.
One of those is whether to vote to have our congregation support the Black Lives Matter movement. This movement has been critical in naming the disparate treatment that our criminal justice systems engage in when it comes to people of African descent. This movement is not about condemning police officers or saying that black people matter more than others. It is about recognizing the ways that SYSTEMS reinforce bias, in this case in deadly ways.
This very brief video is very helpful in dispelling some of the myths about Black Lives Matter and so I wanted to share it here:
Black Lives Matter is a movement of human beings and as such, it has its areas of strength and its areas of weakness. My work as a member of the Contra Costa Racial Justice Task Force has convinced me that these are timely issues we cannot avoid if we wish our values to be real in our community.
The terms of my ministry among you mean that I can advocate for Black Lives Matter as an individual minister. And it will be more powerful if I can do so as part of the justice ministry of this congregation.
As 2018 dawns, may we cross those borders of fear, certainty, perspective and comfort that will allow us to work for the world of which we dream.
In faith, Leslie