Being active in reconciling processes

Churches committed to overcoming racism will need to be sensitive to the diverse experiences and feelings that may exist in an interracial gathering. Some processes of coming together may flow easily as persons offer their histories and hopes. Other situations may require a skilled facilitator to help persons to speak and hear fears, anger, guilt, yearning, and other emotions from lives lived in interracial conflict and/or interracial alienation. Bridging the gap of racial alienation can be joyful and it can be painful. Sometimes the joy and the pain occur within the same people involved in crossing the racial divide. 

What can be said with certainty is that cultivating creative race relations is a lifelong process. THis is not a matter of completing what needs to be one in a series of workshops or Lenten study group sessions. There are no quick fixes. In fact, “fixing” race relations is not the goal. We do not fix one another. Every person has a depth of being and becoming that is dynamic. It should be honored. There may be dimensions of the person that require healing. But the notion of fixing someone or a relationship violates the very character of what it means to be human beings.

Correspondingly, racial reconciliation is not an outcome that marks the end to racial conflict. Racial issues are too dynamic, complete, and evolving to be fixed once and for all. I believe a more significant and accurate term for overcoming racial alienation is being active in reconciling processes. Being in the reconciling process places us in the relationships and places and times where faith, hope, and love abide. The reconciling process is a destination worthy of Christian commitment. 

From “Living Into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism in America” by Catherine Meeks – Morehouse Publishing