Monday, July 20, 2015

On Reading Ta-Nehisi Coates (A Confession)

Between the World and Me
by Ta-Nehisi Coates
I'm reading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I was provoked to pick it up by a David Brooks column in the newspaper on Friday.

I thought the Brooks column was a perfect illustration of the difficulty white people have in listening without also having the last word (or trying to do so). Brooks seemingly couldn't finish his column without becoming self-righteous. And what was even more interesting was recognizing my own impulses in that. ("Oh, right," I thought, "this is what we do . . . . ")

So I'm thinking maybe a good next step is to read Coates' book and sit with it . . . listening to what comes up for me but not jumping immediately into "solving."

Yesterday I was attending church at First Congregational Church of Berkeley and was struck by the following Prayer of Confession, written by Pastor Kit Novotny. I will carry these words with me as I read, sit, and listen.

Oh God, who sees and knows it all, and loves us anyway.
We lay our hearts on the table, hungry for your grace.
We confess that we have turned away from you in a thousand little ways --
     we have ignored the needs of others,
     settle for easy answers and half-truths,
     bristled in defensiveness,
     been discomfited by difference,
     and dazzled by distractions.
Oh and in those big ways, too --
     we have played parts in systems of injustice, violence, neglect,
     that ravage the earth, hoard your resources,
     and deny dignity and flourishing to all your children.
Forgive us.
Turn us back to you!
Trouble the waters of complicity,
Free us from the illusion of control,
that we would splash together in the fount of your free-flowing mercy,
     grow in the light of your love,
     and laugh with our sisters, brothers, neighbors,
     that we ever tried to do it alone.

Amen.


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(See "If elected . . . ." (The Election 2016 and #BlackLivesMatter Nexus) )









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(See Chicago Justice: Connecting the Dots )




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(See When is Christianity Going Back to Being the Religion of "UN-entombment"?)