Thank you for Sunday's post-service birthday surprise!
It's always felt meaningful to me to share a birthday with Martin Luther King, Jr., and I've often wondered how to make my life congruent with his legacy. There is still so much work to be done toward racial justice and racial healing, both in the church and in society.
Each year on our shared birthday I re-read his Letter from Birmingham Jail, a clear, challenging, and sadly still-relevant letter addressed to people like me — white pastors. I encourage you to read it. This year I also read a compelling article by fellow Anglican priest Esau McCaulley: The Kind of Revolution that Martin Luther King Jr. Envisioned. I particularly appreciated this part:
"We tend to focus on King’s impact on the thoughts of individual Americans and think of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a chance for us to disavow racist ideas. One popular quote of King’s is, 'I have also decided to stick with love … Hate is too great a burden to bear.' Rejecting hate, then, becomes his entire message, and progress toward King’s dream means more Americans thinking the right things about race. But having positive thoughts, or, at least claiming to do so, doesn’t cost anything."
How might we receive McCaulley's challenge to us, moving beyond merely "thinking the right things about race" (important as that is) toward actually participating in the costly work of justice?
Our own Buz Schultz has been asking this question for several years, and he shared some of his journey last month in his Advent reflection (watch here). Buz is part of a Racial Reconciliation Group that has met regularly for several years. He sent the invitation below, and I'd invite you to consider attending. (Many of you have already attended Little Lights' Race Literacy course; the opportunity below is complementary and not repetitive of that material.)
Wade Into the Waters of Justice and Mercy:
Participate in the Racial Reconciliation Group's Foundational Study
Starting Tuesday, January 24, 2023 at 7:00 pm
SUMMARY The Racial Reconciliation Group (RRG) came into being 3 years ago because of this 12-week study. It is an opportunity to gather, through Zoom, in humility to listen and learn, and reflect, about America's story. We cannot change the past, but we can learn from it, and offer healing, hope, and a better future. Registration is now open for RRG's 8th cohort beginning January 24th (7:00pm). The study has 2 parts: (1) 4 weeks: Learning about Reconstruction (America after the Civil War) by watching the four-part PBS documentary, Reconstruction: America after the Civil War, with frequent discussion. (2) 8 weeks: “An American Lament,” a weekly devotional journey developed by the The Repentance Project ( https://repentanceproject.org/). To register, or for further information, please contact Buz Schultz, firstname.lastname@example.org, 703 909-7157.
I'll be away for a few days this week as Trent and I celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. Twenty years in, our life together looks so unlike anything we could have ever imagined — more grief, more joy, more hardship, more discovery, more grace — and I am very grateful.
Katie, Emily, Josie and Cory are holding down the fort while I'm away, and you can reach out to them for anything you need.
Finally, I want to invite you to two events happening in our diocese as we look ahead to the upcoming bishop transition.
First, a celebration of the ministry of Bishop John and Meg Guernsey. Saturday, Jan 28, at 2pm at Truro Anglican Church in Fairfax. You can read more and register here.
Second, the consecration of Chris Warner as our new bishop. Saturday, Feb 18, at 10am at The Falls Church Anglican in Falls Church. Read more and register here.
I hope to see you there!