The Synod of the Sun 2017 Coordinating Team just completed our annual retreat. This year, leadership asked everyone to read Debby Irving’s “Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race” before gathering in Arkansas.
This was and continues to be a difficult book for me. Not the book itself, but the message. I’ve been told that, even if you’re not white, this can be a difficult book. Irving challenges me, as a white person, by providing history and stories of her personal journey that have distinct similarities to my own experiences. The title is a metaphor for the journey of discovering who we are, how we came to the seat of such privilege, and how to better recognize our part in its perpetuation. It’s also a truism. I wake up white every day. That unchangeable fact in and of itself brings with it much privilege.
“I believe the most loving thing a person, or group of people, can do for another is to examine the ways in which their own insecurities and assumptions interfere with others’ ability to thrive.”
Debby Irving, Waking Up White
One of the most difficult things about my personal journey is that I can’t fix the world – and if I’m honest, I can’t fix myself fast enough! I don’t apologize for being white; I will make every effort to understand the benefits that come with my race to be an ally for others. Irving says, we “don’t know what we don’t know”. Meaning, unless we are willing to listen to others who are not like us, we cannot understand. Understanding myself as white in a society created to benefit those like me, I can better advocate for those who experience injustice.
From our work together came this statement by the Synod of the Sun’s Coordinating Team: We believe when we work together across boundaries, we make visible the Good News and find wholeness as the body of Christ. In our common calling, we impact lives together.
Here are a few additional tools that you or your Sunday School, Small Group and even Congregation can use for discovery:
< >A Facebook group called: Synod of the Sun Cultivating Conversations has been started to offer safe space to those looking to share in our journey. Search on Facebook, then ask to join! (The group is closely monitored.)
Our first small group session was dedicated to this article.
We explored this article in our last session.
Contact New Covenant Presbytery’s Racial Reconciliation Team or the Synod of the Sun’s Committee on Representation for more.