conspire issue 19 - building beloved community

conspire issue 19 - building beloved community

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No matter how we identify racially and ethnically, every place we stand has its own demons. To be "White" is to have the luxury of not always having to think about race. Can we have a conversation about race that speaks truly about our complex identities, in which we do not pain one another? I think that answer is: "Not yet.'

Given the terrain, there are plenty of reasons for Conspire not to do an issue on race.

Yet how can we follow Jesus and not dream relentlessly of justice? And how can we begin to speak about justice if we cannot speak about race, especially in the United States, where justice is so entangled with a distorted racial history? (Although the principality of race is everywhere, it looks different in other contexts.) Not to address race is to doom our work for justice, and therefore, our work to love one another.

I dream restlessly of the Beloved Community, a phrase Dr. King did not invent, but into which he breathed life. The Beloved Community is a place of belonging so deeply that equality is inherent -where community and love overcame differences; where people were no longer poor or hungry; where love and trust triumphed over fear and hatred; and where peace overpowered violence.

"I do not think of political power as an end," he wrote. "Neither do I think of economic power as an end. They are ingredients in the objective that we seek in life. And I think that objective is a truly brotherly society, the creation of the beloved community." The Beloved Community is about much more than the dismantling of racism, and yet it cannot be imagined until racism is destroyed. 

We are beyond the stage of merely working on personal prejudices, though that is still necessary. We must now confront the next challenge: what costly individual and collective action do we take to dismantle the racism in institutions systems of health, social services, education, legal, governmental, and ecclesial power? 

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