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Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

By Rev. Rashim Merriwether Sr.

Special Assistant to the Bishop on Ethnic Concerns and Initiatives

“If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see” – James Baldwin

When James Baldwin penned these words, he did so confessing the true love he had for his country, his city, and all people. But he also knew that there were some unspoken realities regarding racism, social justice, cultural intelligence, and the divisive undercurrents which were not common to the naked eye. They were covered by systems, structures, unwritten laws, and isolating ideologies based on fear, stereotypes, biases, and a lack of connection between all God’s people. 

Wherever, and whenever, there is a lack of connection, the possibility of loss, division and inequality are inevitable.  Understanding one’s identity, position, gifts, hopes, fears, and desires are not only important but become the beginning to understanding the same life processes in others. If we are ever to achieve the most, or the best, that this life can offer, we must embrace our identity, our history, our reality, and the need to address those things which can hinder that chance for success. 

We are not here alone, nor have we made it this far on our own accord. It is only through the gifts, sacrifices, and struggles of all people that we have been able to experience the possibility of what life has to offer. And once we accept that history, that reality in its un-redacted purest form, we can begin to see the processes, struggles, fears, and hopes of others. 

We are not here alone, nor can we endure this journey by ourselves. It is only in seeing the value, diversity, and importance of all people can we ever hope to overcome the destructive nature of racism and all its variations. We have a responsibility to ourselves, to each other, and to God to embrace the gift of life which has been given to us and see those things which are not plainly seen by the naked eye. Understand them for the truth of what they are and how they have hindered our growth into the fullness of what God has called us to be. 

It is with this understanding I listen, discern, and serve…