As a trusting relationship, faith is constantly asking me to stretch beyond my own comfort. My comfort, if I am being honest, is ensconced by being white, by being a man, and by being straight. Two of those three things (whiteness and straightness) are clearly social constructs, and the third (being a man) has a ton of social constructs thrown onto it. If you can check off those three constructs for yourself, then you can live however you want to and this culture of ours will support you.
And those three social constructs have done and continue to do a world of harm. In a culture where the power over others is held by white people, by straight people, and by people who are men, the level of ignorance is no deeper than among those very same people, and the amount of knowledge and wisdom (potential for growth) is held in the hearts, minds and experiences of the very people that they hold power over.
Those who are oppressed ought never to have to explain the injustices they suffer to those who oppress them. One the converse, there is no better moment to learn than when they choose to speak.
I have learned so much when People of Color speak about their experiences. I have learned so much when women speak about their experiences. I have learned so much when members of the LGBTQ communities speak about their experiences.
When I listen to their experiences, I realize that I have had some of those VERY same experiences. As I listen, I also notice that they struggle at times over the very same models of holding power over others that we who are white, straight and men take for granted. I think that I am learning that our only way forward is, of course, in trusting relationships. It’s the enigma of faith. How can I be in a trusting relationship with people who have hurt me or who are beginning to act like I used to act?
If it were clear how to do that, it wouldn’t be faith.
These words of wisdom will continue to challenge and instruct me. Thank you for your insights and encouragement.