Awoke

Racial Reconciliation: A Series on the Journey of Experience and Understanding

*This blog series is a written through the lens of several writers’ experiences and is thus each writer’s own story. The voices and experiences of each writer are honored and valued, but are not subjected to the experiences or the voice of the UGA Wesley Foundation as a whole. Thank you for taking the time to read about some of our interns’ and students’ experience with racial injustice and what each one believes God is leading them to do next.

Hello. I am Claire Jordan, an imperfect gal learning what it looks like to join Jesus in bringing justice. He loves me and is for me on this journey. He loves you and is for you on your journey. Here are my present, past, and future realities surrounding racial justice.


P R E S E N T
A month before George Floyd’s murder, I felt like reading the minor prophets. I was suddenly curious about the 12 books, from Hosea to Malachi, that came before the New Testament.
As I studied their themes of social justice, I soon realized my whim to read these books was no whim at all, but a prompting from the Holy Spirit to prepare my heart for the events to come.

The overt message from each of these prophets is as follows:
God does not care about the Israelites’ sacrifices, fasting, feasts, or rituals. He sees it all as empty obedience. Why? Because they are participating in social injustices. They exploit the poor for financial gain. The oppressed among them (orphans, immigrants, widows) are taken advantage of rather than lifted up. And God is furious.

“I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5: 21-24).

So, as the revolutionary events of the past few months have unfolded, it has been easy for me to conclude that Jesus would be passionate about racial healing. Because our heartbreak over the murders and injustices that have come to light is God’s heartbreak. And our joy in bringing change and healing to our broken hearts, our broken people, and our broken systems is God’s joy.
However, I would not always have seen it this way.

P A S T
I know I am privileged for many reasons; the white color of my skin being the origin, and also the middle class house with both loving, devoted parents being another form of privilege. However, I can point to a crucial statement I made at 12 years old that puts my privilege in perspective: 
“I don’t think racism exists anymore.”

I remember discussing this with my white friends at my predominately white school. And several white faces nodding their heads in agreement. I truly lived in this bubble for many years, propped up by feeble reassurances that sounded like, “Obama is the president!’ ‘I have Black friends…’ ‘We have come such a long way since the civil rights movement.’” And so on.
 
It wasn’t until college that this bubble finally popped. I started learning about microaggressions, redlining, White Flight, gentrification, and many more systemic, racist practices. In my women’s studies class, we watched 13th and I learned about the (literally) countless killings of unarmed Black men and women, and many more who are unjustly imprisoned. Anger rose from a deep place in my gut.

I began seeing, just like the Israelites, the empty obedience I participated in every day. In all my efforts to keep up with my latest devotional series, attend church, skim the newest Christian books, etc... I had ignored God’s bleeding heart for justice. So I resolved to change. And joy rose from a deep place.

F U T U R E
So, now what?

I am committed to a different future for Black folks. That means continuing to educate myself and my people on these issues for the rest of my life. That means using my power and privilege to implement anti-racist practices. That means listening to Black experiences. That means diversifying my music, movies, books, and podcasts. That means celebrating Black joy. That means staying engaged and expecting growth.
 
At the same time, I am committed to fighting comparison on this journey. I am thankful for what I have learned, but I know there is so much more. This is not about me being more ‘woke’ than Karen or less active on social media than Kelly. It is about using the resources I have to do what I can. Having the mind of Christ certainly means fighting for justice for Black folks. It also means loving those whom I consider ignorant. I am not in the game of shaming people into wokeness.

Again, I am committed to learning, educating, and changing, with grace as a constant current.  


Author | Claire Jordan

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