Thursday, October 13, 2016

Thankful Thursday - Hard Discussions

Too many people that I know and love are dealing with kanswer. We have had hard discussions about kanswer treatment and the future.

Parents I know are dealing with struggles with their children. College issues. Drug and alcohol issues. Relationship issues with the other parent or with siblings or significant others. Every day, we parents are having hard discussions about hard issues.

After a Bible study this morning, I stood with a pastor friend, and we had a hard discussion about race and complicity and silence in the church and why we need to have more hard discussions.

At the home of friends from church, my husband and I joined a group of other friends from church, and we had a hard discussion tonight about protests and justice and church and challenging sermons and what we can do to make a difference in our city and in our nation.

At seminary, we are reading about black theology and white theology and liberation theology and flawed theology and who gets to decide what is and what isn't flawed theology. These are hard discussions.

Cops and Barbers is a group that brings together community members here in Charlotte and police officers. To talk. To get to know one another. To hash out challenging topics. Their hard discussions began long before the recent events here in Charlotte and are still going on.

It's hard to talk about hard things.
But as so many people say these days, "We can do hard things."
We have to do hard things.
If we are going to survive as a family,
as a church,
as a city,
as a nation,
as a world,
then we have to be willing to have hard conversations.
And we have to be willing to do hard work.
We have to talk. We have to listen to one another.
We have to walk together. We have to work together.
We have to be willing to be wrong and to be called out for our wrongheadedness.
We have to confess where and when we have been wrong in the past, whether it is our own actions or the actions of our forebears and ancestors.
We have to be willing to change our minds and our vocabulary and our relationships.

I am grateful for these hard conversations.
I am grateful for the ways that our confusion is forcing us into more frequent interaction with one another.
I am grateful for the uncomfortable moments that are arising, the questions, and the uncertainty.
I am grateful because people who have never talked about race and racism before are having hard conversations now.
I am grateful because people who have called for justice and fairness are finally being heard.

I hate the stories that have brought us here.
The legacy of slavery, segregation, and hatred.
Segregation. Lynching. A profoundly biased criminal justice system.
Poverty. Injustice. Hopelessness. Fear. Anger. Despair.
Homophobia. Xenophobia.
Lack of adequate education. Willful ignorance. Unconscious bias.
Intentional oppression. Unintentional microaggressions.

But I am grateful for the legacies of hope and strength that sustain those who continue to fight the good fight for peace and righteousness and healing.
I am grateful for the newfound courage and renewed determination to do the hard things, to have the hard conversations, to ask the hard questions, and live into the hard truths that we are being forced to face.

The way forward will be with a broken heart - as Alice Walker wrote.
The way forward will certainly be with heavy hearts.
But I hope, I pray, that the way forward will also be with hopeful hearts.

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