Pastor Barb Hedges-Goettl at some body of water sometime in the past…

Dear God,

I confess that I am–I know this is surprising to you–still white. Okay, I confess that, having created me, you knew this long before I did.

I confess that I spent years emphasizing my experience as a woman, a recipient of discrimination and dismissal. I confess I was 40 before I got it that I am white. I confess most of my categories land me in the privileged category. Born in the US. White. CIS.* Home-owner. Car-owner. Native English speaker. Product of a two-parent family. Middle class. Educated. Healthy.

I confess these privileged characteristics maks me part of the system–and a recipient–of goodies and grace. I confess these privileged characteristics make me part of the system that dishes out discrimination and dismissal to people who are not these things. I confess that, more than 20 years later, I still don’t know how to divest myself from that system.

As we acknowledge Juneteenth in and outside the church, I confess that delayed declarations of freedom don’t make people free. As I read the work of my Korean-born post-colonial, post-feminist Bible scholar friend, I confess that declaring I/we are not racist doesn’t make us, much less our society, anti-racist. As I read the manifesto of the entirely BIPOC** committee constructing the worship for the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly, I confess that having representatives of diversity participate in white worship doesn’t mean we are really hearing from, much less listening to, them.

I confess my corner of the church tends to be made of people like me. I confess that I don’t have enough conversation partners who are different from me. I confess that expanding my Facebook friends list has not cured this issue. I confess that my energy and focus for this work is not consistent. I confess that I must better seek your guidance and direction.

I confess I need your mercy and grace. Help me–help us all–O God. Amen.

Rev. Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl is grateful to have been reading the post-colonial, post-feminist work of Dr. Jin Young Choi (Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School) since 2004 and for having taught in almost entirely black urban charter schools for more than five years. And yet–and yet…

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