Calling Each other In

by Ole Olson, Pastor of United Faith Community in Buffalo, MN

You are too!
I am not!
You are too!
I am not!

Nobody (regardless of age) likes to be called names. These days, one of the strongest and worst names you can call someone is “Racist.” There is no quicker way to throw up a wall and end a conversation between two people than for one of them to call the other a racist.

In Freedom Is a Constant Struggle, Dr. Angela Y. Davis writes about how this name-calling undermines our anti-racism work. She says: “I feel that if we don’t take seriously the ways in which racism is embedded in structures of institutions and if we assume that there must be an identifiable racist who is the perpetrator, then we won’t ever succeed in eradicating racism.”

My point in this article is NOT to be calling anyone out for their thoughts or deeds. For we are ALL called by Jesus to care for others. It is not our place to condemn someone else for their actions. No matter who you are (white or person of color), you have done or said something about, or to, another person that you shouldn’t have.

You see, the work of the church should be about calling others INTO the work that Jesus preached about. We should be calling others into the love that has been breathed upon us all. The mission of the church is to build up its members, the body of Christ, to be the best they can be: welcomed, loved, humbled, forgiven, freed from fear, healed, justified, and Spirit-filled. Then, together, the church goes out into the world to love it as Jesus would love: generous, loving, humble, forgiving, courageous, healing, just, and Spirit-filled.

The work of bringing social equity to our present society is hard work! But it is VERY important work and the brunt of that work should be done by those of us with privilege (power, race, gender, etc). We need to look at the work of the church to see where it can be changed for the benefit of all.

© Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ | 2023