Dear Kaleid Ladies,
What shows have you watched lately? DId you watch Hamilton last weekend?
We all love a good story.
And, let’s face it. A story isn’t good without some giant misunderstanding, some villainous tension, or some heroic sacrifice. Stories are not made up of bullet points or diagrams or “next step” lists. They are long, messy journeys embodied by human beings. (Maybe this is worth remembering when we think about why God gave us the Scriptures as the story of a Nation, a Man, and a Kingdom rather than a field manual replete with lists of “what do do when…”, but we digress…)
Americans inhabit a story. Our country has a lot of narrative threads running through it, and we each sit inside of the fabric of those threads. We aren’t on the outside of the tapestry. It’s so easy to point fingers or to talk about “culture” as though we aren’t a real part of the tightly woven reality of America’s narrative arc.
Our American story includes the painful reality of white supremacy. In an excellent podcast, David Bailey defines white supremacy as, “a spiritual principality, manifested economically, legislated politically, that affects us all relationally.” This definition is hard to read, hard to digest, hard to sit with, and hard to hold. But, in our Kaleid Be the Bridge 101 groups this week, we are grappling with the reality that the answer to our question, “what do I do?” in light of racial brokenness is not primarily a list of to-dos, but rather an awareness of our place in the painful story of white supremacy--the cultural and systemic elevation of white bodies, agendas, and power in our country.
We invite you to listen. To embrace the fact that the story of our country will be shaped by what each of us chooses to learn, pray, and make habitual in the coming weeks and years. The Kingdom story is still at work, as a counter-narrative, and we are invited to tell it with our lives.
Story-shaping is much more compelling than to-do list-checking, isn’t it?
Make no mistake, we will need strength for the story as we see it and as we seek to walk faithfully in it. Because the story of white supremacy in our culture is a hard one. It’s one with very, very ugly parts. It’s also a strong one and an emotionally charged one. We will have to train our hearts in the way of courage and love to be active against it rather than to remain passive as it happens around us.
In our Kaleid contemplative mornings, we continue to find sustenance for the journey through the practice of imaginative prayer. Here is a guide from our time last week as we used imaginative prayer to “see others” and their stories through new, Holy Spirit inspired, lenses. We hope it blesses you and lifts you.
And, in the spirit of knowing that we need both time away with God and courage to enter all the stories--God’s and America’s and our own--with eyes wide open, we offer you this prayer from St. Aidan.
“Leave me alone with God as much as may be. As the tide draws the waters close in upon the shore, make me an island, set apart, alone with you, God, holy to you. Then with the turning of the tide prepare me to carry your presence to the busy world beyond, the world that rushes in on me till the waters come again and fold me back to you. Amen.”
The Kaleid Team