Freed to Receive Difference
Beloved in Christ,
At last month’s BISHOPx Forum, Dr. Catherine Meeks offered us a powerful challenge to reflect on the truth that the sin of racism damages all of us, and therefore the work of racial healing includes all of us. At this Thursday’s forum, I’ll be talking about how we approach this work specifically as disciples of Jesus, and exploring the theological and spiritual foundations of this call. As part of that, I’ll share some of my own story of learning, repentance, and conversion. I’m grateful that Heidi Kim will be a conversation partner in this.
Like most people, my own experience of race is complex. As a white-presenting Latino man, I have lived much of my life in two different racial realities: benefitting from all of the privilege our society grants to cis-gender white males, and at the same time being very much rooted in and formed by the stories and experiences of the Mexican immigrants who make up my family.
Racial justice and healing in the world requires each of us to do this: to affirm and embrace our own unique raced identities. Only then can we be set truly free to receive difference in others as a gift through which all of us can be mutually transformed and healed.
Because of my own identity, I am deeply conscious that September 15 - October 15 is Hispanic Heritage month, and I’m particularly grateful for the way that Latine immigrants have enriched our life together as a diocese. But of course, the same can be said for many, many other groups as well. One of the things that drew me to Minnesota was the way in which our diversity is an invitation to learn how to truly make room inside of ourselves to be changed by our encounters with difference. I’m still learning in my own limited and broken way how to do this, and deeply grateful to have all of you as companions in that work. Through the gift we have been given in one another, across all of the differences present among us, the Holy Spirit is working to give us new hearts, softened by love and re-energized for building Beloved Community in the world What a gift to be on this journey, and to be given this core work to do, together.
Grace and Peace,
The Right Reverend Craig Loya
Episcopal Church in Minnesota