Dear White Preachers, Take Off Your Prophet’s Mantle

Dear White Preachers,

I have been watching and listening to your reflections on the task of preaching to predominantly white congregations in the wake of the non-indictments in New York City and Ferguson, in the wake of the powerful movement in the U.S. and around the world to affirm #BlackLivesMatter. I am not currently serving in a ministry setting that includes weekly preaching, so while I listen to your conversations I wonder what I might preach. The season of Advent is rich with scriptural longing for a world that has not yet been realized, for an appearance by God or God’s messengers in response to the world’s great need.

Advent and the daily news and — importantly — the persons in the pews all converge & commingle & require prayerful exegetical work by every preacher from Sunday to Sunday. I’m encouraged to witness the support being shared among you as you prepare sermons for such a time as this, and then as you offer affirmations to one another when you report on the impact of those preaching moments…

…And I confess that I am troubled by a particular word that recurs often in those post-sermon conversations, so let me offer this reflection and caution from one colleague to another: White preachers, we are not prophets.

That sermon you just preached on race to your predominantly white congregation was not prophetic. Admonishing America’s racist soul — or, taking the more pastoral approach, affirming God’s love for all people/the least of these/the poor & oppressed — in your sermons for two Sundays in a row is not prophetic. Your invitation to church folks to gather for a vigil in prayerful solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement is not prophetic. Naming directly the racism that you hear from congregants on Facebook or in person is not prophetic.

Yes, these actions may be hard to do in your context. Yes, these words may be rare in your place of ministry. Yes, you may feel uncomfortable or nervous or even fearful as you speak in these ways. Yes, there may be difficult conversations as a result. Yes, it’s possible that you could become a lightening rod for congregants’ tensions. Yes, there’s even a chance that your job stability could be risked. And yes, mustering the courage and Spirit to move past all those fears and to do something — whether preach or pray or protest — may qualify as brave.

But friends, these actions and these words do not make us prophetic.

Why not?

(1) Because we’re white. Let’s start there.

Because, as uncomfortable as you may feel naming race from the pulpit, it’s not your life that America is debating or devaluing. (Which isn’t to deny you the struggles you may have with America’s valuation of your life, but it is to distinguish and to recognize bluntly that your white life is not being killed by police at almost the same frequency as lynchings occurred in the Jim Crow era.)

Because we are uncomfortable saying “#BlackLivesMatter” clearly and unequivocally from the pulpit — think on that for a moment — and so we hedge and say #AllLivesMatter and we slip Eric Garner’s name into a pastoral prayer, thus concluding that we have spoken truth to power. Yet we are the power. You, my white colleague, are the power — by virtue of being part of the dominant culture and by virtue of your office, no matter who cuts your paycheck — so I ask you: Is “God loves everybody” a truth that challenges and upsets your power?

Because we haven’t done our own work on race and racism or not enough of it — we can never do enough work on it, white folks. Because we don’t know our place when the outcry is “Black power!”, so we cheer “No justice, no peace.” Because we’re uncomfortable standing next to our Black colleagues in solidarity, so we take a white buddy with us.

Because the movement isn’t about us. (See #2 below.) Because prophets are called out from among a people to speak to or on behalf of those same people — and white folks, we are not the people in question when it comes to #BlackLivesMatter. It is not about us. Yes, there is a response to #BlackLivesMatter that is incumbent upon white people, white ministers, white churches — but we are respondents to the message not prophets with the message. At best, white preachers repeat the message with a lens for how it will be received in our pews, challenging our churches (and ourselves) on the idea that our context is limited to our church walls or even to our geographic regions. But even when we relay that message effectively, friends, we are not prophetic.

Why aren’t we prophetic?

(2) Because we don’t tell our own stories. That “prophetic” sermon you gave? Did you mention Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Tanesha Anderson, Eric Garner, Renisha McBride, Trayvon Martin? Did you tell a story about your (one) Black friend? Did you reflect aloud on — hear me closely & honestly, white colleagues — your own Black or brown child if you have an interracial family as I do?

When you told someone else’s story in your sermon — no matter how heartbreaking the story, no matter how personally close you are to the person — you (subconsciously) guaranteed that there was no risk to you. Maybe there was the risk of tears, maybe the risk of someone walking out, but there was no risk to your own whiteness. In fact, by highlighting someone else’s story as the primary illustration of race, you implicitly affirmed to your white congregation (even if they said they were offended), “See — I/we are not that.”

To be sure, the affirmation of #BlackLivesMatter necessitates the recognition that someone else has an experience of daily life that is other from our experience. Yet in our progressive white liberal resolve to know and to name (to consume*) the other story, we manage to avoid the more soul-searching question: “If we are not the other, then who are we?”

[“White identity…has remained largely exempt from examination or self-questioning.” And on *consumption: “Whiteness…has not come into being as a form of overcoming but rather as a form of plunder.” Both quotations from White Theology: Outing Supremacy in Modernity by James W. Perkinson, pages 171 and 164 respectively.]

Wondering, then, what story to tell when you preach if not the other’s story? Tell your story, tell your church’s story, tell your community’s story of whiteness. I don’t mean your story of German-ness or your story of Norwegian-ness or your story of New England-ness (or whatever region has shaped you). I don’t mean your story of white guilt and liberal lament.

I mean that story of how you came to pastor a predominantly white church in a predominantly white town. That story of whether you noticed that the search committee that hired you was all-white; whether you preached your trial sermon and thought to yourself how odd it was to look out over a sea of white faces. That story of why a predominantly white town is a comfortable place for you to call home. That story of how the congregation feels good because mostly white isn’t all white, and how you feel affirmed to have three persons of color as members in the congregation thus confirming that you are a racially inclusive pastor and that the congregation knows how to welcome (allow) the other to sit among them.

Wondering what story to tell when you preach on race? Tell the story of how your congregation came to be predominantly white in the first place. Did the founders choose to establish a white faith community? Do your congregants remember those rare instances when a person or family of color visited on a Sunday, but “Of course they didn’t feel welcome here”? What are the stories of your church choosing — individually and collectively — not to see the non-white faces in the pews (“We don’t see color”) and in the community?

Tell the story of how your predominantly white town came to be so white in the first place. Was it a sundown town? Were there laws about who could own property where? Are there still implicit codes among local realtors about home ownership? Is the town predominantly white due to the displacement or slaughter or erasure-by-education of American Indians?

Before you stake your and your church’s identity on the dubious theological story of liberal do-good-ism and white saviour-ism, first excavate your story of participation in American racism and your removal (whether by conscious choice or unconscious default) from an integrated Kingdom of God, taking seriously that “one cannot partake in heritage a la carte.” By confessing our own, our churches’, our communities’ stories of whiteness, we do not make ourselves to be prophets but we begin to prove ourselves to be allies.

Friends, take a close look and a long listen. In the U.S. these days, the prophets are not in the pulpits. The prophets are in the streets. The prophets are staging die-ins and staring down police lines and shouting at city council meetings and organizing efforts to interrupt commuters and businesses and daily routines. The prophets are calling us to a new way of being — and not just calling, but making it happen.

We are not those prophets.

Though by our office as preachers it is our job to proclaim God’s word, we must be clear that this word, this movement, was not given to us by God to proclaim. Someone else — someones else — have the honor of proclaiming this particular day of the LORD and of calling all people to this particular repentance of racism.

When we call ourselves “prophets” for speaking against racism, we unintentionally reveal the very white privilege that we believe we are denouncing, for we plunder and steal the prophet’s mantle when it is not rightfully ours.

Friends, “prophet” is not a self-proclaimed title.

“Prophetic” is not a synonym for bravery.

The kingdom of God for which the true prophets are now in the streets crying out, demanding, will upend our white world no matter how much we believe ourselves to be allies. Perhaps we can participate in that coming kingdom, but we do so in a confessional posture…not a prophetic stance.

53 thoughts on “Dear White Preachers, Take Off Your Prophet’s Mantle

  1. I am left speechless and humbled by this powerful and passionate refection, Rachel. As a white priest I struggle every day to not let my white privilege blind me (which I feel it almost always does) to the needs of the congregation I pastor. And you know fairly well my congregation and its racial breakdown. I have told many of the Black congregation to tell me when that privilege starts to rear its ugly head. I think they have pretty much done that, but I am always prepared and needy to grow more, divesting myself of those times I think I am being the prophet. Thank you for this testimony. It makes me reflect and pray even deeper on how to be an ally and to walk humbly with those who suffer from racism every day of their lives.

  2. No words can express how timely your prophetic voice is right now. As a Pentecostal and Charismatic black male, have sat in predominantly white environments in adolescence in the 70s, as my father preached to these folks and welcomed racial solidarity as our family were the only black faces in the audience. In the 80s, there was a significant and palpable shift from the 70s era’s attempts at racial solidarity as the circumstances within our inner-cities were pathologized by our political leaders to attack votes but further alienated people of color into stereotypes instead of human beings with needs but societal leeches taking from the goverment’s coffers as Ronald Reagan called black single-mothers, welfare queens having babies and getting free money when blacks only make up 25% of US population. What were the intentions of our president’s description and caricature of these women? White Evangelicals have been existing slowly out the back of the 70s era racial solidarity and seemingly have made no bones about absolving themselves of any responsibility of being truly prophetic as if anyone has any prophetic inclinations, their inner prophetic voice should be on alarm right now and extremely agitated and if not somewhere in my prayer closet asking God: why He has stop speaking? As Christians, there is no other choice at this time and this blithe in our American history has to be soundly put to rest.


    JG, III

    • You highlight such an important point, John, that the shifting interest and commitment of white Americans & white American Christians to racial solidarity doesn’t occur in a vacuum or by happenstance, but often directly corresponds with policies & political narratives (as well as theologies) that are deliberately crafted — like the “welfare queen” narrative of the Reagan era, like the “white savior” narrative across European & American history!

  3. Powerful. I am going to post this reflection on my social media pages. Very insightful. Makes me damn proud to know you. Thank you!

  4. I am retired now but your words help me to think of my own adopted black grandkids and how I might bring them into the story. I have no idea how it is for them to live with white parents and as they begin to enter their teens I’m sure they are going to ask questions and I hope their parents and I can listen and offer insights on why adopting them was an act of grace.

  5. As an African American female pastor in a predominantly white denomination (serving in a white congregation in the suburbs). I appreciate your perspective.
    I am encountering trusted colleagues who will not speak out but instead cower behind #AllLivesmatter….their lips dripping with
    privilege. It’s disheartneing to read MLK’s Letter from Birmingham Jail and noting the stark similarities we face today.
    Blessings to you and your ministry.

  6. thNks for this my sister. I’m a Black Priest, predominately White denomination, but I lead a congregation very multi- racial congregation it is Honolulu and White is the minority. Blessings to your ministry

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  8. I found the
    Statement of Assemblies of God General Superintendent George O. Wood to be an excellent example of a white preacher understanding this distinction. He is encouraging participation with the Church of God in Christ in observing Black Lives Matter Sunday:

    Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr. of the Church of God in Christ has asked COGIC churches to observe Black Lives Matter Sunday this coming Sunday, December 14, 2014. As Bishop Blake’s friend and counterpart in the Assemblies of God, I ask that all AG churches do the same. I have two reasons for doing so.>

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  10. Thank you my dear sister for saying what many black folk, like myself may be thinking but know that it would not be received well coming from us (I constantly hear that “I’m the angry black woman). Often I think that many white clergy have good intentions when they preach about race, but the problem is they can’t tell my story the way that I can. Or they tell it in a way that serves to make them, and their white parishioners feel better or absolved that they have spoken out. Never realizing that they have just invoked the very privilege they denounced. If white clergy are serious about addressing the issue of race, try inviting some black people to come and preach about it and hear from someone who lives the experience everyday. … but that might be a little too uncomfortable. Blessings to you, and keep doing what you do.

  11. Marsha is right – so often white pastors like me who preach about race (and other injustices and disparities) offer little more than catharsis for white guilt – not the transformation that needs to occur. Also, the biblical prophets spoke to corruption of the religious and political establishments of their time – when I took a salary and benefits as a pastor in my church and denomination, I became part of the establishment. It will take far more than inviting a black colleague to preach or teach on MLK Sunday and return to business as usual the other 51 Sundays of the year. I have recently been convicted by Rev. Eric Law’s The Wolf Shall Lie Down With the Lamb and highly recommend it as a way to consider the painful yet necessary work of letting go of privilege in order to be true partners within diverse communities and contexts.

    • I agree, Mindy, we whites must pay very close attention to the ways that we assume we can somehow separate ourselves from institutional powers & privileges, as if by believing ourselves to be anti-racism allies we can somehow leave our whiteness at the door. Thanks for the book recommendation as well.

  12. Thank you for this post. It is an important and potent reminder that this work must be done by white people, in consultation with our brothers and sisters of color. We white people have depended too long on people of color to address racism and carry this work forward, while ignoring the role that our white privelege plays. Asking these hard questions and examining our role in racism and oppression, in our faith communities, our lives, and work, begins with us.

  13. I hear the concern in this, and agree that it is hard to talk about a truth that one has not experienced, but is the only alternative just another dose of white Progressive self-loathing? The Gospel is God’s, not ours. It has no race, no ethnicity. If we are brave enough to admit that the message is not ours (see the Gospel for Advent 3), but God’s, then any risk of inauthenticity seems pale by comparison with the power of what is said through our imperfect words. How arrogant to assume that its our job to pick the testimony we give, or worse, to refrain from it because of our own politically correct sense of lack of worth.

  14. Thank you Paul Wilson for speaking truth to hysteria and the thinly veiled-by religion-anti white hysteria. These days being white, and the term and whiteness, have become synonyms for ugliness,exclusion and group guilt (note the comment about American Indians).

    Now white people who attend predominately white churches are denounced as “dripping with privilege” as if being privileged equates with being racist.

    • Sir, if you perceive anti-white hysteria, then you reflect your own insecurity & fear more than you reflect the content of this post.

      I invite us whites — particularly my white colleagues in ministry — to attend to the ways that we rely on our privilege even when we preach racial reconciliation, the ways that we pat ourselves on the back for recognizing the injustices against our Black & brown brothers and sisters or for quoting MLK once a year in our sermons.

      Confession is elemental to our worship and essential to our participation in anti-racism. The latter includes an acknowledgement of racial privilege and participation (even if unconsciously) in highly racialized systems — regardless of whether you personally consider yourself racist or you know enough to hold your tongue politely.

      This is not hysteria. It is work and an effort at accountability.

      • Pastor: I should have used the term histrionic concerning the article imbedded in your post. Comparing the lynchings of the late 19th and early 20 the centuries with police shootings during the past years or so isn’t a fact but yellow journalism at its best.
        As a Christian I will not fall for this mantra of guilt by association as preached by the prophets of white privilege. Racial healing-if it ever happens-will not come about by blogs which use the terms white/whiteness as if they are somehow synonymous with the problems of this society. Nor can one supposedly confess to unfounded charges of unconscious racism.

  15. Interesting perspective…

    It would be nice to hear what responsibility you would assign to black pastors and black churches for bringing racial healing.

  16. Are you saying a white pastor is incapable of being prophetic based on the color of their skin? I appreciate your commentary on what I’m sure are some very problematic sermons and post sermon dialogue. I find the broad brush strokes you paint somewhat problematic as well. I too have the luxury of being a sideline pastor; only occasionally preaching and it is very easy for me to be critical of the weekly work being done around me. I don’t envy their weekly task while I’m certain they don’t envy mine as a pastor based in the community building relationships with and between service providers our churches by in large neglect, people who can use their services also neglected by in large by the church, and the local church in which I have hope in becoming a way to experience God’s kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven. And yes it is a predominantly white church in my predominantly white home UMC conference. Yes, there are few minorities in our church and community, but also more than our share of inequality. We also don’t claim to have arrived on achieving racial diversity.

    I have a few questions to push a little and hope to hear a response. I have several white officers in my congregation who are vocally critical of some of my views. Who is called to be prophetic to them? “Because prophets are called out from among a people to speak to or on behalf of those same people — and white folks, we are not the people in question when it comes to #BlackLivesMatter.” Given your guidelines quoted here, which I don’t disagree with, and I would add that a prophet is called to reconciliation with each other and God. How are white people not the people in question when it is a predominately white police force killing black people? It just doesn’t make sense to me.
    I obviously believe I have a prophetic calling, not one that I seek out but one that burns from the inside out. So, this blog feels an indictment of my calling and I feel called to question it.

    Your statements also assume that “white prophets” are a new phenomenon and that prophetic voice itself is limited to issues of black and white race.
    I also feel called as an Ally in the LGBTQAII community. Being a product of my conservative upbringing and having been transformed in my views I feel a strong prophetic call to be alongside my friends who are oppressed and witness to those who have yet to experience the transformation. Especially alongside colleagues who are closeted in order to maintain their credentials in the UMC.

    I also feel a prophetic call with the Environment as creation cries out for justice.

    Friend, I do not feel qualified for these callings, but neither did the prophets who have gone before. What I do feel is called.
    Thanks for taking time to read and I’ll be eager for your response.

  17. Thank you for your troubling words, Rachel. This leads me to difficult reflections. I held a vigil service. I’ve preached on racism. I’ve brought it up a lot lately. I don’t think I was thinking of myself as a prophet, at least not in the way you have strongly defined it. But, I am ill at ease now (and I think I should be) as to how my white privilege (in my almost fully white congregation) contextualized my preaching in ways I did not perceive. Your words are going to stay with me.

    • Rachel, I’ve been unable to stop thinking about this since I first read it last night. I’m sure that one piece of this is that as a white preacher I need to not engage in yet another act of cultural appropriation. I get that, and I affirm that I can’t always tell as a white person when I’m doing it. But I was taught, like so many others, that I’m called in my ministry and in my preaching to be both pastoral and prophetic. More than one teacher spoke of it as “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable”. When it comes to racism, my context is anything but afflicted. I know that. But I do preach to the comfortable, and my voice may be the only one they encounter in any given week that challenges them to recognize the lens of white privilege through which we all look. I don’t think I style myself a prophet in the manner you seem to be referencing, but isn’t that a prophetic task in some sense?

      Also, where is God in all of this? You said, “prophets are called out from among a people to speak to or on behalf of those same people”. Yet I don’t think that’s always true. Moses may have been a Hebrew, but his context was thoroughly Egyptian (he had a foot in both worlds at the very least). Jonah certainly wasn’t a Ninehvite.

      It may well be that I’m missing a piece of this context, because you’re clearly responding to these “post-sermon conversations” wherein some have styled themselves as prophets. How much of what you are seeing is cultural appropriation and how much is semantics? Is it a both/and?

      I need more help to understand how this is deeper than an argument over the meaning of “ally” versus speaking prophetically from a white context.

  18. Rachel, your words convey much wisdom, though I come at this a little differently. I’m a white Christian priest, woman, lesbian, retired professor of theology and an activist to my bones. I understand a true prophet (as distinct from a false one) to be someone who realizes that she is speaking on behalf of a Spirit/God of justice-love AND that she stands among the very people against whom she rages. In other words, to preach against white racism in the name of God, the prophet need not be black or brown herself — BUT she must understand that, whatever her race, she represents the very people whose racism she decries. Put simply: If I denounce racism, I’m denouncing my own involvement in it, not just the racism of “others,” and I’m confessing my racism as an abomination to God. I suggest that the spiritual foundation of prophesy is, therefore, humility.

    • I think I come at this in ways similar to Carter. I also have a more expanded view of what it means to be a prophet.

      I am privileged being a straight white person, but I also feel it’s being prophetic to speak our own truths of transformation, especially as we are in the midst of a community who looks like us and are privileged like us. Sure, I can’t tell the stories of people who have experienced oppression like they can, but I can make the privileged aware of those stories, especially when they aren’t open to any kind of talk on privilege. Maybe they will be more open to it coming from a white person. We use our privilege to start the conversations in our own communities. It does take risk to take a stand against what some like-privileged people believe. Ultimately, the role of a prophet is to speak the truth of God’s love, grace and justice to my context and to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. As clergy, we do our best to be both prophet and pastor in our places of ministry.

      Thank you for the opportunity to wrestle with this issue! I do appreciate you sharing this post, Rachel.

  19. Traditionally, a prophet was considered a rare person, specially chosen, possessed by God, and compelled to speak by God. The divine spark, that still small voice within, however, possesses each of us. We all have priestly access to the divine mystery, and we all have the prophetic ability and strength to see and engage injustice and hatred. That still small voice calls us to act together imperfectly to build God’s kingdom.

    Unlike the biblical prophets, we are not compelled to even try to do anything about what is being whispered in our ears daily. We can refuse to listen, refuse to speak, or refuse to act; but that nagging call cannot be completely silenced.

    Buddha was privileged. Jesus was not. Both were prophets and builders, but both confounded us activists, forgave sinners, and changed people’s lives. We have a moment we can seize for some justice. Our preachers have dared to say this killing of African American men has to stop, and people are listening, maybe for the first time. That may not make them prophets, but it may make them ministers speaking some truth for once.

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  22. Thank you, John B., your comments reflect some of the thoughts that have been marinating in my mind as comments and conversations continue both here on the blog and in other social media spaces.

    To continue thinking together (across the comments posted here), two clarifications may be helpful.

    (1) It seems worth noting that my starting point is not the formula for identifying biblical prophets but rather the formula (to the extent that I have observed it) for white ministers identifying themselves as prophets/prophetic. A study of our modern uses of “prophet” and “prophetic” in comparison with the biblical uses of those terms would be fascinating — although offhand I’m not sure that such a study would ultimately redeem white American ministers’ use of “prophet.”

    Instead my starting point is the observation that there is a formula in play when we white ministers identify ourselves as prophets or our actions as prophetic. As I see & hear it, we claim those terms as a way of highlighting ourselves/our actions as exceptional — by which I mean both excellent and rare. When we feel that we have preached an important truth & a rarely-spoken (in our contexts) truth, we call a sermon prophetic. When we have participated in a good & necessary action related to social/political justice work that requires us to step out of our comfort zones, we see ourselves as embracing the prophet’s mantle.

    [Sidebar: When it comes to those rarely-spoken truths about race & racism that we dare to speak in our contexts, I might suggest that we hold ourselves accountable for that very fact of rarity. If it’s a bold & rare word in the pulpit, for example, why isn’t it a word that has been spoken elsewhere or often beyond the pulpit? Why are the seeds not being planted — or why are the seeds so rare — in the Monday to Saturday life of the church, so that Sunday’s “prophetic” sermon lacks a platform of education to undergird it?]

    Those are broad observations and categorizations on my part. I understand that some white individuals may very well see ourselves as exceptions to the portrayal I’ve just made — we might say “No! I do this work with humility!” or we might say “No! I’ve done this work across my lifetime, not just once or twice!” That’s truly well and good…and it leads to my second clarification and question:

    (2) Why is it so important to us white ministers to claim and hold onto the title “prophet” or to view ourselves/our ministries as “prophetic”? It’s wonderful that you have invested your life in justice work and in truth-telling; the critique of this blogpost is not meant to undermine the value of your work, but rather to provoke a conversation by challenging our desire for this badge on ourselves & our ministries.

    Why is it so important to you, to me, to any of us white ministers to view ourselves as prophetic? Seriously, wrestle with this question in those hard places where your spirit meets your ego. Why is it important to see ourselves as “prophetic” rather than simply viewing ourselves as “faithful”? Faithful to God and faithful to our brothers & sisters?

    I noted that we use “prophetic” to connote “exceptional”…exceptional meaning good, exceptional meaning rare in our contexts. I also believe increasingly that we use “prophetic” to mean “exceptional/rare in comparison to other whites.” Right? We view ourselves (subconsciously, I’ll grant you) as rare in comparison to other white Americans and other white American Christians when it comes to racism, and so I hear us white ministers using “prophetic” not only to describe our boldness in the pulpit, not only to talk about our participation in racial justice work, but also to obliquely convey, “I’m one of the good white guys,” thus distinguishing ourselves from the “bad racist white guys.”

    Again, it’s not my purpose to question the value of our ministries or the importance of our participation (from the pulpits to the streets) in anti-racism movements and in the work for systemic racial justice. I challenge the ways that we view ourselves and talk about ourselves as participants in this work, specifically the ways that we unconsciously leverage and (re)assure our continued privilege and exceptionalism.

    I appreciate the continued conversation!

  23. I am not Jewish, Christian or Muslim. I am not a minister of any religion. I do not speak from any position of purity. I think we are all racists, either in small ways or big ways. What I think we must do is overcome our inherent racism and stand with justice for everyone, recognizing those who are most affected by racism. To do that we must act and speak. We must, with humility, stand against those who are bigger bigots than ourselves and ally ourselves with those who suffer from racism. Only in this way will we all find a better life here in America.

  24. I’m not a preacher of any kind. Seems to me that white people, including clergy, can ask questions, point the way (like John the Baptist), be megaphones…but can not be prophets. Personally, I am feeling like I am one of the people of Nineveh right now: “Let everyone call urgently on God.”

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