Building the New

newbuild“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

~ Socrates

Well- said, Socrates.  I had been searching for the words to explain my emphasis on ridding myself of race while not exerting any new energy on old fights.  I have been asked time and again to revisit and review the multi- faceted effects of American slavery, systemic unfairness, the malpractices of the American justice system and one death after another involving European American police officers and African American men and women.  Thanks to you, Mr. Socrates, my search is over.

But, seriously, Socrates makes a great point– and not just because his name is Socrates.  My goal is not to forget history or to ignore the pain that our belief in race has caused to our identity and relationships with each other.  Instead, my plan is to get ahead of it in order to lead us out of it.  We have got to get ahead of race or we will remain behind in who we should be.

Samuel Miller wrote in The Life of the Soul, “The only way in which we can grow into something better than we are now is to do things we are not strictly able to do.”  While he was talking about the life of discipleship, the struggle between the two natures and the work of spiritual formation, the same is true of those who would dare to say the word post- racial.  It is enough to get me into a serious debate as the possibility of such is absurd.  I have been told on more than a few occasions that it will never happen, that we cannot be this kind of society, that “they” won’t let this happen.  Instead of working on what could be, we fight.

But, how much time do we spend trying to change the present by fighting with history?  That time has past and no matter the strength exerted, we cannot change what has happened.  It seems, at least to me, that hard hats are in order, that I need to see if steel- toed boots and a clergy robe go well together.  Because it’s time to build the new.

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