If I wasn’t a pastor, I probably would have ended up doing some combination of teaching English and coaching basketball.
In college, I had the opportunity to help coach a number of church league boys’ basketball teams.
I would drive around North Minneapolis picking up kids on Saturday mornings and making our way to the school gym that allowed us to use their court at no charge.
I loved thinking through drills and team strategy, and getting to know my players.
But it was uncomfortable too. I was a white coach. All the players were African American.
They had struggles and challenges that I never faced. Many had difficult situations at home and had been targeted by racial profiling. I worried about us getting pulled over and there being a misunderstanding or comments said that would be taken the wrong way. I tried to drive as perfectly as I could.
There were also times when our mostly all black team seemed to be unfairly penalized for “overly aggressive” play. In other communities, I’m pretty sure they would just call it talent.
While I definitely didn’t want to stay in that discomfort, I also know that I was uncomfortable because something was off in our world. This was not how God intended things to be. The trauma and history that had brought us together was not going to be easy to face.
But acknowledging the uncomfortable reality of racism in our world is part of the way that we may heal.
In order to truly experience healing, we may have to listen and know the kind of suffering our neighbors face. I don’t believe that’s to make us feel bad, though there definitely is sorrow in the way that people of color have been treated in our state and country, but I also think that our collective liberation is at stake too. That God dreams of so much more than what is and what has been for the human family, if we can live in the holy discomfort.
Joe Davis and the Poetic Diaspora
On Oct. 9 we are welcoming poet, educator, and multi-media artist Joe Davis to Wednesday Faith Formation and help us engage our own holy discomfort.
It will be an interactive event for all ages, lifting up the voices of our diverse community, and helping us continue to live boldly into God’s dream for this community, our region, our nation, and our world.
It won’t be easy, but it will be holy discomfort. And the other side is worth it.