I pray that the eyes of your heart will have enough light to see
what is the hope of God’s call.
Ephesians 1:18a (CEB)
There are many statistics that cite the disparity of wealth between the white population and the Black and Latinx populations in the United States, but our family lived it and witnessed it during my daughter’s time in high school.
In a town whose public school system had a high rate of white flight to private schools and neighboring town districts, we sent our daughter to a school where she was in the minority. Less than 15% of the student body was white. At her graduation, she was easily spotted as she was the only blond female in the 300-member class.
While we were by no means the richest people in town, she was one of the wealthiest students at her school — something she tried very hard to keep on the down-low. The correlation between race and poverty was not hard for her to make.
Now at college with a predominantly white student body, our daughter has realized that her fellow students don’t know what she knows. They haven’t lived with, studied with, played with and performed with people who don’t look like them, people whose families struggle to pay rent, people for whom daily bread is not guaranteed. Her world view is different. Often, our very opinionated daughter is not very patient with her current classmates’ ignorance on the causes and systemic cycles of poverty — especially when it is related to race. She is much more aware of her privilege than the average 21-year-old white woman because she lived in the midst of people who did not share her status.
It is easy to ignore and dismiss articles and statistics.
It is much harder to ignore and dismiss people — especially people with whom you are in community.
Action: Take an assessment of your communities — school, church, neighborhood, social and professional groups. What is the makeup of those social networks? What shifts can you make to be more involved in communities where people who don’t look like you make up the majority?
Prayer: Loving God, open the eyes of our hearts to the people around us. Help us to forge communities that make the systems of injustice in our world impossible to ignore and imperative to address. May we work with each other side by side. May they know we are Christians by our love. Amen.
Anne Russ is an ordained pastor with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She has a heart for small church ministry, Christian camping and the power of the Web to spread the Good News of the Gospel. Anne is a fiercely supportive theater mom, a loud laugher and a lover of good stories. She is a displaced Southerner living in New York who pastors through her online platform, DoubtingBeliever.com.
This year’s Path of Peace reflections are designed to help participants explore peacemaking efforts addressing some of the major issues of our time. The theme for the 29 days of the 2022 A Season of Peace is Led Forth in Peace: Critical Areas of Engagement for Peacemakers. With these daily reflections, we are invited to reflect upon ways to practice peace by engaging the following critical areas:
- Climate change
- The intersection of poverty and racism