Statement from the Dean on Responding to Racial Injustice

May 30, 2020

Dear Friends and Members of the Community at Southwest:

You are in my prayers as you begin whatever summer schedule you have been able to arrange.

The pandemic has exposed the injustice built into American society. The deadly impact of COVID-19 has overwhelmingly affected communities of color. The killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, and the harassment of Christian Cooper, are the evil fruit of the sin of racism. As the news piles up, and the pain is shared in our community, near and far, I mourn these lives; I grieve for this country; I seek to repent of my complicity in this corporate sin; despair and helplessness threaten to silence me.

As we prepare to celebrate the feast of Pentecost tomorrow, I am agonizingly aware of how much we need the Holy Spirit to blow and burn among us. We need the Holy Spirit to give the church the power to overcome sin and to recreate the world as intended by God. I reflect on Willie James Jennings’ description of the Pentecost event as “the epicenter of the revolution.” And I hear the comprehensible babble of the many, many tongues in one place, as the peoples of the earth brought together by God’s Spirit, crossing borders, ending enmity, defeating violence.

We have a vision to live toward. We have the Holy Spirit among us. We have so much work to do, but since that first glimpse of the empty tomb and the first waft of breath and heat, we have what we need.

I pray that we may put our grief, anger, guilt, and despair under the mightier power of the Holy Spirit and move as a community toward realizing God’s vision of restored creation.

Yours in Christ,