One of the countless changes in plans this spring was the postponement of confirmation. Luke Helgager and Brendan Hillig were originally scheduled to affirm their baptisms this
weekend, but we will wait until we can all gather together to celebrate with them.
Still, both have completed their work, including a final assignment which would be daunting for many adults. Each of them wrote a personal statement of faith, with instructions to write what they really think and believe, not what they imagine parents or pastor wants them to say.
Brendan has graciously given me his blessing to quote part of his insightful paper:
I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, my Lord who is deﬁnitely not white, nor is he
Gods’ [sic] vending machine.
He was a ﬁrst century Palestinian carpenter, who likely had a business and was deﬁnitely not poor, as he was the eldest child of a tradesmen [sic].
Unless something very odd happened, Jesus would have looked like a modern Palestinian. Europeans white washed Jesus to make him more like them.
In reality, they should have worked to be more like him....
Modern belief in the Gospel of Prosperity, where people who have the most must be the most Godly, is clearly not in line with pretty much everything Jesus ever said. So I believe that Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, did not look like me, nor does he engage in quid pro quo.
No wonder he ended up dead.
The unjust world that crucified Jesus has done it again this week to George Floyd.
George died after a police officer in Minnesota kept him under his knee, gasping and
begging for air for several minutes.
It was quicker and more efficient than nailing him to a cross, but the outcome was the same:
a dark skinned male suffocates on a public roadway after suffering extreme, sickening
violence applied by law enforcement.
Whatever George did, did it deserve the death penalty?
Every time I have been pulled over by cops and complied with what they said, I survived.
Every time I forged my dying father's signature on a check, I was allowed to keep breathing.
Every time I have been inebriated, I lived to tell about it.
Every time I have jogged on a sidewalk or worn a hoodie or offended a white woman or led Bible study in a church, I was not murdered.
Either I should have been slaughtered for all of those crimes—I am now admitting them all on video, so please notify the police and protect society from me—or I am the undeserving beneficiary of the racist evil that is white privilege.
Why are George Floyd and Eric Garner and Philando Castile and Tamir Rice and Michael
Brown and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and Emmett Till and Rev. Clementa
Pinckney all dead while I survive?
Don't overthink this: the answer is black and white.
I serve in a very white church in a very divided country, both of which I love and appreciate, and both of which, like me, are toxic with the insidious sin of racism.
May God provoke those of us who are white, and therefore have disproportionate power, voice,and security in this unwell society, to talk less, listen more, work harder, and take
additional responsibility for just equality on earth as it is in heaven.
May God correct and forgive and remake us all.
May God follow through on the beautiful, unfinished promise of Pentecost.
In Luke's account of it, something sounding like the rush of a violent wind surges through the
scene, blowing down barriers including language and culture and age and sex and educational status.
In John's account of it, Jesus stands among his terrifed disciples and breathes on them,