St. Paul admonishes us to be on our guard and warns us about savage wolves that will come to pull away the faithful. The book of Jude (yup, it’s in the Bible, keep looking…) warns us of the dangers of false teachers, but what do we do with heresy?
Are we listening?
Really, “heresy”? Hasn’t the white church surrendered ANY and ALL legitimacy around heresy? When we weaponized that word to justify murder, patriarchy, anti-semitism, genocide, and more, we lost our authority to engage with heresy. We need to just put the “heresy” label down and step back a few paces.
But we don’t. We don’t step back and get some distance or perspective on our actions, our history, our choices. We don’t see our wrongs and so don’t see our need for repentance. Perhaps we’ll try reconciliation, but repentance would mean changing…
We’ve manipulated theology to justify heinous violence. We might even admit we erred or strayed and that we need to understand our faith a little bit better. Even then, we won’t repent of our heretical position, reexamine our theology, doctrine, and discipline. We won’t undo the heresy of white supremacy because we would have to surrender our power to do it.
Power, Repentance, and Heresy
Repentance means changing our power structures. Repentance means less money, privilege, and influence. We’d rather hold onto our status and control than right the deep wrongs of our systems.
The church moved from supporting slavery to segregated balconies, from segregated balconies to hiring black staff just not clergy, from hiring clergy but not listening to their guidance nor following their leadership. We might change our behavior but we don’t undo the heresy. We just find a new way to express it.
Is our faith really all and only about grace? Does God really not care about our repentance?
In the face of our continuing monopoly of power and resources, of our refusal to repent, of our unwillingness to undo the foundations of white supremacy that sustain us, what do you do with heresy?
Working toward Beloved Community.
There is so much more to say and much more to discuss – come to the Racial Heresy group to be a part of the conversation.
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