Living as Apprentices
The following word from Letty M. Russell is so convicting it forced me into a time of self-examination, a prayer of examen. First the quote, then the prayer.
“Whatever else the true preaching of the word would need to include, it at least would have to be a word that speaks from the perspective of those who have been crushed and marginalized in our society. It would need to be a word of solidarity, healing and love in situations of brokenness and despair and a disturbing and troubling word of justice to those who wish to protect their privilege by exclusion.” From Church in the Round
The Prayer of Examen:
Do I even care about “true preaching of the word?” Or am I, like many I judge, mouthing unexamined platitudes? Am I, as Richard Rohr asks, addicted to “my own way of thinking?” How do I guard against mushy banalities, untested declarations, and shoddy logic – or just plain bending of or ignoring the truth.
How can I speak from the perspective of those who have been crushed and marginalized unless I speak to those who have been crushed and marginalized – or even better listen to those who have been crushed and marginalized. My job is to find their words and listen to their opinions – even if those words make me want to skitter into the shadows like bugs who panic when the rock they are under has been lifted. And what do I do with the words of angry American citizens who have been treated like terrorists at border crossings and checkpoints because of their names or their headwear? What do I do with the cries of Christians in Syria and Egypt whose homes and schools have been burned and who have no way of making a living? What do I do with the cries of Syrians of all stripes, numbering in the millions, who have fled everything they know in hopes that someone will take them in? What do I do with the sobs of mothers who cannot feed their children? And what about mothers and children who can’t be together because one or the other has been stolen away by traffickers?
What are words of “solidarity” and healing to those who are broken and in despair? How can I begin to “stand” with the broken without confronting my own brokenness. How can I bring healing balm if I have never been reconciled with those who wound me or been forgiven by those I have wounded?
How can I join efforts to bring “disturbing words of justice” to those who enjoy white privilege if I don’t acknowledge my own life of white privilege? How can I be inclusive until I have put myself in a position to feel or be excluded? And how do I accept exclusion without also clothing myself in bitterness and self-pity?
In other words, how do I become like Jesus without becoming like Jesus?