What Story Do You Want To Tell?
Can I confess something to you?
While I have always been annoyed to see confederate monuments and the confederate flag flying in the south, I haven’t realized until just recently how painful and inflammatory these symbols of hate are for many of our black sisters and brothers.
As I have listened recently to local black pastors and organizers, I’ve heard stories of how their muscles tense and their stomachs turn whenever they walk into Downtown Decatur and see the confederate monument next to the old Dekalb courthouse...if they go into downtown at all.
Being able to simply be annoyed by symbols of hatred and oppression is part of my white privilege.
Jesus came to proclaim good news of great joy for all people and I want us to be a church community that lives as if ALL really means ALL. Part of the good news of great joy for all people is that we are an interconnected family and, as 1 Corinthians says, “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it…”
Today is June 19th, also known as Juneteenth. It’s a celebration of the day in 1865 when news of emancipation finally reached the enslaved people of Texas (more than two years after the fact). Imagine needlessly suffering in slavery for more than 2 whole years when you were actually free! It’s maddening to think about.
The reality is that many people are still needlessly suffering from the effects of racism and white supremacy…and if they are suffering, we should be suffering and fighting for justice with them.
We have a lot of work to do but I’m thankful for the ways we are taking action to understand and advocate on behalf of our suffering family members. Here are a few things we should celebrate:
25 people from Common Table Decatur and the neighborhood surrounding the church building are reading through White Fragility and trying to understand why talking about racism and white privilege is so challenging for white folks. You can still join the online group Wednesdays at 7pm.
On Sundays, we’ve been diving into a series called Everlasting Love: relationships for the long haul. We will continue that series this weekend as we talk about parenting…and what we can do to invest in all of our relationships.
Some have emailed or called government officials and joined in protests to demand the removal of the confederate monument , an awesome independent bookstore in Downtown Decatur, reminded us of the story of hatred and white supremacy and intimidation the confederate monument tells. The monument was erected in 1908 but fundraising started in 1906 after the Atlanta Race Riots. The motivation for this monument wasn’t to tell the story of history but to make a statement to black people, right in front of the county courthouse, that oppression and injustice were not going anywhere.
📷: Elliot Inspace
At a protest on Wednesday to demand the removal of the confederate monument one of the employees of Little Shop of Stories, an awesome independent bookstore in Downtown Decatur, reminded us of the story of hatred and white supremacy and intimidation the confederate monument tells. The monument was erected in 1908 but fundraising started in 1906 after the Atlanta Race Riots. The motivation for this monument wasn’t to tell the story of history but to make a statement to black people, right in front of the county courthouse, that oppression and injustice was not going anywhere.
At the end of her speech, the Little Shop of Stories employee asked us, “What story do you want to tell?”
Common Table Decatur, what story do we want to tell?
I hope the story we tell is about the good news of great joy for all people. The good news that Jesus came to restore the image of God in all creation. The good news that resurrection and new life are possible even in the face of death and decay. The good news that Jesus came to gather all people around a common table and share life and hope and wholeness and joy with us.