Thanks to Richard Rohr and the CAC for inspiring this Great Idea with their week of reflections – from diverse authors – on God’s Restoring Justice.
This series of studies and practices might be shared intergenerational if you’ve got youth and adults interested in antiracism and restorative justice.
It is flexible to in-person, on-line, or hybrid gatherings.
An hour-long weekly event might flow as follows:
- Ground in a brief silence
- silence phones or ‘turn them in’
- light a candle
- find a posture of prayer and receptivity
- sit in silence for three to five minutes
- let go of distractions
- set intention to be present
- Share Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Practice of Seeking Forgiveness
- read the leading questions
- pause for silent reflection
- encourage journaling/drawing to process responses
- read final two paragraphs as consolation
- offer words of absolution if that seems appropriate – perhaps at least in the final week
- Read the articles – one per week
- process individually through journaling /drawing
- What is being called out of you as an individual?
- What is being called out of us as a congregation?
- Do any clear action steps come to mind?
- What vision of the future do you see these steps leading us toward?
- as individuals
- as a congregation
- as a community
- What intangible outcomes may result from taking these steps?
- internal experiences of release from guilt
- enhanced relationships with BIPOC communities and individuals, etc.
- renewed life in congregation
- Close with gratitudes and hopes
Take the practice into the congregation and community:
- create a community-based definition of reparations and restorative justice
- reshape confession and forgiveness through the lens of this practice and participant input
- invite individuals or small groups to dig into each author:
- what was their context?
- what were their spiritual practices?
- how did their spiritual life support their justice work?
- develop a structure so that what is learned informs systems and structures within the congregation:
- decolonize worship
- develop reparations-informed stewardship narratives
- youth ministry through an antiracism lens
- social justice with an eye to mutuality and partnering, rather than ‘doing for’ or ‘giving to’
- explore broadening awareness and action into greater community:
- who might allies and partners be?
- where are opportunities to change local systems and policies?
- where might reparations be made?
- who is already offering reparations – what can be learned by those efforts?
- what individuals or organizations should be recipients of financial reparations?
- how might financial reparations be administered with generational effectiveness?
- with whom can the congregation partner to create a reparations fund sufficient to make meaningful reparations?
Ground in spiritual practices of silence, listening, honesty, confession, and intention-setting and develop resilience for racial reparations.