Getting out of our boxes – or letting each other out?

A notepad its on a desk near a pen, laptop and phone
 on May 1, 2021

God is good! Genesis 1:27: “Humankind was created as God’s reflection: in the divine image God created them…” from the Inclusive Bible.

What categories do you use to describe yourself? Keep checking your assumptions, reconsidering your perspectives – how many different categories does it take before you start thinking of yourself across a broad spectrum? This is a colourful way of thinking, and it invites us to expand our careful classifications to expose the jagged limits of their usefulness. As we explore our own human identities, often it becomes clear that we need to do more inner work, learning to love ourselves – for when we are able to “hide” our pains and shames from God, we find ways to turn away from other people’s pain. It seems to be a human trait to project onto others our own understanding of ourselves as created in the image of God. Something shifts, when we use love – language to describe the image of God – unconditional Love – no matter what you have done – as in the Gospel story of the father who ran out to meet his prodigal son – welcoming him with love and radical forgiveness before the son even had a chance to say a word to his dad. If we can love ourselves so radically, and let ourselves be so wildly loved by God, we can come to a different understanding of our relationships with one another – also created in the image of God. What would it take to let yourself be fully and completely loved by God? It comes back to Sunday School, with the song that teaches us: “Jesus loves me, this I know – for the Bible tells me so.” In being courageous to love, we can tap into the deep honesty, respect and wisdom required of us to uncover our unconscious racism that infiltrates our culture and our language. Simone de Beauvoir once said: “It is in the knowledge of the genuine conditions of our lives that we must draw our strength to live and our reasons for acting.”

I give great thanks to God for the humble leadership of our clergy, congregations and parishioners as we work in the diocese to dismantle racism – which is itself institutional, systemic and structural. Racism is a reality in our human condition – therefore also reality in the power dynamics and policies that govern our congregations and communities. As our Anglican Church in Canada was founded in a colonial landscape, where can we identify racist policies, and how can we use our power to change and guide policies in our Church and in our government? Can we be intentional in working against complacency – in bringing the gospel into the conversations where people are divided by inequity and injustice, where people are hungry and poverty-stricken? When we feel like that inequity is somehow far from our own context, take a look at where many of the COVID-19 transmissions are found, and ask why? Who is the population? Why hasn’t there been an emphasis on vaccinations and healthcare provisions there? We have much ongoing reconciliation work to do within our own Church and in our land. How can we learn to relate across our human differences, as equals? When we are constricted by thinking that there is a finite amount of honour, money or status to go around, then people in positions of power and privilege are often scared of somehow losing it. Jesus is the dynamos – the “power” that blows up that argument – the last shall be first, and the first shall be last. In resisting a sense of false certainty, we can seek patterns and clarity – outside, beyond, across and maybe even without any boxes or categories. Racism, sexism and other prejudices will be much harder to justify when we allow ourselves, and especially encourage one another to see beyond the categories/buckets/slots we maintain as a culture and as individuals. As Christians, we are an Easter People! And we are called, even in the midst of the cares of life, to recognize our created-ness in the image of God, who is Love.


Keep on reading

Skip to content