In this week before Thanksgiving, I can appreciate the gratitude in the air. I’ve noticed that we express gratitude for the positive things in our lives – family, friends, health, and home. It is good and right to be grateful. I’m also feeling an unusual sense of gratitude for the uncomfortable stuff of life – a gentle correction of word choice, a relationship that takes extra effort to maintain, a growing awareness about the unearned benefits of my whiteness.

Last Saturday, Leah, Afton Martens, and I attended a train-the-trainer event for the “Let’s Talk: White Privilege” curriculum promoted by the UCC. The event was sponsored by the Minnesota Conference UCC as part of their 2020 vision. Our facilitator was Rev. Nancy Eggen, the Minister for Racial Justice Initiatives from the Kansas-Oklahoma Conference. She talked without blame or shame, but in a straightforward pastoral way about the devastating harm of the lie of whiteness. I learned to identify my privilege when someone responds to me with ‘ouch’ or ‘oops.’ I learned that our time together discussing the complexity of white privilege is about creating a “space of sacred discomfort.” This gave me permission for my anxiety. John Dorhauer (UCC President & Executive Minister who has a doctorate in white privilege) wrote something in the curriculum that caught in my throat: “there is a way of growing up white in America that teaches you that you are the normal one and everyone else is different.” I’m grateful for the pain that awakens me to admit I grew up thinking this way.

Ted Loder wrote in “Guerrillas of Grace” about thankfulness.

“O God of timelessness and time … Thank you for the honesty which marks friends and makes laughter; for fierce gentleness which dares to speak the truth in love and tugs me to join the long march toward peace … Thank you for work which engages me in an internal debate between right and reward …”
(O God of Timelessness and Time, p. 48-49)
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

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