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Monday, April 28, 2014

Living Liberation in Combating Racism

The following is BTSF's contribution to the MennoNerds blog tour surrounding the this year's Wild Goose Festival theme 'Living Liberation.'

In a culture rife with systemic injustice, what does racial liberation look like for our society? 

When it comes to race, we are truly in need of liberation. Racism binds our communities. It confines the futures of our children. It shackles our capacity to live into God's will. What would it mean for us to become liberated from racism?

You cannot be an oppressor and a liberator. The oppressor cannot begin to understand what must take place to undo the damage that has been caused. Those that created and benefit from injustice do indeed have a responsibility to right the wrongs--but not as saviors. As servants. These servants must defer to those already fashioning solutions to their own oppression. By listening and submitting, we take the first steps to uprooting the embedded structures of injustice. 

Living liberation means breaking down the walls of oppression that bar access to board rooms and legislatures. It means matching our words of unity with our dollars and our feet. It means fully affirming our cultural differences, while not allowing those differences to sow seeds of disparity.  

God calls us "to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin." (Isaiah 58)

We can proclaim our liberation from unjust systems of power, from wage disparity, from  narrow beauty standards, and skewed media representation. We can emancipate ourselves from the prison-industrial complex, the school to prison pipeline, and disparately-funded education systems. We can declare freedom from voter suppression, biased self-defense laws, and broken immigration policies.

So who are the liberators? Is the Church? Is it you? Or do you remain complicit in the oppression of God people? Will you stand by and "serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers?" (Isaiah 58)

Ultimately, there is one Liberator. We know that "if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36). Christ joined ranks with the oppressed of the world that we might be liberated. How might we follow in his example as His hands and feet on earth?

The Wild Goose Festival is a gathering at the intersection of justice, spirituality, music and the arts, happening June 26-29 outside of Asheville in Hot Springs, NC. You can get more information and tickets at:

The theme this year is 'Living Liberation and declaring that “we want to live in a world that is set free from the bonds that have been placed on us and the bonds we place on others. We want to be free from the barriers of discrimination that keep us from living as one body.”

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By Their Strange Fruit by Katelin H is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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