Weekday Email to Members and Friends – 2020-07-22

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Wednesday July 22, 2020
A daily e-mailer from
Matt Matthews
To Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois
Dear Friends,
The  book White  Fragility is helping many of us think and grow. Check out the book  and notice Bob Kirby’s review below.  John McWhorter, a black reviewer, wrote a negative review in The Atlantic. What  did you  think of  the  book?
Take on Race:
White Fragility—Why It’s Hard for White People to Talk about Racism/By Bob  Kirby
Tracy Dace told our small group years ago that we were not ready to talk to black people about racism because we first had a lot of work to do on ourselves. He implored us, “do not expect black people to go through the emotional pain of teaching you about being black in America until you understand what it means being white in America.” Thank you, Mr. Tracy. 
Linda DiAngelo’s bestseller, White Fragility, is written by a middle aged, highly educated, privileged white woman for an audience of educated privileged white adults. Hers is not a scientific nor a religious work. Although scripture could be easily added to her important points.  
DiAngelo challenges people who look like me to think about what it means to be white. I had never even thought about describing my white culture. Have you? The author shares her observations as a diversity counselor in an easily read book that makes sense to me and others who read it with me. It has given me a deeper, although unsettling, understanding of my whiteness and of the systemic racism of the past 400 years which has benefited me and almost everybody I know. I can now say out loud that I have been an active contributor to and a beneficiary of a racist society. I have power. I acknowledge my white privilege, my white attitude and that part of my personal racism of which I am aware. From White Fragility I learned things that help me better understand the black community’s continuing cry for justice. I am now a learning, striving but forever flawed antiracist in process. And I am closer to a time when I can discuss racism with black friends. 
John McWhorter’s recent criticism of White Fragility [in The Atlantic] is interesting. Professor McWhorter grew up in an affluent family.  His parents were academics. He was educated at a private Quaker school and then attended college at Rutgers, New York University and at Stanford where he earned his PhD in linguistics. He describes himself as “middle aged (57) and upwardly mobile”. He has written that “antiracism is worse than white racism”.  McWhorter does not agree with Linda DiAngelo’s observations about whiteness and seems not to understand why it’s hard for white people to talk about racism.  As a black man who opposes affirmative action based on race and believes our racial problems are the result of “black attitudes” it is understandable that DiAngelo’s book is not to his liking. He certainly he is in a place to interpret some of her vignettes as condescending. But, White Fragility was not written for him.  It is an important bestselling book written for a majority of white Americans who want help understanding their white culture so that they can become effective antiracists and move closer to some wonderful spiritual time when they can talk about racism with friends of all skin colors.
Wednesday Night Potluck! Bring your hunger tonight (and dinner) for our Wednesday night Zoom. Tonight, our Spiritual Formation team will deepen our faith. 
Email zoom@firstpres.church for the link.

Humor: (Serious times call for re-creation, joy, and humor.)
Every single day I get hit by the same bike.
It’s a vicious cycle.
If pronouncing my ‘b’s as ‘v’s makes me sound Russian,
Then Soviet.
(Thanks Erica John.)
Romans 8:26-39                   
26Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
28We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A prayer for the morning:  
help me,
help me, 
help me.
A prayer for the evening:
thank you,
thank you,
thank you.
(Anne LaMotte)
PEACE to you all,
Matt Matthews
Cell: 864.386.9138