Over the past year, we have heard the term “white privilege” used often and saw many examples play out over and over again. People who identify as white often pushed back on the term with claims they had experience struggle and not privilege. This may be true but as a group belonging to this social construct of race, privilege does apply to the group. Francis E. Kendall, author of Diversity in the Classroom and Understanding White Privilege: Creating Pathways to Authentic Relationships Across Race, gives a fairly clear definition of the term as “having greater access to power and resources than people of color [in the same situation] do.”
But I’m not here to talk about white privilege and how it makes people without the same privilege not only feel, but experience, unfair and uncalled for attacks on their person in doing even the most mundane things like walking in the park, having a cookout, or sitting in a coffee shop. If privilege is about having greater access to power and resources, as Kendall’s definition says, could there be other types of privilege and if so could be used in a way that is life-affirming?
While the blog has been quiet for several months during the pandemic, I was doing some self-reflecting and listening to God which led to a resetting of direction and purpose that ultimately led to a new church. Yesterday’s sermon entitled “I Get To” by Dr. Harry L. White asked the question “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?” from Psalm 116:12. He went on to list several things that we get to do versus have to do. This brings me back to privilege. Getting to do things comes as a result of having privilege. Having to do things comes as a result of obligation or subjugation.
As Christians, we have privilege because we have access to power and resources. We have access through prayer to receive direction and guidance from God. We have resources through God’s Word and wise friends and family. The question then is how do we use this privilege we have through God for good? While we should and we must continue to call out instances of white privilege, we have a responsibility to call out even louder our God privilege. God’s people are called to be salt for a reason in Matthew 5:13-16. If those who are called to be the salt of the earth have lost our salt, then with what will the earth be salted?
Help us to remember that YOU have given us what we need and all that we need to influence the world. Give us the courage to stand grounded in confidence that comes from you. Use our words and our actions to show YOU to those who are afraid, misunderstood, and overlooked. With humility we accept this responsibility to bring glory to YOU. Amen.