December 28, 2023
Open mouth—insert foot! Recently, I had a real doozy. On December 17, our newest ministry venture, the Anti-Racism/Pro-Reconciling group, met for lunch immediately after worship. If you remember, we received a grant from the Reconciliation Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Over lunch, around 20 people gathered for an initial conversation that we hope to expand to more and more people, both folks who attend Cypress Creek and those in the larger community. Like always, I was running late as we had first-time visitors in worship, and I wanted to spend some time talking. When I arrived, the room was divided into two sections, with four tables in a square on both sides of the room. Everyone else was eating, and John Basel asked me a simple question: Which side would you like to be on? My filter, especially when I am tired, can sometimes move into my boyhood filter. I was and still am a Star Wars freak, and I immediately pounced on the word “side” and connected it to Darth Vader. I said, “I’ll choose the dark side.” Take a moment and let what I said soak in. Remember, I am entering a space where the focus of this committed group of people is to explore both the explicit and implicit racism in our culture. And I just said that I wanted to sit on the “dark” side. I don’t believe anyone thought I was being intentionally insensitive in the moment, but I wonder how often I have tried to be funny, yet my lack of awareness or sheer stupidity has brought injury to others. In such moments, as I did that afternoon, I apologized and tried to use it as a learning experience. Insensitivity, even when it was unintentional, needs to be named and an apology offered. When we name our faux pas, it says to someone who might have been hurt, “I see you, and I will try to be more mindful.” Change comes through awareness and grace from others.
Provide me ears to hear, Merciful God, as I need to listen ever-so-carefully to my own words. Help me as I do the hard work of becoming more compassionate and understanding in a world where disrespect and hate seem to find approval from those in power. I wish for my life to offer an alternative, a vision of who you are, Gracious God. Amen.
Rev. Bruce Frogge