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Friday Reflection on Race, Class and Theology

By Rev. Dr. Tracey Robinson-Harris

In the corner of the cellar of my old house stretched between granite columns and timber framing there is a spider web—about 5 feet high and 4 feet wide. It has been there for more than five years, and is no longer occupied by its creator. It is just to the left and in the corner so every time I go down the stairs to do laundry, check the furnace, or read the oil gage, I see it stretched there in its granite and timber frame a tangible reminder of

  • The connections between us—the strands are real, constant, and
  • The question to be asked—it is not "are we connected?" but "how are we connected?"

The web is the heart of the matter for me, theologically speaking—our 7th principle is the context for the other six, an antidote to the excessive individualism that our religious community can encourage and promote. Our principles, the anchoring strands of the web have both strength and a fragility woven into them because they exist despite all that we use to separate and divide, deny and destroy.

Because of its location, I can only see one side of this life-sized web. Like it, the web of connection between and among us has two sides—one visible, the one we choose to see, our public face and the other, an underside hidden as a result of systematic concealment, cultivated blindness. Our theological task is to break through the concealment, to know the underside of interdependence where the strands of oppression bind us. And until the answer to the question "how are we connected?" is "not by oppression but in beloved community" I pray that I, that we, will not rest.

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Last updated on Thursday, August 23, 2012.

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