A Kairos Moment
Now is the time to do your own work in order to come alongside of The Work.
Right now, we find ourselves in a kairos moment, a moment when God is calling us to a particular purpose, a moment that demands holy outrage and righteous anger and loving action. The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others have galvanized so many communities—and so many of us.
Like so many here in our Field Notes community, I have learned so much over the past few years as we have leaned into dismantling the ongoing stench of white supremacy, the ugly legacy of colonization, and the terrible endurance of unjust systems. And the truth is that this community here is overwhelmingly white AND overwhelmingly American in demographics. All of which means we have work to do. I have work to do as a white Canadian descended from settlers and I am - imperfectly - engaged in that work. You may have different work to do. But we all have work to do.
As I said above: kairos. Kairos is a Greek word that means “at the appointed time” or “the critical moment.” It is a moment in time, outside of chronological time, when God is at work. It can shift towards justice or injustice, towards goodness and peace or towards evil and cruelty. This feels like that moment to me. It is apocalyptic in the truest sense of the word, an unveiling, a revealing. This is a kairos moment for justice.
I cannot pretend to know everything about the history and context and experience in America. I am not American and to be frank, I am regularly baffled and infuriated by American evangelicals in particular. I’m not a leader in this lane and my voice isn’t one that should be centred. (After all, as I said above Canada is also racist and has a particularly heinous history of oppression with Indigenous people - again, my work to do.)
We need to be listening to and being led by people of colour particularly Black people right now – in our lives, on Twitter, in the news, in education, in poetry, in art, in literature, in politics, in faith. Listen. Learn. Follow. (This is a big reason why we have our Field Notes Book Club - we are placing our spiritual formation in the hands of BIPOC.)
So I want to point us as a community towards leaders and resources I trust implicitly, who have helped me to do my own work.Right now is not the time to turn towards every Black leader you ever knew and ask them to personally tutor you, they are busy. Now is the time to do your own work in order to come alongside of The Work.
With that in mind, here are just a few of the leaders and resources who have deeply formed me and lead me towards repentance, transformation, and justice.
I have been particularly formed by the leadership and friendship of Black women. Donate to them, hire them, take their courses, support them, pray for them, fund their work, buy their books, and centre their voices in your advocacy.
Austin Channing Brown - subscribe to her newsletter The Roll Call right now as she has daily “homework” for her readers. Her book “I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness” is glorious and necessary.
Osheta Moore - Osheta is doing bold, peace-making work right now with her series Dear White Peacemakers available to everyone on social media for free. She is wading directly into discipling white people in peacemaking and it is a GIFT. She also wrote “Shalom Sistas: Living Wholeheartedly in a Brokenhearted World.” (I wrote the Foreword for this book.)
Be the Bridge with Latasha Morrison. This discipleship group is doing incredible work in churches and communities towards racial healing and reconciliation. Latasha is such a phenomenal leader and her organization has developed excellent resources. If you’re not sure about white supremacy, start with their four-lesson whiteness intensive plan to understand the basic tenets in order to better engage with good conversations. If you are in any form of spiritual community, this would an excellent resource for your church leadership.
Lisa Sharon Harper - We’ve hired Lisa and her Freedom Road organization to consult with us at Evolving Faith about diversity and inclusion and justice within our organization. If you want to bring someone in to train and lead your staff or organization, I’d highly recommend her. Also we’ll be reading Lisa’s book “The Very Good Gospel” as part of our Book Club at the end of the year, too.
Black Coffee with White Friends is an Instagram account that is doing deep work on that platform that is hopeful and strong. So grateful for Marcie’s voice and faithfulness.
Alicia T. Crosby - Alicia has been working with us in a chaplaincy role at Evolving Faith to create spiritual formation and care opportunities for people of colour. Her leadership has been phenomenal. I am so grateful for her work and witness. She is engaged in local activism and you can follow her on Twitter to find opportunities to support her work.
Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes is also someone who has been part of the Evolving Faith community and I cannot tell you how much her book “I Bring the Voices of My People: A Womanist Vision for Racial Reconciliation” meant to me. I languished too long in white-centred feminism and this book - along with Dr. Wil Gafney’s work - deeply transformed me. I could listen to her preach all day long and would always sit at her feet.
A couple of other books to add to the list that I found particularly transformative:
How to Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad (This is a workbook-type of read and if you wanted to form a book club with a few friends and work through it together, I would highly recommend that. I went through it last summer and still reference it often. This is good homework. Also it’s just $2.99 on Kindle right now.)
The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone
Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman (We read Howard Thurman in 2019’s book club and that lead me to this work.)
Strength to Love by Martin Luther King Jr. (Another book club pic from 2019, I read most of this one out loud to myself so that I wouldn’t miss a single sentence of it.)
The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole (this is particularly about the experience of being Black in Canada)
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
If you have any other resources you would like to share with us, please click through to the comments and share them.
I want you to know that I am fully committed to anti-racism, to the cause of equity, and to the way of love.
We'll protest, grieve, lament, vote, give, show up for one another, stand in solidarity with our Black siblings, listen, learn, and do the work we've been called to do right now. I invite you to join in this work from where you are right now. It will be tiring. It will be long. It will require every discipline of hopefulness and faith you have and even then you will run out and God will be enough. You will need to learn to rest, to love others, to forgive, when to speak and when to remain silent, and to turn over tables.
And to pray. Pray. Pray. With your voice, when your spirit, with groans and tears, with your hands and your ears, with your mind and your feet. Without ceasing, pray. There is a time for everything under the sun: this is the appointed time.
This is a kairos moment. Don’t miss it. And don't settle for peacekeeping when we're called to peacemaking.
Let justice roll down. Black lives matter.
(P.S. As a note, I have purposely made any book links Amazon Affiliate links even though we have our qualms with Amazon. This is because my plan is to donate any income generated from these clicks directly to Black creators and activists.)