Do You Want to be Well?
It’s time to stop using the word Love. We should also stop using the phrases beloved community and racial reconciliation as well, it turns out. This is what we heard last week at the Episcopal Parish Network (formerly the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes, or CEEP) when we gathered in Jacksonville for Catherine Meeks’ workshop on the future of Beloved Community.
There was a caveat, of course. Dr. Meeks, who leads the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta, wanted us to think less about how much we like to use those words than about what they actually cost us. We’re in love with the idea of racial healing, of reconciliation and beloved community; but the actual work that goes into it, not so much.
For those of us who hunger for a change, do we need another study, another book, another inventory? Though those things are valuable and sometimes essential to entering the work of healing, Dr. Meeks reminded us that information isn’t the problem. We already know all that we need to know: “We already have enough information to save the world 20 times,” she told us.
What she asked was this: “Do we really want to submit ourselves to the disruptive process of becoming well…do we want to become well?” Until we’ve truly asked that question, words and phrases like reconciliation and beloved community and even love will ring a little bit hollow.
That, of course, is the work of walking to the cross. Of naming where we are unwell, as individuals and as the people of God, and of laying claim to our fundamental desire: to be healed, to be reconciled, to be made well.