The Alchemies of Racecraft
Race doesn’t actually exist. Across the scientific and sociological spectrum, we see time and again that the idea of separate “races” has been a historical construct (aka fiction) of the colonial era, and that differences in skin and hair color are quite literally only skin-deep. As human beings, we are far more alike than we are different.
Yet we’ve aligned our whole world around this falsehood of race. Race may not be real, but it exists as a social reality, and we have greatly sinned by creating and perpetuating a world in which all of God’s children are racialized, categorized and dis-membered from the body of our shared humanity.
Yale Professor Willie James Jennings writes that to return to our shared humanity, to dismantle the corrosive fantasy of race, the first task is to get Christians to take seriously the Holy Spirit.
That is not some gauzy plea to pray a little more and hope that the race thing works itself out. Taking the Holy Spirit seriously means knowing that the Spirit comes in fire, burning off the detritus of colonialism and spreading the gift of grace among all God’s children, equally and without regard to power, status, gender, skin color, or language.
In his preface to Luke Powery’s most recent book, Jennings writes, “Such embodied belief would mean rejecting the spells, incantations, and alchemies of our modern racecraft.” It would mean being forever changed by the breath of the Holy Spirit.
This Sunday we celebrate the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and we welcome Dr. Luke Powery, dean of Duke Chapel in Durham, North Carolina as our preacher. Dr. Powery is one of the most spirit-filled preachers in America today and his presence is a gift to Trinity Cathedral. This Sunday we’ll learn – in spirit and song – what rejecting the spells of racecraft, and letting the Holy Spirit guide us back to our common humanity – can look and sound like.