If you wrote a racial reconciliation confession, what would it say? Confessions contain tough things to talk about, but as the saying goes it is good for the soul. Of course Romans 10:9 tells us its part of our walk with Christ. Last week at the annual CCDA conference Pastor Jin Kim of Church of All Nations in Minneapolis read this powerful confession from his ethnic point of view, which I share with you below.
Sept. 28, 2012 – CCDA Conference Minneapolis, MN
To talk about what reconciliation is without defining what it is not is to invite confusion and distrust into the dialogue. Reconciling your checkbook or balance sheet is different than racial reconciliation.
Some think reconciliation means downplaying the truth and softening the tone to make white people feel more comfortable. Some think reconciliation is various marginalized groups negotiating over the scraps of white privilege.
You have heard it said that reconciliation is the method of choice for those too cowardly to seek real justice. But God says unto us in Scripture that God’s beloved Son was sent to reconcile the whole world to God, that we might love every single human being of every tribe, tongue and race made in God’s image, that heavenly shalom might prevail over the earth.
Reconciliation is the process of rejecting the whore of Babylon, the logic of empire wherever it is manifested, including here in America, and reconciling with Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified by an empire built on political, economic and military supremacy. Sound familiar?
Don’t get me wrong, I am a patriotic American – I love this country. But I’m a patriot, not a nationalist – I don’t support my country, right or wrong. I believe today that the naïve embrace of American exceptionalism by American Christians is a dance with death.
We cannot continue to be complicit in our nation’s attempt to turn everything into a vehicle of profit for the wealthy few – extracting profits from war, from prisons, from public schools, from our natural resources, from undocumented immigrants, from the widows, orphans and children.
God has something to say about an empire that is relentless in squeezing out profit from the poor, from the endless demand for more bricks with less straw. We must be unreconciled to the whore of Babylon, the logic of empire, if we are to be reconciled to Jesus our true Lord.
But just because I bring a prophetic critique upon the ills of our nation does not mean that I do not recognize the log in my own eye, and so I humbly offer this confession as a step toward healing. I offer a collective confession because I am not oppressed individually and I am not privileged individually.
If we have ever uttered the phrase “our founding fathers,” then we are responsible for all of American history, the good, the bad and the ugly.
On behalf of Korean Americans, I confess and ask forgiveness from our Native American sisters & brothers for occupying houses and businesses on land that you once rightly stewarded, and this without any sense of remorse or gratitude on our part.
On behalf of Korean Americans, I ask forgiveness from our African American sisters & brothers for being more clever in extracting the benefits of white privilege than any other minority group, all on the backs of the suffering, sacrifice & courage of the African American community.
On behalf of Korean Americans, I apologize to our Latino/a sisters & brothers for climbing the social ladder and then kicking it away lest anyone compete with us for the false and colonizing title of “model minority.”
And on behalf of Korean Americans, I apologize to our white sisters & brothers for not speaking the truth in love, for not teaching what we have known for thousands of years about community and collective responsibility. I hope all of our Christian sisters & brothers will forgive me, forgive us.
Amen Pastor Jin. May we all follow your lead.