Reconciliation Sunday 2019, Easter 6C
‘Grounded in Truth, Walk Together with Courage’
During colonial history, race thinking lodged
non-Western peoples globally “between animal and human” and concluded that “their lives are best administered under flexible governance produced by special emergency rules and exceptional … laws”.
… Racism is something that structures our life.
… Racism is about the unequal treatment of a people on the basis of perceptions and economic, social, cultural and political logic, which always lurk at an unconscious and symbolic level (supra individual). It feeds the individual with racial discourse.
Paul Gilroy, Postcolonial melancholia.
(Professor of American and English Literature at King’s College London)
NATIONAL RECONCILIATION WEEK 2019
Theme: ‘Grounded in Truth, Walk Together with Courage’
“National Reconciliation week 2019 is a key activity in the Reconciliation Movement’s strategy to support Australians in making progress on the Five Dimensions required to achieve reconciliation: race relations, equality and equity, institutional integrity, historical acceptance, and unity. The theme this year will focus on building positive race relations.
To foster positive race relations, the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader community must be grounded in truth. Whether you’re engaging in challenging conversations or unlearning and relearning what you know, this journey requires all of us to walk together with courage.”
In the Covenant statement in 1994 the Uniting Church confessed to Indigenous members:
“my people did not hear you … we were closed to your spirituality and your wisdom… … We grieve that the way in which our people often brought the Gospel to your people belittled and harmed much of your culture, and confused the Gospel with western ways.”
This confession recognised that churches inhabited theological, cultural, political systems that shaped and influenced this “being closed off”, being enclosed, and not hearing or respecting. The church in the colonial period was so immersed in the truth and power of European society that it did not see or value Indigenous culture, land or spirituality.
The reality is that racism and unequal treatment remains in various forms. We still remain a settler colonial society. Elizabeth Strakosch notes that the government has included Indigenous people but only in a neo-colonial contractual manner: they need to demonstrate their capacity to fulfil the contractual or the policies, set by mainstream standards, or they will exclude them from equal rights. The 2007 Intervention in the NT was an example of this unequal treatment.
The way of Jesus is always for us to be ‘Grounded in Truth, Walk Together with Courage’; which means to “look” to see where and how we are enclosed, without seeing and hearing, “engaging in challenging conversations or unlearning and relearning what you know … this journey requires all of us to walk together with courage.”
Rev Vladimir Korotkov