Last Friday was the third session of the Becoming Together: Toward the Beloved Community study led by Rev. Simon Park. This week, we read and reflected on Galatians 3:1-5:1. In this passage, we saw how normativities in our lives affect what we view as desirable. For the Galatians, the issue was this: they had found freedom from the norms of Roman normativity, and all the negative connotations and mental and spiritual enslavement that entailed. Now, however, they had reverted to a new enslavement, this time under Jewish norms. Like the Galatians, we are enslaved to norms. Our norms have been shaped by white normativity overtime, and have led to an unconscious bias against what is black.
Through this study, we learned that Christ is the new normativity that decentralizes everything else. We are all equal in God’s eyes. Your worth is affirmed in the love of God shown through Christ. We reflected on how having Christ in our lives can change the way we think and discussed how we can stand with Black people who are suffering with Christ at the centre of our thoughts and hearts.
In discussion groups, our ESM congregation members shared their experiences, insights, and newfound understanding of their own views on anti-black racism, privilege and the normativities we live with. Many shared their own experiences of coming to Canada as an immigrant and discussed the privileges they didn’t realize they had due to the fact that Korean immigrants followed the norms already present in Canadian culture. We found that it was hard to articulate the normativity we live with, which lead to questions like “Are we just victims to this normativity or can we break out of it?’ and ‘What is centred in our lives? What should be de-centred?”.
As these normativities have shaped the way our society functions as a whole, there are many layers of issues at both micro and macro levels. While minorities find themselves stuck in these cyclical lifestyles where there seems to be no chance at change, how can we empower the underprivileged and break through? How can we change our different upbringings and situations for the better, so that we can all share equal privileges, education and experiences? We must work together as a community to bring to light the needs and struggles that black people face daily, and work with them to find ways to change.
We thank you all for participating in a very fruitful session and hope that you can make it to the last one on Friday, July 31st! Let us continue to reflect together.