Moving Forward in Truth

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

‚Äö√Ñ√Ø Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King’s quote suggests that there is power in the sharing of our stories to facilitate a more peaceful co-existence among us, in spite of our differences. At the very least, honest telling and earnest listening can create common ground. Stories offer the key, or at least a key, to overcoming the barrier of not knowing one another, which hinders us from loving one another as Christ commanded. Stories have the power to do that even when, and perhaps especially when, they are hard to listen to or when they challenge us or provoke us, when we find them hard to believe as true or when we don’t want them to be. Sharing our faith stories and personal stories, and stories grown out of our cultural expressions and histories, can at the very least, prompt conversations that will deepen our understanding and appreciation of one another.

Truth is, we do not fully know what possibilities may be unbound by the sharing of our stories with those who appear unlike ourselves, but at the very least such sharing gives us opportunity to learn of our shared experiences and our common humanity.

At the 171st Diocesan Council held in Waco, Texas in February of this year, Bishop Doyle presented a “Missionary Vision for a Racial Justice initiative” that aims to repair and commence racial healing for individuals and communities who were directly injured by slavery in the diocese. “The goal is to support the people of our communities who were actually injured by our past actions,” the Bishop said. 

This column, in addition to a number of other initiatives being taken towards equality and healing, has been created and this effort undertaken to help bring to light the experiences of African Americans in this diocese__the struggles, the triumphs, the neglect, the celebrations, and more, with a light that not only leads to discovery but that clears a pathway for moving forward. 

The stories shared over the coming months will have as their source, diocesan records, individual church histories, and the voices of those who have lived the experiences or who have heard the stories told. They are shared with the hope that through listening with open hearts and minds, we can confront some of the truths of our past, overcome some of our differences and move forward, together, in faith.

“It’s about mending the racial divide in our communities,” Bishop Doyle said in his address. “It’s about naming the past but moving forward together.”

What better way than to give voice to the stories and experiences of those whose stories have gone unheard and unacknowledged, and to lend them an open and listening ear.

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