Can racism be healed?

Sometimes big issues, such as racism, can feel too intimidating to face in prayer. But we can each play a part by meeting every temptation to feel inferior or superior to someone else with the powerful recognition of everyone’s identity as a child of God.

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I prayed on the day George Floyd, a Black man, died at the hands of a white officer while in police custody. My prayer went something like this: “What, Lord? What do I think? What do I do?”

There was something especially unsettling about the nature of Mr. Floyd’s death. It was such a bold affront against humanity. Yet the broadcast of a death under similar circumstances, filmed on cell phones by witnesses, is something we have seen, heard, and read about many times before.

My prayer on that day led me to read through the weekly Bible Lesson found in the “Christian Science Quarterly” many times. It contained powerfully healing passages from the Bible and from “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, and I held close to them that whole week, praying to know that the Holy Spirit was with me and all.

Because of healings I have experienced over several decades in my practice of Christian Science, I know with conviction that God, Life itself, loves every one of us as His children. So, I continued to pray knowing that I would have a satisfying answer to my initial question: “What, Lord?”

My answer came when I read this statement in Science and Health: “Evil has no power, no intelligence, for God is good, and therefore good is infinite, is All” (pp. 398-399). I realized instantly that injustice is not just an affront against humanity, it is a bold affront against God, divine Love. With that realization my spiritual resolve was renewed. There is no power greater than, equal to, or other than God. The prophet Nahum in the Bible wrote: “The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble” (Nahum 1:7).

There has been promising evidence of a turn in the direction of rejecting evil. For instance, there has been a widespread outcry to heal racism.

In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy speaks of being alert to the fact that, to those who are ill, “sickness is more than fancy; it is solid conviction.” This can be said of sin, too. As I pray about the sin of racism, I find this idea instructive because it says to me that racism needs to be taken seriously in our prayers, challenged, and healed. Science and Health shares how to handle a “solid conviction” and heal it. It is to be dealt with and destroyed “through right apprehension of the truth of being” (p. 460).

As I prayerfully consider the “right apprehension of the truth of being,” I think about my own identity as a Black man, and the identity of other Black men and women, and I am reminded of my favorite explanation of what we all truly are, which also appears in Science and Health: “Identity is the reflection of Spirit, the reflection in multifarious forms of the living Principle, Love” (p. 477).

We are each the reflection of Spirit, God; we reflect Spirit, God, now; what we are, and all that we truly are, is made of the spiritual substance of God, infinite Love; we are Love’s reflection; God is All; therefore, we are each God’s child, Spirit’s image.

There are many, many times in my life when an understanding of my own and others’ identity as a child of God has combated instances of racism. (For example, see “From racial profiling to ‘You are my brother,’ ” Christian Science Sentinel, March 7, 2011.)

I have also learned that meekness in the presence of Almighty God is not weakness, but strength. In the Bible there are numerous examples of people from humble beginnings who acknowledged and experienced God’s presence and power. And in the life and example of Jesus, the Son of God, his pure sense of God’s ever-presence and all-power healed and transformed lives and forever changed the world.

The accounts of Jesus’ healings show us we are each the reflection of the Almighty God, so none of us are inferior to anyone else, nor can we be made to feel inferior. There is none greater than God, whom we all reflect.

It’s true that every Black life matters, because each and every one of us is equally essential to God, made in God’s own image and likeness, spiritual and good. This spiritual reality removes the grip of any “solid conviction” to the contrary.

This is how I am taking steps to heal racism. Holding a correct, purely spiritual view of each of us as God’s loved creation protects and heals.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.